Friday, April 3, 2009

Itís a pearl in Bellevue

The Knit Kit is a survival pack for knitters


By SABINA DANA PLASSE
Express Staff Writer

The Knit Kit inventor Barbara Barry, right, and company assistant Tiffany Brown hold the all-in-one knitting gadget. Photo by Sabina Dana Plasse

Bellevue resident Barbara Barry has never allowed her entrepreneurial spirit to be broken. She has given all her business ideas everything she had, from owning Otter's restaurant in Ketchum to her latest invention, The Knit Kit.

"As a woman in a recession I needed something to do," Barry said. "The Knit Kit is a way of helping the economy, because it helps local businesses."

Barry was raised in Pacific Palisades, Calif. She is the daughter of the legendary Jack Barry, a television game show producer whose productions included "The Joker's Wild." She taught in the Los Angeles public school system and owned pre-schools in Santa Monica where she had zoning laws changed to allow daycare centers.

She retired from her pre-school business when she moved to the Wood River Valley, but her passion for cooking led her to opening Otter's, the first Idaho restaurant to be a recipient of a prestigious James Beard Award.

"My message to everyone is don't give up," Barry said. "I have had a million ideas and it finally happened."

Barry's Knit Kit evolved from her knitting practices. As a new knitter, she realized the need for an all-in-one tool. The Knit Kit includes a stitch counter, crochet hook, tape measure, thread cutter, collapsible scissors, stitch markers and point protectors.

Barry decided to sell The Knit Kit wholesale to independent retailers to support them on a local level. Over 10,000 kits have been sold across the nation and to stores in New Zealand, Germany, England and France. It wholesales for $10 and retails for $19.95. In the June 2009 Knit 'n Style magazine, The Knit Kit is listed as a TSA-approved item for air travel. "This amazing compact case holds all the knitting notions you will need at your fingertips," the magazine stated.

Yarn Market Report from March 2009 wrote that the Knit Kit is a "compact, self-contained contraption—a dream for MacGyver wannabes." And, Knitter's magazine wrote in its Spring 2009 edition, "Don't waste time shuffling through your knitting bag for your knit accessories; get The Knit Kit. This is a handy treasure trove."

Besides the overwhelming endorsements from the knitting community, Barry is already redesigning the handy disc and coming out with The Knit Kit 2010 and will expand her inventive and creative Leatherman of craft tools with The Quilt Kit, whose prototype is in the process of being designed.

"My big dream has always been to be an entrepreneur," Barry said. "When we released the product at The National Needle Arts Association trade show in San Diego, we were like bartenders at a trade show because the crowd was so large around our booth."

Barry has moved her shipping and fulfillment operations to a green company in Boise and has an assistant, Tiffany Brown, who handles Internet traffic and marketing from the Wood River Valley. The Knit Kit is sold at Isabel's Needlepoint in Ketchum. For more details, visit theknitkit.com.

Sabina Dana Plasse: splasse@mtexpress.com




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