We’re taking you to Salzburg, Austria today, where Karin Pichler, the owner, designer, photographer, shop manager and PR manager of CREATIVECROCHETSHOP lives with her husband, 2 daughters, and an adopted doggie. Think of old mountains, nature, immense sunflower fields, and you can picture her surroundings.
Karin was always crocheting and knitting, and 2 years ago she turned her hobby into a business. In a nutshell:
I started with selling hats and slippers. I tried different online platforms, Etsy, Dawanda, Ravelry, Crazypatterns.. My designs were my own, and I shortly also offered tutorials and crochet patterns, at first in German, now most are translated to English also. Nowadays my offers expanded to custom made items, most items are made to order in any colour combination, and I started a jewellery line for knitting and crochet fanatics.
A few months ago I joined HIE to get my own site, and now have my own shop with everything centralized.
Knitting, sewing and crocheting was running in the family, which is why Karin started early.
I learned the crafts of knitting and crochet at a very early age.
Handwork was prevalent in my family, my grandmothers and my mother sewed, knitted, crocheted and embroidered constantly. They always made clothes for us and for our children’s dolls, too much clothing! Handwork was constantly present – which has strongly influenced me.
She can still remember the wonderful feeling you get when you create something yourself with your hands.
I have tried many techniques in my youth, crochet & knitting, cross-stitch and embroidering. I painted with water colors and acrylic paints, I made beaded jewellery, and played a lot with polymer clay. The desire to try and experiment was my guide back then.
I can still remember my first knitted creation and this wonderful feeling of having created work with my own hands. This joy of creation inspires me still today and the process of making something has something akin to meditation for me, it is very relaxing.
For example I love bags, and prefer to wear another every day, so I made quite a few for myself at first. Because many bags require much space, I designed a shoulder bag and smartphone cases with removable front covers. You can easily remove and interchange the fronts of these, so you have a total different look.
We skip forward to motherhood. Now Karin has 2 daughters of her own to knit and crochet for.
When my first daughter was born, she became my main source of inspiration. I started to crochet baby clothes and toys. With my second daughter came yet another source of inspiration. I focused more and more on crocheting.
Initially I was working with crochet patterns from external sources, but the pleasure of creating things on my own, and experiment with new designs soon took over, and I started making my own custom items.
Some of the ideas come straight from her daughters. Children do not yet have a limit set on their imagination, and watching and listening to them can bring new ideas.
Many of the ideas in my shop come straight from very concrete wishes from my daughters. I already made many puppet clothes and soft toys for them, and at one point my daughter noticed a dream catcher, and fell in love with this. So I designed a dream catcher to crochet, and now have published this as a crochet pattern tutorial.
They also love my crocheted slipper, in the summer they are constantly running around in these, both indoors and outdoors. My family already loved the felted slippers, but I needed some slippers for the summer, and so designed and made my popular crocheted slippers. And for the kids I designed funny slippers that look like cats, frog princes and Rudolph the reindeer.
When you knit and crochet you have some advantages. You can drag your work with you wherever you go!
I have specialized over the time on crocheting. The great thing about crochet is that you don’t need a fixed workplace. I can work anywhere, on the couch, in the garden or on the picnic blanket, I always have my crochet work with me! While the children play on the playground I can easily crochet a few rows.
Crochet requires only a few materials, you need your crochet hook and wool, both which are light, and easy to drag along. Once you’ve set up your design you can easily interrupt the work in progress at any time, which is especially beneficial in everyday life with children.
And there is almost nothing you can not crochet…
We checked if Karin has any other people and artists that influenced her besides her family.
My biggest influences are two American designers, Tara Murray (Mamachee) and Jennifer Middleton-Pionk (A Crocheted Simplicity). I have reworked many of their instructions and love their diverse designs. I’ve learned a lot from their guidance, not in the least for writing my own crochet patterns and translating these to English.
And now about the handmade business side of her shop and design. Karin has a part-time job as Marketing controller at a publishing house , has 2 daughters and a dog, and is running her online shops besides these, and is trying to juggle these all, not an easy task.
The worst part of the business is the constant lack of time! It is often difficult to find time to crochet orders, design new goods, and complete all other tasks around the shop. Therefore, I often work at night.
It would be wonderful if I would be able to devote myself exclusively to designing and to live off my crochet and design work. But I do not think that I’ll make it that far yet. For now my work as a designer is my balance and escape from my office job and my responsibilities as “family manager”.
However, it requires a great deal of time and dedication in order to cover the many areas. It is not always easy to cope with the many tasks of a Handmade Business, after all the designing is only a part, a lot of work runs in the photography, descriptions, shop maintenance, marketing and, for me especially unpopular, accounting.
You need to cover so many different areas, and acquire a lot of knowledge to cover all aspects of a handmade business.
If I could outsource anything that would be the bookkeeping in the first place and second the product photography!
Then the natural question that follows is: “Why are you running an online business?”
My motto is to follow your heart and your desire! Do what you do with love! I do not regret my choice, it makes me infinitely happy when people like my designs and work. I love to crochet, and to make a bit of money on this at the side is very satisfactory.
I am my own boss and can divide and plan my work myself.
The idea that people all over the world wear my work or rework my crochet designs is awesome and gives me an incredible amount of joy!
We loved the photo she sent us for the poster, being busy crocheting in nature, surrounded by flowers. There’s a big smile there, the world is her work space. There is a slight problem with the space needed though.
I still need my desk for the business side, this where I prepare my products for shipping, do my accounting, and all work needed on the computer, listing, promoting, keeping up the online shop…
What I miss is enough storage space for my supplies. Currently these are distributed over the entire house, the wool I store in the basement, in the living room I have a drawer for the current projects, the crochet hooks, etc. and in the bedroom is my desk, where all shipping materials and accessories for the jewellery collection are stored. One of my dreams would be to have my own room, where I can keep everything with storage for wool, and a comfortable armchair for crocheting.
There is one thing Karin would never change, the country she lives in.
I live near the mountains in a beautiful green landscape.
I particularly love the flower meadows, deciduous forests and mountains, and that you can still find so many animals in the wild around here. I love to wander through the meadows and to go hiking together with my family and dog. I could not imagine living anywhere else.
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