I am back with another great interview with knitwear designer, Corrina Ferguson. We were delighted to have Corrina as one of our designers early on, in our Summer 2010 issue. We are very excited to meet Corrina, in person! next week at TNNA.
Hi Corrina, thank you for joining me. Why don’t you start by telling us how you got into crafting.
I’ve always been crafty. My mom taught me to sew and my step-mom taught me to crochet, so I did those things when I was younger. And then as a young mom I got into scrapbooking – I enjoyed it, but it felt a bit pre-manufactured. One year around Christmas I decided I wanted to learn to knit. My husband bought me a kit, and I took a class and the rest is history.
You are a knitwear designer, under the business name Picnic Knits. Tell us how that came about.
I used to teach classes at a local yarn store. Once I got a grasp on the copyright issues, I realized it was best to write my own patterns for teaching. My first pattern was the Snappy Hat – which I designed to teach cables. The thick yarn makes it a quick knit, and the cables run all the way to the top of the hat – I hate when design elements stop abruptly! In my old life before we moved to Florida and I became a stay at home mom, I was a technical trainer who taught computer classes and wrote my own manuals. I think that experience has transferred nicely to my current line of work.
Are you a work-at-home mom or do you have a work space out of the home? If you are a work-at-home mom, how do you juggle your work duties with your mom duties?
I work at home, with an office/studio that I still have no idea what to do with. We moved into a new house last fall and I claimed the formal living room as my office, but I’m still struggling with how to set everything up. My boys are middle school age, so they are pretty self-sufficient. They attend school, so I have a good chunk of day time during the school year to work. The issues I have are just the small daily things – when I’m on a deadline and I realize that I actually need to feed the boys and the husband. A lot of times my best working time is after everyone has gone to bed.
What inspires your creativity?
Everything inspires me. The other day I got out of church and immediately sketched the shaping of a top that I had seen on a girl coming back from Communion. I sketch and take notes constantly – I just need to learn to organize them better. Sometimes I actually wake up from a dream to write something down – although what I write down or sketch in the middle of the night isn’t always useful!
What do you think has been your biggest struggle as a working mom?
The hardest part for me is time management. I look at deadlines that are farther off and think I have more time than I do. I end up volunteering or taking on house projects and then suddenly I’m out of time and staying up all night for a week to get things done. And there are so many things in family life that have to be done “right now” that I need to do better at planning ahead.
What are your goals for yourself or your business for your future?
Right now I have three main goals for my business. One is to increase my income to match the increase in tuition that will come when my sons hit high school. The public schools here are wretched, so they attend Catholic school. I don’t want to get a real job! My second goal is to go wholesale. Of course that goal means I have to do a lot of work on the back end to get my line ready for wholesale – which comes back to my time management issues. My third goal is to teach. I really miss teaching.
What other hobbies do you like to dabble in? What is your favorite way to relax?
I’d love to sew more. I have a basic sewing machine and I even have projects that are cut and pinned and ready to go. And I’d really like to be able to sew skirts for myself. But I never seem to find the time.
And I recently bought myself an entry level DSLR and I’m learning to take pictures. I have no aspirations of being a faux-tographer, but I’d love to be able to take better pictures of my family and my knitting designs.
Fortunately knitting is very relaxing for me. My most relaxing times are knitting with friends though, and it never seems my schedule allows me to meet up with folks anymore. Anyone wanna come to Jacksonville and be my knitting buddy during the school day? I have very comfortable couches!
The other way I relax is running. I run ridiculously slow so it’s extremely relaxing. I just need to do it more often.
Do you have any advice to give other women that are interested in starting their own small business?
I really think you have to know when you will have time to work on your business. Otherwise you are always working your business and not accomplishing as much as you could if you just had dedicated time. Knitting design as a business is really hard. There’s a ridiculous amount of competition right now. For me, I’m looking at knitting design as a very long-term business to allow me to be home with my boys and support our family. I think being clear what your goals are is crucial to making this a business and not just something you dabble in.
What is your favorite game to play with your kids?
Right now we are loving Phase 10. We played it a friend’s a few weeks ago and had to buy it for the family. We also love Uno and are starting to teach the boys more card games. Now that the boys are older (12 & 13) you don’t have to worry as much about who wins or loses – it’s way more important who the best trash talker is. The boys played Jenga the other night and I was quite proud of how they trash talked their dad!
Thanks so much Corrina!