It's degree show season right now and we know that means there will be lots of knitwear graduates pondering what their next step is. If that's you, don’t worry Eribé is here to help!
We asked our five knitwear designers for hints and tips on how to get ahead in the business. It is quite a long list but it can be summed up in just four simple ideas:
1) Be proactive 2) Gain more experience 3) Be open-minded 4) Chat to everyone
Teach Yourself New ThingsLearning new skills will set you apart from the pack and gives you a fresh perspective. Maybe you can apply a technique from book-binding and incorporate this intoknitting for example and come up with something fresh and exciting. Focus on learning commercial things that they might not necessarily teach you at university:
- How to write a specification (spec) sheet
- Create your own hand-knitting patterns that other people can follow
- Do clear flat drawings of your designs, not just fashion drawings
- Get to know the different yarns companies and the many different types of yarns they offer
- Try to work out the costing of products
- Brush up on computer skills, become an Excel wizard
Get OnlineDeveloping your online presence is a great way to get your ideas and skills out there. Get involved with the vibrant online community of knitters and designers and build on ideas together.
- Get involved in online knitting communities such as Ravelry, Craftsy or Kollabora.
- Start a blog, Twitter account or even a vlogging on Youtube.
Networking - better known as “talking to people” - is the best way to not only promote yourself but to find out about hidden opportunities
Network. Network. Network.
- Get in touch with industry bodies like Scottish Textiles, STAG and Creative Scotland and also review their online databases
- Pin down your lecturers and careers office on their industry information and contacts
- You can also get a list of business and alumni from your university database
- Attend knitting related events like Woolfest in Cumbria or the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. Talk to vendors and maybe you’ll discover they have a problem you can solve.
Internships*Getting work experience is the best way to learn about how the knitwear industry actually works.
- Be prepared to work hard and have a “can-do” attitude
- You may find yourself having to do repetitive tasks such as sewing on buttons or packing orders. We know they are tedious, but keep your eyes and ears open! Just observing all that's happening around you will learn a lot about how different departments interact and how the business runs.
Doing something in your spare time that is knitting related will really show your passion for the craft. Learning to overcome trials and tribulations is a really valuable skill.
- Work in yarn-related or textile-related retail outlets
- Start a small-scale knitting business – selling and making at stalls, craft fairs
- If you write your own knitting patterns there are lots of great online places to sell them in pdf format
- Get in touch with local knitting shops and studios – you never know when they’re looking for a new knitting teacher! Even a temporary or part-time teaching position helps you to meet new people and develop your craft.
- Why not approach swatch agencies for freelance work
-Do small one-off knitting projects –workshops, collaborations with other designers and existing brands
Job Hunting- Spend some time perfecting your CV and portfolio. Definitely get someone to check it over before you start sending it out.
- Once you have done that, do send your CV and a cover letter to your dream company. Even if there is not a vacant post they may keep you on file
- Send a thank you card following an email or phone call so they remember you
* Eribé love to support emerging talent from around UK and abroad, which is why we offer structured placements for students as part of their College/University courses. Our students gather in-depth knowledge of design; everything from the intial stages through to despatch.