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.
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