Start-up Interview: Lisa Roberts, Knitty Kitty Intimate Apparel

Interviews BMP Magazine (3)

Meet Mom Entrepreneur Lisa Roberts, Founder, Knitty Kitty (2012)

“1.  Do not spend too much money. Always ask yourself if spending that money is absolutely necessary or would it just be nice to have.
2. Do not give up. Keep working on your goal.
3. Celebrate the small successes.
4. Know everything you can about your product, your competition, and what can make you stand out from the other competition.
5. Respond to emails and calls.”

What does your business offer?
Knitty Kitty is a clothing company specializing in sweater style knit intimates of bras, panties, and clothing also known as knitimates. We are unique alternative to mainstream lingerie and clothing that is playful, sexy, and fun. Knitimates can be worn as underwear, intimates, sleepwear, lounge wear, to festivals and the beach.
You can not only look sexy in our clothes but feel super comfortable.

Women ages 15-50. My target age is a 32 year old woman. I sell to stores ranging from Urban Outfitters and Pajamagram to Dollskill. Basically, all women, 15-50, who like to wear comfortable clothing that is playful, sexy, and fun. I am reaching them mainly by other retailer because I sell mainly wholesale. I do some social media marketing.

What was your AHA moment?
Had the idea and just went for it

How has PR and Marketing helped your business?
I sent product to senior magazine editors-no response.
I sent emails to senior magazine editors-no response
A Vogue Magazine contacted me for a look book. I sent this to her and since she has not contacted me or responded to my emails.

What’s your greatest success to date?
The first success was getting the first sale from my hand knit panties. It reaffirmed that I had a good product and gave me the confidence to try each new challenge.

At the beginning I used to call myself the insecure knitter because I did not know 100% if I had an actual business or just a hobby.

When I got my first big order from Urban Outfitters it was like getting a stamp of approval from the fashion industry. My greatest success to date is the expansion of my knitting factory. I started with $40 and two needles, expanded to one knitting machine.

Today I have built a two story factory and have 40 full-time knitters.
We are the only knit intimate line on the market.

What’s been challenging and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge is continuing to design what my buyers, in particular, my department store buyers want. It is a guessing game and sometimes I have it right and sometimes I am off the mark. It is when I fail to make that big sale that I ask myself what did I not do that my buyers want. It lights a fire in me and keeps me working harder until I get it right.
In manufacturing, my biggest challenge is having to work with the yarns that are available. We are close but not yet able to have custom yarns made to to the high minimums required of each color made.
I am still trying to get on to Shark Tank.

I try to see what is trending and forecast what design ideas to use for future seasons.
I use yarns that are available and am budgeting to have custom yarns made for 2017.
I have applied to audition for Shark Tank.

What steps are you taking to achieve your goals?
1. I am redesigning my website and marketing strategy to increase online sales.
2. I have applied to audition on to Shark Tank.
3. I continue to improve my product every season and work on sales outside of Magic Trade Show.

What are your best tips on managing family and business?
My two children are teenagers. So I am dealing with high school issues and all that involves a young adult. This does not include my three cats and three dogs. In the morning I get my youngest off to school, then I try to go for a run.

I work out because that is when I sort out my business plan for the day in my mind or work out any problems- family/home/work. My husband also helps with the family. We are a supportive team. Because their is mutual respect and help I am able to balance home life with work. When I am not doing something for the family, I am working on the business. My business is my baby now.

Who do you admire in business?

What are your favorite tools and resources?
You Tube
etsy blog posts

If you could wave a magic wand right now, what would you wish for?
Daymond John from Shark Tank.
It is really hard to find a mentor who could give me the right advice about what I should do next with my company. It is growing and I would love someone who has been in my shoes guide me to the next level.

Where can readers go to learn more about you and your business?

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