In the olden days (let’s say 10 years ago) a fundamental requirement for opening a shop, was having a shop premises. That is no longer the case. Online shopping has increased in popularity, now accounting for 14% of all retail, and increasingly t is becoming the method of preference for certain groups of consumers. This matched with the advent of online market-places like ebay, etsy, folksy etc – means that online shops are now a very lucrative and viable option.
Set up costs are minimal. A potential entrepreneur has just to register a shop on one (or all) of these markets, a little like a person would have opened a stall in a flea-market before, and display their goods. Usually the market charges a very small amount to display an item and then takes a commission when the item is sold.
However, as a potential consumer cannot physically touch and feel the goods, the success of an online shop lies in their ability to photograph and describe the item. This replaces the meeting of the artist in the flea-market or craft fair. It replaces seeing their hard-working hands and hearing them talk passionately about their goods. All that would have been conveyed in that brief but vivid meeting has to be funnelled into a short text description. This has to paint a picture, give context to the item, give it a past, make it authentic, and allow it to stand out from the other similar items.
Not an easy task. However, one I attempted while setting up a shop for my Mum called Grandma Knits For Baby. She resisted this idea initially. She loves to knit for children, babies in particular, and will often knit for any baby, no matter how remote the connection, just because she can and she loves to. People have often remarked on the incredible quality of her jumpers and cardigans, but because Mam has been doing this for so long, she usually brushes off these compliments with a pinch of salt. She just doesn’t see the incredible skill that she has, and that tragically hand-knitting clothes is a dying art form, getting rarer in a fast high-tech world.
Grandma Knits For Baby is ultimately a two woman show. Mum brings the beauty (gorgeous hand-knit works of art) and I bring the brawn (I do the heavy lifting in terms of listing items, writing descriptions, handling customer queries and processing orders) – these creative types don’t love the administration of it all!!
So far it has worked very well. We have had a steady trickle of orders, and our brand is getting out there. Let’s see what happens when wooly-jumper season is back upon us.
About Grandma Knits For Baby
This shop was born from Grandma’s love of knitting little treats for little tykes.
Grandma is a talented experienced knitter who for the last 45 years has been knitting little garments for friends, family, neighbours, friends of the family, friends of friends … the list goes on, but really she knits for anyone in her life who has been blessed with a little miracle in their lives. This shop was born from her love of knitting little treats for little tykes, so that she can share, even just a little bit, in the immense joy and celebration a family feels when a new baby is brought home.
As a Grandma each piece she creates is as soft, delicate and cute as it’s intended recipient, however as a mother she knows that each piece must also be practical, easy to take on and off, easy to wash, easy to dry, warm and comfortable on little baby. It is her many years experience of caring for little babies that makes her creations so perfect.
Knitting is an ethnic craft and is part of the Irish heritage. It is a skill that has been handed down from generation to generation. The craft originated in fishing villages as the thick wools allowed fishermen to work in the water all day without catching chill, but anyone who knows Ireland in the wet damp winter months knows that one does not need to be near the sea to be wet all day in Ireland.
Traditionally knitting was a craft women practised and tradition has it that many of the stitches created had symbolic meanings that the women cast on their loved ones to bring them good fortune or protect against ill winds. Grandma takes a little of this folklore and knits it into her creations to wish the little ones happiness and safety in their first steps on the pathway of life.
Cathy Clarke – Shop Assistant
Cathy helps Grandma with admin, form filling, wool fetching, parcel posting and all the technical parts that Grandma couldn’t be havin’ with at her time of life. Cathy is the general dogsbody that keeps this ship a float!
Grandma – Creator
Grandma is the creative power behind this shop, without her skill, expertise and experience there would be no knits for the little babies.