My wife runs (ran) knitting workshops teaching all sorts of people many different kinds of knitting techniques, and has done for years. She is also a knitwear designer and has designed everything from a bespoke cushion that is 5 feet long and hand knitted to Christmas decorations and jumpers.
COVID had an impact on her teaching and will do for the foreseeable future. She had workshops booked all through from January to May and then from September into 2021 all over the region, in various knitting shops. All of these have been cancelled, even when shops have reopened, as the environments do not allow for adequate social distancing.
So what to do, she spent all of 2 days thinking it through at the beginning of lockdown and replanned her whole offering.
She had planned a knit-a-long for autumn this year where people would be able to gather at shops and cafes to knit a Christmas blanket, she has designed, over a number of weeks leading up to Christmas – then COVID hit.
The blanket is made up of 20 individual squares each with a different pattern and technique, that all knit together at to create a large blanket.
She completely changed the way the knit-a-long is working, spent lockdown putting all the designs into video tutorials – over 5 hours of video loaded to YouTube. Set up an area on her website that is locked for knit-a-long members only via a voucher code. Created a Facebook Group where all the knitters can collaborate on the knit-a-long.
She was expecting 15 for the original face to face knit-a-long – she has 63 signed up! They are all at the start of the second square. Using Mailchimp she sends out the weeks pattern and a link to the website page with the videos – the anticipation that is building with the knitters is great, they can’t wait for the next pattern to arrive. What a great community it is creating.
There are people from all over the world taking part – New Zealand, Switzerland, USA, Wetherby.
What did she learn – there is a much wider audience out there that can be tapped into with the right promotion. You can have fun teaching via video and online lessons.
It’s a really great example of thinking outside the box to still deliver your core service or product.