Chloë Eardley loves knitting. With a keen eye for detail, her clean and simple shop design perfectly compliments her chunky monochromatic knits. Here Chloë takes us on a guided tour of her Folksy shop, her inspiration and why it’s better to just get on and sell.
Could you take us on a guided tour of your Folksy shop ?
Made by Chloë is the place to go for modern, chunky knitwear in distinctive colours. I’m a huge fan of big, textured wool and choose colours and designs that allow you to really get a feel for the original yarn. My ‘winter collection’ is a selection of cowls, but in the coming months I’ll be branching out to bags and jumpers, which is quite exciting for me. So watch this space! At the moment, my favourite item has to be the neck smuggler (I’ve made ten for myself!); they’re practical but they add something really unique to an outfit.
What’s the inspiration behind your work?
I just love knitting. I love the process, the calm it brings, and the joy of creating something with just my two hands. It’s my escape from modern life, I suppose. When I knit I feel as though I’m in touch with the past, and I like thinking about all of the people who have been doing this for thousands of years. I’m really interested in taking an ‘old’ creative and injecting elements of new style. At the moment I’m really interested in developing my own stitches and amending 19th century patterns to suit today’s styles. Its very much a work in progress but I’m getting there slowly!
How do you manage the shop?
I’m very lucky that in my day to day life I’m a web designer. This means I’m on a computer all day and can respond very quickly to messages and questions. When I get home my life is dedicated to knitting. I’m probably working an 80 hour week at the moment and I love it. I think if you love what you do it really doesn’t feel like work.
Tell us about the customer experience at Made by Chloë?
I package my goods depending on how I’m feeling. If I’ve got some nice vintage paper, or perhaps some lovely brown paper I’ll use that. Sometimes I print onto tissue paper. It really depends what has inspired me that week. I also like to include a special gift if time allows. My current obsession is little drawstring bags, made from any left over yarn. I fill these with lavender, which makes sure the package arrives smelling wonderfully and also keeps away pesky moths. If you work with a lot of wool you can get quite a pathological fear of those little creatures! I’m also in the process of getting some badges made along with postcards. I treat all of my products as my little babies, sending them off to their new homes can be quite hard sometimes so I like to send them off in style!
Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about selling online?
Well I haven’t been selling online for very long but I can give some advice on starting up. The main things is, don’t procrastinate, just get it out there. You might only have one or two products, you might not have your business cards ready; any number of things I’ve found can put you off. But really it’s better just to start. Once you’ve got going its easier to feel motivated to create more products, take better photos, get those postcards printed and do all the other little things..
Another thing is to love what you make. Would you be happy to buy this product? Is the quality, design and workmanship good enough? These are questions I ask myself constantly. If they don’t meet my own standards then they are not good enough to put in the shop. I’ve discarded a lot of designs along the way, which can be hard after the effort you have put into it. But if I’m not happy with it I’m sure my customers wouldn’t be either. Learning to let go when something is clearly not working was a hard lesson but an invaluable one.
You can browse and buy from Chloë’s Folksy shop Made by Chloë.