Friday, September 10, 2004

Making a Business of It

There's a huge desire to want to be your own boss, to control your destiny.  And there's a larger desire to do it with something that you're passionate about -- like Crocheting.  

Every month I receive many emails asking, "How can I turn my crochet into a business?" so, I decided to share my thoughts on having a crochet business here as I think even if you're not thinking of this yet, perhaps one day you may. 

Starting off, I think it's important to be realistic about the amount of time you'll be dedicating to you business.  If you intend to sell finished items, then you'll need to realize that it takes serious time to crochet your inventory and/or custom orders, and that not everyone will want to pay you for your time, and supplies.  Some people spend a great amount of time commuting to work on trains, and find the ride to/from work is a great time to work on their inventory.  I met a woman several months ago that makes crocheted beaded bracelets during her commute time -- a labor of love that takes about 25 hours to create one bracelet, and she sells them to train riders for $75-$100 a piece.  (Her product: crocheted bracelets; her market: fellow commuters) 

An example of a starting business can be found from the TV show, "Starting Over." Yesterday, on the show, one of their residents announced that she's started her own crochet business.  She calls it "L Chain" (named after a train line in Chicago, and the crochet chain stitch) where she is selling completed crochet items from her website at The "L" Chain Store(Her product: various garments; her market: fans from the show & Internet shoppers.) 

If you intend to become a designer, then you'll need to have time set aside for designing, writing patterns, submitting them, and so on.   If you intend to become a crochet instructor/teacher like me, then you'll need to time set aside for creating samples, working on materials for classes, and promoting.  You'll also have to figure out the whole pattern issue as there's copyrights involved.  Plus there's tax issues, public relations, and yes, where to store your stash/inventory, and more business issues to investigate. 

Sometimes, businesses start as a means to help ends meet, such as with crochet designer Jenny King, who really got her start nearly 25 years ago while she was in college.  She designed and crocheted bikini's to help make spending money.  (Her product: custom bikinis; her market: fellow students headed to Spring Break)

So with this all in mind, where do we start for gathering our information? 

I recommend Crocheting for Fun and Profitstarting with reading the book,
Crochet for Fun & Profit by Darla Sims.  This book was published in 2000,  and will help you discover how to profit from your crocheting.  In fact, it may become the "Bible" of your business, helping you figure out home-business basics like setting up your workspace, to figuring out where your market is.  It includes basic information on crochet (how-to's) and some patterns too.  Even if you only plan on crocheting to benefit a charity, then you'll want to check out this book!  

Me?  I first started my "business" because I needed  to be with adults. (visit my website and click on the option "About Dee: Getting Started" to learn why I needed to be with adults.)  My "business" allows me to work around my children's school schedule, and the money I earn from my teaching supports my fiber,book & hook addictions.  My next goal is to get more of my patterns I create for my classes published! :) (My product: crochet classes & workshops; my market: local students looking to learn/improve upon crochet skills)

The second thing I recommend if you're interested in becoming a professional, a business owner, that you consider joining the CGOA (if you haven't already) and upgrade your membership to "Associate Professional."  -- you'll get paired up with a mentor, similar to that like the "Starting Over" tv show, that will help you reach your dreams and goals.

What are you waiting for?  ...getting started is just a stitch away.  :)


Anonymous said...

Great insight! Now I just need to learn how to crochet! lol

Anonymous said...

that is so interesting.......and many of your tips can be applied to any venture...

Anonymous said...

Dee, hello, I read your beginnings and ends on crochet.  I think it's a wonderful idea to teach youth to crochet.  I teach youth to crochet as well.  I design patterns and crochet just for fun also.  You are correct in saying, people may not want to pay you for your work.  I will sign up for CGOA membership.  I know this will be a help to me and continuing to crochet.  I think it's great that you are teaching youth to crochet.  I get such joy in teaching youth this beautiful hand art. Thank you for your support.