Today we are introducing you to Leanne who is the owner of Syd and Wynnie, a hand knitted kids clothing business in Melbourne.
Leanne has been working with Many Rivers since February 2019. By opening Syd and Wynnie, she has been able to turn a lifelong hobbie into a job. Although she encountered some setbacks in regards to her health and her career, Leanne is back on her feet now that she is a small business owner.
“I’ve been knitting and selling stuff as a hobby for a long time and then I decided to get serious about turning it into a proper business. I feel much more confident, especially after getting those sales. It made me think that all the ups and downs I’ve had in my life and it was worth it to not give up and that I was right to keep going.”
I have a business called Syd and Wynnie. I knit, so I knit baby and toddler clothing and sell it online. We knit for premature babies as well. At the moment I sell my clothes on Etsy while I am building my own website. Before Covid-19 I was also stocking a little shop in my town but due to the pandemic that is not happening at the moment. I specialise in using organic materials so they are good for families and I also have vegan-friendly fibres available. I also sell yarn and other knitting accessories. I’ve been working with Many Rivers since February 2019.
I worked in a bank for 20 odd years. However I have been knitting since I was six, so I’ve always knitted! Then I worked as a research person in a library and I’ve also been a knitting teacher and was teaching at a wool shop in Malvern. I was also doing some volunteering for a while with some Somalian women teaching them to knit. It was a challenge because they were more into crochet and the way they knitted was the way they crochet, so I had to change the way I knit.
Working with Many Rivers to Sell Hand Knitted Kids Clothing
Richard helped me to fill out the paperwork and get in contact with the bank and walked me through the process of doing all of that. He also helped me with the business plan and cash flow forecast and marketing strategy, including my social media strategy. Now I want to expand my business to include running online classes. I’ve invested money into learning to edit designer patterns and things like that, so Richard has helped me to look into various income streams. Richard has given me a huge amount of encouragement because I’ve had a challenging 18 months but Richard has been there all the way.
Richard’s business insight and marketing insight and encouragement and belief in me and my business has been the most useful. Richard believed that I could do it and was always encouraging me to keep going. That helped because it gave me hope that I could do something, which is huge. Having someone say, “just knit something, you don’t need to sell it, just knit”, it really meant a lot to me.
I got a loan from Many Rivers to pay for website hosting and a domain name and I bought yarn and needles and things like that.
The biggest success has been the sales I’ve made in the last six weeks. I started my Etsy shop and I got seven sales in the first couple of weeks! That feels like the culmination of all my effort and everything Richard has showed me. It has shown me that I do have the necessary skills, to not give up and to keep going.
There is an organisation in America called Knit for All who are incredible. They are a volunteer organisation that teaches knitting to people who have cancer so they can knit while they are getting their treatments. They also teach parents of kids in hospitals. My ultimate goal is to set something like that up here. I’ve spoken to them about it, but I haven’t been well enough for long enough to get that going. I am hoping in the next couple years I can get my business and confidence to a point where I can start something like that here.
Make sure to follow Syd and Wynnie on Facebook and check out her hand knitted kids clothing.
We want to encourage more and more people to take that first step towards building on their small business ideas, or their existing business.
We’re here to support you the whole way.
Please take the Small Business Self-Assessment and see if we are right for you.
For more business creation inspiration, read this story about Richard and Kristijan and their Jadestone Floor Cleaning solutions in Busselton WA.