A small knitting business: James Cavanary feature

Image of James Cavanary, Isabelle Mooney, Tayah Manary, MaryPat Hanson, Karley Griffin, Prisca Kalala wearing some of Cavanarys knitted work

Anisa Rachman

Image of James Cavanary, Isabelle Mooney, Tayah Manary, MaryPat Hanson, Karley Griffin, Prisca Kalala wearing some of Cavanary’s knitted work

Anisa Rachman, Editor

A small business, or something more? James Cavanary picked up knitting back in his first year of middle school. Ms. Peterson, one of the librarians at the CCAMS, suggested that he try it and even taught him a little bit of what she knew. After trying it out he grew to like it more and more throughout the years. 

Cavanary taught himself most of what he knows today by watching youtube videos and working through a crocheting kit. Hats, gloves, scarves, shawls, sweaters, cardigans, you name it. Cavanary states that he has made “anything under the sun” in his past few years of experience.

However, it wasn’t until right before the COVID-19 pandemic took over that he began to really grow his skills.

“Things just kind of took off and (my knitting) has gotten increasingly bigger and bolder”

— James Cavanary

Fast forward to freshman year of high school, Cavanary has started a small business knitting hats for people willing to pay for commissions. James ended up filling 6 spots during his first open commissions near the end of October. “I think that it was a good start,” he stated. “You have to jump from someplace, you can’t start from the middle of the ocean.”

Freshman Kiya Herring, sophomores Johanna Coburn and Anisa Rachman, as well as individuals from his church: Moses, Sister Ladesma, and Sister Devotch, were the first people to purchase and receive hats from Cavanary.

After realizing the potential he has in the hobby, he decided to take advantage of his knitting skills and share it with others. His idea of starting commissions came into light on the way to a marching band competition in Muscatine. After giving consideration to factors like what he could sell and how much each commission would cost, the small business idea finally got off the ground a few weeks later. 

Currently commissions are closed. But if you’re wanting to purchase a hat from Cavanary, you can visit him during school hours and or contact him through his school email: [email protected] to see when commissions will be opening again. In the near future, he is also planning on starting an Etsy where buyers can pay online through credit cards.

If he continues commissioning in fall of next year, Cavanary is planning on expanding what he sells to the public. He announced, “I’ll probably bring back the hats because they are fast knit, they are fun to make, they look super stylish, and they have been trendy for the past three years.” In addition to this, he is considering doing another hat design, possibly offering a crocheted hat, and fingerless gloves.

In truth, this small business is a stepping stone to help him achieve his dream of becoming a self published designer. “It would be wonderful to have those patterns out there for people who want to make them themselves. So that’s kind of what I’m aiming at with starting this business,” he stated. 

As a new starting business, Cavanary believes that people are often blinded by the fast pace and cheap products that big chains sell nowadays. He offers this advice to the public: “Allow small businesses grace. A lot of these small businesses are either one person or a team of three or four. Give them time to do what they need to do to make what you need and or want.”