The coming of the New Year has made think about this blog. I find I have more to say about being a crafter in general than about being a machine knitter specifically so I am going to change the focus to a more general discussion of how my crafting life and business is doing.
I have been working on my fox pattern which seems to be very popular on my Etsy shop. I am planning a little range which I hope to launch in the next few weeks. This has lead me to think about the business and my success and blunders.
I think it is fairly usual for someone trying to set up a business to make mistakes. I have made them all; bought expensive wool, duplicated stock I already have, made expensive items there’s no call for and not paid attention to what people really wanted to buy, charged too little and not mentioned it when friends just haven’t paid me. I am finally beginning to see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel, and have a little bit of success.
I have read a lot of books on the subject of setting up your craft business (I have included a list of some of my favourites at the end of the blog post). They all start by asking you to think about what kind of business you would like to have. They usually start with a little list that looks something like this.
- Would you simply like a place to sell what you make and make enough to cover the cost of craft materials?
- Would you like to earn enough to go on holiday?
- Would you like to give up your day job?
- Would you like to employ a bunch of people and become a business genius?
I would say yes to all of the above really, but the first mark is almost always making enough to cover the cost of craft materials, and for the first time, this month I have actually managed to do that.
How did I get to this point? Personally I picked myself up on my sloppy practices,
I am now more targeted when I’m buying wool – I know what I am going to make and how much it will need.
I now have a really clear idea of what is in my craft room and if someone asks me to make them something I will see if I can make it from yarn I already have rather than using it as an excuse to go straight to LoveKnitting or Deramores.
I take notice of what people are favouriting in my Esty store and what search terms are finding my products. The foxes are getting a lot of hits at the moment so I’m running with them.
Finally I am planning ahead in a detailed way, before I was a bit wishy washy and if I got the time to make something –not always easy with a little one – I would make one thing and then try out a few ideas, useful in some ways but it didn’t fill up the Etsy shop. Now I have a plan for each month, with room for changes and specific time for product development.
Hitting the first milestone on the list is a small victory in some ways, it is only really one month of success but it’s changed me, this is the point at which I think of my hobby as a business, something I can make a success of, this is when it gets serious.
So the drink which I owe my lovely hubby , great family and kind work colleagues for all their support is getting closer to being bought from the profits of my own company, what a lovely thought!
The Handmade Market Place by Kari Chapin
Grow your Handmade Business by Kari Chapin
Starting an Etsy business for Dummies by Kate Gatski and Kate Shoup
Blogging for Creatives by Robin Houghton
Online Marketing by Hilary Pullen
Make it Happen: the Princes Trust guide to starting your own business.