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 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.
For most knitters or crocheters, the dream is that we’d be able to work with some big yarn company. A big company like Lion Brand, Red Heart, or any other large yarn company would see our work, fall in love, and send us boxes upon boxes of yarn that we could design with to our heart’s content. For some of the big designers out there it’s the reality for them. How do you get to that point though? How do you get yarn companies, magazines, or craft companies to start working with you?
Wonder no more because on this week’s episode of the E’Claire Makery Podcast, I had the opportunity to chat with Lee from the crochet and knit blog Coco Crochet Lee, who constantly is working with yarn and craft companies. Her style is unmistakeable with it’s whimsical photos, gorgeous yarn, and multiple encouraging and inviting social media accounts. Lee has been one of my favorite makers to follow along with as I’ve watched her continue to grow exponentially over the past year or so. She’s a social media expert, and that’s a fact. It’s actually one of her jobs that she gets to do with the craft company Annie’s!
How did she all the way to that point though? It took a lot of hard work! Lee first learned how to crochet and knit after her daughter was born, and started working at a yarn magazine, which entered her into the world of design. She went to school for communications and always had a fascination with social media. Having various jobs in the design world ranging from doing Annie’s social media account, to tech editing for a magazine, and being an editor of a crochet publication as well. She’s been no stranger to crochet and design. After some fellow design friends gave her a push in the right direction, she started trying her hand at design and started her social media platforms with the name Coco Crochet Lee.
Now here she is today with a huge following on almost every platform, and she came on the podcast to share some of her tips and tricks. In our episode we had the chance to chat about how you go about starting to work with different companies or magazines, and more specifically how to optimize your social media accounts to gain those companies’ attention. Let’s jump right in!
1.Build up your social media: Your social media account essentially is your portfolio showcasing who you are and what your designs look like. Social media provides the wonderful opportunity to put your designs out there to the world, but sometimes it is so hard to not lose yourself amidst all of the other designers out there. How could you offer something? Guess what? You totally have something to offer! Each designer has their own unique voice that they get to contribute to the maker community, and there is an audience out there on social media waiting to hear you. Yarn companies and magazines love when they get to see who you are on your social media. Create an Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and any other social media that might help showcase who you are. Build up your following on those accounts, because if yarn companies see you have a large following then they’ll equate that with you have experience with your craft.
2. Be yourself: It might sound cliche, but designers say it for a reason! You’ll never get ahead by pretending to be someone else. If you’re always trying to copy other designers or make your photos just like their’s, then you’ll never be able to put your own style out there. When we get lost in the comparison came then our voice disappears, and we never get to share who we are and that unique spin on designs that only each one of us can make. Yarn companies are looking for people who have something to offer their company that is different than the rest, and if they never get to see who you are then they’ll never know if you could offer them anything. They also won’t accept any designs that look too similar to other designers.
3. Don’t let your fear stop you: Fear can be the biggest hinderance to us pursuing our dreams and going for opportunities that come our way. Just one drop of fear can lead to us never taking steps to put ourselves out there. We can’t it let it get the best of us though when we are trying to pursue our dreams! There are so many amazing opportunities out there, and they are totally attainable if you keep working towards them.
4. “Why not me?”: What does this one mean you might ask? Well when you’re looking at other designers do you ever wish that you could have the same opportunities that they have as well? Instead of thinking that it’s only out there for them, begin thinking why it couldn’t be you in that spot. With hard work you can be in the same spot as them. Let that motivate you to keep pushing forward and taking steps towards your goals. Don’t let other designer’s success discourage you, instead use it as your big motivator for getting to the same point as them. Your hopes are achievable!
5. Search for submission calls and keep your eye out for designer calls: Crochet magazines and any other magazine you can dream of constantly have submission calls where designers get to submit their designs for the chance to be featured. If you Google crochet magazine submission calls then you’ll be able to find them for any magazine you could want! Yarn companies also will have searches where they look for brand reps for their company. If they start advertising they want brand reps then apply for it and see what happens! You won’t always succeed with either of these things, but with each opportunity you go for you’ll get closer to your goal.
6. Have a plan: When you go to submit an idea or you are pitching something to a company, the more of a plan you have the better. Have an idea and plan of the design you are presenting. Even better, have it completed so that they can see what the finished product looks like. They want to see that you mean business, and know your stuff. The more effort you put into your plan, designs, and idea then the more they’ll see that you really want to do this. Also, the easier it is for a company, in terms of how much work they’ll have to invest in your idea, the better. Do most of the work for them and they’ll be more drawn to your idea.
7. Use your social media as a funnel to your different platforms: Whether you’re doing this as a hobby or a business, aim to have your various social media platforms funnel into each other. Use Instagram to funnel to Facebook or your where you sell patterns, funnel people to your blog through facebook, and on your blog funnel people to Pinterest or your patterns. When all of your platforms work together, there will be a shift of growth in all areas.
8. Take high quality resolution photos: Your photography is your tool to show people the quality of your designs. The lower the quality the harder it is to see your designs, and it shows less professionalism. People’s eyes are drawn to good quality photos, so aim to take these! If you don’t know how, Youtube and Pinterest have a wealth of photography tips and tutorials to help your rock taking your photos.
9. Utilize Instagram as your photography portfolio of your designs: Instagram in itself is a photography and social platform. So utilize that! It’s hard to know how to get those photos out there to the world though. Lee had some great tips to offer for helping utilize Instagram that she’s learned from her own experience:
a. Don’t edit caption within the first day: When you do this then the Instagram algorithm will have to reevaluate your post and you’ll lose whatever stats on engagement you already had.
b. Use the 10-10-10 rule in your hashtags: When you’re choosing hashtags use 10 hashtags with a large usage, 10 medium usage hashtags that aim at your audience, and 10 small niche specific hashtags. If you get to the top of your small niche hashtags then Instagram will prioritize your post in those hashtags, and then prioritize you in the next largest hashtags you’ve used. The hashtags are building blocks that can help you grow in each one you use.
c. Post once a day: Instagram seems to run on a 24 hour cycle, so posting once a day helps you get the most out of what the Instagram algorithm is doing to analysize your post.
Wow, what an awesome collection of tips! I know that I learned so much from Lee and am excited to continue to implement these things into my business. You can check out her blog at www.cococrochetlee.com, her Instagram, and her Facebook. She has an incredible amount of knowledge, and she has many more tips she shares on all of her platforms. Be sure to tune into the podcast next week and subscribe to my channel where Toni from TLYarnCrafts will share how to create an Instagram strategy.
It’s here! The very first episode of the E’Claire Makery Podcast is finally here! I am so excited about it and can hardly believe it. If you’ve followed me on Instagram you’ll have heard me talk about wanting to do a video podcast on my Youtube channel. I recently became obsessed with podcasts, and while listening to them I thought, “Hey, I think I could do this, and have it geared towards makers.” I’ve found it so hard to know how to navigate through all of the different aspects of being a maker from the business side of things, to getting a following on Instagram, to knowing how to promote your patterns, it has been a road of hard work and learning as I go. I wanted to create something where other makers could come together as we learn from those who have gone before us.
Enter in, the E’Claire Makery Podcast! The goal of the podcast is to have other makers share their maker journeys that they have taken and any of their tips from a wide range of maker related topics. I have a ton of awesome makers coming onto the podcast that you aren’t going to want to miss! Each episode will be live on my Youtube channel, and will have a corresponding blog post that details the same things talked about in the video podcast if you’re more of a reader. The very first episode of the podcast is where I share my maker journey of how I’ve gotten to where I am today! I’d like to share it with you here today on the blog as well.
(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.)
I first learned how to crochet when I was seven years old, on a cold winter’s night on my grandma’s couch. My Grandma gathered all of the young cousins, including myself, onto the couch to teach us all how to crochet. Our young selves had no idea what crocheting was, and despite that my grandma handed us each a crochet hook and some yarn. She then started showing us how to chain stitch, and as soon as I did that I was hooked on it. (Pun totally intended, hehe.) I was amazed as before my eyes the yarn was turning into something else. How was it even possible? That fascination and curiosity began my long time love of fiber arts.
Soon after that night at my Grandma’s, I decided that I wanted to learn more about how to crochet. I asked my mom if she could teach me, and she ended up helping me learn more beyond the basics. That then led to me wanting to also learn how to knit, and I made my very own scarf. From then on I continued to learn more and more about crocheting and knitting. I got a book on amigurumi when I was around 12 years old, and taught myself, with the help of youtube, how to make my very own amigurumi dog. Let’s just say that it didn’t turn out exactly as the picture depicted it, haha. Instead of a round face, it had more of a long oval, and a really dorky smile on it.
Despite that failure at making amigurumi, I didn’t let that stop me! I continued to work my way through the amigurumi book, because I wanted to be able to make my own plushies. As I grew better at making amigurumi, I decided that I was old enough (13 years old) and had a relative amount of experience to try my hand at designing. My very first design was a little cake with whip cream and chocolate on top. After making that design, I knew then that I wanted to be a crochet designer. I loved the idea of creating designs that people could use to make their very own crochet creations, and getting to do that as a full time job. I started branching out into more designs such as making some lego Star Wars inspired characters. I even began to look into how I could start my very own Etsy store.
However, all of my dreams of becoming a designer came to a screeching halt when I was in high school. During my junior year of high school I began showing signs of chronic acid reflux. At first my doctor thought that it could be fixed with some medication and a change to my diet. I started taking the medication, but my body wanted none of it. Every time we would try a new acid reflux medication, my body would accept it for a short time and then reject it. My chronic acid reflux soon developed into the most intense burning sensation in my chest that felt like a hole was burning through my esophagus, and I became pretty much completely bedridden. I was in such constant pain that I could barely get out of my bed, and I became a pain filled hermit that watched Netflix all day long laying in bed and hoping that the pain would stop. The only other thing I could do besides watch tv was crocheting or knitting. During the time that my doctor was trying to figure out how to help me, I knitted an entire blanket and crocheted a bunch of amigurumi. I prayed constantly for some way to make the pain stop, because going through the amount of pain I was in was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. After about a year of trying to figure things out, my doctor decided that I qualified for a laparoscopic Nissan fundoplication surgery, which would fix the acid reflux by reinforcing my esophagus.
The surgery ended up helping with the acid reflux, but it brought about a whole new set of stomach problems. When you have the surgery that I had, your body is getting a whole new anatomy, which I learned that the body doesn’t like it one bit. I soon developed more chronic stomach pain that was different than acid reflux, and my doctors were constantly astounded and confused about what it was. I tried going on restrictive food diets, different homeopathic remedies, and still I was left in bed. My dream of being a crochet designer slowly was fading away as I lay in bed trying to not focus on my pain too much. I soon stopped crocheting and knitting because doing them didn’t seem worth it amidst the pain I was in.
After almost a year of trying to figure out what was wrong with me, I started losing too much weight, and my parents decided that it was time to take me to a specialist and settled on going to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Let me tell you, that place is amazing! Within a few days they were able to run all of the tests they needed to on me that would normally take 6 months to do all of them. The doctors there were able to rule out my condition being a lot of things, and were able to figure out that it was a chronic pain syndrome known as Central Sensitization Syndrome (CSS). By having CSS, that means that my body’s nerve endings are over firing , which makes my nerves 10 times more sensitive than other peoples. That means that my body registers almost everything as pain. I never know when a wave of pain is going to hit, but after a time I’ve been able to figure out how to live with it. I started exercising and being able to start living a relatively normal life.
Despite starting to live a relatively normal life, I didn’t think that my dreams could actually come true, but that changed when I started dating my now husband, Stephen. He saw all of the creativity that I had, and he encouraged me to start designing and using my fiber arts skills again. Soon I began designing cross stitch patterns, which led me to start following designers on Instagram and eventually some of those designers began to include crochet designers. I was so inspired seeing what they were doing that I decided that it was about time that I pick up my crochet hooks and yarn again. Once I did that, there was no going back. I needed to pursue it. As I shared my hopes with Stephen, he kept encouraging me to start my blog and business. I honestly would have never started it if not for him. He encouraged me so much, and he constantly supports me.
Now here I am today! I’ve started my crochet design business, began designing patterns again, have met so many wonderful people on Instagram, and have been able to have opportunities I never dreamed of. Who would have thought that I would be featured on two major crochet blogs this last year, have two yarn companies sponsor me for different things, and get the chance to start my own video podcast. I absolutely love what I do, and would have never dreamed that it would be possible a few years ago. The girl who sat in her bed in intense pain wouldn’t have dreamed she’d be here today.
I want to encourage you if you also struggle with chronic pain or feel as if you could never start pursuing your dream. It is possible! If you work hard, keep trying, and never give up you can pursue something that you’d never dream of doing. Your hopes are worth it even if you might feel that they are not! You can do it maker! I believe in you!
I hope that my story has helped encourage you in some way, and that it will inspire you to follow your dreams! I can’t wait to share more maker stories with you through my podcast, and help you rock it in your crafty ventures this year. Let’s be friends and grow together!