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  • Writer's pictureKristin

Spinning Yarncraft into Business

One of my passions outside of writing and reading is yarn. Everything, glorious, glorious yarn! Like so many other women, I love the feeling I get when I create something with my hands. I love using a material that looks one way and then looks totally different as a finished project. Long strings turned into solid objects, clothing, toys, blankets? How cool is that?

A mandala I crocheted recently

Once you master a craft, it doesn't take long before you realize (or someone points out to you) that hey, you could really make some money doing this thing. Could I? you wonder. And you research and you find Etsy and Ravelry, and you see that indeed, people are finding ways to make money off of this thing. And you could, too.

The Washington Post recently published an article about crafters making money on patters on Ravelry. It's inspiring to see - the researcher found that the more successful pattern makers were once who had real-life encouragement behind them. Encouraging husbands and friends who told them what they were doing was meaningful.

For any budding entrepreneur, I think encouragement is a crucial ingredient in getting a business off the ground. Believing in oneself is perhaps needed the most in the recipe in terms of volume, but encouragement from others acts as the baking powder or baking soda that's going to lift the whole thing off the ground.

Many years ago, and at the encouragement of my husband and friends, I too sold many of my creations on my own Etsy shop. Competition was stiff, in that there were so many different options, it was hard for your shop to rise above the rest. Even with fantastic photography, competitive prices, and quality product, you're still just a middle-of-the-road shop. All of that, I'd say, was the bare minimum for an Etsy shop. Advertising and marketing dollars help push your wares to the top of search lists, which not everyone has nor wants to pump hard-earned money into.

Business was slow for me, though steady. People were finding my offerings organically without marketing dollars pushing them up above other items. What helped was that: 1. This was a side gig, and I would always treat it as my side gig and 2. I simply enjoyed crocheting the items. I didn't make anything that I didn't want to make, and if I got bored making a number of a certain thing, I'd stop and make a different project.

When you're going all in on an Etsy shop, I couldn't imagine the stress, personally. Heavy strategy comes into play. It starts becoming less about the craft and more about the business. Which is exciting in its own right. But for me, it's too much of a divide, and turning the thing I love into a machine. It's only now that I'm older that I realize the importance of hobbies. The whole point of a hobby is enjoyment, not the possibility of monetization. Because in many of our cases, churning passions into money is the killer of that passion altogether.


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