How Ravelry Stitches its Creative Community Together

Ravelry is a website for knitters, crocheters, spinners, and other people into fibers, with close to 2.7 million users, or “Ravellers”, around the world. The site houses a rich database of patterns and reference information, ways to keep track of projects and stock of your yarns, and a forum for its Ravellers to interact.

Ravelry logo

In fact, Ravelry has been called “the best social network you’ve (probably) never heard of”. In talking with Mary-Heather Cogar, VP of Operations/Do-Gooder, that sense of close-knit community shines through, distinguishing Ravelry as an example of what can be so great about the internet.

There’s something really amazing about connecting with people that are into the same things that you are. A lot of Ravellers have struck up friendships, sometimes in totally different countries, or met people in their own communities that they didn’t know were out there. They were used to knitting in front of Netflix or whatever — we all love to do that but sometimes you feel like you’re the only one passionate about this in your neighborhood. It turns out that there’s a group of people that are super into crocheting also, or new spinners and they’re all learning together.”

Throughout Ravelry’s growth, the company wants to ensure that the site maintains its welcoming community spirit, keeping it intuitive and fun. The small, dispersed staff of Ravelry operates along similar principles of utility, connection, and fun. As an all-remote team, Mary-Heather notes, “We’ve had to find the tools that work for the business to stay in touch. iDoneThis has been great. There’s just something nice about recapping things that we’ve done at the end of the day. We realize how much everybody’s doing. It’s motivating to get those digests in the morning and be like, ‘ooh!’, and it’s fun to go in and ‘like’ what your co-workers have done.”

Mary-Heather Cogar, VP of Operations at Ravelry

It’s remarkable, though not surprising, that team members who came on board after Jessica and Casey Forbes founded the site in 2007 were former Ravellers themselves. Mary-Heather, who chose her alternate “fun title” of “Do-Gooder” because of the term’s positive, proactive implications, was thrilled to work on a website that she was already passionate about and found meaningful. “We all just love the usefulness of the website, so that in itself is probably the most motivating thing — when you love your job and you think that you’re doing something that’s fun and useful.”

Through team chat in Campfire, the Ravelry team gets a general impression of what people are working on. “We all know we work really hard,” Mary-Heather explains, but seeing a daily recap turned out to be quite revealing, uncovering different workflows and improving knowledge about themselves, the team and business.

Those revelations and communication gains have been surprising: “We’re a small, close team, and I know that we’ve always felt like we’ve communicated and kept in touch with what we were all doing. But with iDoneThis, it’s pretty striking how it’s such a simple thing but improved communication a lot, even if your team is already close.”

We love that we’re helping companies like Ravelry with such passionate staff and users make, create, and connect!