A best friend duo has turned their lockdown knitting hobby into a lucrative business selling DIY knit kits.
Morgan Collins, 35, and Cat Bloxsom, 33, have sold more than 2.8million metres of yarn – enough to circle the MCG nearly 6000 times – and earned $1million in the first 18 months of operation.
The pair, both from Melbourne, said they fell in love with knitting after teaching themselves the skill and flaunting their creations to each other over FaceTime in the midst of the global pandemic in 2020.
They turned their new-found passion into Cardigang almost two years ago as a ‘side hustle’ selling knit kits with balls of high quality Merino wool, easy-to-follow instructions, a ‘made by me’ tag, sticks and a tote bag.
The duo has revealed to Daily Mail Australia how after meeting while working in the insurance marketing industry they hit it off instantly because of their similar interests, values and ‘haircuts’ before deciding to go into business together.
Morgan Collins (left) and Cat Bloxsom (right) fell in love with knitting during Melbourne’s Covid-19 lockdowns and turned it into a million-dollar business in less than two years
The best friends would share their knitting progress via video chat and soon the ‘pretty cool knits’ they were donning started getting the attention of family and friends
‘When Melbourne went into lockdown in 2020, we were looking for a creative outlet that would keep us connected but also help keep our hands busy and minds calm,’ Morgan said.
‘We liked the idea of having something wearable that we’d made ourselves. Neither of us had knitted before but we were keen to dive right in and so with the help of YouTube we taught ourselves and discovered just how easy it was to master.’
The ‘pretty cool knits’ they were donning soon started getting the attention of family and friends which gave them idea of turning their hobby into a lucrative business.
‘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,’ Cat said.
The friends started Cardigang which helps customers create stylish and customisable woollen cardigans, tops, vests, jumpers, beanies or scarves in ‘dopamine-inducing’ colours regardless of how experienced or inexperienced they are with knitting.
The friends started Cardigang as a ‘side hustle’ selling knit kits for customers to make stylish woollen cardigans, jumpers, beanies or scarves in ‘dopamine-inducing’ colours regardless of their knitting skill level
The knit kits include balls of high quality Merino wool, easy-to-follow instructions, a ‘made by me’ tag, sticks and a tote bag
‘We found 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,’ Morgan said.
‘Our kits put total focus on the beginner. We ditched the jargon and acronyms and have written patterns that are much easier to understand. We created our own tutorials and we’re there along the way to support customers if they get stuck,’ Cat added.
They started the business venture ‘conservatively’, only ordering 40 kilograms of wool and said they would be ‘thrilled’ if they sold that amount in six months.
Morgan said their first year of business was a ‘rollercoaster’ and they were constantly selling out of stock because of the rising popularity of knitting with people stuck at home as well as supply chain and staffing issues that arose as the world went in and out of lockdown.
‘But we could see from early on that this was a business that had huge potential. Being marketers we spent a lot of time developing our business plan and our brand before we launched and that set us in good stead,’ she said.
‘As we were looking down the barrel of our second winter, we knew if we wanted to maximise the opportunity we had with Cardigang, we both needed to be doing it full time.’
Cat and Morgan quit their corporate jobs in March this year to focus their attention on Cardigang full time.
The pair are now selling an average of 20kg each day and have even seen people on the street wearing their Cardigang creations which Morgan said ‘puts a huge smile’ on her face
‘Now in our second year of business we’re finding our groove and focusing on growing the business through product development and expansion into other markets,’ Cat said.
‘Both of these things would be almost impossible if Cardigang was still a side hustle.’
While they say lockdown was a ‘catapult’ for the business, they see the love for knitting enduring now the world has opened up partly because of the focus on eco-friendly fashion and comfortable dressing.
‘Fashion has become more relaxed – obviously the tracksuit had a moment, but even as we’re going out more now, the idea that you can be both comfortable and stylish is something we’ve really gravitated towards,’ Cat said.
‘People have also become more conscious of the impact that a lot of consumerism, including fashion, has on the environment and as a result, they’re making more mindful choices when it comes to the fashion they buy,’ Morgan added.
With business still booming, Morgan and Cat plan to increase Cardigang’s range to include knitted garments people can wear after the chilly winter months
Top six health benefits of knitting
1. Lowers blood pressure and heart rate: After wrapping up a good knitting session, you will likely feel relaxed. Relaxation is healthy because it lowers the level of stress hormones. Remember that high levels of stress hormones in your body negatively affect the heart and the circulatory system.
2. Keeps your fingers and arms nimble: The small, precise, rapid movements required in knitting are important in keeping your muscles steady and toned, and your joints flexible. For people with arthritis, knitting is a great way to maintain mobility by keeping the fingers moving. However, remember to take frequent stretch breaks, be gentle, and don’t overdo it.
3. Helps to manage pain: Knitting can help to keep your mind engaged whether you’re trying to fall asleep or travelling. A true mindfulness exercise, knitting can help you exert more power and control over your thoughts and settle your mind. It takes up a lot of brain capacity and leaves you with less capacity to focus on physical or emotional pain that can be detrimental to your well-being.
4. Calms anxiety and boosts mood: Touching something as soft as merino wool can invoke a calming response, similar to petting a cat or a dog. Picking a colour to work with that you love can help you feel good and boost your mood too. Knitting is meditative, can soothe your mental state, and allow you a moment to pause and refocus on your goals.
5. Reduces aimless eating: You can’t reach for junk food when your hands are busy. Knitting when hanging out at home or watching TV can prevent you from eating unnecessarily. You will have a better diet when you occupy yourself with a knitting project.
6. Improves your sense of purpose: A knitting project gives you a sense of purpose knowing that you have a goal to meet. The more you get closer to it, the more inspired you feel. Even better, creating stylish handmade chunky knit merino wool blankets for friends or family members can be very fulfilling.
Since that first 40kg ordered, the pair are now selling an average of 20kg each day and have even seen people on the street wearing their Cardigang creations which Morgan said ‘puts a huge smile’ on her face.
Moran said she has been surprised by how often customers tell them about how knitting as had a positive impact on their lives from helping with anxiety to being able to connect with grandparents.
With business still booming, Morgan and Cat plan to increase Cardigang’s range to include knitted garments people can wear after the chilly winter months.
They are also making plans to launch their products in the US as they predict American customers would embrace the brand.
‘We believe the key to our success is the accessibility, unique style and playfulness of our kits,’ Morgan said.
‘We’re focusing on maintaining that essence as we move into more styles, fibres and markets.’