Cat Bloxsom and Morgan Collins at the Collingwood building that serves as thee Cardigang HQ. Photo – Alexandrena Parker.
So many bright colours! Photo – Alexandrena Parker.
The creative duo started by mailing each other yarn samples when they lived more than 5 kilometres apart last year. Photo – Alexandrena Parker.
Since the start of the business, they’ve taught themselves how to knit, write patterns, design collateral and patterns, build a website, manage inventory, retouch images. Photo – Alexandrena Parker.
Cardigang girl gang. Photo – Alexandrena Parker.
Just a few months after they taught themselves to knit, Cat Bloxsom and Morgan Collins launched their own creative company inspired by their newfound skills! Cardigang offers DIY knit kits, including colourful wool and knitting patterns tailored to beginner knitters. Cat and Morgan even re-wrote the patterns so they were easier to decipher for a first-timer learning solo!
It’s proved so popular, the pair have moved into a converted warehouse in Collingwood for their new HQ. The big, bright space is split into two parts: one is the office side where the day-to-day operations and admin are conducted, and the second is the creative zone where they knit and develop new patterns. Have a look inside!
First thing’s first, what is cardigang and how does it work?
There are two parts to the business; we sell DIY knit kits and made-to-order knits.
The DIY knit kits are totally customisable, customers pick their pattern, their colour combo and we send them a kit with everything they need to knit their masterpiece. We launched the business with 4 patterns in one size option and since then we’ve added 14 more styles and we have patterns to fit size 6 to 28. We attribute a big part of our success to listening to our customers and being able to move quickly to address their needs.
The readymade knits offering launched in April with a limited collection of eight handmade knits available. All our knits are handmade by our Granny Gang, a group of passionate and experienced knitters who knit for us so more people can enjoy rocking a handmade cozy knit. The first collection sold out and we’ve moved to a made to order model now where customers can pick their style, size and colour combo and one of our gorgeous grannies will knit it for them. The Granny Gang is one of the things we’re most proud of because it connects those who’ve mastered the craft with a new generation of knitters and gives these beautiful women an outlet to share their creativity.
When and why did you decide to expand your hobby into a business?
After building lots of brands in our marketing careers, we’ve always had the urge to build our own, but up until 12 months ago it was really just a pipe dream.
We naturally stumbled upon knitting and never really thought it would be the path we went down, but we saw such a great opportunity. Having fumbled our way through learning on our own we wanted to create kits that would give beginner knitters the confidence to make something they would wear with pride. We felt like learning to knit was like learning code or another language but once you overcome the confusing nature of knitting patterns, it’s actually not a hard skill to master. Our kits put total focus on the beginner, we’ve written patterns that are much easier to understand and we’re also there along the way to support our customers if they get stuck. We think we get as much joy out of seeing our customers finished masterpieces as they do!
What are the benefits of going into business with a friend?
There are so many benefits for us that come with going into business with a friend. Building a business based on a friendship means you come into it knowing each other’s values and their natural strengths. It’s given us a really solid foundation to build the brand and allowed us to split up the work based on our natural abilities.
Working with a friend also gives us a safe and encouraging environment to test ideas and learn new skills. We’re each other’s biggest cheerleaders and we’ve supported each other through the challenges of starting a business. We bootstrapped the business in the early days and we do most things in the business ourselves so having that support is critical. Since starting Cardigang we’ve taught ourselves how to knit, write patterns, design collateral and patterns, build a website, manage inventory, retouch images… the list goes on.
What’s been the most challenging part of setting up Cardigang?
Starting a business during COVID lockdowns was pretty tough! We live in the same city but at the time lived more than 5kms away from each other so a lot of the early business development and planning was done over the phone, zoom and via the post (we were sending yarn samples and jumpers through the mail!).
We launched Cardigang originally as a hobby but it’s grown quicker than we imagined and that comes with it’s own challenges. Our original forecast was to sell 100 kits in the first six months, fast forward six months and we’re selling 100 a week.
Along with sourdough, TikTok dances and renewed interest in exercise – knitting had such a resurgence in 2020! What do you think the appeal of these wholesome activities was?
Personally, we’ve found there to be so many benefits from picking up the sticks. There’s a mindfulness side to knitting, it forces you to focus on the repetitive movements and task at hand. It’s really taking it back to the basics and allows you to concentrate on something that isn’t a device.
Our customers have told us about the impact knitting has had for them – from helping with anxiety to giving them a reason to connect with grandparents and challenging their resilience (something adults rarely do these days). We’ve had friends and couples buy kits together and customers knitting for friends. The connections it’s creating are amazing to see.
Purchase your own knit kit or made-to-order garment here!