Sunday, July 18, 2010

Meet Heather of NiftyKnits

Heather is the owner of NiftyKnits on Zibbet, where she offers the most adorable handknit meerkats you ever will meet! Heather lives in Tenterden, a small historic market town in the heart of Kent, in the southeast corner of the UK.

Tell us about yourself… Always a tricky question! I live in the countryside with my first husband (I call him that to keep him on his toes!). Our three kids have all grown and flown the nest so we can pretty much please ourselves now, no rushing around playing taxi! We enjoy walking, especially by the sea and that is probably the only time I don’t knit. I used to be a primary teacher but couldn’t cope with the stress levels. I was very amused to see myself described on Facebook by a customer as a “professional meerkat knitter” but I guess that is what I now am! There are only so many hours in the day so I’m never going to be rich, but I’m much more content with my life of 24/7 knitting.

Describe your “style” and how it sets you apart from your competition. I used to knit all sorts of novelty items with some degree of success. My plan (if I had one!) was to specialize in knitted pots of flowers. Then one day I decided to knit a meerkat whilst watching Meerkat Manor. They immediately found a market, and a while later one of my Etsy team-mates suggested dressing them up in clothes. I laughed and refused, I thought it would be silly. A few weeks later I went to a Twitter meet-up and was challenged to wear my Star Trek sweater. Instead, I knitted my first Trekkie Meerkat – and the rest is history! They went viral thanks to BoingBoing and I’d found my niche.

My meerkats are different to others on the market because of their costumes (although I do still sell “naked” meerkats). I design all my own patterns and will very happily create a meerkat to someone else’s idea. My very favourite was a recreation of somebody’s Second Life Avatar, as a meerkat of course!

What is the “story” behind your shop name? I’ve been niftyknits for years, starting on ebay in 2003. I wanted a name which reflected my business. Of course when I joined Etsy I discovered there were a million other sellers with “nifty” in their name, but it was too late to change by then! The main problem is whenever anyone on a forum thread uses the adjective nifty to describe anything my first thought is that they’re talking about me!

What is your favorite item in your shop at the moment? My favourite in my own shop is Ian Anderson - I was a 70s teenager and went to a Jethro Tull concert way back then, still remember him leaping about the stage like a man possessed!

What is your favorite Zibbet shop? Jane from A Tranquil Nook is a dear friend from Etsy who has recently joined us on Zibbet. She is very busy on the farm right now so hasn’t moved much stock over yet, but I’m very fond of her felted cuffs. I love the way she uses vintage buttons and gives them a new life.

How long have you been a Zibbeter? I joined at the end of March, this year – still a baby! I still have more stock to add, and more designs waiting in the “to knit” queue!

As a seller, what do you like best about Zibbet? Without question, the referral program! So far I’ve referred 32 new sellers from 971 click-throughs. I’ve always considered it my own responsibility to promote my shops on whichever site I’ve sold through, but it’s fantastic that Zibbet are rewarding our efforts in this way. Thank you!!!

As a buyer, what do you like best about Zibbet? I love the randomness of the Showroom, no matter how great a search engine is, there are always plenty of things you just wouldn’t know to search for (handknitted trekkie meerkats being a case in point!) so it’s great to be able to browse a selection you might not otherwise find.

What else would you like the world to know about you and your Zibbet shop? Please feel free to ask me to design the meerkat of your dreams! Many of my meerkats started off life as a commission for someone, I always say “you name it, I’ll knit it” and I have never been defeated yet!

You can connect with Heather on her blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Meerkat Star Trek Voyager
Knitting Meerkat
Batman Meerkat
Meerkat Surfer dude with skateboard

Buy Handmade ~ Buy Handmade ~ Buy Handmade


The Fifth Street Mama said...

These are adorable! Great feature!

niftyknits said...

Thanks Vicki! go Zibbet!

Sew Shine said...

So cute! This was a great interview...your work is amazing. Thanks for sharing with us!

Jaci said...

Heather, You always have such interesting interviews! I miss Jane on our team...

Barbra said...

Absolutely adorable work!♥

PrairieWindDesigns said...

What a wonderful feature! I absolutely love these meerkats!

My Mother's Garden said...

Great interview, Nifty! Your work is so unique. I like the Ian Anderson meerkat too.

ModredVintage said...

I love this shop, it brings a smile to my face.

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