Matching Smith Studio Knits Hats

Monday, November 23, 2020

It's pretty clear that Neda doesn't really look like me. But, a dozen times a day she does something that's 100% me, and Brian just looks at me in shock. Like, "what did I get myself into?!" :) Like, she hates dirt. If she sees even a spec on the floor or on her, she'll get herself to me as fast as she can and point that it should be thrown away. And, everything has to be cleaned up, always. I think her favorite part of playing is cleaning up. The other day B had moved his shoes from the back den to the kitchen, he wanted to eventually move them to the front door. She pointed at them for them to be put away endlessly until he gave up and took them to the front door, where they usually are. Shoes, coats and hats have to be taken off the second we walk in the house; food must always be eaten in her high chair; 7pm is bedtime, no negotiation. I could go on and on. She's 14 months and a mini me through and through. Absolutely no chill.

I'm so thrilled Smith Studio Knits sent us these matching hats so we can look a little more alike. We are both obsessed with them. I wasn't sure Neda would understand that they match, but she couldn't stop giggling on Sunday when she noticed we had the same hats and same Patagonia jackets. I hope she always loves it and giggles about it. I have no plans to stop. 

Elaine, the owner of Smith Studio Knits, is such a sweet soul, it was wonderful to chat with her about her business and the community it has created for her. As someone who has only drops of gas left in the tank at the end of each day, I'm so inspired by small business mamas who never stop. 

Tell me more about Smith Studio Knits! When did you start it? What made you want to?

I had taught myself how to knit and crochet when I was a little girl. I did things off and on growing up, but I really started getting back into regularly making items after my sister’s started having kids. I became that aunt who was gifting handmade for every occasion. I had found a pretty active maker community on Instagram and had no idea how many people were selling their products. So I thought I’d give it a try and I first opened an Etsy shop in fall 2018. The timing seemed perfect, as I was transitioning to a new town and becoming a wife and stepmother. I decided to make the jump to building my own website in the beginning of 2020 and it proved to be such a pivotal decision. Having more control really allowed me to refine what I wanted my business to be and how I wanted to best serve my customers.

What makes Smith Studio Knits stand out? 

I think a major thing about SSK that’s unique is that I try and bring a personal touch to everything I do. The advantage of having your own business is that I get to shape every aspect of it. I tend to design with my own style in mind. Every piece I make is something I’d wear. I love classic style, but I don’t think that means the pieces can’t have a modern spin. 

As my business has grown I’ve also started to appreciate the aspect of slow fashion. The hours it takes from the initial design to the mailing of an order is hours and hours of work. The finished pieces are meant to last season after season and passed down from sibling to sibling. 

I try and be sustainable where I can be, too, holding onto scrap yarn to make one of a kind hats or custom items. I also do my best to support other small businesses when I can. All of my faux fur pom poms and product tags are from small shops throughout the US. I’ve also recently launched a luxury line of merino wool hats, which are 100% biodegradable, so that helps make our Earth a little happier.

Running a small business is a lot of work. How do you juggle it all? What makes it worth it?

It is a lot of work. I don’t think anything quite prepares you for the different hats you wear (no pun intended). One of the hardest things for me is keeping work hours. I tend to always be thinking of my to-do lists, replying to emails, seeking out new designs. And if I’m sitting, I’m knitting. Being a seasonal business also has its challenges. The Fall Harvest line was designed this past summer and even though we haven’t had our first snow here in Wisconsin, I’m already brainstorming for spring and summer. 

Another behind the scenes facet of a small business is becoming part of a community. I can’t say enough about all the wonderful women I’ve met through social media and local markets. Their support has definitely kept me going on those days where I feel super lost. Being able to reach out and ask advice is just invaluable and I can honestly say I wouldn’t be able to be running this business without everything I’ve learned from them. As I’ve grown, I’ve also been able to lend advice to others and that definitely makes it worth it.

Lastly, my step daughter seeing all the different components of my job has been super encouraging. She sees me knitting, packaging orders, and helps me do mail drops. I think it’s so important for her to see a woman starting and running a business. Hopefully when she grows up she’ll know she can be her own boss and that she is completely capable of shaping her own career.

Thank you, Elaine! We'll be thinking of you and Smith Studio Knits every time we get cozy to go out this winter.

(This post was sponsored by Smith Studio Knits. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Make the Most.)

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