Senior creates successful business selling knitwear

Kira Riddle, Reporter

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Four years ago senior Allie Van Meter learned how to knit, and now she has a store on Etsy, an e-commerce website, where she sells her knitwear to make money for college and for personal use.

“I just picked [knitting] up from watching YouTube videos when I was really bored and people started telling me that I was pretty good at it. Then I had old ladies complimenting me and I was like ‘Okay, so I’m actually kind of decent at this,’” Van Meter said.

Van Meter’s inspiration for opening her online Etsy shop was Sandra Kemp, who is the mother of sophomore Vivian Kemp. Sandra Kemp has been knitting for 7 years and has a yarn store and a knit store on Etsy that she started about four years ago.

“My best friend and business partner and I were needing to knit for something to do while the kids were at school, and we got quite a little pile of stuff. We asked ourselves, ‘What are we going to do with all of this stuff?’ And we said, ‘We should try to sell it.’ And then one thing lead to another and we realized that Etsy was a really good platform for us,” Kemp said.

Van Meter spends her time knitting and selling items on Etsy such as hats, scarves, headbands, mittens and blankets.

“I decided to market my knitwear. I’ve always kind of had an eye for business, so I decided to open an online store, an Etsy shop. And that’s done really well, it gets me about an extra 100 bucks a month, so I can’t complain,” Van Meter said.

Van Meter originally started her knitwear sales on a small website of her own, but switched to Etsy at Kemp’s recommendation.

“I advised [Van Meter] about stuff like the name of the store, and what kinds of things to knit, and I encouraged her to get going on it. She had a website where she was selling stuff, but it’s hard to get people to come to just a small website of your own. How do you get people to come? So I said ‘Go open an Etsy store, I mean it’s free to open a store so go, do it. There’s nothing to lose,’” Kemp said.

Van Meter runs her Etsy store all by herself, and consequently spends much of her time knitting. She has tried to recruit a business partner, but says knitting is not a widely-known hobby amongst her friends.

“I’m trying to recruit people to start knitting. It takes a lot of time. Any free-time that I have, or breaks at work, I try to knit as much as I can. A scarf takes a couple hours, a blanket can take a couple weeks. Hats can take 30 minutes at most, and headbands are the same thing,” Van Meter said.

Van Meter says that starting a business can be frustrating since at first a lot of the money she made from her store went back into buying more yarn. However, eventually it paid off.

“I think that starting your own store, starting your own business, it’s hard at first, but once you get the hang of it it’s like ‘Wow, look what I can do, I’m successful and I’m not even an adult, and I’m making this much money,’” Van Meter said.

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