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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- 0:31]
Do you feel it necessary to be on all of the platforms? I’m only on Pinterest and Instagram right now. [0:32- 3:02]
As A pattern designer should focus on only designing certain types of pieces? [3:03- 6:12]
Can designers legally say “You can’t make this item for sell” if you pay for the pattern? Why can’t you use the pattern as you see fit? [6:13- 8:31]
Do we credit you for the pattern with the sale? [8:32- 10:27]
What’s your favorite color to work with? [10:28- 11:39]
Do I need a license for an online crochet business? [10:29- 13:46]
Can you make a pattern for dog poop bags? [13:50- 15:03]
What information should we keep to give our tax person? [15:04- 17:25]
What is involved in getting a Tax ID Number and a Business license? [17:25- 18:25]
Do you keep your receipts? [18:26- 20:02]
Do you know why some people limit their reactions on their Instagram posts? [20:03- 20:54]
What is your favorite bulky yarn? [20:55- 21:16]
Was your husband supportive when you told him you wanted to crochet? [21:17- 23:55]
If you buy a domain from one host site can you use it else where if it’s not set up yet? [23:56- 25:33]
How do I figure out who my ideal customer is? [25:34- 33:07]
Welcome back to another Tuesday Talks! So I posted a question box on my Instagram stories, and I’ve been getting a lot of amazing questions all day long and I’m very excited to answer them with you guys here today.There’s a questions box right there I think that’s where it is on my screen anyway if you have more questions that you want to ask me, I’m going to go as fast as I can for like 30 minutes and see how many questions we can get answered.
Let’s start with an easy one-
Do you feel it necessary to be on all of the platforms? I’m only on Pinterest and Instagram right now.
No I do not think you do not need to be on every platform. It’s good to be on a lot of them just because they’re free just so you can serve your audience no matter where they hang out. Jasmine Star is on nearly every platform just because she likes to benefit from the free and she’s she’s a hard worker and has a team to help her manage all the different platforms. But no, you don’t have to be on all of them, it’s just important to be on the platform where your ideal customers hanging out and platforms that best serve them.
If your ideal customer is using Pinterest (well everyone needs to be on Pinterest, you don’t have to use it as “user” but you definitely need to pin your things.) So Pinterest DOESN’T COUNT AS SOCIAL MEIDA, it’s more of a search engine. When it comes to Tik Tok, Instagram, Linked-in, Snapchat, Twitter, I would just go where your ideal customer is hanging out.
You can look at demographics for each of those platforms and figure out who their main audience people are.
For my ideal customer of crocheters, a lot of us are on Instagram and a lot of us are on Facebook. I have both of those, I also have a Tik Tok. I do NOT have a Snapchat, twitter or Linked-in. I don’t any of those things, I don’t know how to use them, I don’t know the correct lingo to talk about them. I have Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok. Tik Tok mostly it’s just really fun for me. I enjoy the platform! I also use Pinterest to link to all of my blog post, and all the things I have for sell in my Etsy shop.
For my new shop Wild Grace (opening I don’t know when) we are going to have an Instagram first, and a Pinterest. I should probably do a Facebook as well, but I don’t know if I will or not just because it’s not my main priority. You guys at A Crafty Concept is my main priority. Wild Grace is more of like an experiment a little bit, it’s an example business for when I am teaching you guys in finding things that work and stuff so I want to share that information with you. But it is not my passion, A Crafty Concept is my passion. So I will probably do the bare minimum with Wild Grace, just to make it successful.
As A pattern designer should I focus on only designing certain types of pieces?
At A Crafty Concept I focus usually on designing things that are easy to make, make up quickly, and are made with materials that are easy to come by and not super expensive to get- like super expensive fancy yarns. Because my ideal customers are finished piece sellers. It would not make sense for me to design a very intricate sweater or dress or something like that because it’s not something that my people could easily sell in their shops. It wouldn’t make sense for my brand or my ideal customer so I don’t do things like that. I did a blanket, but it was made with chunky yarn and worked up fairly quickly.
It’s good for your brand recognition if you can have a specific type of thing that you design. I think with creatives, I don’t know I think this will be like to each it’s own. You can do so much, but if you have a specific style you stick with- that will help you stand out as a designer and help your designs become easily recognizable just because they are in the same style your other things are in.
I would focus more on style vs. variety and I think you will be golden!
Teresa of Debrosse always has a very minimalistic style, whenever I see one of her patterns she almost always uses Bernat Home Decor Yarn. When I see one of her patterns I KNOW it’s one of her patterns, even if I see someone else post about one of her patterns that they made I can tell that it’s her pattern. It’s a very well built brand.
Toni from TL Yarn Crafts has a lot of very intricate pieces a lot of delicate shawls and things like that I can always point out her patterns as well just because of the style that she has.
I would say stay true to your style, pick a style that makes sense for you that you can be authentic with and that will draw in your ideal customer or your ideal crocheter in this case.
I don’t teach design things, because I have no desire to teach design. I design my crochet patterns from my head in a weird jumbled up mess and I do trial and error 1,600 times until it comes out right. So I can’t really teach that, but Taylor of Taylor Lynn Crochet helps designers. If you got more designer questions definitely post them on next weeks Tuesday Talks over on Taylor’s Instagram!
Also speaking of Taylor, her and the lovely Sierra from Sierra’s Crafty Creations who was the guest poster on the blog today- they have a course that went live today all about shipping! I get asked questions about shipping all the time, so if you have questions about shipping I am sure this course will answer them all for you!
Can designers legally say “You can’t make this item for sell” if you pay for the pattern? Why can’t you use the pattern as you see fit?
In February of 2018 I went to the Midwest Craft Conference. There was a lawyer there who was a practicing lawyer but also a craft addict so she was the perfect person to ask this question to. I asked her hey I design crochet patterns and I know other people who design crochet patterns and they say what this person just asked. She told me, that legally the designer of the crochet pattern CAN say you are NOT allowed to sell the finished piece. It is a derived good, meaning you used their design to make the thing, so you can’t sell the thing unless they give you permission- legally!
I know that there are a lot of opinions on this, I personally (and Taylor and I think Sierra as well ) all of my crochet pattern are able to sold of the finished piece. You can sell the finished piece if you make one of my designs, one of Taylor’s designs. There are people who don’t care one bit if you sell your finished pieces, and then there are people who care very much and legally (to the best of my understanding- I AM NOT A LAWYER, THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE! This is just what I heard from the grape vine from a lawyer.) they can say “You are not allowed to sell this thing.” It is legal for them to say so.
I do not do that for my patterns. You are more then welcome to sell the finished piece from following my pattern- I hope you sell a ton of them, I hope you go viral, your shop explodes and you make a millions of dollars and you have to get 15 helpers- that’s what I hope for you!
Do we credit you for the pattern with the sale?
If you list the thing on Etsy or at a market and you want to put something on there that says “designed by A Crafty Concept” that covers the bases for me. You don’t have to do anything crazy to give me credit for that. The only reason I ask for that is so other people who find you, especially on Etsy if they are looking for the crochet pattern, they can find it easily by reading your description. You don’t even have to link back to my shop, I see a lot of people doing that and I appreciate it and I’m sure it sends people my way but you don’t have to do that. You can just “Pattern by A Crafty Concept” and that gives them enough information to be able to search and find me. So they can crochet their own thing and they can make and sell that thing and support their family making and selling that thing just like you have. They are not going to take your business away from you, there is plenty of customer for everybody.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that there is not enough stuff for all of the people to go around. When COVID first hit back in April Walmart was cleaned out, everybody was sold out of everything because there was more people than stuff.
One human being could not possibly crochet enough things to supply to everybody. That’s why we believe in community over competition over here! A rise in tide, raises all boats- when one of us succeeds we all succeed. Especially if your shop goes viral and you’re selling Bitty Boho Bibs, and your Etsy listing says “designed by A Crafty Concept” then that helps me. So that’s how your rising tide raises all boats because you’re doing really well but that helps me do well too because you’re crediting me for the design. (Sorry I got on a little soap box, I apologize! Let’s keep going!)
What’s your favorite color to work with?
Not Black! I hate working with black yarn, it’s very hard for me to see. My go to is Linen, just because it’s my best seller. For me neutral pieces do really well when I promote them.
The boho blanket did really well and it was NOT neutral, so that was surprisingly awesome! I love that you guys love color as well. I think in the creative community bright colors do well, but the market where we sell our finished pieces for most of us neutrals are going to do well.
I try to choose colors that will resonate with my brand (so that you guys know that it’s mine) but also going to draw your eye in. I like a lot of color but I like neutrals too. I think they both look pretty. Black yarn is hard to use, I can’t see it for the life of me. I can do better with black heather yarn or even really dark grey but solid black yarn- I am on the struggle bus trying to see what is happening. It’s also really hard to video or photograph as well.
Do I need a license for an online crochet business?
I don’t have one! So if we need one I am in trouble, because I don’t have one. I use my social security number when I signed up to be an Etsy seller.
I am going to get an LLC for A Crafty Concept, I just haven’t done it yet. My tax guy is going to be really angry at me probably when I go turn in my stuff in a couple weeks because he told me to do that and I didn’t because it overwhelms me! When I get overwhelmed I don’t do and that is a character flaw that I have. Apparently it is super easy to sign up for an LLC. My friend Amanda is an entrepreneur and she sent me a link and all I have to do is fill out the boxes and I got really stuck. I wanted to make my LLC something a little bit vague and then have DBA’s which stands for “doing business as” under the LLC. I would have A Crafty Concept, Wild Grace, Crochet Boss Academy, all those things would be under my LLC. I couldn’t choose a vague name! Like Stallsworth Incorporated sounds awful, and I don’t want to have to write that on anything ever! Even if it’s just once a year, I don’t want to have to write “Stallsworth Incorporated because I would be 100 years old by time I’m done writing it. So I haven’t done an LLC yet. I don’t have a license, I don’t have a tax ID number, I don’t have a wholesale account or anything like that. I am just a sole proprietor doing my thing. I didn’t trademark- I’m just winging it! I have a tax guy so I definitely turn in all of the correct paper work and stuff. I give them all my bank account information and I say this is all of the things that came in to my bank all year. This is the expenses that I had. But yeah I need to get an LLC. I will let you guys know if he gets mad and says I did something wrong (but then he will just fix it. He’s the best tax guy in the world!)
This one threw me for a loop-
Can you make a pattern for dog poop bags?
Are you meaning a crochet bag that you can pick up dog poop with? Because that would be a one time use situation. Or are you meaning bag holder?
For a bag holder you can use a mask sack. You can use a mask sack and probably shove 4-5 Walmart bags in there and just clip it to your dog leash. If you needed something on the fly that would be the easiest thing I can think of for you.
You could also just use a bigger hook and bigger yarn and make your mask sack slightly bigger to hold more poop bags.
What information should we keep to give our tax person?
Taylor is an accountant! She has an accountant degree, she is not a practicing accountant- Taylor would be the best at answering most of your accounting questions.
I will tell you what I do. I download my entire year of bank transactions into an excel spreadsheet. I do conditional formatting, which means I can make it highlight things. I highlight everything with the word “deposit” because anytime anyone puts money into my account it says “deposit” in the title of the transaction. I highlight it green, then I add all those babies up and that’s my income. Then I go through and highlight everything that says “Office Depot” and “Lowes” and “Hobby Lobby” – all of those things are business purchases. I don’t get anything else from those places then business stuff. Then I go through it for things like my phone payment, my internet and highlight all the repeated things that I know is a business expense. Then I add them all up as my expenses. Then I give them to my tax guy. I give him the entire spreadsheet with all my highlighting on it, and whatever form Etsy sends me. They send it to me in the mail, I add it and give it to him. That’s what I do, and we get money back every single year.
This is hilarious, I did not read all of these before hand-
What is involved in getting a Tax ID Number and a Business license ?
If I was going to get a Tax ID number I would ask my tax guy and he would file the paper work for me and I would pay him $50 or something like that I am not for sure exactly. There would be a small fee for him to fill out the paper work for me. If you are techy techy there is probably a way for you go online and fill out the paper work for way less then it would take to get a tax guy to do it. But if it stresses you out to the core of your being and you can’t even breathe properly when you think about it just get you a good tax guy who is known for helping small business owners. My guy helps so many small business owners in this town. He helps my mom who is an entrupenur for the last 30 years- he’s a very good small business owning tax guy.
Do you keep your receipts?
I do not buy things with cash, if I was to buy something with cash I would keep my receipts.
Disclaimer: I am not a tax guy, I am not a tax lawyer. I am just a person who uses a tax guy.
I should keep my receipts per what Taylor tells me, just in case I get audited. My tax guy (or I made this up in my brain) if we had to dive in and search- all of the payments that I make are in my bank account. It says Walmart, only thing it doesn’t say “Walmart-poster board” or “yarn” something that I got for my business. It would just say Walmart. But my tax guy told me if we had to search we could find out that exact transaction and what was on that receipt if we got audited or something.
IRS says credit card statements are not enough, you need itemized receipts if you ever get audited. -Advice from Honestly Hooked.
This one confused me-
Do you know why some people limit their reactions on their Instagram posts?
I have no idea what that even means. Are you saying they turn off comments? Where you can’t leave a comment?
That’s not good for engagement. If you’re trying to grow that won’t help you grow any. My guess is maybe the don’t have the time to respond to them or maybe it’s a sensitive subject and it’s just going to get a bunch of hate comments- and they aren’t mentally capable of handling it which that I can understand. I leave my phone on do no disturb so I can choose when I am going to get stressed out or not, my phone beeping doesn’t stress me out anymore.
What’s your favorite bulky yarn?
Right now it’s the Mighty Stitch Super Bulky. This is the yarn I used to make the Boho Blanket. It was a pleasure to work with, it didn’t split once! I don’t do a lot of bulky things but I had fun making that blanket.
Was your husband supportive when you told him you wanted to crochet?
When I told him I wanted to turn it into a business I was currently a stay at home mom. So I didn’t have to quit my job. I don’t know how he wouldn’t have felt about quitting a job that was financially supporting our family. I was not financially supporting our family when I started this job. I just wanted to make extra money to help with vacations, Christmas presents, and groceries. That’s what I started with and he was like sure! He’s all about extra money so of course he encouraged me.
But as my business began to grow and I started to support our family more- Gabe pays for like our big things and I pay for almost everything else. What you guys have done to support my business, you guys have paid for all of my families Christmas gifts this year, you paid for our entire vacations that we’ve done, any type of extra spending like shopping sprees or anything like that all comes from my money. But Gave is the most supportive man on the planet. He will do anything he can, especially when things are really busy. When I was selling finished pieces more then designing and my shop went viral he was helping me sew on tags, package all my orders. We would stay up until 1 o’clock in the morning getting all the orders ready to go out the next day. He tells people all the time that I do such good things will my business.
My office is upstairs and he’s usually downstairs so he will text me and he will encourage me through text and stuff like that. I am very very blessed to have him, and having him being so encouraging helps me be successful every single day. I couldn’t imagine to know what it feels like for my spouse to not be encouraging. I know there are a lot of people in our community that do have spouses that are not encouraging and my heart goes out to you. I also think you gotta just show them, show them that this is a good idea and you’ve got a skill and there’s a need and you’ve got what it takes to to be an entrupenur. You just show them.
If you buy a domain from one host site can you use it else where if it’s not set up yet?
You can buy a domain, before I had my own website I bought acraftyconcept.com in 2012 or 2013 and I forwarded it to my Facebook business page. I bought my domain from GoDaddy then I went into my GoDaddy settings and forwarded it so when people typed in acraftyconcept.com it took them immediately to my A Crafty Concept Facebook page because that’s all I had at the time. acraftyconcept.com is easier to say, spell, read, easier to type on a business card. It was much easier for me to type acraftyconcept.com then www.etsy.com/shop/acraftyconcept. You could also link your Etsy to your domain. I didn’t have an Etsy shop at this point, I did everything through my facebook. I do NOT recommend it. It was the most exhausting unorganized system a human being could have. But you can forward your domain to any site you would to forward it to, and I suggest it.
How do I figure out who my ideal customer is?
Finding your ideal customer is Issue 1 in Crochet Boss Academy. We spent an entire month dedicated to finding out or at least some understanding of who our ideal customer is, and all the other issues after that have been built on top of issue 1 to help us find our ideal customer- and understand her even better.
First things first- it’s very difficult and you shouldn’t feel unequipped or anything like that trying to figure out who she is, because it’s hard. Here are my go to rapid fire tips-
She’s probably someone very similar to who you are or what you like or some version of you previously. So my ideal customer inside A Crafty Concept or for Crochet Boss Academy is a stay at home mom who wants to have extra income in her house. She wants to make like $500 a month, that would be goals for her. That’s my ideal customer, because that’s who I was back in 2015. So similar to you or some version of you.
You can look at your top 3 best sellers, and make up one person that would benefit from having all 3 of those things and why. A lot of finding out your ideal customer is finding out the why behind the purchase. What is in her heart? My Wild Grace ideal customer is a boho baby girl mom. She’s got a baby girl that’s under the age of 4, she cares very much about appearances. Her house is decorated at all times, she drives a mid luxury car, she upkeeps herself with her nails, hair, eye lash extensions or something- she does all the things I don’t do. She cares very much about what people think when they see her. She wants to be seen as someone who has it all together.
So when I sell my bitty boho bibs to her I say- Hey not only is your daughter going to be really super cute while she’s eating at Olive Garden and getting spaghetti all over her bib, you don’t have to worry about the bib because you can go home and wash it. Some fancy bibs are for pictures only and then you take it off, not bitty boho bibs! Your baby can be cute walking into Olive Garden, and while eating at Olive Garden because these bibs are machine washable. You can go home and wash them and they will be fine.
That’s how I talk to her, because I know what’s important to her. So think of 3 products that are your best sellers and imagine one perfect human being who all 3 of those products would benefit.
You want to focus on benefits. Focus on why they need it. Why would they want it. Why would this raise their quality of life.
If your person is a minimalist and they live in a 500 square foot apartment and they own nothing but black and cream. They own very few statement pieces in their clothes that they wear year round and they mix and match them and that’s all they need. They got like 4 pants and 4 shirts and that’s all they wear – because they are minimalistic. They have very minimal everything in their home. If you sold a beanie that was cream on the inside and black on the other side, and it was one beanie that fits all of their clothes and it’s reversible- that’s going to appeal to a minimalistic buyer. You can say hey you can take these two beanies and replace it with this one beanie, help declutter your home and it matches everything in your closet. I know you I know your a minimalist, I know everything you own is cream and black, so this was designed specifically for you.
Think about the benefits of your products. How they are going to serve some person. No one cares about you more than they care about themselves. When they are shopping, especially brand new people who are just finding you through Etsy or hashtags on Instagram they don’t know you yet- you have to pull them in. Lead with the benefits, focus on how this is going to benefit someone and that will help you nail down your ideal customer.
My last tip, on a piece of paper create a graph- put down like baby boho baby girl mom who cares about appearances put that in the middle and draw a circle around it, then draw some arms off it like you are making a sunshine. Then we are going to say IF I know she’s a mom THEN what else do I know about her? If I knew my person was a mom of 3 boys middle school and younger, then what else do I know? If I know she’s a mom of 3 boys I know that she’s probably super busy, because boys like to do sports. So I will write down busy next to one of my arms. Then I will draw an arm off of the word busy and write the word sports. If I know she’s a boy mom I would think she’s pretty active doing outdoor activities with her boys like camping, fishing, dirt bike riding, she’s probably right there in the thick of it because she wants to play with them. Another thing I can assume she likes is coffee- could you imagine a mom having 3 boys middle school age and younger and doesn’t drink coffee? Like how would she function- she probably drinks coffee. So now I know she’s a coffee drinker, and she’s very busy. Now that tells me that I can sell her coffee cozies in a 3 pack, one for car, one for her purse, and one for her to keep at home. I know that she’s busy and that she’s running around all the time so no matter where she’s at she’s got a coffee cozy with her because I sold it to her in a 3 pack. This is an example I have used repeatedly but it makes perfect sense.
Make yourself an “If, Then” chart. Once you figure out the “meat” of your ideal customer, branch out and do a bunch of “If, Then’s”. Remember you are totally making this up and the more she’s like you the better because you are going to be able to resonate with her and she’s going to be able to resonate with you!
Okay guys I hope that was super helpful for you! If you learned something, go tell somebody about it. Go say hey you gotta watch Ashley’s IGTV replay because I learned this, this, and this! Spread the knowledge with your friends 😉