James McIntosh is a Northern Ireland food writer and chef who discovered a passion for knitting when he became ill with depression. Since then, he has not only recovered his health, but also written a book Knit and Nibble, and is now set on sharing his woolly joy with the world. Here he reveals the best piece of advice he’s been given and where he sees his business in five years’ time…
What inspired you to set up your business?
I was always a food writer and had won many awards for it, however, publishers always paid very little for books and I always dreamed of having my own publishing company. After recovering from a severe depressive episode I realised I had a second opportunity in life. During my depression I taught myself to knit, could not find a pattern that as a man I wanted to wear that was contemporary so my first book Knit and Nibble was published after a successful Kickstarter campaign about men knitting and dealing with depression.
What makes your you/your product special and where are you based?
I’m based in Peckham, London. Knit and Nibble is a real life story, about how I overcame depression through using knitting as a mindfulness practise that I call knititation. As an independent publisher I can write and publish books for existing brands with good margins for my clients.
How do you use social media to help promote your business?
I use social media to show a life in colour with knitting and cooking and to link back to my website for sales. It’s all about making men knitting a lifestyle for me!
What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?
Go slow, let it grow, but always make lots of noise about it – from my late father.
What has been your greatest challenge?
Getting over depression – everything else is a doddle once that’s achieved!
How do you switch off?
Knitting – naturally! – the rhythm of knitting the stitches helps me to relax, and quickly. The best bit is it’s portable, I knit on planes, tubes, buses, when with friends and have even been known to knit in nightclubs too!
Where do you go on holiday?
Generally around the Med, good food, warm sun, swim in the sea.
What lesson do you wish you had learnt at school?
That there is more to life than being a Doctor / Dentist, Accountant or Lawyer and that other industries are just as important. Perhaps learning Mandarin would have been good too!
What app/website/twitter account (other than your own!) would you recommend?
www.loveknitting.com its the sheer volume of lovely balls of coloured yarns that I love!
Where do you see yourself/your company in five years’ time?
With a good healthy portfolio of food, mindfulness and hand knitting books in my business.