On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about building a knitting business with my guest Willie Smith.
Willie discovered knitting in 2007. He believes he’s been given a gift to entertain while teaching and his purpose is to spend his life enriching other people’s lives. Knitting is the vehicle he is using to achieve that end. Willie’s vision is for makers to get closer to making exactly what they want through the acquisition of a skill set. Willis is the owner of WNK and he aims for that brand to soon be a household name.
This episode is sponsored by Artistic Artifacts.
Creative finds for creative minds.
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We begin this interview with Willie talking about his upbringing in California, his high school years as a student-athlete, and going to college. While in a college class, he noticed a fellow student knitting and felt he must learn to knit. After much work convincing her, she finally taught him and Willie has been an avid knitter ever since. After college, he taught math in LA public schools with Americorps.
I ask Willie if he’s always known he was a teacher and he remembers admiring his 6th grade math teacher who seemed to know so much and told him he could be anything he wanted to be if he worked hard.
After learning to knit, Willie was hooked and began diving deep, visiting yarn stores and developing his skills. He also began teaching knitting online through his YouTube channel and on Instagram. He also launched his brand, Willi Nillie Knits, and motto “We out here.” Coming up, Willie will be teaching at DFW Fiber Fest and he is looking forward to more teaching gigs in the future. One of Willie’s videos (about double knitting) went viral a little while ago which catapulted his Instagram following and really helped him to get his name out there.
One of Willie’s mottos is, “If I know it, I can show it.” His philosophy is that learning something needs to be so simple you’d be a fool not to try, which is why he specializes in making videos that teach a whole concept in 90 seconds or less.
And, of course, I ask Willie to recommend great stuff he’s enjoying right now. Willie recommends:
- mini minders made in collaboration with LemonWood Fiber Tools
- DellaQ notebook
- Using Instagram to find and connect with like-minded people