Knitting Passion Pays the Bills

A Look into Knits & Knots

How Julia De Cotiis Grew an instagram account into a knitwear business. Courtesy Julia De Cotiis

When Concordia University student, Julia De Cotiis, 22, followed the advice of friends and family to channel her knitting talents into a business, she never thought she would succeed. She was surprised by the outcome.

In May 2022, De Cotiis launched the Knits & Knots Instagram account where she sells her handmade goods. Her products range from knitted tops, bikinis and beach tote bags, to even household décor, blankets, hats and mittens.

While her business was only launched a few months ago, she has had a love for knitting since childhood. Despite having Alzheimer’s disease, her great-aunt taught her how to knit, she explained. “It is something that she remembered through muscle memory,” De Cotiis said. She added that the two shared a close bond, even going as far as saying that she was like a grandmother to her.

After her aunt’s passing, De Cotiis sought out her passion for knitting as a coping mechanism. “I got back into it to remember her,” she explained.

She began by challenging herself and looking for different items to make. She drew much inspiration from Youtube videos and Pinterest photos that she came across. She then went a step further by selling her handmade goods.

Despite launching a knitting business in the warm summer months, De Cotiis’ company took off. The bikini tops and beach bags were quite popular, she said.

Amanda Pannunzio is a regular customer of Knits & Knots. Over the last few months, she has purchased various bikini tops, a knit tank top, a few pairs of mittens and a winter hat. She also mentioned how she already placed pre-orders for knitting bikini tops for summer 2023, which De Cotiis is already working on.

She had nothing but good things to say. “Not only do the pieces feel durable and very comfortable but they’re super cute and original […]. They make great gifts too,” she said.

Additionally, Pannunzio complimented De Cotiis for her adaptability when making pieces. “I can ask the owner to create pieces to my liking from colours to fit,” she said, always pleased with the final result.

Other customers have raved about De Cotiis’ talent in the comments section of the Instagram page and complimented her work for being creative and well-made.

In spite of the business' success, she said that she is her harshest critic. “There have been a lot of frustrations. I am a bit of a perfectionist,” she said. With handmade products, it is difficult to get two exact pieces, like making mittens identical to each other, she explained.

After seven months, her business finally became profitable. “At the beginning, I really wasn’t [breaking even] and I was discouraged, but it takes time,” she said. The prices of her products vary. “The yarn isn’t expensive, but it’s the time.” she said. The cost of her products takes into account the quality of yarn, the design used or the time it takes to make, she explained. Mittens cost approximately $25.

However, customers like Pannunzio, believe that the price is worth the final product. “It definitely takes patience and a great amount of talent to do that and I’m happy to support,” she stated.

As the business slowly grows, De Cotiis adapts to the seasons. During Halloween, she sold knitted pumpkins as décor, and now, winter gear is the most popular, she said. Eventually, she hopes to set up pop-up markets for the holidays allowing her customers to purchase her products in person.

This article originally appeared in Volume 43, Issue 8, published December 6, 2022.