Friday, August 12, 2016

A Work in Progress

Getting ready for an upcoming event takes a lot of time and effort. It also involves more than my actual art form of knitting and crocheting. All of the items I am attempting to mass produce must be tagged for sale. For my larger items, especially garments that will be worn, I use these tags because they provide ample room on the back for me to handwrite the fiber content of the garment and the laundering instructions. I have always been a stickler about listing the exact contents of the fibers due to the fact there are so many people with sensitivities and allergies. I have such sensitive skin myself and I don't want someone to get home with something and have a reaction to it. However, my policy is that no sale is ever final. I am happy only if the customer is happy. Everything is returnable whether purchased online or in person. I will either give a full refund or remake the item. I just like to make people happy.
Since I have a preference for natural fibers, whether they are animal or plant based I feel it is extremely important for the laundering instructions to be included. A couple of years ago a friend of my mother in laws had a gorgeous hand knit cowl on. I mean it was truly gorgeous. It had beautiful cable work all over it. I was very impressed. When I asked where she got it, knowing she is not a knitter herself, she said she picked it up at a Craft Faire. I asked if the laundering instructions were included. She said, "No... I was just going to throw it in the washer and dryer with my clothes. Should I not do that?" She told me she had paid a rather good amount for it. I told her I was certain she had. And NO don't throw this in the machines! It has to be hand washed and laid flat to dry. I took one sniff of it and knew instantly it was Pure Wool, very soft wool, probably top of the line Merino Wool. Why someone didn't label that I will never know.
Here's the other thing: Work it, Sell it, Explain to your customers WHY that fine item they are holding in their hand is not priced like they are at a Garage Sale. This is NOT my Granny's Acrylic yarn Ladies {not that I ever say it in that way, mind you}.  If you want to be a professional at whatever you are doing then it's simple ...
Be Professional.
For my smaller items like stuffed pumpkins and bunnies that don't need special instructions I always have these tags made.
Basically all that's needed for these items is enough room to state what they are and their price.
As you can see I use an Etsy Shop called
Green Ridge Designs
for these tags.
For the larger tags shown in the first picture I use an Etsy Shop called
Morrell D├ęcor
I have been ordering these same two designs from these same shops for the last few years and I love them. I can't say enough good about both shops. They do a beautiful job and the orders ship almost faster than I place them. Not only do I love being an Etsy Seller but I really do love to support other Etsy shop owners. There truly is not anything you cannot find on Etsy.
The pretty stamp with the pink glass rose that makes my beautiful shop logo on these hand stamped tags was custom made for me on yet another Etsy shop a few years ago. If you are ever looking for a stamp of any kind check out this shop
My Rubber Stamp
They have some awesome things.
So, I'm stamping and pricing and tagging.... but I'm still knitting and knitting and knitting.
My work basket is piling higher and higher and higher with more pairs of fingerless mitts.
And still I am working on adding to the stack.
As I mentioned recently I have added a Girls Size 6-8 to this popular line of  Fingerless Mitts for the first time because last Fall and Winter I had several requests for them. So far just the
Pink and Beige pair is listed on my shop with my sweet little neighbor girl modeling them for me.
This is Stella. She looks just like an Angel, doesn't she? She talks and acts like one too. She is daughter number two of the four Little Women who belong to my dear friend Erin who lives across the street from me. Her sweet sister Eliza, number three in Princess pecking order, is the one featured in my post that still remains my most popular post of all time. Having these beautiful girls across the street is a constant joy in our daily life. Scott and I love seeing them come and go. Such sweetness.
Stella was so good to model these mitts for me a few days ago.
She is 8 years old and tall for her age. The mitts were a perfect fit on her.
I have to admit, this pattern is probably my favorite. Making them in little girl size is really fun too.
I love the single chunky cable that runs up the center and the ribbing around the wrist and fingers. The texture on the palm side is nice as well.
The pattern tells you to change colors as shown and I enjoy playing around with various options for color combinations. These colors are called Kitten and Rhubarb. I love it. I just wish Knit Picks would make the same colors available in both weights of the City Tweed yarn. This Rhubarb Pink really works for me, especially with this particular shade of beige {Kitten}.
I have another pair in this size knit up already in Cobalt Blue and Kitten but don't have a picture yet. There will be more colors to come in this size including a beautiful light blue and soft lavender with a lovely grey {with a blue undertone} to play around with for border colors, as well as the beige.
There are two things I have discovered over the years. The first is this, selling in person is always very different than selling online. The customer base is surprisingly unique to that of the online one. That took me by surprise in the beginning as selling online was what I did first. I expected to be able to conduct business the same way but found out this isn't necessarily the case. I have realized that my Craft Faire customers gravitated toward very specific and select  items and they return each year looking for those items. I have one sweet young mommy that likes a particular baby hat I crochet so well that I have had to continue to tweak the pattern every year to her growing daughters measurements and custom make her a new hat exactly like last years. She shows up every year at the Pumpkin Festival for me to take measurements and write her order down in my book.
I love customers like that!
The second thing I discovered is this, when stocking my online shop variety can be a good thing. Lots of different items for people to choose from while they are shopping is helpful online. So, I went with the same mindset to my first few Craft Fair's and did real well but over time I began to notice, like I said, they choose the same things over and over. I actually sell better in person when I mass produce the few specific things I know people will be looking for {and here's the key} in as many different colors as possible.  People love color variety. Give them too many options of things and they can become overwhelmed but color options, now that's a different story. Everyone speaks that language.
Every year brings something new, however. New people along with the loyal repeats, unseen weather challenges {we are outdoors in individual tents} and never ending changes in fashion trends. Just trying to stay on top of it all takes a lot of work. It's the work behind the scenes that has been more work for me than the actual knitting and crocheting. Let's face it, that's the good stuff. I can do that in my sleep at this point. Actually, I darn near do at this point. The rest of it though, I have to figure out as I go along. Believe me, I am still a work in progress on that end of things!

"Always walk through life as though you have something new to learn
and you will."
Vernon Howard
(1918-1992)

13 comments:

  1. I love the things you make, Danette!

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  2. Lovely.. Sweet gloves.. Lots of work indeed. Happy weekend my dearest with love Janice

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    1. Thank you so much Sweet One... A happy weekend to you as well.

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  3. How fun to read about your selling experience, Danette. Your wares are beautiful, and I love your labels, too. (I can't imagine not including care instructions for knitted items.) It's been awhile, but I sold my handmade soap at craft fairs, back in the day. I loved talking with my customers, but oh my, was it a lot of work. Your sweet little model is adorable. :) Hope your having a lovely weekend.

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    1. Thank you Toni! I truly appreciate your kindness. As you know all of this extra stuff takes a lot of time and thought. I have changed my look lately and am happy with the way it has evolved. I would LOVE to try some of your handmade soaps!!! Isn't Stella the sweetest?!
      You have a lovely weekend as well,
      Danette

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  4. That is fascinating, I've never sold anything at a craft fair before, but I wouldn't have realized that it makes sense to have fewer types of items but more colour options! What a great idea. Your neighbor's little one is adorable, she looks like a total cherub!

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    1. Well I am learning as I go. I think people have enough chaos in their lives and when they step into a small space to shop they can feel claustrophobic and easily overwhelmed on a subconscious level without realizing why. I think we all need as much peace in our lives as we can get. I try to sell from that approach- putting the individual first. I don't like to be in someone's face with a million different things. I think it puts them on overload and they just move on. I know when I'm shopping I don't like it.

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    2. And YES Stella is a real life Cherub in every way!

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  5. What beautiful knitting (and the tags you use are lovely too) and what a sweet model you have! I appreciate how professional you are with your craft business. Good for you!

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    1. Thank you so much Sandra! Yes, Stella is so very sweet, in every way! I try hard to be professional and work with people on an individual basis.

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  6. Danette you put so much love and care into your items I can see why you have so many loyal customers. Your attention to detail is not overlooked. Love the tags and stamps. I think they add just the right touch.
    xx Beca

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    1. Oh Beca! You are too sweet! Thank you! I try hard to make the total look come together and see things the way I would as though I'm the shopper. I love it that I can find so many creative people on Etsy to get everything I need.

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Thank you for taking time to chat with me ~
Your comments make me so Happy!
Have a lovely day.
Danette