Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Lessons Learned - being ruthless

I am new to selling my crochet and my patterns.  I have been selling casually for a few years but in a more organised way for only one (I know this because I am just renewing my public liability insurance ...)

This means I have a lot to learn.  I thought, a year on, I would share some of the observations, experiences, decisions and ideas my first year of selling has given me. 

Before I begin, I should say that I am in no way an expert.  I am a true beginner.  I don't know if what I've learnt is any good to anyone else or is in anyway good business.  I hope you read with interest but also read with discernment.

So here goes:

Number 1 - BEING RUTHLESS

Some times you have to be a bit hard on yourself if you are making to sell.  When I was making just for me I would indulge in making exactly what I wanted (I still do but in my 'hobby' crochet time) - I can't do this now.  If I want to make money from my crochet I have to make what other people like.  I read all over that you should be 'true to yourself' and 'maintain your integrity' etc.  This is true.  I would never make anything I didn't like or appreciate.  However... and a big however ... I have learnt there has to be a compromise.  My taste is not necessarily a commercial taste.  I cannot be self-indulgent and make money.

Case-in-point:  When I first started to sell a few years ago I made a gorgeous hood/scarf.  I loved it.  It was made in Merino.  It was soft and chunky and scrumptious.  I still have that scarf.  No one else wants it.  I have reduced and reduced the price.  I have experimented with different ways to display it and promote it.  No one wants it.  I have had to come to terms with that.  So I am being ruthless - or should that be realistic? - it is taking up space and it is taking up yarn and it is never going to make any money.  Yesterday I started unpicking it.  It was a very hard decision.  I still love it.   

There is a down-side.  I feel bad that no-one appreciated my design.  I feel demotivated that all that work was for nothing.  But now I think with my business-head and my creative-head there are massive upsides.  I had a white-elephant but now I have more than 200g of gorgeous merino wool to play with (oops - work with) and, before I had even wound 50g of this I had a million ideas whizzing through my head about what it could become next.  I was inspired (and if you don't understand how a nice yarn can do that I'm guessing you don't knit, crochet or spin).

I am now decided to be more ruthless.  Over the next few months I will review the things I have for sale with a more critical eye and categorise them into "good sellers", "might sells" (for remarketing and then review) and "never sell" (to be upcycled, recycled ...etc)  It feels good!

I hope this is a useful waffling.  I have more to come :)