We had the good fortune of connecting with HollyAnne Knight and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi HollyAnne, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most powerful decision I ever made for String & Story was committing to play the long game. It shaped everything about my first few years of business because commitment to the long game kept me from shiny object syndrome, from flexing just because, from thinking I needed to be the best right NOW. Instead, I focused on being patient and staying scrappy, on keeping my overhead low. On building strong engagement by showing up consistently. I didn’t have a lot of money or experience, but I had time, and I used my time to learn and grow, test and tweak, and build a solid foundation of dedicated, OG customers who are keeping the heartbeat of String & Story strong even as the brand is now growing faster than ever.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
They say “those who can’t do, teach,” But I’ve walked the unique journey of learning to free motion quilt, passionately loving it as an artist, and then discovering that teaching others to free motion quilt is just as much if not more fun. When I began to quilt, I quickly realized that FMQ is considered “very hard and for the professionals.” I was eager to prove myself as a “professional,” and thrilled to find that FMQ came easily for me. But I quickly realized that other quilters truly believed the lie that they couldn’t free motion quilt their own quilts. Learning how to teach my skill in a way that makes free motion quilting available to all quilters and witnessing my students’ transformation from scared and doubtful to skilled and confident is the most rewarding creative process every single time.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Confession: I live OTP, and while I love occasional jaunts into the city, Downtown Duluth is my very favorite place around Atlanta. It’s like a super diverse Stars Hollow with small town charm and amazing food. We are regulars at Pure, GoodWord, The Chocolaterie, and Personify. Pro tip: the Duluth town green is open container, so you can always get your drink to go and stroll around. Here’s a few of my favorites from each spot: Pure: Always get the Texas Margarita, on the rocks with salt. If the train goes by, ask for a “train shot” of the pineapple tequila. I’m always down for tacos, but the real hidden gems of this menu are the chicken limon soup and the fried plantains. GoodWord: This neighborhood brew pub straight up feels like home to me. They have incredible beers (If you love IPA, go for the Never Sleep or Sleeping Wombat; English Bitter: The Bebop; Stout: HoofPrintz), but they also have amazing cocktails (ask to make a hot toddy with Jamison or order a Irish Coffee that will blow your mind). I always go for the boiled peanuts as an app, love me a good cheese or charcuterie board for my main (Hubster swears by the burger), and the banana pudding is a MUST. The Chocolaterie: The Chocolaterie closes pretty early, so always, always eat dessert first! I have two little boys, so King of Pops and ice cream are regular favorites, but don’t miss the opportunity to try their truly amazing chocolate, especially the dark chocolate salted caramel bark. Finally, you have to go shopping at Personify. This mother-daughter duo owned shop has the most charming jewelry, home goods, clothes, gifts– from amazing artisans and brands! Every time I “splurge” with them, I find that whatever I buy becomes my favorite and I wear/ use it all the time because their taste is impeccable and a bit addictive.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to shout my amazing Hubster, our boys, & my parents for being the most loving & supportive family a woman could dream up. And also my ride or die Rockstar girlfriends who have walked the extensive ups and downs of this journey with me, helped me keep the vison, shared my successes as their own, and have always helped me see how to turn failures into pivots. Finally, my Quilting Rockstars who are and always have been the heartbeat of String & Story. You are my forever motivation. Cheers, loves!
Other: Join my email list: www.stringandstory.com/newsletter
Klara Cu & Rachel Johnson