Small Business Spotlight: KT and the Squid

Today I’m excited to share this interview from Katy of KT and the Squid! She’s a fellow crocheter and she sounds kind of awesome! Enjoy…

My name is Katy! My life centers around my 2 wonderful children (Noah and Hannah), my marvelous husband (Ed) and my business (KT and the Squid).

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Tell us a bit about your business. What do you do? What got you started? 

KT and the Squid was born in November of 2009. You could almost say it was by accident. At the time, I was the manager at a gym for kids. When I was told the gym was closing I had no idea what I was going to do. I was pretty familiar with Etsy so I decided to try it out. I actually started trying to sell some sewn burp cloths, dresses and bibs. One day I added a cute little hat I made up. It sold pretty quickly and I had people asking for more! After a year or so I realized I had something here and started treating it more like business and less like a hobby.

My specialty is custom made crochet hats for kids and babies but I also knit and make other items. Most of the finished items I sell are my original designs and after receiving numerous requests for my patterns I decided to start selling them as well in November of 2012. I discovered I really LOVE writing patterns and see my business moving more in that direction. While I love making items to sell, I love seeing others selling items made from my patterns as well!

Where did your business name come from?

I am “KT” and my 4 year old daughter is the “Squid.” Why Squid? When she was born my husband looked at her (picture a brand new newborn baby) and said she looked like a squid. The name just stuck with her so it had to be part of my business name.

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What is a typical day in your life? 

I am by no means an expert managing my life as a small business owner, wife and mother but I get better at it every day. I try to stay as organized as I can. Without my planner I would be lost! There, I keep track of exactly what needs to be done each day.

Typically, I spend most of the day with my kids like most moms. Whenever I get a chance I answer emails, work on items, get items ready for shipping (my husband does the Post Office runs!)…but I try to do as much as I can when they are napping or in bed for the night.

It’s hard to say how many hours a day I spend on work because I’m doing it off and on all day long. I probably spend 4-5 hours actually making items for orders but I also spend a lot of time on the computer throughout the day. I feel like I’m always working! I know a lot of people that do what I do stay up late at night working but you’ll find me in bed by 11 pm every night.

Late summer to mid-winter is usually the busiest time of year. I might have more emails to answer during the busy times but because I only allow myself to make a certain amount of items each day it’s all pretty much all the same to me. Plus, I keep just as busy creating new things during the off-season as well.

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What is your favorite thing about running your own business?

I really love the freedom! I get to pick my hours which means more time to spend with my family. If we want to go on vacation it’s pretty easy for me to pack up the supplies I need and go.

I also love hearing from customers. I put love into every item and pattern I make so it means a lot to me when I know others like my work. Even if someone just comments on a picture on Facebook the simplest compliment make my day!

What is the hardest thing for you in running your business?

 Because I work from home it’s hard to just STOP. I also tend to get lost in all the numbers. All I want to do is create! I don’t want to have to calculate profit margin or figure out fees! I’m very lucky that my husband does an amazing job with our accounting and I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.

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What advice would you give to other business owners out there?

            If you want this to be your business treat it as such and do your research. Don’t sell yourself short. Literally! In the business of crochet/handmade I see people barely charging enough to cover their costs. For a lot of people it might be a confidence thing (I know it was for me!) but know you’re worth it.  Don’t just charge for materials! If something took you an hour to make think about how much you think your hour is worth and add that to your materials, fees, etc. Even if you’re making something for a friend treat them like you would any customer. Heck, I make my own mom buy things through my Etsy shop!

Where do you get your inspiration?

            My inspiration could come from anywhere! The other day I had a bunch of scrap yarn from some orders I had just finished sitting balled up together and suddenly got inspired by the colors that were there. I have some newborn props that are based off real items like my doctor set and cop and robber set. Lately, I’ve been looking up vintage patterns and looking for ways to update them and make them more current.

When I’m working on new items I usually sit with some yarn and keep playing with it until I get something I’m happy with. Sometimes I have a shape in my mind or I might be playing with a new stitch. It’s not uncommon that I end with something completely different than what I originally start with.

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What do you do when you’re NOT working?

I answer a million questions a day from a 2 and 4 year old! I also like cooking and crocheting (yes, you read that right) for myself or loved ones.

If you won the lottery today what is the first thing you would do?
Easy, I would buy a house with a wing just for yarn!

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

I have a serious fear of aquariums.

A BIG thanks to Katy for letting me interrogate her this week! You can find her on Facebook and Etsy

Do you know a business I should consider interviewing for an upcoming Small Business Spotlight? Leave a comment or email me with a link to their information and let me know! Wish I would have asked a different question? I will be changing up some of the questions in the future, so if you have something in particular you would like to know be sure to let me know!