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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.
Welcome [0:00- 0:34]
Do you think watermarks on photos are necessary? [0:35- 3:02]
What is your advice for a beginning pattern designer on how to get patterns noticed? [3:03- 6:09]
What do you use, and how do you take photos of your beautiful items to post? [6:10- 11:23]
How do you come up with patterns and write them? [11:24- 14:03]
What do you use to edit your Youtube videos? [14:04- 14:52]
What website builder do you recommend? [14:53- 15:42]
Is E-Rank a good service to use to find keywords? [15:43- 17:27]
I stopped Pinterest ads because I was only getting traffic, no sales. Should I use them? [17:28- 19:16]
Does Etsy have a way to sell custom items without shipping? [19:17- 20:52]
Are Facebook and Pinterest groups good for finished product sellers? [20:53- 25:10]
How do you stay motivated when doing orders? I feel like making the same thing over and over again is a burden and I struggle with it so much. [25:11- 29:06]
Best tips for rebranding. How often, changing social media names etc. [29:07- 32:06]
Do you have to do taxes on Etsy even if you don’t reach the sales threshold? [32:07- 33:17]
Would you recommend selling single color yarn projects or mixed colored yarn projects? [33:44- 36:36]
What can I do so people can see my posts? I used to get likes now only a few people see. [36:37- 41:50]
Announcement [41:51- 48:58]
Hi guys! Welcome back to Tuesday Talks. I am so excited to be going live with you guys today, answering your questions that are all about crochet, crochet business, crochet blogging, social media, email lists, photography, packaging, shipping- all of the things!
I am so excited to have you guys join me today! I am getting ready to pull up the questions you asked in my Instagram stories, and then I have a big announcement that I am going to save for the end.
Do you think watermarks on photos are necessary?
I do not.
I have had my work stolen, mainly my Claire Bun Beanie picture of my friend Erica. That has been stolen by every which person alive who sells mass produced messy bun beanies. They have all stolen my picture and at first I was so stressed out about it. I was like Oh Gosh, someone is going to think that’s my product because they recognize my photo, and then they are going to get a crap product in the mail and then they will think my product is crap and will tell people that it is. But it wasn’t a big deal. It did NOT affect my business.
I am not doing what I am doing so that I can stress all day everyday about what other people are doing. I am doing what I am doing because I love it, it brings me joy, and I throughly enjoy helping other crochet business owners.
I have heard that Etsy does not spotlight listings that have words or watermarks on the thumbnail photo. I recently looked at other designers in our community’s Etsy shops and most of them didn’t have wording on their thumbnail photos (like the really successful shops). So I changed all my Etsy listing photos for the patterns to be a full picture of the pattern and not say pattern along the side, because that’s what other shops are doing. So sometimes a watermark can prevent you from getting a shout out from Etsy which would be awesome for your business.
Also watermarks can be clutter-y, it can distract from your piece for your customers.
I think it is just going to boil down to personal preference. If you want to put watermarks on your photos you are more than welcome to do that. I don’t think they are bad, or ugly, I just think it’s personal choice.
I personally do not put them on my photos.
What is your advice for a beginning pattern designer on how to get patterns noticed?
I don’t teach pattern design here on my channel because the way I do it is not something I can put into steps to give to somebody else. If you have ever watched “The Big Bang Theory” and you see Sheldon with numbers all around his head and he is solving problems, that’s kinda how I design. Well that’s how I get an idea for a design, then I have to make the thing 15 different times before I actually nail it down. I am not good at math-ing it out, doing my gauge then basing my sizing and stuff. I literally have to make it with different size hooks, different yarns, different stitch count, different tension. I have to make it every time for me to get the final result which is not very teachable and also not very desirable. So I do not teach crochet pattern design but Ashley of Sewrella and Taylor of Taylor Lynn Crochet teaches it. There are lots of people that are much better at teaching something like that than me.
I do have a very basic beginner blog post back from 2019, that tells you all the things that you might need to include in your crochet pattern that you might not think about. Things like stitches that you used, a gauge swatch, how much yarn you used, the brand of your yarn, what hooks you used, the brand of your hooks- things like that.
That is the only thing that I have created to help designers specifically. That being said from my own personal designing journey, posting on social media groups (specifically Facebook groups) is a very fast way for people to see your design.
Getting testers, and them promoting it once it goes live because they kind of helped you make it so they have “a dog in that fight” situation. So getting a handful of testers can help you too. You say hey it’s going live on Friday, you can share about it if you want to. Thank you so much for testing!
Another way is Pinterest. I highly recommend Pinterest. I think ALL businesses should be on Pinterest, whether you sell crochet things, crochet patterns, or have free crochet patterns- you should be on Pinterest.
What do you use, and how do you take photos of your beautiful items to post?
I use my iphone. It is an 11 pro- the one with 3 camera lenses. That is what I use for any and everything. I had a DSLR camera that I gave to a girl at my church who helps me out with my church’s social media posts because she didn’t have a phone. I have my ipad that I used to film my Youtube tutorials on to use an app to film in 4k. Then I learned that it’s not necessary for my Youtube videos to be shot in 4k. 4k was designed to be shown on the big screen and be able to do really cool editing things, and I don’t need to do those for my crochet videos. So I just do it all on my iphone 11 pro.
I do want to get a DSLR camera in the near future. Maybe that will be one of my big purchases in 2021. Recently a lot of my photos have come from my friend Amanda. She took all my Wild Grace photos, and they are gorgeous. I do highly recommend getting a photographer to do them. I gave her all my products for Wild Grace, and gave her a photography shoot list ( I posted that shoot list on my Instagram) I paid my photographer $300 and I am pretty sure I have already made that back in my Wild Grace shop sales. So well worth the money. I knew it wouldn’t take long for me to “get my money back” because the pictures are stellar and Etsy and is a very visual platform because people can’t touch and feel the thing that they are buying so they are going to rely on the photos. So if I have really good photos, my ideal customer is going to be drawn in like a magnet and that’s what we want.
So if you have any sort of budget for out sourcing your photography, I recommend it! If you don’t have a budget, maybe you can barter- like hey I can make you x, y, and z in exchange for some photos.
Another thing you can do is send out free things to Instagram people, and say hey I love your style- I would love to send you this in exchange for photos and a shout out on Instagram. I have done that with Wild Grace a couple of times already and I have done it with A Crafty Concept back when I was selling finished pieces. That is how I got the picture of Erica- which is the picture that went viral- in my linen Claire Bun Beanie. I gave Erica a free Claire Bun Beanie and she sent me that selfie she took on her phone. She knocked out of the park with that picture, and that is why my shop went viral because she is so beautiful and that picture was so gorgeous. So sending people free products is a great way to get photos as well.
You can use stock photos.
You can also use the same photo over and over again by cropping it, zooming in on a different spot. You can make it look different but use the same photo. Maybe you post a picture of a Bitty Boho Bib, then another day you zoom in on the Bitty Boho Bib and you make a post about little details. You talk about the bobbles or the fringe. It’s the same picture you just zoomed in on it, so now you got two pictures you can use. This will give you a cohesive look on your feed, and takes some work off your plate so you don’t have to take a billion photos all the time. Repurposing is an entrepreneur best friend!
How do you come up with patterns and write them?
I write them on pages which is the Mac equivalent to word.
I come up with them, like magic 😉 Most of the time I get inspired to make a new pattern by one of my previous patterns. Like I have my Ava Bunny, and then I have the Mia Moo Moo, the Troll, and the Unicorn (this March’s pattern coming out is another stuffie shaped like the Ava Bunny! I am so excited I can’t wait to show you!!) But it’s the same basic pattern, just tweaked a little bit. The Gracie, Greyson, and Unicorn Doll are all the same basic pattern just tweaked a little bit.
Also I love looking at things that are trendy that are NOT in the crochet community. Maybe it’s a throw pillow, or wall decor. I have an idea for a pattern in the future from something I saw in an Instagram ad. I was like wow I can crochet one of those! The Gracie Doll was inspired by sewn dolls that people sew that I bought off of Instagram for Ava last Easter. It was a sewn rag-doll style, and I wondered if I could crochet that?! I tried to sew them and it was a disaster, but I did follow the same basic steps for the Gracie Doll. She is made inside out and then you flip her right side out and all the seams and stuff are hidden in the inside and you don’t have to sew anything. It’s all crocheted into her boarder, if you have seen the pattern you know what I am talking about. (You can find the free pattern on my blog here) I get inspiration from non crochet things, that I think a crochet version would be really great. Also get inspiration when I have a problem and I think how can I fix this problem? Like the Crafty Facial Rounds pattern, I needed something to remove my makeup. The ones I bought were like $30 and I wanted to crochet some instead. I played around with different yarns until I found some that work well for removing makeup off your face with just warm water, and that is how the Crafty Facial Rounds pattern came about.
That’s how I find inspiration personally, everybody is different.
What do you use to edit your Youtube videos?
I use imovie.
I don’t love it, if I had time to learn a new platform I would. Something by Adobe is what Taylor uses, and I am sure it is way better.
I use imovie because that’s what came on my mac. I learned how to use it, but it’s glitchy. It needs updated all the time and I have to delete stuff to clear up space a lot- but it works for me. I have gotten very quick with editing on imovie.
What website builder do you recommend?
I am not sure what a website builder is.. I think WordPress is a website builder. If that’s what you are talking about, I use WordPress. I highly recommend WordPress because it is really popular which means there are a ton of tutorials to help you.
If you say “How to embed a Youtube video on my WordPress blog” you will find a video showing you how to do that. Anything that you need to find about WordPress, you can Google it and you will find someone else showing how to do it. It’s just very popular, that’s why I use WordPress.
I love WordPress, it’s got a lot of plugins you can use- but the main thing is the unbelievable amount of resources there are to show me how to do things with WordPress.
Is E-Rank a good service to use to find keywords?
I have used E-Rank before. I had a paid account with them for a little bit and did some keyword research. Recently I was invited to this new thing that is coming or that just hit the market- it’s like E-Rank but a little bit different. It’s very helpful! Something I have noticed on there is that you can look at someone else’s listing- you plug in the URL- and it will tell you all the tags that they used! Etsy took that away, we used to be able to see exactly which tags that person was using. I am going to have a do a whole video on this, once I get more familiar with the platform.
Keyword research is one the most important things you can do, and if you can a tool that can help you do keyword research more efficiently I recommend it.
You can always double check them. The best place to get your keywords is from Etsy itself. So if you use a tool like E-Rank, go onto Etsy and make sure they are showing up in the search when you are typing it a little bit it should autofill with a bunch of options for you. The best keywords are the ones that autofill first. Check and see how many listings are using that keyword. Every now and then you want to just double check the ones you are finding on E-Rank are telling you the truth. But I am all about using tools that make things more efficient. I think you should use it, if that’s how your brain works!
Make a keyword pool on excel or something like that so you will have it for future listings as well.
I stopped Pinterest ads because I was only getting traffic, no sales. Should I use them?
I am assuming you used Pinterest ads to your Etsy shop and now your Etsy shop traffic has stopped.
If they weren’t coming to buy- like the traffic wasn’t resulting in sales and now the traffic has stopped- thats okay! It was obviously not attracting people that wanted to buy. Maybe it was your wording, or your pictures, or something like that, that made them think it was a free product- I don’t know maybe they thought it was pattern so they clicked through to see what it was but once they landed in your Etsy shop and it wasn’t what they thought it was they are not going to buy. So maybe it’s okay that you are not using the paid Pinterest post.
I have tried ads here and there, I don’t have a strategic strategy for Pinterest or Etsy ads. That is something you are just going to have to test yourself. If it was leading to sales, and then you stopped getting sales after you stopped the ads I would say obviously it was working so go back and do that.
Maybe just go look back at the Pinterest pins you were promoting and see if they are very clear what it is that they are leading to and maybe that will help.
I definitely think you should be on Pinterest but you don’t have to do promoted pins if you don’t want to. I’ve only done them a handful of times, and I honestly don’t even know if they worked that well.
Does Etsy have a way to sell custom items without shipping?
If it’s something that is already in your shop- like a hat that’s already in your shop and someone you go to church with is like hey I want to buy one of your hats can you just bring it to me at church on Sunday? You can say yeah just go to my shop and pick out the hat you want and use coupon code “Free Shipping- Locals Only” or something like that and it would take the shipping cost off.
Now if you sell hats and they say “hey I would really like a flower pillow can you make that for me?” you can say yeah I would love to make you a flower pillow. Send me direct message on Etsy. Once they send you a direct message on Etsy, there will be a box within your messages that says “create custom order”. You can build their entire listing right there within the message, then hit submit and it will go just to them. You will not have to pay the .20 listing fee if they end up backing out. That used to happen to me a lot when I would take custom orders, I would make somebody a custom listing. It would say “custom listing” for so and so in my shop (which would clutter up my shop). So this way does not go public, it’s just between you and the person you are messaging. [You can find my latest IG post about this here!]
Are Facebook and Pinterest groups good for finished product sellers?
That is a very good question.
Facebook groups yes! You want to be in Facebook groups where your ideal customer is. So if you sell things for moms and you are a mom, you want to get into some mom Facebook groups.
You don’t ever want to do it to be spying on them or to be really sales-y. You want to be in groups that you can bring value to as a human being but also as your products seller. You want to stay on the moral side of things! Don’t join groups just to spy on them and try to send DM’s trying to sell stuff. You want it to be a very genuine organic situation.
For me, I am a mom, so joining mom Facebook groups would make perfect sense. I would engage in conversation, give my two cents, ask questions, be a regular contributor to the the group. So people start to recognize my name when I join lives and always comment. You will start building relationships and engaging which sets all the work for you to start sharing the things that you sell.
You want to be genuine and organic and not sales-y because that will make the moderators very angry. Then that will leave a bad taste in peoples mouth about your business. But joining Facebook groups is a great way to find your ideal customer and start speaking to them.
Think about your niche and your ideal customer. If you sell all of the things in all of the colors to all of the people, you need to find your niche or your ideal customer first because there is not a group called “people who like to buy crochet things”. Everybody gets into groups that are very niche specific. So niche down, get to know you your ideal customer and join some groups so you can talk directly to her.
Boards on Pinterest- I just wrote an issue for Crochet Boss Academy all about Pinterest. I tried to find some group boards that I could join for Wild Grace, and it was very difficult! So Wild Grace is not apart of any group boards as of right now. Down the road if I can find some good group board through some networking I have done through social media as Wild Grace I would be likely to join them as long as they are doing really well- got a lot of pins, a lot of followers, things like that. You don’t want it to be a stale board or an inactive board.
Group boards are good, it’s a good way to get your stuff in front of a whole lot of people. I am in some group boards for A Crafty Concept and some of those pins do better than all of my other pins because they have been seen more.
If you can find some group boards on Pinterest that are niche specific- go for it!
How do you stay motivated when doing orders? I feel like making the same thing over and over again is a burden and I struggle with it so much.
That is going to bring you back to your “why”.
Let me tell you a story.
There are 3 men working 9-5, everyday. They are laying brick. It’s very boring, it’s just laying brick after brick. Someone comes up and asks the first guy “hey what are you doing?” and the first guy says “I am laying brick”. He goes up to the next guy and asks “what are you doing?” and he says “I am working to provide for my family.” Then he goes and asks the third guy and he says “what are you doing?” and the third guy says “I am building a church! A massive church, where people are going to get to come and worship Jesus every week! This is a glorious church that I get to build with my bare hands!”
All three men were doing the exact same thing, they were laying brick- but each persons “why” was different. You could tell my their “why” what drove them. The third guy had amazing joy from laying bricks everyday because he knew what was going to come of those bricks. He knew why he was laying bricks. The middle guy who was taking care of his family, he had joy because he was providing for his family! Then the first guy is like ugh I am laying brick, it’s so boring and I am tired. He didn’t have his why like the other two did.
So you need to remember your “why” when you start to feel like this. Remember why you have a crochet business.
One of my Bosses sells inner child dolls and she helps women reconnect with their inner child. So if you were to ask her “hey what do you do?” she wouldn’t say “I sell amigurumi dolls.” She would say “I help women reconnect with their inner child!”
That’s important work, and the more I learn about what she does the more important it is to me as a woman, especially a woman with hormonal issues and past traumas. What she does helps woman drastically! So that’s her why.
Another thing might be, you are just trying to raise money to go to Disneyland- like you need just enough money to take your family to Disneyland, and that’s your why. That’s fine, you just make as many orders as you can to get to Disneyland then you can stop.
That’s something you can do when you start feeling out of the groove, remember your why.
There was a free issue that went out on Crochet Boss Academy, we called it .5 and it talks about finding your why. (Here is a good IG post where I talked it about it as well!)
That’s my best advice for when you get unmotivated and you get tired of making the same thing over and over. Remember how you are impacting the lives of your customers, the lives of your family, or yourself.
Best tips for rebranding. How often, changing social media names etc.
This will be another one of those personal preference situations.
I rebranded A Crafty Concept back in 2020, and I got rid of my yarn ball logo, and I added some new colors- but I did it all at once. I was like Ta-Da rebrand! That’s just how my brain works, but another thing I would highly suggest is letting your current audience go along the rebranding journey with you. Like when you are looking at new brand colors, post it to your Instagram stories and say “Hey I am going through some rebranding and I want to update my color palette- which one says A Crafty Concept more? Is it color palette A or color palette B?” Then put up a poll so your Instagram people can vote.
That is going to do so much for your business! 1- It’s going to help you get more Instagram engagement because anytime someone clicks, comments, shares anything on your Instagram that is going to give you algorithm juice. 2- The more you use Instagrams features and a variety of those features the more algorithm juice you are going to use. Instagram likes it when you use their features, especially their new features.
I just got a notification today that they now have a new feature where you can have 4 people going live at the same time. If I was going live right now and I added 2 or 3 people to go live with me Instagram would like that. That would give me algorithm juice so the next time I post Instagram is going to be like “Oh yeah she used our new live feature, let’s give her some more algorithm juice! Let’s show that to a few more people this week.”
3- Your people are going to be emotionally invested in your rebrand because they help you come up with it. So when you choose the palette, the people who voted on that palette are going to be like “that is the one I voted for!” They are going to be so excited about it, they are going to be excited for you!
Taking people on a journey with you (it doesn’t have to be rebranding) is going to help your audience like, know, and trust you more. It’s going to help them build relationships with you as human being behind the brand, and it’s going to help them be emotionally invested in the outcome because they helped you get there.
Do you have to do taxes on Etsy even if you don’t reach the sales threshold?
You need to turn in your income not matter what.
If you make money (income) then you should turn in that information to the government.
I have a tax guy and I recommend getting a tax guy to anybody who has a business. Taylor has an accounting degree so she is much better at answering these questions- but ethically and legally you should claim income whenever it comes to you. So if you made $600 in 2020 on Etsy, you should claim that.
Would you recommend selling single color yarn projects or mixed colored yarn projects?
I am assuming you are meaning variegated yarn verses solid color yarns.
I am going to say it depends on what you are selling and who your ideal customer is.
For Wild Grace my ideal customer is a boho millennial girl mom who cares very much about appearances, what’s trendy, and looking good all the time. Right now what’s trendy in that niche is a few boho colors. So I have selected those colors for my line that I offer in Wild Grace.
If you sell sports apparel (sports themed beanies) your colors are going to be popular sport team colors. Blue and white, orange and blue, red and white, green and yellow- those are going to be some of the colors that you do.
If your ideal customer is elementary age girls (well their parents) they love unicorn colors, and mermaid colors. They love those types of funky colors so my variegated yarn specifically “color fantasy” which I believe Hobby Lobby discontinued 🙁 but this color does really well for Claire Bun Beanies for little girls. As soon as they see it the go bananas and get excited! \
If you sell mermaid amigurumi, the fins do really well in variegated yarns. Gracie Dolls hair that uses variegated yarn do really really well. Little girls like lots of colors.
It depends on your ideal customer, and why they are buying your thing. If you sold home decor and your ideal customer was going to hang it up in her home and her home was decorated in farmhouse decor and you sold something with variegated yarn she won’t be able to hang that up in her home- so she won’t buy it.
So you gotta think about who your ideal customer is, why they are going to be using the thing. Take that into consideration when you are choosing the colors for your products.
What can I do so people can see my posts? I used to get likes now only a few people see.
I feel you! I have been having some serious “comparison game” going on. I am doing math to find out what percentage of my following is giving me like verses what percentage of this persons following is giving them likes. And I am stressed out about it- but 1- likes don’t pay our bills, we gotta remember that. 2- We have to make the type of content that people want to interact with. You make content and then the algorithm sprinkles it out to some people, and when they react the algorithm sprinkles it out more. So if not enough of the first set of people it got sprinkled out to interact with your content they aren’t going to sprinkle it out to many more people. We want to get it sprinkled so we want to make sure our posts are encouraging engagement not just likes.
I listened to Jasmin Stars live today and she says this-
The Value of engagement on Instagram (in order of importance)
1- Saves. If you can get people to hit that little bookmark and save your post that is algorithm gold!
2- Shares. You want people to share it to their stories. Share it their feed. You want people to hit that little paper airplane and share your post.
3- Comments that have 4 words or more.
Likes are literally the bottom of the totem pole.
To get people to save your item, you teach them something or you give them something they will want to look back on in the future. Something that I am going to start doing is giving little pattern modifications. Small changes to my patterns like the part on the Gracie Dolls hair, it’s parted down the middle but if you wanted to move the part to a side part I would just move the grid- post a picture of the updated grid and that would be a post my people would save. I am going to post that sometime next week and see how many saves it gets!
If you can give them quality that they are going to want to look back on later. Think of it like Pinterest! It’s Instagram version on Pinterest. They can also save to categories! So if you teach people “Hey did you know you can save to categories on Instagram? You can save your recipes, your workouts, you can save your favorite products sold on Etsy (insert your product there)”.
Tips for getting shares is to post something that will make your audience feel something. Get them to feel emotional, to laugh hysterically, to get fired up about a subject and they will share. The posts I get shares on are when I post a new pattern, my best followers share them. The other type of posts I get shares on is like the one I shared the other day about a yarn lady empowering other yarn ladies. Posts that are emotional and tug at your heart strings are going to result in engagement and shares. For Wild Grace I would post about being a mom and how exhausting it is or how rewarding it is to be a mom. That post would be relatable and pull at their heart strings so they will be more likely to share.
Every other week I go live on Instagram, and then there is a replay you can watch on your phone- but let’s say you wanted to do something on your phone. Guess what sister you can go to this blog and go to the podcast tab where you can listen to replays of Tuesday Talks and you can read this section where Sierra transcribes the entire Tuesday Talks.
I think this will be really good for my business because I am going to pin every single one of your amazing questions so when people are searching business questions on Pinterest they will see them. The timestamps above will help you find the question you want to hear and you can go straight to it without having to listen to the entire episode.
Hopefully this will be an awesome resource for you guys! Right now it is just Tuesday Talk replays, but I might add other things in the future. I might add just a regular podcast episode here, or I might (don’t hold me to this!) add a master class live. We do lives inside of Crochet Boss Academy every month and some of them are really awesome with a guest and all these things so I might end up putting one or two of the master class lives up here on the podcast tab!
I will not be putting these podcasts on podcast platforms like apple podscasts or spotify. I don’t use any of those things whenever I listen to podcasts I go their websites and hit the little play button.
Sierra just announced her VA business. She is my virtual assistant, she is Taylor’s virtual assistant- and now she has created a virtual assistant business where other people in our community can use her skills to build their businesses! If you are a crochet business owner, a pattern designer, sell finished pieces, whatever it is that you do and you need some virtual assistant work done, I highly recommend Sierra. She is a work horse of a woman, she will get things done in the blink of an eye. Unbelievably worth the money! She is highly skilled, highly efficient, extremely organized. Makes everything so easy, I can message her on Tuesday’s and be like how much do I owe you for the week and she can tell me because she keeps up with all her hours very well.
The other day I asked her to do something totally random- I asked her to clean out my Instagram followers. I don’t know if you know this but you can get a lot of “bots” following your Instagram account. Let’s say you have 3,000 Instagram followers but 1,000 of those followers are bots, when Instagram sprinkles out your post to these bots they are never going to engage with them! So Sierra went in and cleared out a whole bunch of bots for me because that will help my engagement go up.
The person above who was asking about engagement, maybe you have some bots following you! Jasmin Star might have a Youtube video telling you how to do that. I am apart of Social Curator so I have a little bit more resources, but also that is open right now for enrollment!! I have been enrolled for 1.5 years now, so if you want to check that out.
Okay friends thank you for hanging out! I hope you have an amazing day!