We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Kelsey Johnson. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Kelsey below.
Kelsey, appreciate you joining us today. Are you happier as a business owner? Do you sometimes think about what it would be like to just have a regular job?
I couldn’t be happier than being a business owner of a company I founded! It is something I had been dreaming and striving for for as long as I can remember. Although there are many pros and cons, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I do occasionally think of having a “regular” job. I would enjoy vacation time and being able to leave work at work, but I think the rewards far outweigh the disadvantages. Recently, I took a small break to decompress after the busy holiday season. I wanted to gather inspiration and plan for this upcoming year. The “break” soon became answering phone calls, responding to emails, rescheduling appointments, and bookwork- all my least favorite parts of running a business. As a one-woman show, if I don’t do the work, it simply won’t get done. It takes a lot of responsibility and accountability to keep all the moving parts going. For me, this includes the marketing, merchandising, managing and updating my website, keeping up with social media presence, designing and creating products, sourcing materials, and running a storefront. Phew! As I grow my business, I am learning that balance is key. Also to be realistic about what I am able to accomplish is a day/week/month. That way, when it is time to enjoy the relaxing and leisurely parts of life, I can appreciate those to the fullest.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I am a Colorado native and have always had a strong passion for sustainability. I chose to pursue Knitwear Design because of the renewability of using natural fibers and the ability to make clothing with little, to no waste. I design, knit, and hand finish each piece individually, in my new Downtown Littleton studio/storefront. Each one-of-a-kind garment is crafted using a hand-powered domestic knitting machine- a very slow and meticulous process! I create all my patterns by hand and do my own calculations on one of my 5 vintage machines. I truly enjoy interacting with those who visit my store and sharing the importance of knowing where your clothes come from, what they are made of, and who made them. The larger stores who focus on mass-manufacturing leave behind low-quality, low cost clothing that are filling our landfills at alarming rates around the globe. It is of the upost importance to me to be able to make quality knitwear and inspire others to read their labels, understand the importance of well-made clothing, and hopefully develop alternative buying habits for their closets. After all, there is no planet B!
What’s been the most effective strategy for growing your clientele?
Since I had taken a big leap and opened my first storefront in January 2021, there have been many new challenges surrounding merchandising, marketing, and growing my clientele. I have found that attracting the local foot traffic to come in to my store and having a face-to-face interaction with them has been the most successful in terms of sales and growing my customer base. Because I create all my products in the same room as my store, it allows me to introduce not only myself, but show them the entire process of how everything is made. The majority of people have never seen a hand-powered knitting machine and are genuinely intrigued by what they see and learn. I think in this digital age of remote interactions and continued decline of brick and mortar stores, it can be refreshing to have an in-person connection that resonates with people.
What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?
- Website: http://www.elsewearcollective.com
- Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/elsewearcollective
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/elsewearcollective
Desiree Johnson Photography