eCommerce success: the story of We Are Knitters (1)

  • What if knitting was an awesome business idea? This is the story of We Are Knitters, an amazing eCommerce success story. Do not lose the thread.

  • Sometimes niches and trends are already there, you just have to know how to see them. The story of We Are Knitters is really inspiring in this sense. It is a clear example of how to reinvent the wheel and turn it into a successful trend.

    Today, we are going to show you how a good idea, hard work and a bit of luck can transform something that your grandmother used to do many years ago into a digital opportunity.
  • The idea behind We Are Knitters

  • As it happens by definition, when we talk about entrepreneurship we actually talk about people who have ideas and put them into practice. We Are Knitters is no different in that sense.
    The two co-founders were friends and co-workers in one of the most important consulting firms in the world. Pepita and Alberto had a future view in an absolutely commonplace and serendipitous way. While traveling on the New York subway, they observed a young, modern-looking girl doing something that in any Spanish city would seem the preserve of adorable little old ladies: she was knitting, knitting with a ball of wool and large needles
  • The main difference from what anyone associates with that activity was the wool itself. In this case, it was bright pink, almost phosphorescent. That is what broke the mould.
  • INSIGHT: If you have the right predisposition toward entrepreneurship, it will be much easier for the muses to inspire you. Alberto and Pepita found a niche market with a lot of potential where others would have seen only something curious. They were already thinking about setting up their business.
  • Nobody in their right mind decides to open a store because of something they see on the street. After that meeting in a subway car, they already had the seed of an idea, but ideas must be validated and contrasted with another.

    After that flash of inspiration, the next step was to investigate and assess the extent to which there might be an opportunity. What they found was an involved community, sharing their work and techniques. In addition, the age range predicted a segmentation that perfectly matched the age range, gender and socio-cultural position of the girl on the train.
  • INSIGHT: For better or worse, we live in an increasingly globalized world, so we can infer that, if such a community exists in the United States, any other Western country such as Spain can easily repeat that pattern.
  • The business concept of We Are Knitters

  • The idea was clear: to sell both wool and knitting needles. Always with a modern and different touch, which would bring them closer to that new public.
    Somehow, they had to redefine the idea of lifestyle for that part of the target group that could potentially be interested, but did not yet know the "new" trend of hand knitting.
  • INSIGHT: Curiously, in New York, one of the most avant-garde cities you can think of, knitting was talked about as the new yoga because of its capacity for abstraction. Based on these two concepts (avant-gardism and relaxation) together with the undoubted attraction of DIY, it was the best strategy to catch customers.
  • Although the more experienced audience would find what they needed in any store that took care of the product, this new segment that had never knitted before would require other types of products that we could call initiation products.
  • That is how the idea of kits that include everything you need, including the pattern, to make a scarf, a blanket or a beanie... was born.
  • INSIGHT: In the eyes of the customer, offering bundles has an interesting disclosure side, but it also greatly simplifies decision making. From a business point of view, the use of bundle products allows to raise the average ticket by using cross-selling to sell more.
  • Funding We Are Knitters

  • Pepita Marín, CEO of We Are Knitters, often says something that is quite true even if it can be a bit uncomfortable: "To be an entrepreneur you have to have a minimum of investment and resources, desire alone is not enough".
    Their idea was crystal clear, and so was their will to start a business, but they lacked the money to give it shape. Besides, it was a project that was going to need a lot of dedication, so continuing to work while this ambitious side business was growing... was going to be complicated.
    The first amount of money to buy fabric was obtained thanks to submitting We Are Knitters to a contest organized by the university where they had both been educated: 10,000 euros that they invested directly in wool.
  • INSIGHT: As it sold out, We Are Knitters grew and grew. It was expanding at all levels, becoming an international business. This, for funding purposes, led WAK to approach the business model from the vision of a startup: seeking funding in the market thanks to investors.
  • There is so much more to tell about this company, about what they have achieved in their first 10 years and how they have done it. That is why we invite you not to miss the next post about We Are Knitters´ story.
  • Do not miss the next post about the analysis of We Are Knitters: you will be surprised how they achieved success and you will certainly gain many valuable insights for your business.

  • Images | Unsplash.

Miguel Nicolás

Miguel Nicolás O'Shea is a life-long copywriter (more than 15 years working in agencies) and a specialist in Search Marketing (SEO and PPC). From now on, he will contribute with his online marketing experience to Oleoshop, publishing regularly.

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