Hashtags

This week has been all about hash tags for me. I find my instagram account is getting plenty of likes but they aren’t translating to Etsy views, let alone sales. That is because alot of my likers are fellow makers. I am of course very grateful to have any likes at all, and approval from other makers is always welcome. I would however be happy to get a few more likes from people or organisations with an interior design angle as I think this is the market most likely to be interested. So I have ‘done a google’ (Grandmas House reference: anyone else remember that excellent BBC2 comedy). I found a blog by Brabantia which listed 19 of the best interior design hashtags. I have taken screen shots of what other makers of cushions use hashtagwise and I have been seaching google and buying platforms imagining I am after a brighter sofa. What would I type in if I wanted to buy my cushions. It’s quite tough to switch your think around like that,but worth a try. 

So far my likes have remained roughly consistent but I have been picking up followers at a rate of knots, about ten in the last two days and Etsy is seeing more views. I know this probably seems little to propel with wizz-bang accounts but it’s progress for me.

I have also started selling on Folksy too. I find it much easier to list items, especially having longer tags, you can be more inventive with your descriptions. However, no sales there either. The higher price point is certainly putting off the kind of buyers I am able to attract at the moment, however I cannot drop the prices by too much and still call myself a business. The solution is to try and attract different buyers, and that requires a bit more work on my part. The Handmade Fair will hopefully push my profile up, along with a few other projects I have in mind.

 As ever the battle is to find the time to do all this, do my day job, look after my family and lose some damn weight. It can’t be impossible though, busier people than me have managed it. And if someone can do it, it must be possible, if it’s possible, then I can do it. 

Hopefully in few years I’ll look back on the days when getting 11 views on Etsy and no sales felt like a success and smile to myself as I am packing up yet another big order for posting. 

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Hashtags

Stash Attack

I have run out of my favourite wool, the wool which I know how to work and which I know like the back of my hand. Due to the well known slow time over the summer months, the finances are lagging behind too. So I have been looking at my stash with inventive eyes. 

I have a wool which is so thin I struggle to put it through the machine. It is a felting wool which I bought when I was just starting machine knitting and I had no idea what I needed to buy.I have two cones in two separate colours. If I run them through the machine together they produce a nice speckled effect. Combine with grey as a contrast colour and the result is really rather lovely.

I knit it up with a grey felting wool. The difference in the two types of yarn show once felted and the patterned panels which would normally make 40×40 cm square cushion covers have come up just over 28×28 cm in width. I was prepared for this. I am eyeing up a foot stool which needs recovering and I think that would be a good use of my tiny panels. 

Stash Attack

Folksy

I sell on Etsy, I have been for a while now. As part of writing the business plan I began to think about other places to sell and I found the UK based Folksy. With an emphasis on handmade craft it suits my offerings really well. So I opened a shop.

I like the look of it. Unfortunately I have misspelled my own name (typical) and I’m not sure how to change it! It’s all part of the fun of starting a new venture.

Folksy

On and Off The Needles

This week I am running low on wool but I am pushing on while waiting for supplies to arrive.

Last week I made eight cushion covers without a hitch

Last week I made eight cushion covers without a hitch, this week this kept happening.

A familiar scene to any machine knitter I am sure. The yarn gets tangled and then breaks, half the stitches come off the needles. This is a very grabby yarn which doesn’t do well with ripping back so instead I’ve been sewing up.

I will then felt it and if I am very lucky you might not be able to notice the join, if that doesn’t work, I will have cut around the welt and use it to make a smaller cover.

Off to the washing up bowl for a good soak. I’ll let you know how I get on.

On and Off The Needles

Mass Production

I am working on mass production. In preparation for the Handmade Fair in September. I have an aim of ten items every two weeks, with is doable but I have to keep my foot down. This last fortnight I have managed to make eight cushion covers, but I have had a bit of paperwork to do too which has been taking up my time. That was sent off yesterday, and today I refocus on my wooly world.

I have a pile of cushion covers which I have sewn up, with new patterns. I am resisting the temptation to put the cushion pads in until I can take photos at some point today. More pictures to follow.

Mass Production

Business Planning 

I mentioned in the last blog that I have a mind which is constantly trying to apply logic to this world and failing. I hope with this near constant disappointment by trying to get my life as organised as possible. So I’m a bit surprised that I haven’t done a business plan before. It’s practically on page one of my well thumbed copy of The Handmade Marketplace, my bible and touchstone on my way to becoming a successful small business.

I worked through The Prince’s Trust workbook (which got a mention last time) and do you know what I found? I have been seriously under charging for my cushions. 

In my previous calculations I’d rounded up here, down there, not included Etsy fees, zips, etc, and finally plumped on a price for my cushions that I think people wouldn’t mind paying, rather than what they should be prepared to pay for a quality product.

Doing a business plan made me realised that realistically I was making only £3.00 on each cushion, which was quickly swallowed up if the postage went over what I charged, or if the buyer wanted to return the item.

So now I have to be brave and put my prices up. I will sit at my computer screen and wait for the cries of horror from my followers, but they will hopefully not come. It comes at the right time. I am going to close my Etsy shop for a few weeks to give me a chance to build up stock for The Handmade Fair which I’m attending in September, and when I return there will be new prices and a new business head on my shoulders.

Business Planning