Cardigang · Morgan Collins

From pandemic pastime to a million-dollar brand – discover the remarkable journey of Cardigang, where every knit tells a story of resilience and innovation.

August 17, 2023
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Table of contents

  • Founder - Morgan and Cat
  • Company - Cardigang
  • Location - Melbourne
  • Started in 2020
  • Bootstrapped
  • 7 figure revenue

So, Morgan & Cat, what's your backstory?

We both grew up in Melbourne and we were work wives before we became wool wives. We both worked in corporate roles- Morgan in marketing and advertising, and Cat in digital marketing. We met working in the marketing team at an insurance company- yep, goals! Before we started Cardigang you’d probably describe us as typical millennials. We worked hard but felt unfulfilled in our work lives, we loved (and still do love) to socialise and try new things. We both had a creative side to us though neither of us would proclaim to be any good at the various crafts and hobbies we tried!

What does your company do?

Cardigang sells colourful, cosy-chic, DIY knit and crochet kits for beginners. We’re on a mission to make knitting and crochet fun and accessible for everyone.

Cardigang is all about slow fashion, quality materials and an appreciation of the effort that goes into making your own clothes. We’re for switched-on women looking for creative and mindful alternatives to the fast-fashion hamster wheel.  We offer kits across clothing, accessories and homewares, all tailored towards beginners, and all designed to give you a great big dopamine hit.

How did you come up with the idea?

We chanced upon knitting during Melbourne’s lockdowns in 2020 when we were looking for something to keep us busy and also connected while we were physically being kept apart. We bought knitting kits online and jumped onto YouTube and taught ourselves to knit. Not only did we start to make some cool pieces, but we also found knitting to be a great mindfulness activity that took us off our phones and gave us a sense of achievement. At the time we, like many others, were doing a lot of doom scrolling on our phones and it was negatively impacting our mental health. It was when our knits started to catch the attention of people at the dog park (the only social interaction we were really getting at the time!) that we thought maybe we could help other people learn to knit. And thus, Cardigang was born.

After building lots of brands in our marketing careers, we’ve always had the urge to build our own and cardigang definitely felt like a case of right time, right place, right product.

How did you launch your business?

We launched Cardigang during the height of Covid in December 2020. Just six months after we’d picked up a set of knitting needles (or sticks as we like to call them) for the very first time. We were both working full time and cardigang was a side hustle to start with. As two marketers we put a lot of time and effort into developing the brand identity and business plan before we launched. But we were conservative with the amount of product we ordered and what we hoped to sell in the early days. We were lucky to have an amazing group of creative and supportive friends to help us with things like strategy, photography, PR and customising our website. It really does take a village and we found that if we asked for help or advice people were very generous with their time.

How have you grown the business?

We’ve invested in marketing and always put the customer at the centre of what we do. That means that when we get a new customer, 9 time out of 10 we keep them, and they come back for more or tell their friends.

PR has always been massive for us. We send our press releases whenever we have a worthwhile story and we’ve had a good response to that. We can see a direct correlation between our efforts with PR and our sales. We also got lucky with some amazing influencers finding us and posting organically. That’s very hard to engineer but if it happens, it can be a game changer.

You really just have to try things and see how they go! There is no silver bullet and even things that worked the first time might bomb the second time!

What's your biggest selling product or service?

We just launched homewares kits which is a totally new range and category for us. We’ve gone from closet to couch as we like to say!

Any big failures and learning?

We’re always learning. In the first year we were in and out of lockdowns and so managing our stock levels and supply chain was hard. Some months we had no stock, other months we had multiple containers arriving. For us, the trick with anything that goes wrong is to not let it destroy your confidence.  It might not be perfect but there is always a solution to a problem and once we’ve made that mistake once, you’re unlikely to make it again!

What's next for your business?

Overseas expansion is a big goal for us. As well as increasing our offering and focusing on sustainability as we grow.

What are your go to digital tools?

Gosh. So many! Chat GPT is a hot topic at the moment, and we love it. It’s not a full solution but it helps with the endless amounts of content we’re creating.

We love Klaviyo for email and SMS campaigns.
Canva for design.
Our website is run on shopify.

We also use a lot of shared Google docs.

Any podcasts or websites you love?

Again, so many.

Podcasts we love:
Lady brains
My daily business coach
Lady start up

What does it mean to be a founder?

At this point in our small business journey being a founder is a huge part of our identity. Our business is the thing that motivates us, energises us and is what we spend most of our waking hours thinking about. And we love it!

What do you love + hate about being a founder?

We love being founders and haven’t looked back since leaving corporate. For us, flexibility is really important in our lives and running your own show gives you that. We also get our creative cups filled on a daily basis.

We like less (not hate) some of the wild ups and downs that come with running a small business. Some days are hard, we’ll be worried about cash flow, or we’ll get some bad feedback from a customer, or a supplier will let us down. They all have a direct and immediate impact on us and you need resilience to ride the waves and keep going.

Any advice for other founders?

Just go for it. You won’t regret trying.

Any mental health tips for life as a founder?

Learn to knit! Seriously, the repetitive nature of knitting is like meditation and can be a great way to wind down and de-stress. Knitting and crochet also take you off your phone which can be great for people, like founders, who tend to have their phone attached to them 24/7.

Any quotes you live by?

Done is better than perfect- get something put into the world and learn from it.

Any promotions you would like to add for Founderoo readers?

10% off


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