A business podcast just for crochet business owners where we learn how to grow your crochet business and set it up for success!
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Inside this Episode
Below is a breakdown of each section in this episode. Feel free to skip ahead to the parts that interest you most. Each section has the timestamp beside it so you know exactly when the subject starts and ends.
You can find the live replay of this Instagram live video on my IGTV!
Welcome [0:00- 0:27]
For Etsy is there a way to calculate how much I should raise my prices for the $35 free shipping and ads? [0:28- 4:24]
As a newbie how can I make more sales? [4:25- 12:57]
What are the best ways for a new designer to get noticed? [12:58- 17:08]
How do you go about serving both designers and crochet customers? [17:10- 23:14]
I serve women and want them to feel beautiful, can you throw me some spring ideas? [23:15- 23:55]
How do you handle when you get more orders than you expected? [23:56- 32:08]
Do you recommend starting a blog? [32:09- 37:11]
How do you pick helpers to make sure the design is made like yours, and how do you pay them? [37:12- 40:19]
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Hey, Instagram fam! I am so stinking excited to be doing Tuesday Talks over here on Instagram for the first time in almost 1 or almost 2 years! Let’s dive in and check this first question-
For Etsy is there a way to calculate how much I should raise my prices for the $35 free shipping and ads?
I think the $35 for free shipping is smart because it will help you show up in the algorithm more, according to the Etsy seller handbook.
I don’t know if there is a way to calculate it (like a website or calculator app) but you can calculate it yourself. So say you have a $10 beanie listing. The beanie is $10, Shipping cost is $3, so the total for the customer to buy the beanie is $13. They would have to buy four $10 beanies in order to get the free shipping.
So you can have the $10 beanie with the $3 shipping, so they would pay $13, but if you turned on the “You get free shipping with $35 or more orders” they would have to buy 4 beanies just to get that. All the beanies would be going to the same place so that is only one shipping label for you, and it would probably only cost you $5 or less to ship them all. That would be a better deal for you, I don’t have it all “mathed” out but it makes sense off the top of my head.
You would get a $40 order then you would pay the shipping and it would be like $4. So you wouldn’t have to change your prices to accommodate that.
If you wanted to say free shipping on everything, wether their total was $35 or not like everything is free shipping like your $10 beanies, I would then raise my $10 beanies up to $13 because it costs me $3 to ship that beanie.
I think this is just US-specific. I have my shop set to do free shipping for orders over $35 but my international folks still have to pay shipping. I don’t know how that works in other countries, like if I lived in Canada would it be $35 for my Canadian folks? I think it would make sense for it to be $35 in your country.
If you want to do an individual listing where everything has free shipping I would raise my prices to cover the total amount of shipping. So if I had a $10 listing and it cost $3 to ship I would make that listing $13. I hope that makes sense!
As a newbie how can I make more sales?
The first thing you are going to want to do is nail down your niche, and your ideal customer. Then you want to start serving her really really well with the line of products that you sell in your shop. The amount of color options you offer, you want everything to be catered to her completely.
If you have been following along with my Wild Grace journey. (I am starting a new shop called “Wild Grace”) I had two different types of yellow, I had one called tobacco, and one called mustard. The tobacco was a little bit more brown-y orange, compared to the mustard and I was like UGH I love both of these colors- but which one would my ideal customer like more?
My ideal customer for Wild Grace is a boho baby girl mom. She is very trendy, and cares very much about appearances, her house is decorated top to bottom with all the trendy styles. Her and her kid dress really really cute. They dress in what’s popular, and trendy, and people can recognize what they are wearing. You know that kind of thing, she cares very much about looks and looking put together.
So between my two colors, I chose tobacco because it’s more boho and it’s more trendy than the mustard. The mustard is more wildly seen I guess, where as the tobacco is still trendy but not as seen which will make her stand out. It will make people go OOO I love your hat!
I thought specifically about my ideal customer, so I am not offering both colors. I am only offering tobacco because there is no need for me to give her a billizon choices when I know what’s best for her as the shop owner. Like I know her heart, I know her brain, and I know what she would want as my ideal customer. So I curated my product line to what would benefit her in some way, and the color palette choices that I am giving her have been curated around her specifically.
I am going to have beanies in my shop which are my addi beanies, and they have “Mommy & Me” tags from Angie & Britt. These are the only style of beanie that I offer, because it’s going to be in the trendy colors that I know she will want. It’s in a very clean simple style but it’s still high end because of the yarn I am using. Plus the tags I am using are from a handmade seller, and the poms on top of the hat are from another handmade seller so as a mom she will be proud that she is supporting 3 handmade businesses women with this purchase not just one.
So find who your ideal customer is- who could you serve easily? We want to choose the easiest route.
You can look at who you are as a person, because usually your ideal customer is very similar to yourself or who you once were, or potentially who you are going to be. A couple of my Crochet Boss Academy people have shops for babies but they are not mothers yet, so their ideal customer is based on who they plan to be in the future.
My ideal customer is a girl mom. I am a girl mom, that’s what I know. It’s easy for me to relate to her and serve her well. My ideal customer for Crochet Boss Academy is crocheters who want to start a successful crochet business. They want to just generate a few hundred extra dollars a month to help the family, they feel very overwhelmed, they don’t know where to start. They feel like they are getting all this different information from all these different areas and not a clear path that they need to take from start to finish and grow a business. That is my ideal customer for Crochet Boss Academy and that’s where I was 8 years ago, when I first decided to start selling crochet items. 2016 is when I opened my Etsy shop, but before that I was selling on Facebook and that was not organized at all so I like to go my Etsy opening date for my official business date.
So find you ideal customer. Nail down your product line that is going to serve her well. Let each piece in your shop solve a problem for your ideal customer or raise her quality of life.
My bitty boho bibs are 100% cotton, they are freaking adorable, they look so cute as an accessory for her baby. They look great in flat lay photos, which is great because my ideal customer cares very much how things look on her Instagram. So when she is putting together her babies outfits they are going to look really cute together for her photos. The trendy boho colors are made with a durable but soft cotton so you can actually use them. This isn’t just a statement bib that they can buy to take a picture in then take it back off so it doesn’t get dirty. No, this is a bib they can actually use. So their baby will stay Instagram ready while eating her messy food. Then you can just toss it in the washer and take it out and it’s good to go. That is why I am selling my bitty boho bibs.
These are the reasons I decided to sell the specific products I am going to sell, because it’s going to benefit my specific ideal customer.
So if you can figure out what you are good at, figure out what makes you different or unique, or you- like me I am a girl mom. There is nothing unique about that, but not everyone is a girl mom. Toddlers is my ideal customers kids age, and Ava is past that. So I have been there, done that. So I am talking to moms as the expert that’s been through the toddler phase. I can easily do those things, it’s not going to take a lot of mental energy on my part to serve her well because I went through what she is going through right now. So choose an ideal customer based off of who you are.
Or you can look at your best sellers and try to build your ideal customer off of that. Take your very best seller and figure out what type of person buys that and why. Then your second best seller and figure out how you can sell that second best seller to the same person. Then make a list of 5-10 items that you could market to the same person, with each product solving a pain point or raise their quality of life.
That is where I would start, and I know that is very long term, like big picture kind of things. If you are just wanting to make money really fast, make what’s trendy. When messy bun beanies went viral, pocket shawls, the “little aliens”- if something goes viral and you want to start making them that will be the fastest way to make money but it is not the fastest way to grow a business. The best way to grow a lasting business is finding your ideal customer as soon as possible and serving her living pants off.
What are the best ways for a new designer to get noticed?
So usually I don’t do a lot of sharing about being a designer. My specific audience is people who want to sell finished pieces, because I did that and I am doing that- but I did it for a long time before I started teaching it. I have only been a designer since 2017, so I am not the best person to help new designers.
My brain doesn’t do it strategically and marketing wise like I do with finished piece. My brain works better for marketing finished pieces than it does for marketing new designs.
Though the first things that come to my mind are sharing in Facebook groups that allow sharing. Come at it with confidence, know why someone should make your pattern. For me almost every pattern I have designed can be made pretty quick and uses simple materials and you can crank them out to sell them, because my ideal customer is a seller of crochet items.
Figure out who your designs cater towards, then tell them why they should make it. Say hey I just designed this new pattern it’s _____. List a whole bunch of things that will draw in your ideal customer.
Collaborations are another great way, so if you can find other designers who will let you guest post on their blog, or share your work, or do a bundle thing, or a blog hop even.
Also be pinning your things on Pinterest. If it is a free pattern say “Free Pattern”. Pinterest is a really good way to get the word out there.
Also you should start building an email list, because if you get an email list full of your truest fans every time that you release a new pattern they are going to be sitting on pins and needles waiting for that pattern to go live. I use mailchimp still, I have been using them since the very beginning and I recommend them! If you don’t have an email list, that is a really good way to start building your tribe basically 😉
Nicki (from the live chat) is commenting Facebook groups. You definitely want to share in Facebook groups that ALLOW sharing. The Ash and Tay Facebook Group , Repeat Crafter Me , are a couple groups that allow self promotion but there are MANY MANY groups that do NOT allow it. If you try to promote in groups that do not allow it, you will get kicked out. Make sure you read the group rules before posting.
Serving your ideal customer on social media, don’t just say on every single post “here’s my new pattern” – serve them in some way. If you are a pattern designer how else can you serve someone? You can talk about different yarns. You can do one of your patterns over in different yarns, and show them what it looks like in each one. People love that! Do product reviews, talk about how you store your yarn, talk about how you clean your crochet things, talk about how you store your hooks, talk about what’s your favorite hooks to buy. Serve your ideal customer well and that will help you build your tribe because she will appreciate you and all the time and energy you put in to serving her and you will be seen as her friend.
How do you go about serving both designers and crochet customers?
Great question, I don’t like it haha 😉 I am only building Wild Grace because I want to build a business from the ground up with all the things that I teach inside Crochet Boss Academy. I have done all this already, but it wasn’t in an organized fashion, it was in a trial and error and learn as you go situation. So now I am building Wild Grace in a I’ve learned now, and I am going to do it again situation. It would be very hard for me to teach other people who to sell finished pieces if I am not selling finished pieces. I need to be in it to help you all succeed.
I am taking out all my finished pieces in A Crafty Concept shop and putting them into Wild Grace’s shop. I might sell a few random ready to ship pieces on A Crafty Concept because when I design a new pattern I make 15 of that pattern before I get it right. All of them are good, none of them are right except when I figure it out and I repeat it with different yarns. So I have all these versions of the same thing, so I might list those in A Crafty Concept as ready to ship to get them out of my space and make a little extra money doing that.
That is why I am building Wild Grace, because it is very hard to serve two ideal customers with one business. I don’t know if it can be done well. I hate saying things that are definite like that but the way my brain works I can not serve two ideal customers from one business/brand.
If I am talking about my new designs my new crochet patterns, the person that buys my finished pieces is going to be like “What is she talking about?, Why am I following this person, this has nothing to do with me.” They are going to feel very disconnected, and vise versa.
The way my brain works, I recommend if you have a pattern shop and a finished piece shop and you want to have both businesses and your heart feels the same amount of happiness doing both- have two Etsy Shops, two social media accounts and two email lists in order to do it well.
That is what I am doing with Wild Grace. It will have it’s own Etsy shop, it’s own Instagram, and it’s own email list. It’s exhausting to me, it’s not my passion, but I have to do it in order to teach you guys well.
It’s very very hard to serve two groups of people with one business. You are going to alienate one of your main people with every single post. Not one post that you do will be able to FULLY serve both sides of your business.
My first advice would be to choose one, and do it really really well. Choose one path and pour your entire heart and soul into that path and build the best business you can and serve your ideal customer with all you got.
If you absolutely can’t choose over design and finished pieces and you want to do both, split them up. I know that is not the best answer, it’s where I was when I first started designing. I was doing both, my instagram was doing both, and it was a mess. No one felt served. I would get like 500 likes and no sales and I am like I don’t understand. Why is everyone liking it but they are not buying it? Oh- because they are crocheters.
I serve women and want them to feel beautiful, can you throw me some spring ideas?
Crafty Boho Slippers. Every lady needs some slippers.
Scrunchies, candle holder, or candle coasters, those are the things that come off the top of my head.
How do you handle when you get more orders than you expected?
This is a very good problem to have! When my shop went viral in 2017 my shop had over 1,000 orders! Some of those orders were for the pattern of my Claire bun beanie which I don’t have to make since it is a digital download, but then some of those orders were for like 8 beanies or 2 beanies or 4 beanies! It wasn’t 1,000 beanies, but it was a lot! All of the orders were in December.
The most important thing you can do is keep updating your turnaround time. My posted turnaround time got up to 12-14 weeks. It was madness! People were ordering beanies in December and not getting them until April. I kept updating my turnaround time because I didn’t want to loose the momentum that was coming in from the virtual post.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you get to where you’re like I can’t even breathe- go on vacation mode! That is worse case scenario, you don’t want to do that if you can say hey I am going to take advantage of this momentum, if you can do that, that is ideal.
Take out things in your shop that aren’t selling. When my shop went viral, I took all the pillows, all the bags, everything out. I only had beanies in my shop, because I could get to where I was making beanies SUPER fast.
Say you got a whole bunch of orders for Gracie Dolls. Take everything else out of your shop and start making Gracie Dolls in an assembly line fashion. One night make a whole bunch of legs, one night make a whole bunch of arms, one night make a whole bunch of bodies, then one night assembly everything. That will help you go faster!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Gabe (my husband) would stay up with me until like 1am packaging orders. I would lay all of my orders out on the table. I had my bag of beanies that was tagged and everything, then I would print off the shipping labels and then Gabe would go behind me and package all of them. I had my husband and my aunt come over and help me tag beanies one time. I had my sister come over and sign a whole bunch of thank you cards with a heart -Ashley. So don’t be afraid to ask for help with the other stuff you have to do besides crocheting, like packaging, sewing on tags, sewing on pom poms. You can ask for help with those things, and it’s just temporary! The sales will slow down eventually, and if not then you can start doing my next advice which is-
Get helpers! When my shop first went viral I ended up getting nine women all over America, making Claire Bun Beanies and shipping them to me every week! Julie is my permanent helper now, and she makes all of my finished pieces. She was one of my OG helpers. They would send me the beanies, I would tag them and back out the door to the customers. I paid my helpers 50% of the listing price. It is contracted labor, so you don’t have to worry about health care or vacation time or things like that. But they would send them to me, I would tag them, wrap them in Wrap Labels. (If you get your wrap labels printed at Office Depot they have a machine that will cut them for you!)
Put your phone on Do Not Disturb! I love that feature! I put my phone on DND and I get to choose when I look at it. I look at it all day long any way so I am not going to miss anything, it’s just on my own terms. I put my phone on DND especially when I am working, and it doesn’t even light up when I get a notification.
Crochet whenever you can! If you are going to the dentist take your crochet. If you are going to spend 20 minutes in the pick up line take your crochet. Be working whenever you can. Maybe you have to get up a little earlier, or go to bed a little later, but hustle and take advantage of the momentum! Turn every one of those customers into return customers, because you served them so well. You got your packages out on time, you were thoughtful with your packaging, you gave them a wonderful shopping experience, you gave them a wonderful well made product, you meet or exceeded their expectations, then they will come back and shop with you again and again!
I have people come back and buy beanies from me every year! So take advantage of this. Turn those customers into true fans. Get them on your email list or following you on social media. Get some inserts to go in your packaging. Maybe instead of handwritten thank you cards you type up a good thank you and print them out and you just sign each one.
I had a thank you card that said thank you so much for your patience. I know this turnaround time was kind of insane, but I appreciate you being patient with me while I got all of these beanies out.
Don’t feel overwhelmed, feel super blessed! Take advantage of it, and hustle your little hands off! It will slow down eventually, you will get through it and you will have such an amazing story to share with other makers in our community.
Do you recommend starting a blog?
If it is in your wheelhouse to have a blog, if you can swing it, if you feel like it something you would enjoy I would say yeah go for it! It is passive income , it’s amazing. That is what I am going to be able to leave Ava. If something happened and we had to close down Crochet Boss Academy and A Crafty Concept and everything was gone- my digital patterns and my blog, all the hard work I have put into blog’s posts will still be live. They can stay live all day forever, all Gabe has to figure out is how to pay the host and domain and all that, all the annual bills.
I make about $1,000 a month in ad money on my blog right now. During the busy months its usually higher than that. I am focused on Crochet Boss Academy right now so I am only getting about 1 pattern a month out right now so it’s a little bit slower for me. It is really good money, but it does take a REALLY long time to get here. Definitely a big picture kind of thing.
I had my blog for over a year before I got monetized at all! You have to get 100,000 views per MONTH to get into the ads program that I am apart of, which is called AdThrive. There is another one called Media Vine that you have to have 50,000 views per month. Then there is Adsense which is by Google and pretty much anyone can get Adsense, but it’s like literally cents that you get paid each day. I only had Adsense for a couple weeks because I was already getting enough views to get Media Vine and I didn’t even know it. So then I signed up for Media Vine and once I got bigger I signed up for AdThrive.
I am a designer so my blog serves crocheters, but you can have a blog that serves your customers of finished pieces. One of my bosses Kelly sells “Inner Child Dolls” and she talks a lot about reconnecting with your inner child, mental health, women’s positivity, and connects all that to the products that she sells and she could totally do blog posts about that!
I am not doing a blog for Wild Grace, but I could. I told you my person cares about Instagram, I could do a blog post about how to take pictures of your baby for Instagram. I could do a post about how to take a flat lay of your babies outfit of the day. A post about how to set up a smash cake photoshoot, the do’s and don’ts. The best poses for maternity photoshoots. These are all things I could talk about on my blog and then pull in my different products each time.
If you enjoy reading, writing, and learning a little tech stuff because it’s not super easy you can make blogging work. It is a wonderful revenue source, if nothing else. It makes you look professional which can open up other doors like collaborations, free product type things for reviews and stuff like that.
So I recommend it if you want one, but I am not saying everybody has to have one.
How do you pick helpers to make sure the design is made like yours, and how do you pay them?
When I had to get helpers I had everybody (I don’t know if it was through email or through Google forms) but they answered some questions and I had them attach pictures of their finished Claire Bun Beanies. My pattern had already been out for about a year at this point so there were lots of people making Claire Bun Beanies.
I wanted them to be close to a Hobby Lobby, I wanted them to NOT be a smoker, no pets in the home or near the crochet pieces because in my listings I say in a smoke free and shed free home. So I did a little questionnaire type of deal, I had them send pictures to me, then I looked through all of them and found the ones that matched the best with my needs right off the bat. Then I had them send me beanies in the mail and I would compare them. I would say things like it looks like your brim is a little tight, maybe go up a hook size on the brim but use the same hook you are using on the puff stitches or vise versa. I would send videos of how I do my puff stitches, video of how I chain 1 and turn, I yarn over I don’t yarn under so my brims look a little bit different. I always made it very clear to say, yours is not wrong! It is beautiful and you are doing a fantastic job, I just need it to look more like mine because that is what the customer thinks she is getting.
I did this back and forth with all nine of my helpers because I need theirs to look like mine. I paid them half of the retail price. My beanies were $25 and I gave everybody $12.50 and I paid for them to ship the beanies to me. Once I did the math at the end I think I paid $13,000 to all of my helpers! It was a HUGE thing that happened in my shop, and it was wild but I loved it!
That is how I did it. It worked really well for me and I built some really awesome relationships. I hope that was helpful!
Thank you guys so much for tuning in on my first ever Tuesday Talks on Instagram! I will catch you guys in two weeks. Be sure to tune in to Tuesday Talks next week over on Taylor’s Instagram!