Who's That Gal: Christina Fagan of Shit That I Knit
If you haven't yet heard of Christina (native of Weston) and the catchy name of her knitting company, get ready to see her everywhere! Her startup is exponentially growing by the hour. Girlfriend is even in Forbes Magazine! Time to board the knitting train...
JUGs: As a self-proclaimed “knitting nerd,” what sparked your knitting hobby and how long have you been knitting for?
Christina: I grew up spending my summers in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and learned how to knit as the age demographic of the small town doesn’t cater to 10 year olds. I’m a pretty antsy/high-strung person, so I love doing something with my hands, therefore kept up the habit through high school and college.
What used to be a part-time gig quickly turned full-time! You’ve gone from a one-woman show to a team of 30! Do tell us how you adapted to the quick growth and keeping up with customer demand.
When I initially was looking for a team to help me knit shit back in February ‘14, I thought that finding like-minded people was going to be my biggest hurdle, but it turns out there is this HUGE knitting community in Boston and they are all quite active on Instagram. Once I posted about how I was looking for other knittahs to help me build up my inventory, they started coming out of the wood-work. I currently have about 200 applications in my inbox right now to join the “STIK Clique.” Because we have so many knitters now, it’s much easier to keep up with customer demand.
What kind of industry were you in before your startup?
Tech Sales… which couldn’t be further from knitting for a living. But I think that my experience in sales has given me so many skills that have helped me grow my business. For one, I’m not afraid to reach out to pretty much anyone in the press, I’m persistent in getting wholesale orders, and I can take rejection like a champ. Just gotta put your head up and keep moving.
What do you think made knitting “cool” again? Or was it always and you’re just helping it shine?
With the rise in Pinterest, Etsy, and pretty much hipsters doing DIY shit, knitting is definitely making a comeback! I still get lots of laughs when people find out that I run a knitting company, but I think our generation appreciates things that are handmade, so it is cool.
What have been some major lifestyle changes since you branched out on your own?
Biggest adjustment: working harder than I ever have in my life and at the same time- not having an income. I was fortunate enough to save up a lot of money to start the company, but I certainly am not shopping, going out for expensive dinners or taking the types of vacation I did in the past. But what’s weird is that I don’t really mind it- I care so much more about STIK succeeding than I do about buying a new pair of jeans or insisting on flying to NYC. The bus will do for now.
Since you’re a creative, we’d love to hear about your workspace. Describe it for us. What about that of your STIK entourage?
The Knitting Dojo is actually moving! I’ve been working out of my apartment for the past 4 months, and being solo all day is making me even weirder than I already am. I’m excited to say that I’ll be sharing a space with other creatives (Kathryn of Bash Studios and Nicole of Nicole Baas Photography) in Fort Point in a few weeks. Up until now, my office has been: my couch--watching Netflix and banging out a new design; Tatte Bakery--completely redoing my website; a canoe--sewing in labels while my whole family went fly fishing… I’m pretty much working wherever, whenever.
What is the coolest thing that’s happened to you since the company launched?
That’s a really tough one to answer… shit has been crazy good in the past 4 months! Buuut if I had to highlight one thing: Ben Higgins (AKA Ben H. the new Bachelor) posted about us on Instagram. I may or may not be not-so-secretly in love with him and I pretty much died when I saw it. It also really boosted sales and increased our Instagram following by over 1,500 new followers.
For some of us who are knitting-clueless, what is the easiest and hardest items to produce?
I’ve had a really hard time producing our Spring line. The yarn is much finer and lighter and therefore takes much longer to create a piece. I love whipping up a simple headband or hat while I watch a movie.
When do you suggest our readers stock up on items pre-winter?
ASAP on our KickStarter! ;) Shameless plug. But really, I think the early Fall is a good time to lock down your go-to hat for the Winter - especially if you’re from the Northeast!
Tell us about the Capsule Show in NYC you were at last week! Any more trade shows (is that the right term?) in the near future?
Well, for one- I now know that socks with sandals and overalls are “in”. Capsule is insanely trendy and at times, insanely intimidating for a very new designer. But I made lots of great connections with likeminded people and got orders from stores interested in this sh*t! I’m very new to the whole tradeshow thang, so there’s definitely a learning curve. But I met a lot of huge buyers who I am excited to follow up with!
Any other tidbits on what is next for STIK?
As we grow and scale out the team, I’d like to take on more garments rather than just accessories. Think sweaters, knit tanks, vests, you name it. Pretty much anything can be knit, we just need more designers on the team, which will happen when we have a little more capital!
Favorite season in New England: Fall!
Coffee or tea: Three cups of coffee.
Favorite knitting medium: Anything really chunky and really soft.
Knitting goal: Master the slouchy beanie.
Favorite Boston restaurant: Toro
Favorite Boston watering hole: The Sevens (gotta play dahhhts)
All photos from STIK's instagram, with permission.