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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- 0:13]
Do you follow the latest trends, or do you just make your own designs? [0:14- 2:25]
How do you drive traffic to crochet blogs? [2:26-5:05]
How do you go about contacting people to send them out product for tags/mentions etc. on Instagram? [5:06- 11:15]
Do you have experience selling crochet items that have copyrighted characters? [11:16- 13:57]
If Etsy charges sales tax do I still have to pay taxes on those sales? [13:58- 14:41]
How do you keep your cro-jo? [14:42- 20:51]
Should you keep your winter items in your shop while summer is coming or put in all new stuff? [20:52- 23:40]
What’s the best way to find your ideal customer? [23:41- 32:19]
Do you have any inexpensive light box suggestions? [32:20- 33:33]
Do you design your own stickers? [33:34- 33:49]
Say I have a messy bun beanie in 5 colors, and I make 5 listings- Can I copy and paste the description? [33:50- 35:34]
Have you tried the App “Clubhouse”? [35:36- 36:56]
Hi everybody! Good evening! I am going to pull up the first question now-
Do you follow the latest trends, or do you just make your own designs?
The answer is a little bit of both. I make my own designs but I stay seasonally appropriate for the most part. I have already rough drafted all the patterns I want to release each month throughout the entire year of 2021. I knew I wanted to release the Doxie Chicken pattern in March because she is like a spring chicken, and it’s just in time for spring time and Easter basket filler and things like that so that’s why the Doxie Chicken pattern went live in March.
I have other seasonally appropriate patterns that I plan on releasing at different times of the month.
Also something I have been doing recently is I have been using Pinterest a little bit more to be seasonally appropriate with what’s trending each season. (If that makes sense!)
I do have the 2021 content calendar that I sent out as a freebie in January- anybody who signs up to my email list can get it!
If you sign up the 2021 content calendar will be sent to your for free! It gives you a snapshot of trends and things that are happening each month of the year. So you can stay on top of it for the content you post for your audience!
I hope that is helpful! That is what I look at, I look at the 2021 content calendar when I planned my content for the whole year. It’s just a rough draft it’s not absolutely set in stone, but I have a good idea of what pattern I am going to release every month. I can look at the content calendar to also help with creating Pinterest pins to figure out which keywords to use. Like the Doxie Chicken, I can pin that in February as “Crochet Pattern for Easter” or I can pin it in March and April for “Crochet Pattern for Spring” or I can pin it as just an “Amigurumi Pattern”. I can make all of my pins and descriptions be seasonally appropriate with the same product that I sell or offer.
Hopefully that makes sense for you guys!
How do you drive traffic to crochet blogs?
I mentioned this in a live a few weeks ago, I probably mention it in every live but I don’t focus on teaching crochet designers what to do I like to teach crochet product sellers. Crochet designing is still fairly new to me, it’s just been a few years for me and I don’t feel comfortable teaching others how to do it yet. I also like working with sellers because I like the thought process of selling to people in different seasons, freeibes to give with your products, customer service- that’s just where my passion is, so that’s what I focus on at A Crafty Concept and Crochet Boss Academy.
For blogs in general Pinterest is my biggest traffic driver, then social media (Facebook more than Instagram) then direct traffic which is things I sent directly to people like my email list- last is Google. I have my blog set up to show up on Google searches.
I get traffic from Instagram, I get a lot from Youtube, and I also get a lot of traffic from Ravlery! You can upload your patterns to Ravelry wether they are free or paid. When you are uploading the pattern it will ask “Is this on a blog?” and I put yes and put the URL for the blog and I get traffic that way through Raverly.
Pinterest and email list probably will be the most important thing I would recommend if you aren’t doing either of those things. For Pinterest you really want to dive in hard in looking at keyword research. If you go to Pinterest and type in “Keyword Research for Pinterest” you will find a lot of resources. Also Simple Pin Media is a podcast I recommend, they have a couple hundred episodes all geared around Pinterest, Pinterest marketing, and SEO for Pinterest. So if you want to binge listen to a bunch of Pinterest Podcast episodes I recommend Simple Pin Media.
I did recently make a new friend named Cory. I will be sharing more about her next month that will be talking about Pinterest so stay tuned 😉
How do you go about contacting people to send them out product for tags/mentions etc. on Instagram?
This is a very good thing to do for product sellers! You want to get your stuff in the hands of your ideal customer that has influence over people. If you sell home decor this person would have a beautifully decorated home, if you sell baby things this person will have a photo perfect baby all the time she will be the cutest baby with the cutest toys and the cutest accessories. That is what you want to find!
Ways to find them that I like to do is mostly just through hashtags. Once you find one jump down the rabbit hole and see who is following her, and who are they following and keep digging into the rabbit hole until you find the perfect person. I also like for my people to not have too many followers. Anything under 10k is good for me, if you get up too high they might want you to pay them and give them free product and when small business are just starting out that is just not in the cards.
I did that for Wild Grace, one of my ladies had 9,000 followers, one had 6,000, and another one had like a 1,000- those are who I reached out to. I got some really great pictures for Wild Grace. I will probably never have to photograph for Wild Grace for at least a year! I have amazing photos from all those people and my photographer friend that took product pictures for me when I first opened that shop back in January.
That is how I find them, I search relevant hashtags to my niche that I think my ideal customer would be following. For Wild Grace I was looking at #bohoBabyGirl #BohoBabyGirlNursery #GirlNursery #TrendyBabyGirl #JustLikeMommy (because I sell mommy and me items) So I wanted to find a micro-influencer that posted mommy and me type photos with her and her daughter matching because that’s something her audience is used to seeing because she posts them all the time, they will be used to seeing it and enjoy that content from her. That will lead to more sales, more follows and things like that.
I do hashtags as well as reach out to friends I know personally that are my ideal customer, or that I think my ideal customer will be following.
The biggest thing is to niche down, and know your ideal customer. Once you do those two things everything else will be a lot easier.
Now to contact them, I usually send them a DM (direct message) on Instagram. Something better actually is you want to spend a few days engaging with their content, like, comment, respond to their polls, send a DM in response to one of their stories. Just start talking to them so that they see are alive basically! You don’t want to spam them, you want it to be very organic. It’s not a waste of time or scammy because she is your ideal customer and it’s research. You should know your ideal customer really really well. If you think your ideal customer is following someone you should follow them so you can learn from them. Look at their content, see what stuff is doing really well and see what stuff isn’t doing well. Maybe she posts a photo of a mommy and me outfit and it does really well, and you don’t sell mommy and me hats. You could think I should add mommy and me hats to my shop because this influencer who is followed by thousands of my ideal customer seems to respond really well to mommy and me outfit posts. That can help you better curate your product line for your ideal customer.
It’s very good research for you! You need to get to know these people on the highest level possible. So talk to her, leave good comments of 4 words or more, engage in her polls if she does quizzes or polls in her stories- engage in those things and she will start seeing that. Then when you reach out to her in 4-5 days even a week later you can say something like “Hey I just love your daughter, she is just so cute in every single picture! I just want to squeeze her cheeks! I happen to sell (insert product here) in my shop. I am a brand new shop and I am trying to get more exposure. I would love to send you (product) for free in exchange for a shout out and some photos that I can use in my Etsy Shop.”
That is what I do. Very genuine, human to human. Nothing fancy, nothing professional. You want to make as easy as possible for them to to say yes. So I would say “I can send it for free. Just tell me what color you would like. Here are the colors that I have, you can pick one and I will send it to you!” I make clear and easy to say yes to as possible.
Sometimes you won’t hear back from people and that is fine, just move right on along! She’s probably busy, or maybe she is having a bad day- it’s not because your products are no good. That’s the last thing it could possibly be! Just move on to the next person.
Do you have experience selling crochet items that have copyrighted characters?
That is a big no no! We don’t sell crochet items of copyrighted characters. I don’t even know if I am allowed to encourage you to do that. That would probably get me in trouble to even encourage you to do that! I don’t give out crochet patterns for copyrighted characters, I do not do them as free patterns or put them as paid, I do not make youtube videos for them.
I do not touch that because it is not worth it for me to loose my entire business over it.
That being said, if YOU choose to sell copyrighted characters you do you! I am not going to tell you, you are a bad Etsy seller, I am not going to tell you that you are a bad human- No that is your decision. You do you sister! I hope you flourish for as long as you want to flourish. Focus on your business and your ideal customer, focus on your family, put on your blinders and don’t worry about what anyone else says or does because it will destroy you very quickly.
While I am on this little rampage- only follow and engage and take in information from people who lift you up! If you spend time following someone and you just watched all her reels and they just make you feel like poop, you’re sad, you’re angry, and your fired up in a negative way- that’s not good for your body, that’s not good for your brain. Put good in, and you will get good out.
If Etsy charges sales tax do I still have to pay taxes on those sales?
I sent this one to Taylor, she is my numbers friend, my analytical gal and she said-
If Etsy get’s the sales tax, it’s because certain states have sales tax and Etsy will automatically charge that sales tax.
I live in Kentucky, and if I sell to another person in Kentucky on Etsy, Etsy will charge Kentucky sales tax. I don’t have to do anything with that. Etsy will send it where ever it needs to go, I don’t have to deal with any of that.
I hope that answers your question! Etsy will do the sales tax based on state for you.
How do you keep your cro-jo?
If you are talking from a business stand point like how do you keep making the same thing over and over and you get burnt our really quick doing that, I have an instagram post talking about remembering your why.
You gotta remember your why or why it is that you started your crochet business in the first place. Remember what you are trying to achieve, remember who you are serving.
Something that helps me is to make time for selfish crochet. Like I will be doing computer work for a week straight and I will be like, when was the last time I picked up my hook? Then I will just start a new project. Usually it’s an intentional project that will help me grow my business in some way. I have started making an Ava Bunny using blanket yarn so it’s like a giant Ava Bunny. I am working on it slowly and that’s my selfish crochet time! I am going to post about on Instagram once I am finished 🙂
I think that is really important- we started to crochet because we like to crochet, then we turned it into a business because we are good at it and we can serve somebody, and we can help support our families financially which are all amazing things and that’s the only reason I have a business is because I encouraged people like you to start selling your crochet things and reaching your goals and serving your ideal customer. You can change lives through your crochet things, and I think it’s really important, but we also need to crochet just for ourselves!
Try a new pattern! If you go to A Crafty Concept I’ve got like 50 free patterns for you to look through! Try a new style of crochet! Maybe you have never made a blanket, the Boho Bobble Blanket is a free pattern on my blog. Maybe you have never made an amigurumi, the Ava Bunny, Mia Moo Moo, Troll, Doxie Chicken, are all beginner friendly amigurumi makes free on my blog! If you have never made a pillow you can make a Crafty Cactus Pillow, Crafty Rainbow Pillow, the Lemon Peel-o (get it pillow!) It’s really interesting to make something you can use as a decor piece in your home, that’s a huge feeling of gratification. So if you have never made a decor piece for your home, try one of those.
Give yourself some time. Maybe you are like okay I am going to work all day long, but in the evenings I am going to do some selfish crochet or maybe you do selfish crochet on Sunday’s.
Another thing that helps me, if I just wake up in a funk and I don’t want to do anything and I am just struggling to get things done here are some things that help me-
Music. Sometimes I am in such a bad funk I don’t even want to turn music on, it’s like I know turning on the music will help me feel better and I am like I don’t want to turn it on. I just want to crawl back into bed. But music helps me! It helps me when I listen to K-Love which is all I have been listening to for the past month. I’ve found it has given me quite a boost in my mental health situations. I also like 90’s, early 2000’s pop, these things help me clear out the funk and start moving around. Who cares go to your room and shut your door and start moving around in front of your yarn, your yarn ain’t going to tell nobody 😉 It will help you break that funk loose!
Also listening to podcast episodes from people that encourage me. Jasmine Star, Amy Porterfield and Christy Wright– these are my go to podcasts when I feel like I need a recharge of entrepreneur spirit. Listen to someone who encourages you, binge a couple episodes, listen to their IGTV, find their live video replays on Facebook, just let them be on in the background.
Again when you put good in, you are going to get good out. So start fueling your brain with encouragement instead of negativity. That could be a lot of the cro-jo problems right there! You could just be listening to people complaining all day long, complaining about every possible situation they could ever complain about and that’s all you are putting into your body- you are going to start complaining. Like UGH I don’t want to crochet anymore. That is what is going to sep into you because that’s all you are putting into your body. So if you start listening to all the positive uplifting things we just talked about it’s going to help with your cro-jo situation too because you are going to feel lighter.
I have been struggling the last couple of days, I am going on like an unfollow binge situation.
Should you keep your winter items in your shop while summer is coming or put in all new stuff?
Good question! It depends on your shop! Wild Grace literally only has 5 things. I am not taking my hats out because my shop will be very bare, so I don’t want to do that yet.
First let me tell you seasonal and limited time products in your shop is a good marketing strategy because it creates urgency! If you say hey I am selling bunny purses through the end of April then I am taking them out of my shop and replacing them with something more summer-y, so if you want a bunny purse HOP on it now! Pun intended 😉 That’s going to create urgency. Same for winter things- say Spring is starting to come so I am going to be taking out my winter merch slowly so if you had your eye on something now is the time to get it before they are gone.
You can also run end of the season sales to boost sales to get some money then take them out of your shop and replace them with seasonally appropriate items. That is just one strategy, you don’t have to do it but it’s a good strategy.
You can leave all your products in your shop year round if you want to. I like the idea of adding new things to your shop. You don’t want to have 50 different things in your shop, but you do want different listings like I recommend listing your things by color. So if you sell knit beanies and you have 10 colors of the same beanie. You have 1 listing for each color and list all 10 in your Etsy shop. You want lots of listings but you don’t want to sell like 5 different styles of beanies because then you are going to overwhelm your people. You want to be able to provide quality products to them, so choose 1 style of beanie, 1 style of messy bun beanie, and don’t give them too much variety because then they will have buyers remorse! They will have FOMO and freak out and not know what to buy at all because there are too many choices. There is a TED talk on that, it’s called Choice Paralysis.
What’s the best way to find your ideal customer?
Your ideal customer is usually very similar to you, or a version of you once upon a time or a future version of you.
My ideal customer for A Crafty Concept is usually a stay at home mom, she has young-ish kids, she wants to start selling her crochet things to make a little extra money and to feel like she is valued in the home. That came from my exact feelings when I started A Crafty Concept, when I was pregnant with Ava. I wasn’t working, I wasn’t contributing to the family. We were fine but I didn’t feel like I was contributing and I don’t know it was like my self worth went down I guess. So I started selling my crochet stuff so we could have a little extra money. Originally it was called our “fun money” and we used it whenever we went out to eat or if we wanted to go clothes shopping, things like that. That is how I contributed and that made me really happy. So that is very similar to my ideal customer for A Crafty Concept.
My ideal customer for Wild Grace is a millennial Boho baby girl mom who is very trendy and cares very much about appearances.
It’s kinda like a big picture, you start writing all this stuff down and then you narrow it down. You can start by looking at your best 3 sellers, then imagine one perfect human that would buy all 3 of those things because those things would solve a problem in his or her life. Or you can start by looking at a version of yourself or someone that you think you can serve really well. Then think of 3 items that you could create that would serve that person really well and raise their quality of life in some way. That’s what you want your product line to do for a customer and then you will be able to communicate that to your ideal customer through social media, Etsy descriptions, emails that you send out- things like that.
That is how I like to help Crochet Boss Academy people find their ideal customers. Starting with the product or starting with the person, you can start either way.
You can also just brain dump some things that you think would be easy for you to market to a certain person. So it would be easier for me to market to my Wild Grace customer because she would be a Christian, and I am a Christian. So it makes easier for me to market to other Christians because we have similar values. So think about things about yourself that you would like to be similar to your ideal customer. That doesn’t mean that you are going to push everyone else away, unless that thing about your ideal customer is super specific or a “hot topic” or something like that- but if you do push other people away because that very specific things is a very controversial topic I think that’s fine. Let’s say you drop the F bomb on a regular basis, and you sell F Bomb amigurumi and you have mugs in your shop that say “mommy’s finger” and its a photo of the middle finger, and you sell a crochet bag that says the F word right on the front of it- that is your niche! Your ideal customer is someone who also uses the F bomb on a regular basis. She is going to emotionally engage with that, she’s going to think that is hilarious. She is going to be like “this girl gets me! We are F bomb sisters, I love it!”
I am not that ideal customer, I never use the F bomb in my daily language. I would never buy anything that insinuated the F bomb, but that is MY preference. That doesn’t mean what you are doing is right or wrong, that doesn’t mean my preference is right or wrong, that just means I am not your ideal customer and that is perfect! I would be pushed away from a shop that sells F bombs, but that is very good because that means people that do like those things will be drawn into you like a magnet- and that is what you want. If I followed you on Instagram then never engaged, never bought anything, never liked, commented, shared, saved a post because I was NOT your ideal customer, that is going to make your engagement go down. I would be taking a spot that one of your ideal customer should be sitting in.
Don’t be afraid to push out people that are not your ideal customer. You can do it kindly, you don’t have to be like “You suck, k bye!”. Just focus on your person and you will draw them in like a magnet and you will have a more successful business and brand.
If you don’t sell controversial things like at A Crafty Concept I speak directly to people who sell their makes, but I also draw in other crocheters wether they have a business or not. My crochet patterns are quick to make, use simple materials but guess what- those are also the characteristics that a “gifter” would be into. So I also attract “gifters”, people who crochet and they like to gift the things they crochet to the people in their life. I attract them with my content even though I don’t speak specifically to them because we are human we don’t think “oh that chicken amigurumi is just for people who want to sell crochet items, I can’t make that chicken amigurumi.” No body is going to think that way or feel that way. That just tells you that you aren’t going to push everyone else away. It’s like a magnetic field, the closer you are to the center the stronger pull will be, but those magnets will pull things from the other side of the field too.
Jasmine Star, I am not her ideal customer believe it or not. She has explained who her ideal customer is and I am not her ideal customer at all but I am drawn to her like a magnet because she encourages me and she educates me. She is a Christian, she is a sister in the faith, she helps me feel encouraged. She helps me feel inspired to serve my people really well. That is why I follow, engage, comment, share and save her things even though I am not exactly her ideal customer. So don’t be afraid to narrow it down because you think people are going to say “oh that’s not for me.” If they do say that, that is the best thing that could happen but the probability of them actually saying that is very low.
I hope that got across clearly, I know it was kinda all over the place. There are specific examples that I can think of like the F bomb where people would be pushed away but that’s what you want. That will help you grow best in the long run.
Do you have any inexpensive light box suggestions?
There are a bunch of DIY light boxes you can do. Jasmine Star taught us a thing where you take 3 foam boards and make a U shape and tape them down the sides so you can set them up. Put it in front of a window and put your product in there and shoot from the top. All those white boards are going to reflect the light and light up your product really well.
Natural light is the best light. I am super jealous of people who have a corner window, I just feel like if I had a corner window in my house and hold up a light board between me and the product to help it reflect a little bit more, that would be ideal. So if you have a corner window in your house stick a table in between them, and start shooting pictures from that spot and do it in different times throughout the day and see when you have the best lighting.
Do you design your own stickers?
Yes I do! I have a blog post on that, it is a tutorial on how to design your own stickers. I also talk about printing them yourself as well as getting them professionally printed.
Say I have a messy bun beanie in 5 colors, and I make 5 listings- Can I copy and paste the description?
Yes you can! You can copy the entire listing on Etsy. If you go to your listings, and click the down arrow a drop down menu will pop up with “copy, deactivate” and others click copy and it will replicate the entire listing- the photos and everything. Then delete the pictures you don’t need, and add some new keywords.
I recommend doing some stellar keyword research for messy bun beanies and making a list of all the keywords that you find. If you don’t know how to do this I would recommend searching youtube on how to do “SEO on Etsy” and you will find lots of tutorials to help you out.
If you have 5 claire bun beanie listings that gives you 5 options to use 5 different keyword groups. Maybe in one you use “Messy Bun Beanie” and another you use “Messy Bun Hat”. That will help you show up on searches because you will be hitting all the beanie and all the hat searches.
I do suggest copying the listing because it will save you a lot of time, but then go in and tweak the keyword groups to reach different search results. That will help you show up in more searches and that is what we want to do!
Have you tried the App “Clubhouse”?
Yes I have. I don’t know how I feel about it as a creator. Clubhouse is like an audio platform, it’s like listening to people on speaker phone. There is no text, no show notes, there is no replays, no resharing the content on different platforms- but it does have it’s benefits because it is growing really rapidly. It is really trendy and really hot right now. It’s really good for networking because you meet a whole bunch of different people in your niche or even out of your niche that could still be an awesome resource. Like I just met my Pinterest lady (I actually found her on Tik Tok). I don’t use Clubhouse often, but I do have an account. I have hung out there a little bit but I am not super stellar about it just yet. We will see how it goes. I went ahead and secured my @ACraftyConcept name. I don’t love it or hate it, I am still open about it.
Thanks for hanging out guys, stay positive and I will see ya later!