We talked with Christina, founder of Sh*t That I Knit, in honor of Women's History Month. We talked all about being a female founder, how she got her start, and some of her proudest accomplishments.
Q: What were you doing before you started your business?
A: My mom taught me how to knit when I was ten years old and it quickly became my favorite hobby. I gravitated towards the therapeutic, meditative benefits that knitting provides, and I continued knitting throughout middle school, high school and college. It was actually my sisters who came up with the name “Sh*t That I Knit” when they would tease me for spending all my spare time knitting!
After I graduated college in 2012, I moved back to Boston and landed a job working in tech sales. This “real-world” experience was great, but I found myself yearning to do something more creative and tangible. I was constantly knitting in my free time - on the couch, on the beach, on the train, on conference calls - you name it, I had my needles and yarn. For the next year or so, my friends and family members were requesting products, and when strangers started reaching out to me on Instagram I realized that I could start selling the sh*t I was knitting.
Q: What made you take the leap into entrepreneurship?
A: I created the Instagram handle @shitthatiknit in 2014 and I started organically growing a community of followers who were passionate about knitting, wanted to learn (and laugh) at our brand, and were interested in purchasing our products. Instagram has been a really powerful - and free! - tool for us and I feel lucky that I launched STIK at a time when the platform was really taking off. In 2014, my mom and I spent all summer building up an inventory to sell STIK at a local winter market in Boston. We ended up selling out completely in two weekends! Beyond just selling out, we accomplished something even more meaningful - we made everyone who walked by our booth stop and laugh at our name. This gave me the confidence that my side hobby could really turn into a brand and a business. I ended up quitting my sales job in 2015 to pursue Sh*t That I Knit full time.
Q: What has been your proudest moment since starting your brand?
A: I’m so proud of the team that we’ve built at STIK. Beyond my incredible and passionate team of 8 women and 2 men in our Boston HQ, we now employ more than 200 artisans in Lima, Peru to knit for STIK. This is a unique and wonderful opportunity for these women, allowing them to stay close to their families, knit from home, take care of their children, and bring in a real income. These women are highly skilled knitters, and also help us design our products. It’s incredibly rewarding for me to see how much our company is making a difference in their lives.
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring female founders, what would it be?
A: First and foremost, don’t be afraid to leverage your network. Prioritizing networking can sometimes take the back burner, but it really is so important! I try to set aside at least one hour per week to get out of my comfort zone, meet a new person whether on Zoom or for coffee, and tell them more about STIK and our future plans. Odds are, your connection will know other people who can help you. I can't stress how important it is to create a network of people who are invested in your future.
Another business lesson I learned from Oprah that has resonated over the years: “You can only run your own race." The comparison game is real, but how well others are doing has no impact on you or your business. You need to put your head down and keep moving the ball forward - no one else will do it for you and looking back at competitors will only slow you down.
Q: In honor of women’s history month, who is another female founder that inspires you?A: I have always been inspired by Sara Blakely - and not just because she’s been insanely successful growing her Spanx empire, but because I believe we have a lot in common. Prior to starting Spanx, Sara was in sales and had zero experience in building a business (ditto, ditto!). But it was thanks to her persistence and her courage that she was able to take nothing and turn it into a brand thousands of women have come to love. I once heard her speak at the How I Built This Summit (yes, I’m that nerd who flew to SF for it!) and I became even more inspired by her. She said that people often call her “fearless” but she is not fearless, she’s courageous. I loved that she was able to admit that - that yes, it’s scary sometimes, but you have to be brave enough to keep going.