How to Find Your Target Audience for Your Crochet Business

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?

Want to watch my interview with Pam? Check it out below!

What is a Target Audience?

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!

Where to Begin: Find Your Values

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!

3 Types of Buyers for Those Selling Products

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!

If you like this post you might also like:

1. 5 Basics of Crochet Garment Design (with Hooked Hazel) 2. 6 Easy Ways to Promote Your Handmade Products (with A Crafty Concept) 3. Essentials of Crochet & Knit Garment Design (with Knitatude)

Target Audiences for Crochet Bloggers

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!

Target Audiences for Crochet Pattern Designers

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.

Find Your People

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!

Happy stitching,

~Claire

6 Easy Ways to Promote Your Handmade Products (Featuring A Crafty Concept)

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!

Missed my podcast interview with Ashley? Check it out here:

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!

6 Easy Ways to Market Your Handmade Products by ECLAIREMAKERY.COM
Ashley from A Crafty Concept

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.)

6 Ways to Promote Your Handmade Products

Use social media for pattern or product releases:

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!

Have your own blog and website:

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!



6 Easy Ways to Market Your Handmade Products by ECLAIREMAKERY.COM

Do cross promoting!

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!

Plan out your patterns in advance around the holidays:

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!

Pin to Pinterest

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!

6 Easy Ways to Market Your Handmade Products by ECLAIREMAKERY.COM

Spend time making your Etsy optimized for being found:

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.

6 Easy Ways to Market Your Handmade Products by ECLAIREMAKERY.COM

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!

Happy stitching,

~Claire

Top 5 Ways A Blog Grows Your Handmade Business

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.

Top 5 Ways a Blog Grows Your Handmade Business with Taylor Lynn Crochet on ECLAIREMAKERY.COM

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:

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(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.)

1. A blog gives you your own space to create content.

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!


2. A blog helps you to build your brand and promote your products.

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.

Top 5 Ways a Blog Grows Your Handmade Business with Taylor Lynn Crochet on ECLAIREMAKERY.COM
Taylor Lynn in her Sumer Solstice Top

3. A blog provides a place to share free patterns, which in turn can drive traffic to your online shop.

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.

 

4. A blog gives you the chance to make money through alternative sources like Ads or Affiliate Sales.

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.

Top 5 Ways a Blog Grows Your Handmade Business with Taylor Lynn Crochet on ECLAIREMAKERY.COM
Taylor Lynn’s Market Setup

5. A blog gives you a chance to serve your audience.

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.

 

Happy stitching!

~Claire

 

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Rock Your Next Craft Fair with Robyn from Ami.and.emme: E’Claire Makery Podcast Episode 5

Craft fairs & markets: you see them pop up on social media as handmade business owners flock together to sell their handmade goodies together. Why would you really want to do one though? Or how do you even find one to sell all of your gorgeous handmade items at? One of the most common ways that handmade business owners make large amounts of revenue is through selling at craft fairs. It’s an event where anywhere from hundreds to thousands of people come to buy goodies that have been created by makers. It’s an opportunity where all of your customers come to you, and you don’t have to constantly be seeking them out.

Just because all of the customers are in one place doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do any work. You still have to hustle for each sale! There’s a lot of work that goes into each market, which makes the end result even more rewarding as you get to interact with new customers and make new friends. I got to do my first market last year, and I learned so much from everything that I did. I made mistakes that made the lead up extra hard, but there were also a lot of positives that came with it!

Rock your next Craft Fair or Market (feat. Robyn from Ami.and.emme) - ECLAIREMAKERY.COM

One of my Instagram friends, Robyn from ami.and.emme, did such a great job with being involved in a dozen markets last year, and she’s here today to share her advice on how to rock your next market or craft fair. Robyn first started crocheting when one of her friends taught her how to crochet. She enjoyed learning how to do it, and as she continued crocheting it soon led to people starting to ask her to make things for them. One friend asked if she could crochet a monkey for one of her kids, and even though she had no idea what she was doing, Robyn set out to learn how to make one. Once she did this project and made her first amigurumi, she knew she had found the crochet item she loved doing!

As she continued making things for her friends, her aunt suggested that she have a table at her community’s Christmas market that they were having. It was super small, but Robyn loved it and soon she started looking for other markets in her town. As she kept doing markets, she soon started doing them all throughout market season, and did 12 markets last year. With all of her market experience, she’s gathered together quite a few market tips to help you be able to rock your next craft fair!

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Rock You Next Craft Fair or Market with Ami.and.emme: E'Claire Makery Podcast Episode 5

What They Are

Before we begin the tips, we need to define what a market or craft fair is. It is a gathering of various vendors who have booths where their sell their goods and products, whether handmade or manufactured. One of the most common types of markets is a craft fair where handmade business owners sell their handmade crafts that they have made ranging from hats, and scarves, to bags and more. It’s one big giant gathering of makers all at once! They can range from have an attendance of 50 to 1000+, with a wide range of people who are looking for gifts or special items that people have made. Markets will be available a few times a year, and are most often available during the fall and winter months specifically around Christmas time. Sometimes there will be a spring or summer market available, but Robyn has found that during those markets she doesn’t make a high profit.

How to Find Them

Robyn found a lot of the craft fairs she’s taken part of through the community centers in her area that she lives in. Those places create events for the community and want to support locals. Social media is another great place to find markets or craft fairs as people set up Facebook events, or share them online. Look for craft fairs and markets that are targeted at handmade items, because Robyn has found that the people who attend those have a better appreciation for the items that you make. You’ll also find a lot of the craft fairs through connections that you make at other markets. Some people will be really involved in the local markets, and they’ll be able to share about them with you as you continue to build connections with them. Robyn found that as she continued to make friends at her different markets that she was able to become involved in the larger markets that were in her area, and now she’s seen her access to markets increase dramatically through the friendships she’s made.

Rock your next Craft Fair or Market (feat. Robyn from Ami.and.emme) - ECLAIREMAKERY.COM

Products to Sell

When it comes to products to sell at markets, each one is different. Sometimes you’ll have one product you make sell very well at one market, so you’ll make a bunch of it hoping that it will sell the same amount at the next one. Then you’ll go to the next market and it won’t sell at all. The best way to combat this is to have a variety of products that represent your brand, without having too much variety that your brand gets lost in so many items.

As you’re looking through the products that you make choose the ones that you feel reflect you the best. Choose a majority of small items that are at a low price point, so that people who are looking for quick impulsive buys that they’ll want to spend money on. I had some crocheted brooches that I sold for $10 at the Christmas market that I did, and they were the only item that I sold out of. I made them super last minute, and only had them on a piece of card stock with Holly Leaf Brooches $10 written on them. I’m embarrassed even thinking about how I packaged them, haha. However, people loved seeing a small item that they could grab as a quick gift or thing to spoil themselves with.

Robyn sells a lot of small items like her octopus or her little F Bombs that she designed. She also creates items that grandparents would be able to buy multiple of in different colors for their grandkids. She’ll have her plushies in colors that will appeal to boys and girls, and she said that sometimes the kids are drawn to items you wouldn’t expect which she loves to see! It’s fun to see people get excited about different items that you make, and even if they don’t buy the items that you create it’s a little bit of an ego boost when you see someone enjoy your item, haha. Make sure you enjoy making your items though, because Robyn says that if you hate making it then get rid of it! You want to enjoy what you’re making!

Rock your next Craft Fair or Market (feat. Robyn from Ami.and.emme) - ECLAIREMAKERY.COM

Set Up

When it comes to setting up your booth or table, you want to create a display that will be able to catch people’s eyes so that they are drawn to coming to your table to look at your products. How do you do this though? One of the most common suggestions that people say is to create height with you set up. This can either be from something in the background of your booth, stands on the table, or stacking crates to display your items. You also want to have a range of large to small items that will capture people’s attention.

Robyn’s set up has developed over the year into something that she’s found has helped optimize her space and display her products. She got retractable banners from Vistaprint that display photos of her items that are on her Instagram grid, and serve as a catalog of sorts so that she doesn’t need to have all of the items that she can make there. People are able to point to her banner and ask her if she makes them, which opens a door for her to do custom orders. On her table she uses small stands to display her items at different heights. She even makes huge versions of her items that help capture people’s attention from across the room, and she doesn’t expect these to sell but instead uses them as a marketing tool. She has them at a high price point, since they take a long time to do, but doesn’t sell them too often. Having the variety of height options and item sizes, has really helped boost her sales at her booth.

A lot of times you have no idea what the location of your booth at the craft fair will be. You pull up the day of and get your assignment where your table or booth space is hoping that it’s in a prime location. It’s exciting and scary all in one! Sometimes they’ll put you near the front or you’ll be stuck in a back corner somewhere, so the best thing to do is be prepared for anything. Even weeks before your market starts, it doesn’t hurt to have a plan for what you want to have your setup before hand. I was told that I had a 9’x9′ space for my booth instead of just having one table to put my items on, so I knew that I wanted to utilize as much space as I could. I had some leftover decorations from my wedding, and one of those were two vintage doors that I knew I wanted to use in my booth to hang some of my velvet hats on. They also would help create height for my booth to draw people’s eyes to it. Then I had a table where I displayed my items on small crates that I got at Walmart, or just had the items spread out on my table. I found ways to create opportunities to have people be able to interact with my booth, and I found that helped people connect to my items.

Rock your next Craft Fair or Market (feat. Robyn from Ami.and.emme) - ECLAIREMAKERY.COM

Making Sales

With the unpredictability of each market you go to, it can be hard to know how to make sales to the customers that pass by your booth. Robyn has found a few different ways to help connect to customers and make sales:

  • Always be standing – When you’re standing at your booth you help show that you are ready to help or talk to anyone who might be interested in your booth. Often markets will provide you with a chair to sit down at your booth, but Robyn has found that by standing the majority of the time, she’s able to interact with customers more.
  • Say hi and create small talk – Most of the time people won’t naturally come up to your booth, especially if you’re tucked in a back corner like I was. So it’s up to you to draw them in. The easiest way to do this is to say hi to anyone that walks by and create small talk with them. People are more inclined to by from a friendly person, versus someone who seems more closed off. I would say hi to everyone that walked by and invite them into my booth to come check out what I had made. This increased the foot traffic of my booth significantly! I’d also create small talk with them to build connection between us. Comment on their jacket, an item they’ve bought, or even asking about how they like the other vendors, are all ways to connect to your customers.
  • Be working on something – People love seeing others who are making something right there. Robyn is always crocheting something while she’s at her market, and she’s found that this helps draw people in to talk with her and interact with her items.
  • Clearly communicate what you do – I can’t even count the amount of times I invited people to come into my booth, told them to feel free to touch my items, and shared that I could make the hats I made in any color they wanted. People were really hesitant to touch my items at first, especially parents with kids, but I would assure them that everything was really soft and meant to be interacted with. They all loved getting to feel my items! I’d also share that I could do custom orders for certain items if they wanted it. The majority of my sales on my market day were from making custom orders for people that I made and delivered to them after the market. If you share what you’re able to do, you’d be surprised at what opportunities present themselves!
  • Hand out lots of business cards – This is one of the most important things to do at your market! Every time you interact with a potential customer, share a business card with them. This helps get your business out there more, even if they don’t buy from you. By handing out your business cards, people will be able to find your business after the market and it provides the opportunity for them to order from you later on.

Catch up on the other E’Claire Makery Podcast Episodes here:

Essential Tips

As Robyn did over a dozen markets last year, she found that she had a few essential things that she did or had at each market that helped make it easier:

  • Have lots of snacks! – As you’re trying to make sales at your market, you can easily lose track of time and will soon find seven hours have passed without you having eaten. Especially so if you didn’t pack any snacks. Making time to eat snacks at your market will help you have the energy to get through the entire market. Robyn even schedules friends or family to come visit the market, and bring her snacks so that she remembers that she needs to eat.
  • Have a good tablecloth – It might seem like a small detail, but a nice tablecloth can really help tie a display together and make it even better. You’ll want one that can fit on a variety of sizes of rectangular tables, because sometimes you’ll have a short table at one market and a long one at another. You’d be surprised at how a nice tablecloth makes a table look better. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy though!
  • Have a market kit – Create a market kit to take with you to each craft fair where you’re able to keep things that you might need in case something goes wrong at the market, which it most likely will. This kit could include things ranging from a sewing kit, tape, safety pins, or tools you might need.
  • Don’t do any market prep the night before – It can be really tempting to try to cram in some last minute market prep before the big day. However, this often can be counterproductive because you will get exhausted the night before, and markets are already tiring enough as there are. Use the night instead to make sure you have everything you need, and most importantly get a good night’s sleep!

Final Thoughts

I hope that this post has helped encourage, educate, or get you excited about doing a market or craft fair! Overall, markets and craft fairs are a great experience for growing your business. You can have the opportunity to make a lot of new friends with the other vendors around you, and you get to interact with your customers face to face throughout the day. Don’t get me wrong, the whole day can be challenging. However, the benefits of growth both personal and in your business help make markets an unforgettable experience that you’ll want to be a part of!

Be sure to check out Robyn’s Instagram @ami.and.emme and her Etsy store to see all of her cute plushies that she makes!

Happy stitching,

~Claire

How to Create an Effective Instagram Strategy with Toni From TLYarnCrafts

Instagram: you either love it or feel like you’re constantly fighting it. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get the sensation that I’ll always be lost in the vast network that is Instagram. However, as I’ve been growing and learning more about Instagram, I’ve learned that it doesn’t always have to be that way! Instead of Instagram being a stressful situation, it can go back to being the fun social setting that it’s supposed to be! One of the easiest ways to help relieve the stress of Instagram is to have a Instagram strategy. But what is an Instagram strategy and, more importantly, how do you make one?

Here to talk about the topic of Instagram Strategy is Toni from the blog tlyarncrafts.com. You might know her for her stylish designs, yarn and coffee photos, and her positive attitude that’s so inspiring to others. Toni is one of the reasons that I got back into crochet after I saw some of her gorgeous designs, and instantly wanted to make them. I’ve loved following along with her, and her successful Instagram account has inspired me to get to the point she’s at as well. When she agreed to come on my video podcast, I couldn’t have been more thrilled!

Our maker topic this week is how to create an effective Instagram strategy for you business. What is an Instagram strategy you might ask? An Instagram strategy is a plan that you create to reach your goals on Instagram. Some goals you might have could be:

  • Growth: Increasing your following on Instagram to reach a certain amount of followers.
  • Engagement: From likes to comments, engagement measures the interaction you have with you followers.
  • Growth outside of Instagram: if you’re running a handmade business, you might be using Instagram as a marketing tool to help promote your business in order to have your followers go to your other platforms. That could range anywhere from having people visit your Etsy store, Ravelry account, Facebook, blog, or website.

Toni’s strategy centers on the third goal type, that of growing your business outside of Instagram. She uses her Instagram account as a funnel to her pattern store, blog, and website. I try to do the same thing by creating content on my Instagram that promotes my other channels, along with creating a community with my followers. The next question you might ask is how do you use your Instagram to reach these goals?

Click the photo below to download my FREE Instagram Planner Printable to help you plan your content!

Steps for Creating your strategy

  • Create Consistency: You might hear the word consistency thrown around a lot when it comes to Instagram, but what is it referring to? Consistency has to do with using the same things repeatedly on your Instagram account. From having photos that share the same overall look, captions that have a similar message, or what time you post each day, you can easily adapt your strategy to do this. In order to have consistency you can:
    • Use the same filter on all of your photos so that your grid looks like it fits the same theme.
    • Have similar content in your feed. Toni has yarn, coffee, her cats, and her designs in her feed consistently. That doesn’t mean that you have to do the same things, or that you need to constantly stage your photos. Toni loves posting things that she likes, and by doing that her photos look like they all fit together. She also uses a certain color palette in her business so that things have a natural transition.
    • Post on the same days around similar times – Instagram is a sucker for consistency and the app loves when you post on the same days at the same times. Toni posts on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. She gives herself the weekends and a day in the middle of the week off, and then posts on the same times during the week. Through a lot of trial and error she’s been able to find what times during those days that she’s found work best for her engagement with her audience. In your business Instagram analytics you get to see what times your audiences interacts with your account the most. Mine is between 12pm-12:40pm. You can experiment with posting your posts at different times in order to see when you get the most engagement from them. It’s ok if you don’t get the best response right away! You’ll figure out what works for you in time, and soon you’ll be able to get your optimum engagement!
How to Create an Effective Instagram Strategy with Toni from TLYarnCrafts: E'Claire Makery Podcast Episode 4
Veronica Cardi by TLYarnCrafts
  • Plan around seasons: When creating products or designs in your handmade business, plan around what season you’ll be posting the content in. Toni has her designs planned all the way through September so that she knows what she’ll focus on each season. If you want to create a wearable design for spring or summer then focus on light and airy designs that are made with lightweight yarns. Beach coverups, dresses, tank tops, shirts, shawls, and baby all do great in the spring and summer. Whereas if you’re in fall and winter you’ll want to have thick and chunky designs meant to keep your audience warm. Sweaters, hats, scarves, cardigans, and blankets are perfect fall and winter items.
How to Create an Effective Instagram Strategy with Toni from TLYarnCrafts: E'Claire Makery Podcast Episode 4
  • Create an experience for your audience: Instagram is first and foremost a social network that helps us connect to people that we’d never have the chance to meet in our normal lives. It’s a platform for us to share what we make, our lives, and create a community with our followers. When you’re creating content, create something that provides a sense of connection to your audience, and draws their interest so that they want to keep coming back. That could be posting a photo of what you’re working on with a cup of coffee, a picture of yourself modeling what you’ve made, or a picture that helps convey what’s going on in your life. This helps create a sense of friendship with your followers, where you can develop genuine relationships with them. When people feel like we’re their best friend then we create trust with them, which makes it feel like instead of buying something from us they’re supporting us.
  • Use your caption to create interest: Captions give us the chance to express ourselves and connect our lives to our photos and content that we’re creating. It’s your chance to express something about your business, share a story, or ask questions to build a relationship with your audience. Toni’s captions maintain a consistent formula that she’s seen provide her with some success. Her formula is:
    • Begin with something short like a phrase or a funny anedote
    • In the middle have a series of info that can range from details about a pattern, when a design is coming out, a story, or any other things she wants to convey to her audience.
    • End with a call to action that invites your audience to do something such as “You can find this pattern (or item) for sale in my Etsy store” or “Head to my blog through the link in my bio.” This gives your audience an extra chance to interact with your content beyond just liking it.
How to Create an Effective Instagram Strategy with Toni from TLYarnCrafts: E'Claire Makery Podcast Episode 4
  • Utilize hashtags to connect to the audience your reaching out to: Instagram hashtags are the best way to get your content out there! You are allowed to use 30 hashtags in your captions, and Toni recommends to use all of them. That way you have the most chances for getting your content to the largest audience. What type of hashtags should you use though? Toni tries to use about half niche specific hashtags that relate to her audience (crocheters) and half aesthetic related hashtags that express the feel of the photo. She’s found this balance has helped her have the most effectiveness with her content. Research hashtags that relate to your niche and craft to help you know what specific hashtags your audience follows. When you research them you can go on different makers’ accounts that you love and see what hashtags they tend to use. This has helped me a lot in finding hashtags that I want to use with my photos! To keep track of all of the ones you want to use, you can keep a note in your phone that contains the hashtags you like, so that you never lose track of them.
  • Create a bio that captures attention: Your bio is the first place that new audience members can get to know you and your business, so you want to draft your bio around who you’re wanting to attract. Tell them what they can see on your account (like ‘coffee, crochet, and cats’), where you live, a link of where to find you on other platforms, and a few small things about yourself. The simpler the better! Even use emojis to help break up your text and make it more inviting. Your bio doesn’t have to be super complicated, because sometimes the easier it is to read the easier it is to connect.
How to Create an Effective Instagram Strategy with Toni from TLYarnCrafts: E'Claire Makery Podcast Episode 4

As some final thoughts to conclude these tips, just remember that everyone’s Instagram experience is different. Just because one person succeeded with one strategy doesn’t mean that it will work for you, and that’s ok! With a little hard work and experimentation, you can find that strategy that will make your Instagram soar. Don’t focus on fighting the algorithm because you don’t own it, and can’t call Instagram to find out what are the best things to do. Keep tweaking and experimenting, and soon it will all click. You’ve got this maker!

For more amazing tips like these and beautiful patterns from Toni, visit her on her website www.tlyarncrafts.com, and on Instagram @tlyarncrafts!

Happy stitching,

~Claire

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How to Create an Effective Instagram Strategy with Toni from TLYarnCrafts: E'Claire Makery Podcast Episode 4