Crochet: Not as easy as it looks

This week I have mainly being practising my crochet and trying to expand my product choices. I have mostly mastered the crocheted flower and can now do quite a few different types. I can even add leaves to the flower.

But my head quickly turns by all the gorgeous pictures I browse on Pinterest of cute looking Amigurumi animals. There are thousands and not just animals but lovely looking dolls, superheroes for the kids and characters from all manner of television shows. I definitely get carried away and want to run before I can walk.

However, I decided to be sensible and start with something small – a snail which was titled easy. It was NOT easy, at all. I tried a few rows but soon got lost. I started again and the same thing happened. After a couple more tries I gave up. Next I attempted a small teddy bear. I thought maybe something less tiny and fiddly may be easier. This project ended in more success. Apart from the fact that the teddy bear looked quite like a koala and as one person told me a mouse. Well at least it looked like an animal and that’s a start. As well as practice to make the koala/ mouse look like a teddy I also need to work on the stitching being close together so you can not see through to the stuffing. I think this will improve each time I try.20170628_113028

So my plan should be to continue growing products in my flower line, adding brooches, key rings, headbands and hair slides. Then when I have perfected these move on to teddy bears and small animals, then when I have lots more experience the characters and dolls. But will my willpower resist the beautiful dolls? It wouldn’t harm to give it a go would it?

Come back next week and see what I’ve been making (and if it was a success). Check out my Pinterest account for lots of pictures of Amigurumi animals and other amazing crafts I’d love to have a go at Pankhurstbydesign Pinterest Account

Before I go I want to mention how much You Tube has helped me and how I never could have learnt to crochet without it. There are so many lovely people teaching many different products, I can basically learn anything. I’m not sure if it’s okay to mention them here or link to their channels but once I find out I’ll tell you my favourites.

From the very beginning – my new Etsy business

I have finally started an Etsy shop and it was so easy. Well starting the shop was easy, but getting people to see the items in my shop is not so easy. In fact not easy at all. So I have decided to start this blog, PankhurstByDesign, to keep a track of how the business is going. Hopefully, the things I find out along the way may help others and perhaps some of you readers will have suggestions too.

So what is my shop and why did I start it?

My shop sells handmade, crochet items. At the moment it consists of brooches and hairbands but I’m hoping to expand into key rings and then amigurumi toys (because they all look so cute). Apart from the obvious (I would like more money) I started the shop because I can do something I love without feeling guilty that I should be doing something else. It’s work so it’s important – right. Also if I don’t sell the items I’ll just have lots of random crochet items all over the house. This happened when I made wire fairies but I found a good use for them as decorations on the Christmas Tree.

Here are some obstacles I have already come across.

Photography

I am not the best photographer and that is a major issue when postings listings on Etsy. This is definitely an area that I need to read up on and get tips for creating really good pictures of my products and I know from sites such as Pinterest that there is a lot of information out there. I just need to get reading and get experimenting.

A well stocked shop

My products are handmade so at the moment my shop only has a few items and I keep reading that customers like well stocked shops. I did, however think that I wanted to at least get something on there rather than wait until I had lots of items. A shop with a few items is better than no shop at all and the products will grow over time.

Pricing

Pricing. Am I under-priced, overpriced or just right. According to the calculations on how to work out your pricing I will definitely be under priced. As well as how much your supplies cost and shipping you should work out how much you get paid an hour. Well, as I am quite new to crochet and have only been doing it for a few months some of my products take a long time. A very long time. This is another area where I just have to think that practise and time will improve and eventually I will be able to earn a decent amount per hour.

Traffic

The main and most important obstacle – TRAFFIC. I have my new shop with lovely products and have even improved some of the pictures. But how do I get anyone to see it?

At first I was excited about my new shop and posting links to my products on my personal Facebook page. I had views from friends but I didn’t want to bombard them every time I added a new product.

Then I read about the importance of keywords and I always add as many relevant keywords to my listings as I can. This gets me in the top 30’s of the Etsy searches (providing shoppers are searching using the same description as I am) but doesn’t get many clicks. I expect this is to do with my poor photography abilities more than anything else. Of course you can pay for ads to be placed at the top of the search and this is an option to think about.

Just yesterday I learnt about Pinterest group boards. The idea being that if share popular pins other people will see that pin and link back to your account. I have joined a couple of group boards but I’m not entirely sure how to get the most out of them yet. I have seen lots of great pins though.

The final thing I have done is create a Facebook page just for my business. Again how do I get people to see that page though? So I have a Pinterest account and Facebook, both able to link to my Etsy shop and direct customers to it but I need traffic to those sites too. There are also Twitter, Instagram and lots of other accounts that would be useful. This could get complicated! I need to remember to take my time and the business will progress. Small steps done well, rather than jumping in to everything. I have my Etsy shop, Pinterest and Facebook page. That will do for now. I do need time to actually produce the products.

So that is an overview of my new shop and the obstacles I have come across. Leave a comment to say if any part of the article helped you or gave you new ideas.