“There were such wonderful, caring people who helped me on my way up in the yarn industry,” she says. “Now I want to use the knowledge I’ve accumulated to do the same for others in a powerful, meaningful way.”
Warner entered the knitting universe in 2003 with her first published pattern in Family Circle Easy Knitting magazine that year. After training at the Parsons School of Design, she worked as a designer and sewer in New York City’s fashion industry, a famously cut-throat environment. Knitting became a peaceful refuge during this period. At the yarn shop Warner frequented on Madison Avenue, she met Arlene Mintzer, an accomplished designer and fiber artist who worked at the shop. It was Mintzer who first recognized Kara’s knitting talent and encouraged her to “go pro” with her designs.
Warner took advantage of this environment, joining TNNA and publishing her first collection of indie patterns. She worked as a freelance illustrator with craft publishers such as Random House and Sterling and in the process made many new friends and colleagues in the yarn industry. Clearly both skilled professionalism and an engaging personality have been integral to her success.
Knitting designer Kim Dolce helped steer Warner into a position at Annie’s, a major craft publishing house. Warner began as an illustrator for Annie’s on several books in 2007, then moved on to serve as editor of several knitting books. When a position opened up as editor for their Creative Knitting magazine, she was in the perfect spot to compete for the job. She got it, and in 2010 she moved to Berne, Indiana, with her husband and young son to begin a new chapter.
Yet the impulse to go indie was always there. “Being an entrepreneur is in my DNA. My dad is an entrepreneur and always encouraged that bold spirit in me too,” she says. Fortunately, the people at Annie’s understood that Warner’s indie ventures could benefit the company as well, and they supported her endeavors. In 2014 she launched her first podcast, Morning Cool Down, where she focused on developing healthy and productive morning routines and integrating a holistic lifestyle into business success. It grew into a popular podcast, and Warner’s interviews of women entrepreneurs and lifestyle coaches inspired many listeners.
Among her guides in this venture has been Gary Vaynerchuck, a best-selling business coach who believes that in today’s world “the companies that see the biggest returns won’t be the ones that can throw the most money at an advertising campaign, but will be those that can prove they care about their customers more than anyone else.” The approach fits perfectly with Warner’s people-oriented style. Other mentors are Marie Forleo, a consummate encourager and enabler for those seeking to build an indie business, and Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income, who encourages building ethical business models.
These experts have helped define and refine Warner’s approach to developing the right mix of free and paid products, implementing marketing techniques for creating scarcity and anticipation when products are launched, and building a vibrant and supportive community of fans. If you’re curious to learn more about what Warner is up to, visit her Patreon page. Given her success in the industry thus far, I intend to keep a close eye on her progress.
Dora Ohrenstein is a leading crochet designer, teacher and author of six full-length books, including Top Down Crochet Sweaters and The Crocheter’s Skill-Building Workshop. Dora's chic and innovative designs appear regularly in print and online magazines. She teaches crochet at VKLive and has video classes on Craftsy and Interweave. Dora is an avid student of crochet history and has published numerous articles on the topic. Her website, CrochetInsider.com, is a great resource for articles and patterns. You can see her designs at Ravelry.com/designers/dora-ohrenstein and follow Dora Ohrenstein on Facebook.