It all started with Barbara Barry’s new hobby, knitting. Whenever she’d learn something new she would find herself shopping at her local craft store for that new piece. Eventually those pieces would find themselves lost at the bottom of her knitting bag. So Barry took to the net in search of an all-in-one kit that would help put all those necessities together into a convenient package, reports the Idaho Statesman.
But she didn’t find it.
“It was that ‘a-ha’ moment,” said Barry, a former teacher, restaurant owner and longtime entrepreneur.
She decided to invent one for herself – and the millions of people worldwide who knit and crochet. She began selling The Knit Kit last year, and has since sold 40,000 in the United States and 10 other countries.
Barry, who is originally from Los Angeles, worked as a bilingual (English/Spanish) elementary school teacher before opening and running three pre-schools. She’s also owned a restaurant in Ketchum – where she still has a ranch – and sold real estate.
The process of creating a new product isn’t as hard as some might think, she said. She sketched it out on a napkin, then worked with a prototype maker in Santa Monica, Calif., to get it just right.
“That was kind of fun – and tedious,” Barry said, explaining that the prototype maker had no idea what the accessory tools are used for.
In January 2009, The Knit Kit was introduced at the National Needle Arts Association’s winter show.
Now she’s closing in on about $800,000 in sales – more than earning back her initial investment of $150,000 to get the business going. The profit is invested back into the product, she said.
Barry has a patent pending. And she’s already planning to create new kits for the crafts market, including quilters.
Photo from The Knit Kit