Meet Susan Wolcott
Susan Wolcott, owner of Trips for Knitters, has been offering knitting retreats and trips since 2001. She started with her sister, Jill Wolcott, offering events in the US under Y2Knit. They then added the Tuscany trip in 2008. After a business division in 2011, Susan created Knitting in Tuscany, which became Trips for Knitters as more destinations were added.
The following is an interview with Susan Wolcott. I’ve mentioned her several times on this blog, in my newsletter, and in personal recommendations. In 2013, I taught my first workshop in Montisi with her for Knitting in Tuscany.
Q: When did you realize this was something you wanted to form a business around?
A: The process is subtle, so there’s no aha moment here. It just happened gradually. I had a need to generate income and I was determined to do work that I liked. For a long time I had felt that I wanted to work with groups and this evolved from that desire.
Q: Your first trip was Knitting in Tuscany. What was that like?
A: What I can remember of the first trip was that it went ever so much better than I anticipated. I felt like I had really struck a great blend of relaxation, knitting and good food. When you bring a group of knitters together, our common interests facilitate a smooth event.
Q: As I mentioned earlier, my first trip with you was in 2013 to Montisi for Knitting in Tuscany. I remember as we sat around the table with introductions being in awe at the number of repeat participants. These trips are no small investment in time and money. What do you attribute their loyalty to?
A: I think the trips are a great balance of activity and relaxing, good food, plenty of knitting time, and exposure to local communities and cultures. I have a gift for hospitality and a desire for everyone to feel comfortable and have a good time. I am acutely aware of the financial investment for the knitters and want to ensure they realize value for that investment.
The loyalty comes about with those who I really strike a chord with, in that the type of trip I provide really appeals to them. Trips for Knitters are not for everyone. Some enjoy the trip, but aren’t really interested in more, for a variety of reasons. For others, they are ideal and those knitters keep coming back.
Q: I love that your trips and destinations are all so different and that you really try to work with the local environment wherever you go. How much research goes into your planning?
A: LOTS! I travel to each location, at least once, to check things out, set up arrangements and make local contacts. Some things can be done by email, but the person to person is essential to what I do. After the initial trip, countless hours of planning, emailing regarding logistics and schedules and more.
There’s a saying, “the devil is in the details.” I prefer to keep the devil out of it, so I manage those details very carefully. I micro manage to the point of probably irritating some people, but I have everything on the line and need to ensure success. Mostly, I want each trip to be a great event for all the knitters participating.
Q: Is there a place you’re dreaming of adding, but haven’t yet?
A: Nope! I’m done adding. It’s a lot of work, and I feel I’m maxed out. There’s plenty of places I dream of going myself, but not to develop an event.
Q: Can you tell us what’s on the top of that list?
I’d like to tour the Outer Hebrides, maybe by bike or hike. Other places
Faroe Islands, Croatia, Vietnam to name a few. I’ve never been to Alaska,
also on my list.