Allison Lau

You might see her early mornings on the bus, making that long journey to school. She is not sleeping, studying or getting lost in her playlist. As Allison Lau makes her way to university, she knits. And knits. “My commute is quite long, so I get a solid amount of knitting done.”

And when you get to UBC, you might see Lau’s handiwork on the heads, necks, hands and legs of her fellow students. “On Sept. 1, 2015, I decided to revive my passion and take Alli Knits more seriously,” says Lau. “I rebranded, learned new knitting techniques, was a vendor at my first official handmade fair and tried to be more active on social media.”


When given the choice between a lunchtime knitting club and recess on the monkey bars, a 10 year old Lau always chose the monkey bars. Thankfully, one of her good friends went to the club, learned how to knit and taught Lau after school. “We would spend countless hours playing The Sims while knitting. Knitting was a byproduct of my Sims enthusiasm.”

Lau’s first finished item? “A palm-sized square with many, many holes. It was a simple garter stitch that went terribly wrong.” But she was proud of that square and quickly hooked on knitting. “The feeling of creating a tangible item from scratch was very appealing to me. I loved crafts and this was another medium for me to dabble into.”

Lau’s first sale came when she was in her first year of university. “I used to post my do-it-yourself projects on Facebook and sold items by request. A classmate in my first year class was my first customer! She bought a Knit Bow Headband, which is now the most popular item in Alli Knits.”


And how did it feel to make that first sale? “Initially, I was shocked that people were willing to pay money for my personal craft projects. I didn’t realize that I could have fun making the headband and earn money from it. When I hand delivered it to her, it made me happy to see that my excitement matched her eagerness to receive it.”

Between the thrill of the sale and the stress of November midterms, Lau impulsively opened an Alli Knits Facebook page in 2013. “I was receiving positive feedback from my Facebook DIY photos and thought: ‘why not give it a go?’ I’ve always wanted to own a retail store and I saw this as my first step.”

Things started well, but work, school and student exchange got in the way. “My excitement dropped after 2 months and I left Alli Knits on the backburner for 2 years.”


But, since last September, Lau has been focused on creating product and defining her business. “Detail and personalization is important. I spend a lot of time mastering product construction and packaging.” Her goal is to create everyday knit pieces that will spice up an outfit. “Vancouver’s laidback lifestyle and mild temperatures influence the colours used, the design construction and yarn texture. I always ask myself: ‘Would I wear this?’ before I start knitting.”

Lau takes custom orders and enjoys the opportunity to learn more about customers. She is looking forward to going to more craft fairs in 2016. “Some handmade markets I’m eyeing are Etsy: Made in Canada Market, Make It Vancouver, Got Craft?, Portobello West and other smaller scale fairs. I’ve also thought of selling in local brick & mortar boutiques as well.”


This month, Lau is launching her own Etsy store. “My big long-time goal is to open my own physical store where I can sell not only my knitwear but other budding designers’ items as well. 2016 will be a transition year for Alli Knits and myself. I’m graduating university and I’m excited for what’s in store!”

Written by Elizabeth Newton

end logo

* Photos courtesy of Alli Knits
Alli Knits on Facebook


8 Tips From 8 Creators


Leonardo's To Do List

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton