Tag Archive | etsy

“You should sell that on Etsy!”

I love yarn in all its fibers and colors and weights (except fingering and lace weights which are terrible). I love knitting needles and crochet hooks in wood and metal and plastic. And most of all, I love to knit and crochet things with yarn and hooks and needles. I love the process as much as, if not more than, the finished products. It’s so relaxing when I get in the groove and my hands automatically make the motions and out comes this smooth fabric. I can make attractive, useful things out of string, and that’s awesome to me.

Because of all of that, I end up with a lot of knitted and crocheted things. My kids have a lovely assortment of hats, a few scarves, some fingerless gloves. Even the husband, who doesn’t typically wear these things, has some. I have some, my siblings and mothers and nieces and nephews, they all have been on the receiving end of my yarn-loving habit. I love it when I wear my knitted items out in public and get compliments, especially the surprised look when I say I made them myself. What usually follows is some variation of “You should sell those on Etsy!”

Well. Yes. Believe me, I try. I know these people mean well, and I do take it as a compliment because they’re saying they think people would pay money for something I’ve made, and I appreciate that. But it’s also frustrating, because it implies a simplicity that’s not there. I’ve been on Etsy for several months now, with¬†22 items currently listed. I’ve paid for promoted listings, not a lot but some, and in that time I’ve sold a whopping two items. I’ve made $3 more than I paid to promote the listings. I know there are a lot of factors at play here: am I listing the right kind of items? Am I tagging well enough? Is my ad budget high enough? Am I not being patient enough? I don’t know the answers to any of those questions. All I know is that it doesn’t appear to be the right business model for me, at least right now.

I’ve done several craft shows, and all of them have been more successful than Etsy has been. For my stuff, it’s about the colors, touch, the feel, the fit–those are the things that make my pieces sell. I use high-quality fibers that make my prices a bit higher than things made from acrylic, but it’s hard for someone to see the difference on a computer screen. And even in craft shows, my booth is different than a lot of the other yarn booths because there’s so much variety on my table. I don’t pick two things and make them in every color. It’s rare for me to have even two of anything. I create based on the yarn, and very few yarns want to be the same thing. I know I would probably benefit from some duplication, and there a few hats I want to make in other colors, but I’m never going to be the booth with stacks of the same hat. I’m not disparaging that, don’t get me wrong, it’s just not how I like to work. I don’t want to make stuff based on what I think people want. I want people to want what I make.

So I’m a little discouraged right now. I’m struggling to figure out where to focus my business energy right now. There’s a handmade market in a really cool downtown area that’s looking for vendors, and I’m seriously considering submitting an application. You set up the booth and they man the store and process sales. The monthly fee, plus commission, is less than I’d pay for the average craft show. Really, the only hitch right now is that I don’t have any furniture to set up in a booth. But I can see that in my future. You sign a three-month contract, and based on the traffic I’ve seen out there, it would totally be worth it. And today I signed up for a big, well-known, three-day craft show in October.

I guess I’ve got my answer. I need to step back from Etsy and focus on the personal connections. I’ll keep Etsy open, but I won’t do more promoted listings. Instead I’ll invest my money in booth fees where I know people will actually see my pieces. But for now, since I’ve got a little time, I think I’ll spend a little more time making stuff for me.

What are your tips for a successful knit/crochet business?

A Blogging Milestone

I have reached a milestone: as of this weekend, I have 100 blog followers! And most of them aren’t friends or family, which is what really blows my mind. I’m so tickled and flattered that so many people enjoy my posts enough that they want to see them regularly! To all of you following me, I say a hearty THANK YOU!! You encourage me to keep this little adventure going and help me believe that maybe I can really call myself a writer.

That’s not the only bit of encouragement I’ve gotten either. I have a new follower on my Etsy page, and again, it’s someone I’ve never interacted with before. Of course I love to have my friends and family follow me, but when it’s a stranger, you don’t question the motive. You know it’s because they honestly like your page. And that feels good.

My Facebook bonny knits page is at 72 likes, so it’s a slow grower, but that’s okay. It’s grown by almost ten likes within the last couple of weeks; that’s encouraging. And I’m hoping that after Christmas when I have more time to put into my business, I can get that number higher too.

Okay. Enough with the boring number stuff. I’ve been productive the last few days and have several things to show off. They’re all Christmas gifts, and there’s a slim chance one of the recipients *might* see this blog, but oh well. First is a simple cowl, made to hug the neck closely.IMG_3245It’s modified from this headband pattern. But I honestly don’t remember now how many stitches I cast on, and apparently I didn’t create a project on Ravelry. I *think* I did 60 stitches on size 13 needles, and I just did a simple 3×3 rib until it seemed big enough. It came out a little looser than I intended but I think it will still please the recipient. I used Lion Brand Hometown USA, a thick, warm yarn, in Tampa Spice.IMG_3250Now a hat! Another hat, hooray! I love how this came out. It’s for one of my nieces and she saw something similar in a Delia’s catalog, so this is my attempt to recreate it. I especially like the big pompom on top. ūüôā ¬†This was my first time using a Purl Soho pattern, even though I’ve been admiring them for ages. It’s the Super Soft Merino Hats for Everyone. I didn’t have the right size needles so I did the men’s size on smaller needles. I think it came out perfectly. The gray is Cascade Pacific Chunky, an acrylic/merino blend. It’s a yarn I just found recently and it’s a new favorite. The light turquoise is Tuhu by Mirasol Yarns and oh my is it luscious. It’s¬†50% Llama, 40% Merino, 10% Angora. My SIL bought it and started knitting boot cuffs, and discovered she’s extremely allergic to the angora. It’s sad. But her loss was my gain: I bought the yarn from her and it was heavenly to knit with. I held it double to match the thickness of the Cascade, and I *think* have just enough left to make a pair of the 75 Yard Malabrigo Mitts to go with the hat. Fingers crossed!IMG_3248Last one: the Lucky 7 Felted Tote. I realize it’s not felted yet. This is what it looks like after two cycles in my washer. I think I have determined that my washer just doesn’t felt. There’s no center agitator, so the wool doesn’t get enough action. (haha!) This is made with Cascade 128 Wool. The label said nothing about superwash, so it really should felt. Today I will submerge it in hot water and beat it with a wooden spoon. Tune it tomorrow to see how that goes!

Etsy and The Art of Hat Knitting

Wow. I got more views and comments from my Etsy post than almost any other post I’ve done. Sounds like it’s a big concern for a lot of people! I also got a lot of views on my Etsy page–thanks to those who followed the link! None of them have resulted in a favorite or a sale, but it’s a start. I really want to give it my best effort, but I’m still not convinced Etsy is going to be my focus going forward.

I think next year I’m going to put a lot more time and energy into craft shows. Based on my limited experience, it seems like hats, headbands and boot cuffs are hugely popular, and if you’ve got a variety of colors, you’ll sell them. It’s a philosophy I struggle with quite often, because that’s not how I craft. I prefer to find a yarn that calls my name and make the one right thing with it…and then move on to a different project entirely. Headbands and boot cuffs are fun and fast. But, if you’ve been following my blog at all, you know I LOVE hats. They’re my favorite thing to make. And I can get so much variation in patterns and types of yarn that I think I could easily specialize in hats without getting bored to tears.

For instance, I posted about the red cloche hat last time, and it’s been extremely popular. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on it, and I even got an order for another one the next day! I got to knit this one in some blue-green wool, and I really like how the style works with the stiffness of the wool. I like this version even better than the red one.IMG_3239 IMG_3240 IMG_3243So yeah, I think I could be a hat specialist. I’d still make other things, bags and purses and cowls, but I want to built up a solid inventory of hats so I can be ready to do more shows next year. Need a hat? I’m your girl!

I just realized: I don’t have a hat on Etsy. Oops. Not the best move for the hat specialist. I better work on that today!

Let’s try this Etsy thing again

Several months ago, I listed several things on Etsy and was disappointed that nothing came of it. I got a few favorites but never a sale. Since then, my crafting skills have improved, as have my photography skills. I’ve also got a better idea (I think!) of how to make Etsy work for me. It seems like you’ve got to find a niche, make those unusual specific things that you can tag really well. Anyway, I decided to dip my toes back into the water, and I’ve listed three of my favorite pieces. My shop name is bonnyknitsforyou. I’d love it if you’d check it out!

They’re all different categories and they’re varying prices, so it’s kind of a test, to see which ones get more views/favorites etc. I’ve set a low budget for promoting the listings. After Christmas I hope to get a little more aggressive with it and post more, maybe promote more. Anyone have any great Etsy advice for me?

I also have a finished hat to show off. Remember the red cloche I made on Sunday? I got the buttons sewn on and I love the finished product. It’s really an ingenious design, because you can just button the flap as far over as you want it, so the hat can be as snug or loose as you wish. Too cute. I definitely will be making more.IMG_3227Here’s yesterday’s and today’s project. I’m getting clever and bartering with my favorite flower maker, Junie Balloonie. In exchange for four flowers (two for gifts and two for me) I’m making another headband and two sets of boot cuffs. I can’t show off the headband yet because it’s so flipping awesome and I want her to see it first, but I’ll show you the boot cuffs. This is my favorite boot cuff pattern.IMG_3234And of course I’ll show off the flowers when they get here. I hang them on my purse, but they’re also hair flowers/brooches, and she can make them in any colors your heart desires. You can see some samples on her Etsy page here. If you checked out my shop, you might have noticed that I have one of her flowers on my pink purse.

Now it’s back to the yarn. The puppy is sleeping and the house is silent. It’s the best time to create!

It’s all Twitter’s Fault

I resisted Twitter for a very long time. I couldn’t see the appeal. I did sign up once and immediately some strange guy wanted to follow me, and that creeped me out. But I kept seeing links with fun tweets, and my husband would sit there and read Twitter and laugh and laugh. Finally, it got to be too much. Fine. I’ll join Twitter, dang it.

Well, hey, did you know there are a bunch of yarn people all over the world on Twitter? I found more everywhere I looked, and they were saying and doing really cool things! Then people started commenting on my tweets, and I discovered you could interact with people! Truly a whole new world, to find all those like-minded people.

But it got even better, because I started following other cool people. I’m a reader and a writer, so I found a lot of awesome authors on Twitter and found out most of them are just real people! Sarah Dessen¬†is one of my favorites because she’s very down to earth and funny. I told a few of the authors when I read and loved their books, and got an immediate response. I got brave enough to start commenting on their tweets, and it was such a thrill when they replied. Think how much cooler it was when a few authors I really admire started following me (ME!) on Twitter! (Thanks, Katherine Center¬†and Elin Hilderbrand¬†and Nanny Diaries girls McLaughlin Kraus, you all rock.)

Twitter was my gateway drug, because next was my Facebook business page for bonnyknits¬†which let me find some customers for my yarn treasures. I went from there to Etsy, and though it’s still a trial effort, I’ve enjoyed it.¬†Somehow from there I ended up with this blog, and between all the social media sites, I’ve connected with so many talented, smart, funny, clever people in so many different fields. I can feed all my different interests and not feel like I have to fit into one specific category.

Sometimes a hobby can make you feel isolated, if¬†those around you just don’t understand, and you can’t find your “people”. I’ve found my people online, and I love it. Now if only I could tear myself away from the fun of it all to get back to my knitting.