The Evolution Of a Slipper AKA I seriously use to suck

I was thinking about what to write about tonight when, something I had written quite a while ago popped in my head. I’m not sure exactly what post it came from or its exact wording but, it went something like this. ” I not only want to share my successes but, also my failures and be honest about my experiences.”

Like, I said, I’m sure it’s paraprashed but, I wrote something along those lines at some point in the Smashlee Stitches blog. Anyway, as the clock was ticking away and the Mini’s bed time was approching, I started to panic. I never really stress out about my blog or what I’m going to write , I try to let it come naturally but, for some reason I just didn’t know what to type. Then out of the blue, while I’m tucking mini-Smashlee into bed, it hit me. Tell them how you use to suck. Now, I’m not saying I’m the best or even that I “don’t suck” now but, I have come along way and that is what this blog post is about.
Let me  first give you some background and then I will show you ( with some REALLY bad photos) on how I came from “sucking” to whatever it is I am now.

When I started to complemtate selling my knitting, I had no idea what to even make. I saw my peers and my friends making some profits on their talents at craft fairs and my brain started going into overdrive trying to figure out what I could sell. How could I make this work? Anyone who has ever met me knows, I can either be really talkative or uncomfortably silent  and a lot of those early craft fairs days I was uncomfortably silent, not because I was shy but because, I was taking everything in, trying to learn the ins and outs, and what worked and what didn’t.

I had never even been to a craft fair, let alone sold anything at one, so for a while I ” observed ” from the comfort of a chair behind a folding table full of knit and crocheted creations. I watched  my friends sell their handmade products and obsereved how the public interacted with not just our table but, the others tables as well. Mentallly, I was taking notes and making plans .  I don’t know what pushed me over the edge into selling, it may have been and most likely was, a friendly nudge from my friends but, that summer along side their prodcuts , I was graciously allowed to put my 10 pairs of mary janes on display ,waiting for buyers. The buyers never came, I went home deflated and in a depression. However, my mind was still working and I started to knit my butt off determined to have a knit slipper for every person that walked past our table.  I am very scattered brained so, I never had a slipper for everyone but, I did have more than 10 baby booties to display . I did better the next time,  I sold a few pairs but, It definitely wasn’t worth the all nighter I pulled the night before “getting ready” for the big day.

Still feeling a little depressed, I turned to google ( as I do whenever I have a question about anything) and came across a pattern for some booties that I wanted for my newly born mini-Smashlee. They were called “Spring Breath Booties”  .  I downloaded the pattern ( first one I had ever downloaded  ) and within the day had my pattern printed and ready to be knit. I  then worked feverislty the next day and came up with this..

The first pair, made for mini-Smashlee...she never wore them.
The first pair, made for mini-Smashlee…she never wore them.

They have buttons hole ,which you can’t see in the picture, and a crochet finish which I could not do properly no matter how hard I tried. But, I was really proud of them and took this “amazing” picture and posted this to my facebook profile.      ( honestly, I was so happy about their completion,  I really did think the pic was amazing).

I must have got a favourable response, or people were just being nice, because at the next craft fair, I  made these.

The first group of what would later be called "smuggs"
The first group of what would later be called “smuggs”

Again, the night before, the craft fair, I finished these four pairs and posted this picture to facebook. Nobody “liked it” or commented but, I did sell every pair the next day . I had altered the pattern slightly and took away the buttons but, for some crazy reason kept the crochet finishing.  I do have to say though, I really like my colour choices!

Shortly after, with my confidence soaring high, I made these. I also posted them on my facebook page and sold them within minutes to a friend.

I finally got the guts to try something new and altered the pattern again to get rid of any crocheting!
I finally got the guts to try something new and altered the pattern again to get rid of any crocheting!

A few months, on a hunch, I opened my facebook fan page .  Then, the orders started coming in. I altered the pattern several times more to come up with some of these pairs.

A toddler pair
A toddler pair
A child size pair
A child sized pair
An adult pair
And…an adult pair

And then this happen …

This pair almost started a fight at craft fair between customers.
This pair almost started a fight at craft fair between customers.

I hate this pair at first but, after some more than favourable comments about them and a little encouragement from Mr. Smashlee. I took this idea and ran to create numerous  pairs in all sizes from newborns to adult. You can check them out here… but, here is a small sampling

A stripped pair
A stripped pair
Panda Slippers
Panda Slippers
probably my favourite pair i have made so far
one of my favourite pairs

As you can see, the photography got  better, it’s not perfect ,but it’s better. And I really made the design my own, letting my creativity take over, which I really think is what matters the most.

I have altered the pattern so much that, the only thing similar to the original is the cable design. These slippers are by far my most popular product, and it’s all thanks to a little determination, hard work, a lot dreaming and amazing pattern designer Julia Noskova  (designer of the original pattern ).  She is  an amazing designer ,an inspiration to me, and one of my favourite knitters. One day I might even attempt the original pattern again.

I always doubted wether my slippers were “good enough” for public consumption and I don’t know if they are but, It has given me such a boost in my confidence as a knitter that It doesn’t really matter if they are “good enough”. I am very excited to see what they evolve into next.

I currently call these “smuggs” a combination of Smashlee and uggs and I no longer sell at craft fairs. Not because, I hate them but, because,  selling in person is just not one my strengths. One day I may go back in that direction, but right now my goals for my business lie elsewhere . Regardless if  sell a million pairs or if Mini-Smashlee is my only customer I will never forget where the Smuggs started from. I am so thankful for every bad picture, ( no matter how much I cringe at them now) and for every customer that inspired and sometimes help create a slipper that dare I say, doesn’t suck.

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