Can anyone turn their passion into a career?
When Danielle Chiel was a child, she developed a fascination and passion for knitting. But it wasn’t until after she got a PhD in Musicology that she finally decided to turn her passion into a business. She opened her own store, Threads & More (Brisbane), which has now become one of Australia’s largest independent retail knitting stores.
A Global Business
Danielle knew from the day she started that she wanted to take her business global. There was no question or keeping her vision narrow. But she also knew that to go where she wanted to go, she would have to find a mentor. She found the solution when she subscribed to the Business Blueprint newsletter.
She clicked on the email about Business Blueprint’s live event and thought, “This sounds really interesting. I think I’ll go along and see what it is about.”
After attending the event, Danielle learned what Business Blueprint was all about. Australia’s leading business education program offered its members access to the sharpest business minds in the country and an online portal of invaluable resources. Through live events, step-by-step training videos, interactive webinars, and hands-on support, members are able to rapidly transform their businesses and achieve success.
Business Blueprint Community
When Danielle became a member of the Business Blueprint community, she was amazed at the support she received. She met fantastic mentors, support people, web people, marketing people — everything she needed to grow a business.
“There is no information that cannot be gleaned from this group,” she revealed.
But more than just business or marketing people, she found friends with whom she could talk with about different ideas. People with whom she’s trying to sort stuff out with.
“These people are on your side and filling in all the gaps along the way of knowledge.”
One of the first things that Danielle learned in Business Blueprint was to build a website on an open source platform. From speaker Marcus Tarrant, she learned how to write a business plan in a day. And that was when doors opened for her.
Danielle made a new connection whom she emailed that business plan to and he introduced her to colleague in India. And that’s when she thought about establishing a partnership between her Sydney-based company and women in rural villages in Southern India. Then KOCO (Knit One Change One) was born.
Danielle’s high-end stylish hand-knitted garments were also beginning to gain a lot of notice. It was the opening brand for AWI, Australian wool market innovation. She was featured in Grazia magazine and had done Sydney Fashion Week and Hong Kong Fashion Week.
Making a Difference
At the heart of Danielle’s mission to put her hand-knitted garments to the world’s catwalks is the goal to give. KOCO, which stands for Knit One (sweater) Change One (life) is her way of providing financial support and stability to the local women based in the rural villages in Tamil Nadu, India.
KOCO not only offers a paid apprenticeship course to women who live in rural villages, it also offers basic English and Math lessons during the 7-month course. These factors including the income they received, helped transform the women’s lives and their families’ lives for the better.
As Danielle’s fashion label continues to grow, her passion for hand-knits show no signs of waning.
“I just love it to bits and there’s no turning back.”