Today we have an interview by an MML sponsor (and Midnight Hustler alumni), Lauren of Craftivore.com.
Craftivore is a site filled with patterns, videos, and tips on how to create dozens of crafts like crocheting, knitting, and sewing.
Below Lauren shares how she took her previous job as a video game artist and translated her skills to develop her passion, crafts. She’s got some great insight and practical tips for those interested in starting up your own site as well.
Also… she’s offering a giveaway for three winners their own free package of their choice. Read below for details.
Tell us a little about Craftivore.com.
Craftivore came about in part because after spending so much time interacting with the public for my crochet street art (a.k.a “yarnbomibng”) crew, The Ladies Fancywork Society, I was hearing again and again about how much people wanted to learn to crochet, or knit, or sew, but didn’t have time to make it out to a class, didn’t understand books, or were intimidated by the idea of having to keep up with a group of people.
With Craftivore, you download videos, instructional booklets full of information like how to read a pattern and translations for all those crazy little symbols, and easy patterns you can complete at the end of the lessons. You can do it from home, or on your ipad on the bus, or on your lunch break. You can pause, repeat, re-watch, or skip ahead- it’s like having a completely non-judgmental private craft tutor. Learning a new craft can be frustrating enough on its own- I just want to make it easy for you to get to the fun part!
Hop over to see the free chevron friendship bracelet tutorial.
How did you get the inspiration for Craftivore and what parts of your background helped you make this a reality?
Well, I’ll start out by telling you what I was doing before this: I worked as a video game artist! Dream job, right? Sadly, it was someone else’s dream. My heart was in crafts. I’d been working in games and video media for years and even though I’d worked in all kinds of positions at all kinds of companies, I still wasn’t happy. I spent all my time outside of work either crafting for myself, or for the Ladies Fancywork Society. LFS was (and still is) a huge time suck, but it made me so happy that I didn’t care that I was spending all my waking hours outside of work on it.
So there I was on my lunch break, sitting under the lone tree in my office’s parking lot median (the closest patch of grass I had, where I spent a lot of time moping and pretending it was a real park) and thinking about how I just couldn’t do the nine-to-five office thing much longer, and if I wasn’t going to do that, what on earth could I do? I made a very short list of my skills: crafting, and making media. And I figured I had to somehow combine those two things. And so Craftivore was born!
And by “born” I mean, “went into an intense, nine month long labor process to get it up and running.” But still, now that this is my day to day life, I couldn’t be happier with it.
How has your intention for Craftivore evolved as you’ve grown the site and business?
Craftivore is pretty young still, and only barely starting to get it’s footing, but I have a lot of plans! It’s always been the intention to add more tutorial packages, in a wider variety of crafty topics, like beading, felting, even upholstery! Also, as I’ve been interacting with my users, I’ve found that they’re also looking for more feedback and interaction. So keep your eyes peeled for new account features like a help forum when you’re stuck on your pattern instructions, or just have an LOLcat to share, and user accounts with galleries to show off your work! It’s important to me to keep evolving, and listening to my users, to get Craftivore to where it needs to be to make everyone else as happy as it makes me.
Which products are most popular? Which project is closest to your heart?
The Knitting Level 1 Package is the most popular, along with the knitting patterns. But crochet is always closest to my heart- I designed all the crochet patterns myself, and some of them go back to pre-Craftivore days when I was just making stuff because I wanted to make stuff. I’m also really excited about the embroidery series- its’ a new craft for me, and it’s always fun to start something new.
What piece of advice do you have for those who are trying to create a sophisticated website, like Craftivore.com?
My main piece of advice is: Keep it simple! Fancy flash intros and animated buttons can be cool, but you have to use them in moderation, and remember that a lot of people who still have slow internet and computers are going to be discouraged with a slow load, or your site could intimidate them if it’s too complicated to use. It’s good to have a friend who is relatively computer-phobic too, to test things for you. (Hi, Tymla!)
Also, don’t feel like you have to throw down thousands of dollars all at once to get it done, especially if you’re just starting out. Your site is going to go through a lot of changes as you discover what’s popular, what you thought would be but isn’t, and what you didn’t even know you needed. Make a small list of what you want users to be able to do on your site, and get a basic template from themeforest.net, or use a wordpress one. There are so many templates out there these days, and at such affordable prices, it’s easy to find something that fits your needs and matches your aesthetic. Just don’t expect it all to come together in a day! Just like with crafting- everything good takes a while to accomplish!
To be one of three winners to get a free package of your choice, hop over to Craftivore.com and find the package you would like to win. Then, come back here to this post and comment, sharing which package you would choose if you are randomly selected as a winner. Entries will close Tuesday, November 15th.
Winners will be chosen and contacted next Wednesday, November, 16th.