Client Spotlight: From Fiber Artist to Cross-Stitch Designer, Misty Pursel

Did you know the staggering popularity of the cross-stitch pattern industry? 

It’s quite astonishing!

And here’s a fun tidbit I stumbled upon: 

According to the Craft Yarn Council, over 20 million people in the U.S. alone get their creative juices flowing through needlecraft activities, including the ever-popular cross-stitch. 

What’s all the hype, you ask? 

Well, the meditative and artistic perks of cross-stitching have a broad appeal, attracting people from all walks of life looking for a relaxing hobby.

I enjoyed cross-stitching as a kid– my grandmother actually taught me! But as an adult, it was a hobby I rarely interacted with aside from selecting patterns at our local design store on occasion.

It wasn’t until I crossed paths with Misty Pursel, the brilliant mind behind Luminous Fiber Arts that my eyes truly opened to the full scope of this industry. 

She introduced me to the world of Flosstube (the cross-stitching YouTube channels) and the extensive online cross-stitching community.  

I honestly never knew this tight-knit world existed.

Misty’s influence on this community and unwavering passion for the craft and innovative cross-stitch designs left me genuinely inspired.

When it came to selecting a client for this quarter’s spotlight, the choice was crystal clear—I just had to introduce you to Misty. 

Misty specializes in crafting delightful cross-stitch patterns infused with whimsy and humor. Her mission is to spread joy through her designs, empowering customers to infuse their stitching projects with personal touches as they create cherished keepsakes. Her business is celebrated for its playful cross-stitch designs and exquisite hand-dyed fabrics.

Not only does she have so many unique offers within her business from learning opportunities to kits and products to cross-stitch patterns, but her journey as a creative entrepreneur juggling many interests is super relatable (she actually splits her time between her business and her full-time teaching role)!

In fact, like many creative business owners, her path took a very unexpected turn during the pandemic.

Keep reading to explore what sets Misty’s work apart, her remarkable entrepreneurial journey, and the role our collaboration has played in shaping her thriving business.

Misty’s Creative Business Journey

Misty’s business started out focused on fiber arts. She had been involved in various fiber art forms for years before venturing into the business world. 

Interestingly, her business started with weaving! 

She was weaving kitchen towels, taking on some commission work for friends, and indulging in her creative side by designing whatever she felt inspired to create and selling her work within her social circle. 

Soon she decided to create cross-stitch YouTube videos where she shared cross-stitch, weaving, and quilting projects she was working on.

She started by promoting some of her products on her YouTube channel and sharing them on Instagram. Eventually, she thought, “Why not make it simpler for people to discover my offerings and view my available stock?” 

So, she decided to establish an Etsy shop.

While she continued selling towels for a while, her focus gradually began to shift. 

Fast-forward to 2018 and her path took an unexpected turn when a close friend, aware of her obsession with cross-stitch, encouraged her to try her hand at designing patterns.

Initially, Misty brushed the idea aside. Flashbacks to a previous unsuccessful attempt a decade earlier caused her to hesitate. 

You see, back in 2008, she acquired MacStitch, a design software that remains a staple in her toolkit, with the intention of transforming her creative concepts and sketches into cross-stitch patterns. 

She dipped her toe into designing cross-stitch patterns which left her with less time for weaving. 

But, progress was slow, and she eventually shelved the concept.

Her biggest obstacles?

She struggled to translate her ideas (often intricate drawings, filled with circles and curves, onto the grid-like canvas of cross-stitch), figure out her preferred subjects, and define her unique design style as a cross-stitch designer. 

As a result, Misty had abandoned her ambition to create cross-stitch patterns.

Despite her reservations and past experiences, she summoned the courage to give it another go when her friend reignited this idea over a decade later!

This time around, she had a clearer sense of her stitching preferences, starting with her all-time favorite theme: Halloween!

So, she introduced a cross-stitch pattern alongside some dyed fabric and got some momentum.

Later on, during the pandemic, to her astonishment, these products gained remarkable traction! 

In 2020, her success really took off, thanks in part to her first trade show in early March, right before everything went haywire. Being in the craft business, her sales also shot up during the pandemic, because people were quarantined at home, searching for things to keep themselves entertained.

This pivotal moment marked her business transition from weaving to the world of cross-stitch pattern design. While she still weaves and sells her towels occasionally, cross-stitch and hand-dyed fabrics are the main focus of her business today.

What I find most impressive about Misty’s journey is her openness to exploring new opportunities within her creative niche. 

Her friend’s suggestion to diversify her offerings and try selling her cross-stitch designs again turned out to be a game-changer. It’s a testament to the creativity and adaptability that many entrepreneurs possess, especially in the maker’s space.

The Catalyst for Change

In a lot of ways, Misty resonated with the “accidental business” that so many creatives confront as they venture into the business world.

Cross-stitching just kind of “happened” and the next thing she knew, she had a booming business she loved but hadn’t set out to create in the first place!

She knew she needed support to ensure her new venture was sustainable.

Long before Misty reached out to me, she had been exploring the idea of hiring a business coach. 

However, it wasn’t until she stumbled upon an interview I did for a podcast that she felt she had found the right person for the job. 

Soon after, Misty attended one of my online workshops, and it was during this workshop that she solidified her decision to work with me. The topics discussed and the guidance offered resonated deeply with her, 

“I knew Erin was the coach I had been looking for.”

Misty entered our coaching partnership with specific goals in mind. 

She wanted to: 

  • enhance her email marketing strategy
  • clarify her messaging
  • and seek guidance on various business aspects, including managing wholesale accounts. 

Her decision to invest in coaching marked the beginning of an impactful journey.

Unpacking the Coaching Process

Misty describes the coaching process as nothing short of transformative. 

First, I took some time to decode data related to her business and present it in an easy-to-digest manner. 

Together, we dissected Misty’s email marketing strategy, improved her messaging, and developed a clearer direction for her content creation and product release schedule.

As a creative entrepreneur, Misty appreciated having a thought partner who could help her make sense of the intricacies of her business. 

My guidance paired with her expertise allowed her to see her business through a more strategic lens rather than just flying by the seat of her pants!

Our work was all about helping her become proactive instead of reactive.

Navigating Seasons in Business 

Next, Misty and I quickly realized we had to address her capacity issues. Balancing her creative business with her teaching career (yep she’s a college professor) presented unique challenges, especially when she faced busy seasons like fall and early spring when her cross-stitch offerings were in high demand—her busiest business seasons happened to coincide with the start of the new fall and spring semesters every single year!  

We worked together to ensure Misty understood her limits and had a plan in place for the upcoming busy season so she could work more effectively.

One of the key lessons Misty learned during her coaching journey was the importance of setting aside dedicated time for working on her business, not just in her business. 

Carving out CEO time, as I often call it, helped Misty optimize her time and energy for more strategic tasks, such as marketing and big-picture planning.

Outsourcing and the Path Forward

Once we recognized Misty’s potential and helped her become more intentional with her time, we began identifying tasks that we could take off her plate

This shift allowed her to concentrate on her zone of genius, particularly designing new cross-stitch patterns.

One of the first ways Misty worked to lighten her load was to begin outsourcing and automating to make her time as impactful and strategic as possible. 

This was actually something she had already prioritized on her own. Before we even began working together, Misty had outsourced the actual stitching of her designs. 

“I’ve been working with model stitchers for a few years now and they’re invaluable! Stitching is rather slow and some of them can stitch faster than I do. It’s the only way I’m able to release several designs a year.”

In the past, she was tied down by the necessity of personally hand-stitching each design. Now, she enlists the skills of proficient cross-stitchers to bring her creations to life. This allows her to showcase her designs to potential customers without the need to invest endless hours in manual stitching.

By delegating these tasks, she has the freedom to allocate her time to more critical facets of her business. 

Another thing Misty’s been thinking about outsourcing in the future is her bookkeeping. This move will allow her to focus on what she’s best at while letting a pro handle all the nitty-gritty financial stuff.

Looking to the Future

Misty is excited about her business’s future! Now that she has a handle on her capacity she is able to see and pursue new ventures for Luminous Fiber Arts!

Her plans include…

  • exploring licensing opportunities, 
  • expanding her product offerings, 
  • and streamlining her operations to accommodate her creative vision more fully.

These plans open up a world of possibilities and new avenues for Misty and her business. 

Words of Encouragement

To creative entrepreneurs considering hiring a business coach to support their journey, Misty offers words of wisdom:

“If you find yourself running an accidental business and are seeking clarity, direction, and growth, a business coach might be right for you. Erin’s guidance has helped me navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship, refine my messaging, and discover new opportunities to scale my business.”

Misty’s journey from an accidental entrepreneur to a thriving, visionary creative business owner is an inspiring example of how an open mind, the right approach, and strategic guidance can transform a business.

I look forward to witnessing the continued growth of Misty’s creative business including her cross-stitch patterns, hand-dyed fabrics, fabric arts tutorials and so much more! 

Connect with Misty

Want to learn more about Misty’s one-of-a-kind designs or opportunities to learn from her online? 

You can start your journey by visiting her website here, where you’ll find a treasure trove of cross-stitch tutorials, printable patterns to kick-start your next stitching project, and an enticing selection of her hand-dyed fabrics

Plus, Misty just released a new fall design on October 4th, titled “Autumn Harvest Needlebook.” 

Needlebooks are intended for holding sewing and stitching needles and serve as enjoyable small crafting projects. 

This design was carefully crafted, drawing inspiration from some of Misty’s favorite fall images and incorporating a variety of delightful textures, including silk floss for stitching, soft felted wool for the interior, plush cotton velveteen for the back, and rayon ribbon ties for closure.

A detailed video on the needlebook will be available on her YouTube channel, providing viewers with insights into the project. Additionally, she will share a separate tutorial video to guide stitchers through the finishing process. 

The pattern will be offered as a downloadable PDF, and kits will also be made available, allowing stitchers to purchase fabric, floss, and the necessary finishing supplies for the needlebook.

You can also find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Etsy! Go ahead and give her a follow!

Don’t miss out on staying in the loop with Misty’s latest updates and offerings – simply click here to join her email newsletter and ensure you’re connected to all things creative.

And here’s a bonus: Misty generously offers these FREE designs available for you to download when you join her email newsletter to inspire your cross-stitching endeavors!

The Future of Your Business

Does Misty’s story inspire you to take the future of your business into your own hands?

Click here to learn more about my coaching services or reach out to schedule a free Discovery Call and see if working together is a good fit!


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