Tag Archive | online selling

What a Weekend!

There was so much going on this weekend! I’m glad to finally have a quieter day. The kids have a long weekend, thanks to parent/teacher conferences and Washington’s birthday, so they had Friday off. I drove downtown to take the girl to a weekend-long honor band, and that was only a little stressful for my small-city-driver self. The fun bit was that we met a knitter from Vietnam! During our downtime, we hung out at the B&N cafe, and I was knitting a Yoda hat. An older woman came over and asked where she could get needles like mine (I was using my 12″ Addi Turbos). She lives in Vietnam and comes here to visit her son, who attends the local university, so she didn’t know the area well at all. She was really only familiar with Michaels stores, and didn’t seem to understand the concept of local yarn stores (so sad). We chatted a bit as best we could with the language barrier, and it was neat to share the love of knitting. It made me realize that’s really the only time people come up and talk to me, when I’m knitting. It must be a good ice-breaker! Either that or I suffer from RBF (Resting B*#@% Face) when I’m not knitting. We may never know.

Saturday morning was my craft show and it was a whirlwind five hours. I had some family visit me (and buy a couple of things) but I also had several real customers too! I focused on hats for this show, and I think I sold 6 or 7. The Yoda hats were a hit, of course, but so were the black hats. Note to self: make sure to have black hats at every show. My Knitting SIL was up there with me, and we had a grand time knitting and chatting between customers. Really, it went much better than I expected, and it makes me think that focusing on hats might be a good strategy. But…I LOVE cowls! Love making them, love wearing them. Why don’t people buy them? I just don’t know. Still, hats are good. I like hats.

Yesterday was the concert for the girl’s honor band, and though it was a struggle to get the boy awake (forget about happy) by 9 a.m., we managed. The concert was marvelous…IMG_5069and the lunch afterward was marvelous too… IMG_5074Look: the boy has a new hairdo! It was a bold move for him; we love it!IMG_5077And look: the girl has a new smile! She got her top braces off finally and is SO HAPPY!

Then we came home and I took a bunch of photos of my newer hats and updated my Etsy shop. It’s all current now, and I’m going to step back from Yoda hats and work on the rainbow cowl for my mom.

But now I have a question for you fellow sellers of knitted goods: I was invited to do a show in June. It’s a good show, well-advertised and popular, and the booth fee is very reasonable. BUT, that’s the middle of summer. It’s warm here then. How well do knitted things sell during the summer? In my experience, not that well. I can modify my inventory a bit, have more summer-weight hats, baby hats, cotton bags, etc, but I’m not sure I’d have enough for a show. Have any of you done well with summer shows? What advice do you have for me?

I will wait patiently for your replies, as patiently as Jack waits when it’s dinner time. (Sorry the photo is so bad; I had to take it quickly before he moved.) I just love how he sits!IMG_5145

Joining the Modern World

I think I did something really cool this weekend, something that will help my small businesses. I’ve been working on a computer that’s ten years old. Thanks to my husband, it had a huge hard drive, but not much memory and a very slow processing speed. (I don’t speak computer fluently. This is the best I can do.) Anyway, after my word processor kept locking up while I was working on my proofreading job, I decided enough was enough, and I upgraded. I now have a modern computer that runs quickly and smoothly. I have an upgraded version of Pages, with lots of features I didn’t know existed, though soon I’ll be adding Word. The photo editing websites, like PicMonkey, work much faster now, so I can more easily create cool graphics for my Bonny Knits stuff. The proofreading end results are the same, but I can get there faster and more easily, and that’s a huge plus. I’m really excited!

So with this new tool, I’ve decided I’m going to set up a website for my proofreading. Even if I’m mostly getting jobs by word-of-mouth, I’d like to have something people can be referred to, something professional and clear. So I’m checking out hosting sites and trying to decide which route to take. Soon I’ll be asking my authors for testimonials to add to the site, and then it’ll go live and I’ll get jobs to help pay for my computer upgrade and I’ll be even more excited!

Most of my weekend was taken up with words (I did finish my proofreading job and sent back to the author this morning) but last night I cast on for a new hat. I’ve got a small craft show this Saturday, so I’ve been making a few inexpensive pieces to fill out my inventory. I really like this one! IMG_5025Toddler-sized basic beanie in sparkly acrylic, and of course I’ll add a pompom too. The coolest thing is that I learned how to do the jog-less join and now my “seam” is practically invisible! IMG_5026

I love it! But before I can finish it, I should probably do some work toward my newest website. Happy Monday, friends!

Photo Editing of Yarn Stuff

Yesterday was spent without yarn in my hands and strangely, it felt okay. That’s not to say I avoided yarn completely. Instead, I worked on photos for my Bonny Knits business. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while but wasn’t sure what apps or programs would be best. Photoshop is the obvious one, but it’s too expensive for my needs.

Thanks to a fellow fiber friend, I discovered PicMonkey and started playing around with the free Basic version. It has a good variety of effects, overlays, themes and fonts for free, which is great. The biggest flaw is how slowly it runs on my computer, and I’m not sure how much to blame on the site and how much on my laptop. When there’s nothing else open on my computer, I can use it without too much frustration. Here are a couple of early attempts. yodaHeartbeatLoveHatSadly, this one has a wee typo (should be ‘shop’, not ‘shops’) and I couldn’t go back and edit once I saved. It would have to be re-done completely. I don’t know if that’s something that’s different in the paid services, but it would be nice to keep the images in a library and edit them easily.

Then I tried Foto Editor Lite, another free app, this time on my phone. There were some different filters that I liked a lot, ones that seemed to alter the background without changing the focus of the photo too much. The text was easy to add and alter, but the app crashed a few times while I was editing text, and I’d lose everything I’d done. Still, I liked it well enough for a quick edit of photos on my phone that I could then easily post on Twitter or Instagram. IMG_4889

Then I moved to the iPad and played with LiPix, another free app. It’s easy to use with a ton of variety in frames and shapes. You can alter the colors yourself to get just the right shade. It has just as many filters as Instagram, if not more. Adding text was simple, with great options for color and font. There were stickers you could add, which were fun, probably not something I’d use for this kind of thing but great for personal photos. I think this might have been my favorite of the three. It was easier for me to work on the iPad than the phone, it didn’t crash once, it had a ton of variety for free, and the photos were easy to save and share. IMG_0348IMG_0349There you have it, if you’ve been looking for ways to spice up your photos but like me, didn’t know where to start. I’m looking forward to all the fun images I can create!

The Day of No Knitting

I didn’t knit a stitch yesterday. I know, isn’t that crazy?! I wasn’t sick, I was home all day, and yet I never picked up a needle. BUT. That does not mean I didn’t play with yarn. I spent the day organizing my inventory of finished objects and getting ready for upcoming shows. Everything is priced, tagged and bagged. I pulled out the heavy winter items, since they won’t be big sellers for a while. I updated my Facebook Items for Sale photo album. And best of all, I worked on my Etsy shop.

A while back, I blogged about my frustrations with Etsy and got a LOT of great feedback. One seller graciously offered to look at my shop and give me some pointers. Thank you so much, Leonor, your suggestions were detailed and on point! I also took the time to look through her shop, Felt Buddies, for some ideas. She’s got some amazing needle felted sculptures.

Anyway, one of her suggestions was to improve the quality of my photos. My photos were better than when I first started on Etsy, but I knew they would be even better if I used natural light with a real person, which is exactly what Leonor told me. Yesterday, I finally did. My daughter already looked nice because of a morning music competition, so I told her to put on a neutral top and come outside with me. Her hair was up, so we focused on cowls and scarves, and I love the pictures I got!IMG_4077IMG_4097IMG_4122IMG_4155She had the most fun sitting on the hood of the truck, even if it was a bit too much sunshine. It was a great exercise for me too, to see how much better the photos look when they’re not in direct sun. We had fun playing with poses and backgrounds, and I can’t wait to get her out there with all my hats! Thank goodness we’re on Spring break–we’ll have time this week.

I also took my teddy bears out for some fresh air. I figure maybe they want to be in someone’s Easter basket this year.IMG_1407IMG_4193So my Etsy shop is updated now, and I’m pleased with it. It’s still a work in progress but I like where it’s headed. Today I’m going to take my new baby hats outside for some photos and get them listed on Etsy too. And I’m always open to hear how you make Etsy successful for you!