"How can I sell my crochet work? Can I make money with my crochet projects? How did you get started?" I get these questions in my inbox about once a week! And I totally get it! I feel incredibly blessed to have a "job" where I can say I crochet for a living. The big question is HOW?!
As I started to write this, I realized that I had A LOT to say on the matter! So this will be a four part series. Today we need to lay the groundwork and get a few things in order before we start making the big bucks!
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First, you need to choose a name. Some kind of business name/logo/brand. It is helpful to choose something that gives people a good idea of what you are doing. Do as I say and not as I do... If you had never heard of "The Friendly Red Fox" you would have no idea what was happening there. Is it a children's book? A particularly friendly zoo animal? A bar in Texas? (There actually is, with a few changes haha!) My best selling item when I started out was my Friendly Fox hat... and I love foxes... and it just happened! I have thought about trying to change it but too late now! But make sure it is something you love. If you a going to be in it for the long haul you have to be happy to see it, type it, wear it, say it... you get the idea!
I'll give you a few minutes. Got it? Okay, good! On to the next one!
Taking Care of Business
Even if you aren't sure that you want this to be a capital "B" Business, you should still keep track of income and expenses. For a long time I just used an Excel spreadsheet. When you buy yarn keep the receipt and enter the total in the "expense" column. When you get paid for something add it in the "Income" column. Not only is this a good idea to rein in some yarn spree shopping, it is important for legal matters. Like taxes.
*I am not a tax expert so please research the laws in your own state!
Now I use Quickbooks for Small Businesses, but that is because I do a lot more now that I have the blog. It is still a good resource if you have a lot more expenses to keep track of!
Makers gonna make, make, make...
So I know you want to crochet. But what? If you have ever searched "crochet" on Pinterest, you know there are about a million things you can make. And if you are like me you may want to MAKE ALL THE THINGS!! But let's have a realistic moment here. Maybe you are like me, and have little kids at home. Or work 8-5, five days a week. Or have others that depend upon you. It is possible to make a variety of things and do well. I have seen a lot of people do it! But it helps to have somewhat of a focus. Maybe you do really well at hats and want to stick with those! Maybe you love crocheting for kids! Great! People love to buy things for their kids (or grandkids!)
Another tip I could give you is to follow popular designers and join some crochet groups on Facebook. (Shameless plug for The Friendly Crochet Club here) It helps to keep up to date on popular items. Remember the Age of the Mermaid Tail? A lot of people made good money by making that in its popular hey day!
"Quality and Pride in Everything We Do"
This was my dad's business slogan when he had a fence building business. He always double checked everything, left things better than he found them, and cleaned up every possible scrap he could. He had a lot of happy customers.
One of the best things for your business is a repeat customer. They are already happy with you, you know that they will pay, it is a win win. It thrills my heart when I see repeat names on Ravelry or Etsy buying my patterns. It lets me know that they were satisfied with the quality of my work! You can't go wrong double checking for loose threads, working on weaving in ends the right way, double checking size and colors with the customer... You will find you often save time! Another little saying from my dad that I think of before I post every single time- "If you can check once you can check twice!"
Putting out quality work will grow your business.
I'll have an order of the Good Stuff, please.
Investing in good quality yarn for the customer and good quality tools for you is smart. While you may not be able to right at first, make it a goal. I bought the cheapest yarn and hooks I could right at first. Once I sold a few hats, I decided that paying a couple extra dollars for softer yarn was worth it. By the time I had opened my Etsy shop I had invested in my Clover Armour Hooks. I was crocheting so much that my wrists and fingers needed a better quality hook and I will never go back! What works for me may not for you, but as you grow as a business be aware of the options out there!
And remember what I said about the mermaid tail blanket? An investment in a good pattern will make its return over and over! Since I started selling some of my own patterns I have had a lot of people tell me they will never pay for a pattern. I understand, there are a lot of good patterns out there for free! But sometimes those paid patterns are more popular and are more likely to sell. But be choosy and a good purchaser yourself! Read reviews, look at others reproductions, and see if the designer has any free patterns so you can check their style. A pattern should always be a good investment!
Again, this is all just some general advice! Hopefully it helped you think though some aspects of selling your work and encouraged you enough to start making some plans!