Have you had an idea for a crochet pattern in your head, but just don’t know where to begin with it? Maybe you’ve been meaning to write down how to do a pattern you created, but don’t know what to include in your pattern? If this sounds like you, then you’re in luck, because in this blog post I am sharing my 10 essentials for how to write a crochet pattern!
When I first started out crocheting I could barely do any stitches let alone write a pattern. Then as I kept learning how to crochet, I started developing this desire to create my own crochet patterns. Design ideas would pop in my head, and I’d try to write down what I did to create them, but never knew how to translate that into a written crochet pattern that I could sell. What’s great is that once you learn the basics of writing a crochet pattern then you will be able to get those crochet designs you create written up and ready to share!
This week on the E’Claire Makery Podcast, I had Meghan Makes Do as my latest guest to talk all about how to write crochet patterns. Meghan has always been a crafty person, and after doing crochet for awhile she decided she wanted to learn how to write her own patterns. On top of designing those, she also creates beautiful sewn pouches and often combines crochet and sewing into one design. In our podcast episode we talk all about the basics of pattern writing from what to include to how to set up your pattern. If you like watching videos and want to learn more about pattern writing, then this episode is for you!
All crochet patterns have the same easy formula that you can add your own spin to in each pattern you create. There are essentials that you always want to include in your pattern like materials, stitches, and the pattern itself. Then there are other things that you add in such as photos, notes, and the like. Overall there are 10 things that you need to have in the pattern, and I’ve created into a list of the 10 essentials of what to include in your crochet pattern..
At the beginning of your crochet pattern, usually on the first page, you’ll want to include an intro to your pattern that gives a description of what your pattern is like, and even what the person making it can use it for. An example description that I’ve done at the start of my patterns is: “This adorable crochet top is the perfect garment to bring in spring! Beginner friendly, easy to make, and with super cute results, this will soon be your favorite piece in your wardrobe.” It gives an explanation of what the pattern is along with how it can be worn. Get creative with your intro and see what happens!
Every crochet pattern has a difficulty level. Whether it’s an amigurumi toy, a pillow, a garment, or a hat, each pattern benefits from sharing how difficult it is to make it. If you use basic stitches and construction methods, then it is directed towards beginners. Where as having a pattern that uses multiple methods, or more complex construction and stitches then that will be on the intermediate to advanced level. Including the difficulty helps others know what to expect in your pattern, so that they know if their skill level will be able to create it.
Besides the written pattern itself, a materials list is one of the most important parts to include. This is the go to list for the person making your pattern to know what type of yarn they need to use for your pattern, what size of hook, and other notions they might need to complete it. When you list your yarn amounts, you will want to include the brand you used, the yardage the pattern requires, and what yarn weight it is. Most of the time people won’t use the yarn you used for the pattern, and will choose one of their own that they like. That’s why including all of the information about that yarn is crucial because you’ll want to make sure that they use the right type of yarn and the right amount of it for making your pattern.
In crochet patterns you usually don’t write out the complete name of the stitch you’re using each time that you do it, and instead use an abbreviation such as “dc” for double crochet. This section is where you list all of the stitches you used, and the abbreviations you used for them in your pattern. The Craft Yarn Council has a master list of crochet stitch abbreviations on their website for the abbreviations that are the industry standards for crochet stitches. You can view that here.
This is one of the key parts of a crochet pattern that you need to make sure is included, especially if your pattern is a garment or one that has different sizes. If you’ve never heard of gauge, this is the amount of stitches that you fit within a 4″ by 4″ square using the crochet stitch you used for the pattern. By having a gauge swatch in that size, you can make sure that the person making your pattern gets the same size piece that you did. It also is crucial in helping you do different sizes for garments. I wrote up a post that includes how to use a gauge swatch in crochet garment design, which you can see here.
This section can be optional if you’re not making a garment, but if you are writing up a garment pattern then you want to make sure that you include it in there. List each size that the pattern is sized for, and then include the bust measurements for each size to make sure that they fit the person making it. I make my garment designs to fit sizes XS-5X, so I include the bust sizes for each one of those. The same principles can be applied to if you’re designing something like a hat, but instead of bust measurements you’ll do the head circumference. Thankfully, hats usually just come in a few sizes, so it’s easier to do sizing for those.
The notes section is the space where you include any things that the person making your pattern needs to be aware of throughout the pattern. This could include anything from saying that it is made in one piece in the round to that your pattern uses U.S. crochet terminology. Here’s an example note section from one of my patterns to help give you an idea of what to include:
These notes are for my Carry The World bag, which has different color changes using tapestry crochet. I included notes about how it has those color changes, what stitch terminology I used, and how to read the pattern. You’ll want to adapt your notes section to fit your pattern, and put anything you think is needed to understanding your pattern.
Once you have all of the above things written down, you’ll then put the written pattern for your design. It doesn’t have to be formatted any fancy way, but could just be written lines of what to do. You’ll want to mark each row done by labeling it Row 1, for example. Then you’ll put what you do for that row down, and repeat it for each row. If there are multiple rows in a row that do the same thing, then you can mark it by saying something like Row 2-4 (or whatever rows it is in your pattern). If there is any assembly required for the pattern, then you’ll want to have a section that walks through that too. This section is one of the easiest parts because you just have to write down what you did for the pattern.
Photos are important to include in the pattern because they help the maker see what the pattern looks like if it’s being worn, used in the home, or is a toy you can play with. They help show details of the pattern that you can’t get from a description and are a great way to showcase your pattern’s highlights. I always include a photo of the pattern at the beginning of the pattern, and then have ones showing different steps for the pattern if I think a technique is difficult or tricky. For example, if I have any assembly in my pattern, I’ll include photos of how to put the pattern together. I do the same if there is a technique in the pattern that is not common. Having photos for those parts also can help make your pattern easier.
In all of my patterns I include a part at the bottom of my PDF pages where it says, ” 2019 Pattern created by E’Claire Makery. Pattern is for personal use only. Do not sell, distribute or claim as your own.” I also put in the copyright symbol by it. This makes sure that the pattern is officially copyrighted as designed by you and not belonging to anyone else. It’s essentially just documentation to prove that it is your design, and if someone else tries to copy it then you can show that you copyrighted it. Sometimes you can’t prevent other people from stealing your pattern, but this having this helps establish legal boundaries with the people who buy your patterns. It’s also good to let them know within there if they can sell finished products made from your pattern or not, and that if they do to mention that you are the designer for that pattern. Usually I put this at the bottom of the first PDF page, but you can also include it at the bottom of every page of your pattern.
Overall, once you get used to writing out all of these parts of a pattern, then you’ll be able to naturally write them out. As you’re creating your design, you’ll want to make sure that you write down each step of your pattern in order that you don’t forget anything. Soon you’ll have this pattern writing process and will be able to crank out designs like nobody’s business! I can’t wait to see all of the designs that you make, and share your creativity with the world. I hope that these 10 essentials to include in your patterns helped provide some direction for writing crochet patterns, and that you have all sorts of confidence to go forward and write crochet patterns of your own!
So you’ve started your crochet business, have a blog, have crocheted some products, and maybe even listed them in your Etsy store. You have some great content and products, but sadly day after day you don’t get any sales or page views. Even though you knew you weren’t going to maybe sell right away, there was still a part of you that hoped you’d be a success right away. You just sit there and wonder, now what? Well my friend, your next step is to find your target audience for your crochet business.
This week on the E’Claire Makery Podcast I had the pleasure of interviewing Pam Grice of the crochet businesses Made With a Twist and The Crochetpreneur. Made with a Twist is Pam’s product and design based crochet business that sells things ranging from messy bun hats to scarves. She also sells patterns through Made with a Twist, has made a total of over 17,000 sales on Etsy from that business alone! Her other business The Crochetpreneur is a business coaching business specifically targeted at crocheters. Her blog has articles ranging from how to start a crochet business, doing bookkeeping for your business, how to sells products, and how to rock craft fairs. She also is starting a new business Academy where she shares step by step ways of how to grow your business to be what you want it to be. All in all, Pam has perfected how to reach her target audience. So how can you do the same?
Your target audience is the group of people that your products, blog, and business in general is trying to reach. This group of people is who you are creating your content for, and trying to help them solve a problem. That problem could be them looking for a cute hat to buy, or are wanting a free crochet pattern for a blanket. Maybe they are wondering how to design a crochet pattern and you have the perfect thing to help someone looking for one! Your audience could be other aspiring crochet designers, crochet business owners, or consumers looking to buy finished crochet products like beanies. You’re goal is to find the people that you are trying to reach out to. Once you find this target audience you want to stick to topics or items that fit in this audience, because if you venture outside of it your audience will be confused. Focus on your people and find what works for them!
Before you begin finding your target audience, you have one step to complete first: finding your core values. Your business is just that your’s. Everything that comes from it starts with you, and what you do affects what happens in your business. Knowing who you are is the first step to succeeding in your business. The first question to ask yourself is: what are my core values? What are the key things that are important to me that are central to who I am? For Pam, some of her core values are freedom, peace, and kindness. She wants to give crochet business owners the freedom to feel heard and to succeed in their business. She also seeks out finding peace amongst the drama of life, and wants to help others to feel peace as they interact with designers, customers, and anyone else they encounter in their business. The last one that is central to who she is, is kindness. For more of her life she was always told that she was so sweet, but she likes to think of it as that she is kind. She looks for ways to be kind to others and help them with whatever they might need. When you find your own core values, you’ll start to see how that shapes how you do things in your business. You’ll find that your products and blog posts will start to reflect these, and make sure that you listen to your gut about whether or not it is the right thing to share with your audience.
In the Crochetpreneur Business Academy, the first step that she has you do is to examine yourself and find out what is important to you. When I first did this exercise, I didn’t really think that I would really find things that would be affecting my business. I started finding though that as I continued with the exercise, I discovered so many different ways that how I react to things affects my business is different ways. I also found that I was originally trying to reach out to the wrong audience, and instead I needed to focus my attention to people who my core values would reach out to. If you’ve been struggling with finding the right audience to reach, then I highly recommend joining Pam’s Crochetpreneur Business Academy. Her exercises to find your audience, resources for growing your business, and community that comes with it is a great business investment!
Another good starting point for finding your core values is this Core Values List from Brene Brown. She lists 200 core values that are central to who we are, and finding them is a great exercise to practice. If you struggle with finding your core values on your own, hand the list to a friend or family member and ask which ones stand out to them about you. I asked my husband to help me, and it was really helpful. Once you know who you are, then you can start finding your audience and helping them!
For those selling handmade crochet products, and sometimes even people who are selling patterns, there are 3 types of buyers out there. There are the Bargin Hunters, the Brand Buyers, and the Boutique Buyers.
Bargin Hunters: The bargin hunters are the people who are looking to get products at the cheapest price possible, and are super thrifty. A lot of crochet business owners think that they have to appeal to the bargin hunters, and will price their products below their value price in order to try to make sales. They might spend 2 hours working on a crochet scarf, but only charge $10. Buy charging that little, they aren’t making any profit from it. Or sometimes at craft fairs someone will make a comment about how the product shouldn’t be priced as high as it is, and should be way below the price it costs for your time and effort you put into your product. Often, crocheters will believe this, and end up lowering their price just because someone didn’t value their work.
Brand Buyers: These buyers are the ones who shop at Target, American Eagle, or another store with a noticeable brand because they love having items with brand names on the labels or on the clothing themselves. This is a great audience to reach out to with your crochet products because these are the people who will love having your items with your brand tag on them. Pam has customers she sees at craft fairs every year, and if they see she has a new design then they get so excited about it because they love her brand. If you have created a brand around your business, and love promoting it, then try to reach out to this target audience!
Boutique Buyers: The boutique buyers love having unique and one of a kind items. They love having that item that no one else has, or that is made from a super special yarn that was saved just for that product. If you have an item that takes a long time to make, such as a crochet shawl, then this might be the group you want to reach out to. Use that super special yarn you’ve been saving, and you might just find someone who wants to buy that gorgeous shawl for $100+. You can find your own special spin on this and pick the items that make your brand unique!
For Crochet bloggers, target audiences can range anywhere from those looking for crochet tips to free patterns. Some do a combo of the two and provide patterns along with crochet business or design tips. If you love creating and sharing free crochet patterns, then focus your crochet blog on creating those. Or if you like to share crochet tips about business or crocheting, then create your blog to share about those. Your crochet blog should try to have a focus, because otherwise it gets too confusing when you suddenly start to share about how to do ceramics or another topic. My focus with my blog is to help other crocheters have the confidence to create. So I create patterns or provide crochet design and business tips to help them grow in their skill. I combine my love of serving others with sharing the knowledge that I have about crocheting, and just get to crochet all sorts of fun things to share!
With crochet pattern designing there are so many different audiences that you can reach. There are people who like to make crochet garments, crochet accessories, amigurumi, crochet home decor, or stick to just making afghans. As a designer, you can find what your favorite thing is to make, and then you can build your whole crochet brand around that! Sometimes that changes as your design and find what you like to create. Mine has evolved from doing just amigurumi, to accessories, and now making garments a lot. The beginning of your crochet designing is the perfect time to figure out what works best for you as you start to build your business.
Once you find your target audience, reach out to them and stick with them! You’ll find yourself clicking with certain people, and if you don’t then you know that person isn’t part of your tribe. It’s totally ok to not click with everyone, and soon you’ll find the group of people that you want to continue to serve. Follow your gut when it tells you to create certain content, because you’ll find yourself knowing when something isn’t right for those you’re serving.
If you want more tips on how to continue to grow your business, I highly recommend the Crochetpreneur Business Academy. As a part of the academy, you’ll learn all of the tips that Pam has applied to her business and taken it to a place that earns anywhere between $3,000 to $17,000 a month. She shares how to set your Etsy shop up for success, gets monthly experts to do calls where they share their business expertise, does Q&A sessions, shares how to have a crochet blog, and so many more things that will help take your crochet business to the next level. I’ve loved the community I’ve gotten through her Facebook group and Zoom calls, and Pam has continued to help me grow my business.
I hope that overall this article gave you some helpful tips on how to grow your audience so that you can start moving your crochet business to success! I can’t wait to see how you grow!
Have you been looking at crochet designers who design clothes, and wondering how they do it? You look at their designs and wish that you knew how to make your own ideas come to life, but just don’t know how? For a long time I dreamed of making my own crochet garment designs, but never thought that it would be possible. From gauge swatches, shaping, how to begin, and grading patterns, it seemed like a code that I’d never be able to crack. Then I decided to go out on a limb and try my hand at designing a garment pattern, after making a few other designers’ patterns. Once I tried and figured out everything, it wasn’t so hard after all! Today I am here to answer all of your questions with my latest podcast episode guest, Emily from Hooked Hazel.
Emily is the crochet designer behind Hooked Hazel, and makes anything ranging from crochet sweaters to crochet beanies. She learned how to crochet years ago, but at the time she learned it wasn’t a cool hobby, so she didn’t really keep with it. Then after being in her career for a few years, she needed something that would be just for her outside of her normal routine, and picked up crocheting again. For awhile she was making other people’s designs, but in the last year and a half she decided to focus on making her own designs. Now she’s been putting most of her design efforts specifically into creating garments. In the latest episode of the E’Claire Makery podcast, she shares all about how she makes her garment designs so that you can do it too!
The first step in beginning to design crochet garments starts with finding your goal and inspiration for your design. When you’re starting out with your design you want to figure out what your intention and goal for it is. Do you want it to be full of complex stitches that create an intricate fabric? Or do you want to go on the less intimidating side so that any skill level could design it? Emily and I both aim for having our garments not be intimidating so that anyone could make them. I often will make mine as just being two rectangles that are sewn together, so that anyone who can crochet a square can make them.
Once you figure out your goal, it’s time to find your inspiration. Inspiration can be found almost anywhere! Emily and I have both found it from watching historical shows to see all of the handmade crochet or knit pieces that they have as a part of their costumes. I’ll constantly be snapping photos of pieces that characters in a show I’m watching a wearing, and then draw my inspiration from them. Crochet stitch books are another great resources as sometimes a certain stitch can inspire a garment design in your mind. When I find stitches I often get inspiration, and will start to see the garment forming as an idea. Social media and Pinterest can also be a good source of inspiration, but Emily says that she likes to not draw too much inspiration from other makers so that there isn’t any confusion in thinking that she copied them. You have your own unique voice, so don’t feel like you have to do something similar to other designers!
After you have the idea of what you want your garment to look like it’s time to decide what style and shape of design that you’re going to make. When it comes to style, I am referring to the way in which the crochet garment is constructed, and the shape is how you want it to fit on you. Crochet garment construction comes in almost endless styles. From top down, bottom up, raglan, panels, and more there are almost endless ways you could make them. Here are some of my favorite ways to construct them:
These are just two of the many, many ways that you can make garments from! They influence the way the garment shape is too. Raglans can be made to fit closer to your body, where as garments crocheted from panels can make your piece be more boxy or have more drape. Sometimes you can combine the two, and figure out a way that you like to have garments fit. What’s so fun about designing crochet garments is that you can make it fit however you want!
Now that you’ve figured out how you’ll be making your garment, it’s time for probably the most important part of garment design: the gauge swatch. What is a gauge swatch? It’s a 4″x 4″ square that is crocheted using the stitch you’ve decided to make the garment in, and using the hook size that matches the yarn that you’ve used. Once you have you swatch made you’ll then determine how many stitches across by how many rows tall that the square is. This square is then used when you are figuring out how many stitches that you will be chaining to start, how many rows you’ll use in your pattern, as well as how many stitches you be using in each part of the pattern for different sizes.
After you have your gauge swatch it’s time to put it to use! In order to use it you’ll need the handy dandy measurements that the Craft Yarn Council has on their website. They provide all of the measurements that you’ll need in order to make your garment. Whether you’re a size XS or size 5X, they have every measurement from bust size to how wide it is from shoulder to shoulder. Click here to get the sizing charts and measurements on their site.
So say you are making a garment made from two square panels that are then sewn together. You have a bust size of 40″ and you want the front panel to be half that size. You’re using bulky yarn so your gauge swatch is 10 st across. In order to decide how many stitches you’ll be chaining for the front panel. You’ll first divide 40″ by 2, to get 20.” Then you will divide 20″ by 4″ to get 5, multiply it by 10 st, and you’ll get 50 stitches. So you’ll cast on 50 stitches for the front panel width. Your garment will be a total of 100 stitches around to get the total bust size of 40.” You’ll do a similar thing to determine how many rows you’ll want you piece to be as well.
When it comes to grading patterns, a.k.a. determining other sizes, you’ll also be using the gauge swatch to figure out how many stitches you’ll need in each row for each size in the pattern. You use the same type of math as above, just with different measurements. It can feel overwhelming sometimes, but there is a resource that I’ve found has helped a lot with this. Joy of Motion Crochet created a garment sizing calculator on her website that helps determine how many stitches your piece will need to be at certain measurement points. You enter in your gauge and it will tell you how many stitches the bust, armhole, waist, upper arm, and hips should be. Now it doesn’t tell you how much you’ll need for each row, but it’s a great starting point to double check your math that you do at different parts. It also helps if you want to work back from say the bust up to the neckline, so it’ll have a starting amount of stitches that you can work backward from to get your neckline stitch amount that you’ll start with. I use it all the time!
If you get frustrated with this part, and feel like you’ve tried everything you can do, reach out to another designer that has experience making garments and ask their advice. Both Emily and I have asked other designers for help when we feel like we can’t do anything else, and that has helped us get out of our ruts. Sometimes all you need is a fresh pair of eyes to help point out something in your pattern. Also, taking a step back really can help, because if you look at something too long then it will become way too overwhelming. However, if you take a break from it, you’ll be able to refresh your brain and approach it at a whole new way.
Probably the most important part of garment designing is to make something that you’ll love. Since it is such a long process, this is key in finishing a design. You put all of that effort into creating something, spending hours on it, and if you don’t actually like it then it can feel like a waste of yarn. I draw a lot of inspiration from clothing that I already love and want to make myself, which makes my crochet designs something that I want to wear. I’m willing to take the time and effort to create the pattern, because I know that it will be something that will become a staple in my wardrobe. Not every design will end up being your favorite, and trust me sometimes you will get sick of it by the time you’re done grading the pattern, but all in all the whole experience of creating is so worth it. If you don’t want to design something right away, take time to make other people’s patterns, because you can learn so much from them and the ways they create their patterns. Then you can take the things that you love about their designs, and start learning how to incorporate them into the way you want to do your designs!
Overall, learning how to design crochet patterns is a detailed, but rewarding process. It’s a lot of trial and error, but every time you try you’ll just keep getting better. Stick with your crochet design as you’re creating it, and you’ll end up getting to wear something that you’ve made yourself. Don’t give up, because in the end it is so worth it!
If you want to learn more about crochet design, be sure to watch my video podcast episode with Emily, or check out my blog post with Chantal from Knitatude where she shares more about the garment design process as well. Be sure to check out Emily’s accounts as well on Instagram @HookedHazel and her Etsy store Hooked Hazel.
Have you been wondering how to promote your handmade products, but just don’t know where to start? Maybe you’ve been trying to promote them on Instagram, but you just aren’t seeing the results you’ve been wanting. If this sounds like you then you’re not alone! One of the hardest parts of being a small business owner is knowing how to promote what you’ve made in order to gain customers. Often small business owners have to hustle to make every single sale, which gets exhausting especially when you don’t make any.
If any of this feels like it applies to you, then this week’s podcast episode is perfect for you (along with this blog post)! This week I got to chat with Ashley, from A Crafty Concept, all about how to promote your handmade products in your small business. Ashley is a mompreneur who has a crochet, business, and momming blog along with selling her handmade crochet accessories. She is most known for her Claire Bun Beanie pattern, which went viral a few years ago leading to her business taking off!
From a young age, Ashley always had an entrepreneurial mindset that is wired to think about marketing. Growing up she went to craft fairs with her mom that sometimes were a whole month of craft shows every night. Being in this environment all the time sparked her desire to try to sell her own creations like school themed friendship bracelets at a cheerleading craft fair. When she was at her day jobs throughout high school and college she thought of ways that each business she worked at could market themselves and cross promote with other similar businesses. This translated perfectly into her own business, A Crafty Concept, where she has learned how to market her products very well!
So what are some of the ways that she has promoted her business and how can you promote you’re own? Let’s get down into the ways that you can market your products!
(The rest of the post may be sponsored or contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. See my full affiliate disclosure here.)
Social media is an awesome way to share different photos of your patterns or products as you’re creating and are about to release them. I mean, who doesn’t love a good sneak peek of a new product or pattern coming out? I love seeing different crochet designers offering sneak peeks of their upcoming patterns! Sharing sneak peeks on social media is a great way to build up excitement for your next crochet release. You can show photos of yarn you’re using, an up close shot of the stitches in the pattern, or progress photos as you are making the design. With each photo you share on Instagram or Facebook, the anticipation of what it is will grow and then your audience will be so excited when they finally get to see what it is. When you do finally release the pattern or product make sure you post a photo of it on your different social media platforms so that your audience knows that it is available to purchase.
Facebook groups are a perfect place to share your patterns once you’ve released them. Some crochet themed facebook groups allow you to do self promotion, which means that you’re able to share patterns or blog posts with the group. Share a photo of your pattern, write something about it, and then link the pattern at the end of what you write. Or you could just share a photo of say your daughter wearing a beanie pattern, say how cute you think she is, and either include the pattern link in what you say or wait for people to comment asking for the pattern. This second strategy can work well for people who are not wanting any spammy posts about something for sale. Find what works best for your business and go with it!
A website/blog is a great way to be able to showcase your products beyond just having them listed on a site like Etsy or Ravelry. On your own site you can not only share more photos of it, but can go into more details and share the stories behind your products. It’s also a place that you can share free crochet or knitting patterns, and then include links to a paid PDF version of the pattern in your Etsy store. This can be a great way to boost your sales if you drive a lot of traffic to your blog. Ashley and I both use the combination of Bluehost and WordPress. Bluehost is a website hosting service that gives you your own domain name, along with providing the premium version of WordPress at no cost. I love everything about using Bluehost and WordPress together, and if I ever have a problem, Bluehost’s staff is great at being able to help you figure it out. It’s like having your very own tech team! At only $2.95 a month, it provides everything you need for your site at an affordable cost. Click here to find out more about Bluehost!
Cross promotion is an awesome way to get your patterns out to a wider audience. What is cross promotion though? It happens when two brands in a similar niche work together to help share each other’s patterns or products with their customers/audience. One way that can happen is through taking part in giveaways that different makers have. If someone you follow that’s in your niche is having a giveaway and looking for contributors, then offer a free product or pattern to include in their giveaway. Giving free product away for giveaways helps grow your follower count, which can lead to more sales.
Another way that cross promotion can happen is through blog features. Sometimes bloggers will have applications where you can apply to feature one of your patterns on their blog. You provide the pattern to them, and then they do the majority of the promotion for you. They get free content that they don’t have to design, and you in turn get the traffic that results from them promoting you. It can be really nerve racking though to apply for something like that. It’s ok though! Even if you feel like you have a small following, bloggers who have these applications will still want to share what you have.
Other bloggers will create pattern roundups or sharing different patterns from other designers. If they do a roundup it will look along the lines of something like “Top 10 Sweater Patterns” or “10 Free Spring Crochet Designs,” and sometimes they create applications to sign up to have your pattern be one of them. If they do, totally sign up! Or if someone else isn’t creating one of those roundups then make one of your own. One way that Ashley shares patterns is through her weekly Wrap Label Wednesday where she shares a designer’s pattern, creates a wrap label themed around it, and then shares it with her newsletter subscribers. She shared my Pizza My Heart pattern, and it was a great way to get some traffic to my blog!
Throughout the year people will be looking for different patterns for making homemade gifts for loved ones whether that’s on Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. If you create patterns that would be great gifts, plan to start promoting those a few weeks in advance of the holiday so that your customers can make them ahead of time. With Mother’s Day coming around soon, begin to promote your patterns that a mom would love whether that’s Crafty Facial Rounds like Ashley has, a bag, some spa towels, or anything else that might fit the holiday. On Instagram and Facebook, share photos of these patterns so that your audience can see them, and pin photos to Pinterest of with the pattern and link for it. Whether free or paid patterns, holidays are a great opportunity to gain traffic to your different platforms. If you only sell finished crocheted products you can use the same strategy!
Pinterest is one of the greatest free ways to get traffic to your blog. Most people think of Pinterest as another form of social media, but it’s actually formatted to be a search engine. Think of it as Google for crafters, DIYers, and anyone else who uses it. Where do you go when you’re looking for a new pattern or recipe? For me it’s always Pinterest, and the same way for a lot of other people! On Pinterest you’re able to pin photos created for your blog posts, products, patterns, etc. These photos get to directly link to your content, so when someone clicks on it they’re able to directly go to it. You can share these pins on group boards that other crafters follow, share on your own boards, and then have them be able to be shared with people who are looking for patterns. Ashley and I agree without a doubt that Pinterest is one of the best ways to promote your products!
When it comes to sharing your pins, one of the best tools that I’ve used to get my pins out there is the scheduling service Tailwind. Tailwind is a pin scheduler that finds the best times for your pins to be pinned to your boards to get the maximum reach. You can schedule your own pins or pins you find on Pinterest, and then Tailwind does all the work be pinning them at the best times. Through using Tailwind I’ve grown my Pinterest monthly views for my pins from just 1,000 to 1.9 million, and my engagements have gone up to 80 thousand. This includes both my pins and the pins I’ve found on Pinterest as well. All in all it is hard to find anything negative about Tailwind because it helps boost your growth so much. Click here to learn more about Tailwind!
This topic could have it’s whole entire postAbout half of Ashley’s product sales have come from people searching for items on Etsy. People will search for something like Messy Bun Beanie, and her Claire Bun Beanie will pop up. Ashley has made sure that all of her Etsy listings have been optimized for being searched on Etsy, and includes key words that people search for her different crochet items whether patterns or finished pieces. Etsy looks at the title of your product to see what search terms it will fit, so you want to include keywords in your title. Get in the mind of your customer by pretending to be them and think about what you’d search for to find your item. Even start typing in search terms on Etsy similar to your product and see what words pop up in the suggested searches as you type. Using the free service Etsy Rank is another awesome way to find keywords. You type in what words you’re thinking about, and it will show you stats of how many times it is searched, what the engagement of that term is, and what suggested terms that would be better for being found. Once you settle on some keywords, you’ll type those into your title and tags. When you’re first getting started out don’t include the name of your pattern till the very end of your keywords, since new people finding your items won’t know the name of your pattern. After you get more established then you can put the name of your pattern closer to your first words.
Another way to get your Etsy store optimized is having beautiful photos of your pattern. Ashley says that she hates to admit it, but often having beautiful models is what helps your pattern sell. If you make finished crochet beanies, ask some of your friends to model them, and offer them a free beanie in exchange for it. If you make amigurumi or home decor instead, then make sure you have well lit photos that show off your items.
If you’d like more ways of how you can promote your business, Ashley created an awesome blog post with 13 Creative Marketing Techniques To Grow Your Small Business. It’s full of 13 free ways that you can promote your products, and help you brainstorm more ways to market your business.
I hope that this post was helpful and help give you the confidence to keep promoting your business. If you ever are in doubt of what to do, or just need someone to brainstorm with, feel free to reach out to me and I would love to help you. I also have a Facebook group that you can join and get connected with other makers as they figure out the same things. You can click here to join it!
As a handmade business owner, you hear and see a lot of people talking about why a blog can help you grow your business. You might see income reports from bloggers showcasing how they are able to make thousands of dollars each month having a blog, and you wonder how you could ever attain that. Guess what, it’s totally possible! Having a blog gives you the opportunity to expand the reach of your handmade business, and provides a way to create content so that you don’t always have to be hustling for people to see the things you make.
This week on the E’Claire Makery Video Podcast, I had the chance to chat with Taylor from Taylor Lynn Crochet all about how have a blog helps you grow your handmade business. Taylor first learned how to crochet from her aunt when she was 13, but didn’t pursue it more till she was 23. Seeing all of the cute crochet items on Pinterest inspired her to want to make them herself, so she sat down with a hook, yarn, and lots of crochet video tutorials determined to learn how to crochet. Now she has her own crochet blog, makes beautiful crochet patterns, and even has her own courses! She’s seen her own success in her business once she had a blog, and now she loves helping others grow theirs.
You don’t have to do crochet though to have a blog for your handmade business! Any type of craft can have a blog to help grow their business. In my episode with Taylor we chat all about how to utilize your blog for growth, and here are the top 5 easy ways that a blog helps you grow your business:
(The rest of the post may be sponsored or contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. See my full affiliate disclosure here.)
Most handmade business owners use platforms like Instagram, Etsy, Facebook, and Pinterest for their business. Those platforms aren’t owned by you though, so if they shut down or you get removed from them, then all of the hard work you put on there just disappears without your own place where you’ve had all of it online. Having a blog helps provide a place for your content to be created, stored, and you don’t have to worry about if something would happen to your content on another site.
I love having the freedom to do what I want on my site. I can tailor it to be exactly how I want without any constraints from other sites. For my blog I use the combination of Bluehost and WordPress, which I absolutely love! Bluehost is a hosting website that is basically the landlord for my blog, as Taylor puts it. Through Bluehost I am able to have my own domain name without any other site name in it, and complete control over what I place on my blog. Plus, it comes with one click WordPress installment, which is the top blogging software for most bloggers. Together the combination of the two has helped me create awesome content exactly how I want it to be!
When you have a blog, you have the unique chance to build your brand beyond just what you put on social media or other sites. You can share more of who you are through blog posts you write, which helps your audience continue to connect with your content and in turn connecting with you. This helps build trust between you and your audience so that they feel like they are supporting you each time they buy from your business.
It also gives you a place to promote your products more in depth then what is on your listings or on sites like Instagram. Instead of working in the constraints of limited words on listings or social media posts, you can create a whole blog post that details your product. You can share the story behind it, what supplies you used, and anything else you think your reader would want to know. For example, this is great when you have a paid only crochet pattern that you want to share details about or that you a lot of questions asked about it. In the post you create for that pattern, you get to share how you thought of the pattern, what yarn and how much of it you used, what skill level could make the pattern, and why you love it. You can also share more photos the showcase your pattern even more.
As you search Pinterest or the web, you’ll see a lot of bloggers offering free patterns or tutorials on their blogs. For a long time I wondered why you would even want to do this since you aren’t making money from offering free content. I was wrong though! Free patterns or other free content allows you to share your designs, and at the same time drive traffic to your online shops. Say you have a free crochet pattern of a sweater that you want to offer on your blog. You create a post that shares the pattern that you made, and wonder how you can make sales from that. Include a blurb in the pattern or even create some sort of graphic where you can share that the reader can buy an inexpensive pdf in your shop. Link that blurb or graphic to your Etsy store (or other online shop), and people will often click on it and buy the pattern because they like to have a downloadable copy that they can print off easily. You can also have a photo in the sidebar of your blog, like I do on the right, where I share that I sell on Etsy and if someone clicks on that photo it will take them directly to my Etsy store.
One of my favorite things about having a blog is how many ways it gives you to have different revenue streams. This means that you don’t just have to rely on the sales in your shop to make money through your content. One of the first alternative income streams that people sign up for is placing ads on their blog. The best beginner ad service to use is Google Adsense, which is free to sign up for and there aren’t any required number of views on your blog to sign up for it. Essentially you just have to prove to google that you have a site, get traffic to it, and that you have content on your site. They have you install a code they provide by placing it in the header of your website, and then once they’ve reviewed and approved your request you get to have ads. You make money from ads each time someone visits your site. It’s a super minimal amount per view, but if you are able to get enough traffic to your blog then you can get a nice consistent revenue source from it.
Another way you can earn money through your blog is through affiliate sales. How do these work though? Affiliate programs are created by different companies where they will give you certain links specific to your site where every time someone clicks on the link it will install a cookie on the person’s webpage. This lets the company site know that the customer came from your site, and if the person buys from that site within a certain time frame then you get a percentage of that sale. A great beginner affiliate program to be a part of is the Amazon Affiliate Program, where you share links of products on Amazon and make sales when people buy from Amazon. This gives you chance to link almost any type of product you might want. However, you want to be careful that you recommend products that fit with your brand and content. If you run a crochet blog, then you don’t want to include a link for exercise equipment. Instead, your reader is looking for something like yarn or certain hooks you recommend. If you’re passionate about a product that you like to use, share why you love it and people will see that and want to get it themselves.
Once you have your link though, where do you put it? I put mine in the materials/supplies section of my blog posts when I’m sharing a free pattern. I’ll list yarn, hooks, and any other supplies they need, along with embedding the link for those products that I list. Then I’ll also include a part of My Amazon Picks where I’ll share a photo plus a link that amazon generates for that product. The photo links look like this:
When you’re including links for products, you want to put yourself in the shoes of your reader and have options for the different type of crafters or people you’ll be getting. Find the best deals for quality products that you would recommend, and include those in your post. If you used a more higher quality yarn for your project, include a link for that along with a few alternative cheaper yarns that could be used. The better the deal, the more likely your reader will want to click the link and buy the product, especially if you highly recommend it to them.
There are many other companies besides Amazon that offer affiliate programs such as Lion Brand Yarn, Joann’s, Michaels, and many other craft companies. There are even affiliate programs for certain services that you use such as me using Bluehost for my website. Just search the company you’re looking for with the term affiliate sales added to your search, and you’ll be able to see if a brand that you love has an affiliate program.
Probably the most important way that a blog helps grow your business is through being able to serve your audience through your site. You can serve your audience through providing free resources such as posts about business tips, having free patterns, creating printables, making tutorials to show how to do something, and making a space to inspire their crafty side. I use my blog to serve my audience through all of those ways, and I love getting to do it! If I have these skills and knowledge, why not use it to help other people! Serving others as a business owner provides so much reward as you hear from people how your one post helped inspire them to do something, or helped answer a question they’d been having. It creates a way to build a relationship between you and your reader, as they come to trust you for information or help on things they might be wondering. In serving them, the connection you build also helps your reader want to buy from you because they want to support you because of a way you have served them before. It is totally worth all of the time it might take to create a post, series, or course to help your reader!
I hope that this post helped inspire you to want to start a blog to help grow you business! I love getting to have a blog to serve my audience and help build up my business, and can’t say enough how rewarding the journey is even amidst any hardships that might come. Be sure to watch the latest episode of the E’Claire Makery Video Podcast for all of the tips that Taylor and I share! Also check out her amazing shop, blog, and Youtube channel.