Kate Rocheford Ferguson ’04Orchard Knitting Company
Knitting and crocheting were always a hobby for Kate Rocheford Ferguson ’04. Learning to crochet 10 years ago from her mother-in-law, Ferguson decided to also teach herself to knit about three years ago. She said, “I loved making items for family and friends, but soon realized if I wanted to support my hobby and keep making items, I would need an outlet to sell them.”
In 2014, Ferguson started an Etsy shop which eventually morphed into Orchard Knitting Company in early 2018. The name was inspired by the beautiful farmland and numerous apple orchards that surround the small New Hampshire town where she, her husband Matthew Ferguson ’03, and their two sons live.
While also working as a registered dietician, Ferguson has been growing her business for the past three years. This year, due to COVID, her plate has been full as she works at the local hospital as a dietician, homeschools her children and tries to continue her business in between all the crazy moments 2020 has brought on this year.
Ferguson admits that her favorite part of owning this small business is being able to tap into her creative side. She said, “I enjoy the quiet time I can sit and knit a hat. It is calming and relaxing for me. It is something I do at the end of a long busy day.”
The most popular item that Ferguson sells is the classic braided cable winter beanie. She says she enjoys using neutral colors, but also likes to throw in a fun color occasionally to turn a classic knit hat into a unique one that makes a bold statement.
COVID has definitely changed some aspects of Ferguson’s business. The arrival of the pandemic has forced her to focus entirely on online sales. Normally, during the fall and winter she can attend many local fairs in her community to sell her items, but this year almost all the fairs were cancelled.
Ferguson and her husband still have close ties to Colby-Sawyer and enjoy coming to Mount Sunapee each winter to meet up with their CSC friends on the slopes and around town.
Ferguson’s advice for starting a business is this: “If somebody has a passion and wants to turn that into a business, I say, ‘give it a shot.’ Start small and expect that it may be a slow process at first. Enjoy that process and celebrate the small successes.”
Ferguson hopes to continue to grow her business, release new items each season and above all, continue to enjoy her craft just as she did when it was simply a hobby. To see and purchase some of her work, please visit www.facebook.com/orchardknittingco.