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crochet business in my country!

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I think read all the topics about starting crochet business here in Crochetville they are really helpfull but still i need advices because i am very confused. I live in Greece and the last five years things with economy and taxation are very very difficult. I am uneployed 3 years so i decided to make my hobby business. I am trying to find ways to do that. Recently here in Greece crocheting and selling is fashionable and all the unempoyed women crocheting like crazy and are trying to sell their creations whether thet are good or not, through facebook, blogs etc..all this is completely unorganized and finally i beleive they do not sell nothing or they sell only few things and that's all!! Last two years i am trying to find ways to sell my creations( i crochet shawls, jewelerry, and some patterns) but i want to do it right and find something original.. I want to organize that very carefully and do something different but unfortunatelly i can not find the way and always at the end, i end up with the same things. I really need your advice, ideas and help how to organize all this in order to have success become first of all known and after to have profit from that. I don't have problem to create an on-line store in etsy or ravelry or somewhere else but i want to do it right. Also i would lke to recommend that Greece is a small market... And something more...is there any way to be more creative with my patterns?

thanks a lot and sorry for the big post!!

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One website I enjoy visiting is AllFreeCrochet.com. Plenty of patterns on clothes, accessories, toys, blankets, purses, and other stuff. They've supplied most of my personal digital library. Perhaps you could find some inspiration or challenges there to broaden your skillset?

Some of the more creative things I've seen were as simple as changing a stitch type. Maybe a few front-post stitches here and a bobble there.

 

 

My main profession isn't crocheting, but the business plan is about the same: spend half your time creating, the other half marketing and advertising. Preferably doing your creating at the start of your day so you don't get distracted by emails and whatnot.

 

Many professionals suggest making a list of ways you want to run your business. Ads? Classifieds? How many different kinds of products? Blog or website or just a shop? Domestic or international sales? Coupons and discounts or flat prices? Exclusive offers? Run a limited edition series from time to time? Should I make a newsletter? Do I need a logo? What am I going to call the shop?

 

Etsy shops are very easy to make. You start an account, make a listing (pay the listing fee within a month, I think it's $0.20 each), and wait for business. The listings themselves are very straightforward. Title, photo, pick a few appropriate categories, make a detailed overview, and set your prices for the item and shipping. Research your international shipping first!! Sometimes you do get international orders and it'd be best to be familiar with those costs, unless you want to make a "no international sales" rule. My very first order was overseas, and I ended up with less than 25% of my asking price by the time shipping and selling fees were done with me. (Because I'm too dang stubborn for my own good.) Mostly shipping. Selling fees were around 15% from eBay and Paypal. Speaking of which, you could experiment with eBay. Depending on their mood, they sometimes allow for free bids. It's how I got my start in my business when I didn't even have twenty cents to put towards Etsy listings. The thing I prefer about Etsy is that you can allow multiple options on an Etsy listing, like different sizes and colors, while I haven't really seen an option for that on eBay.

 

An easy way to advertise would be to make a website or blog, place some ProjectWonderful adspace on your blog/site, and then entice traffic to your blog/site so others want to bid on your adspace, which in turn you can put toward advertising on other ProjectWonderful ads. (PW also has the option to advertise for free on other ads whose users allow it, just for a shorter amount of time before having to manually click "renew".) And then there's the whole social media thing, but I don't bother with that, so hopefully somebody knowledgeable on that will pop up.

One suggestion I read from a professional was to offer more than just your main hobby on those kinds of blogs. Also share recipes, movie reviews, maybe other hobbies, and other stuff to show you're a person and not just a crafting machine.

 

Paypal has had some rather colorful stories of issues, but they do take care of the hassle of currency conversion. I had a fellow from Australia buy something once. I set the price in USD, Paypal translated it to AUD for him, and it went smoothly through. I don't know how far Paypal reaches, but if it reaches Greece, I'd recommend giving it a look.

 

From personal experience, I say to not get too caught up in trying to meet "goals". It may make you spend more time fretting than is necessary. Keep a realistic number of ads and classifieds up that you can manage, pace yourself through orders if you get slammed during a holiday season, and try to make it from day to day. It's okay to deviate from the business plan, because life can get messy.

 

Hope my long rambling helped. Good luck! And best of luck to Greece, one of my buddies was without power for over a year because of some strange mandatory tax that got piggy-backed on with the power company.

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The informations and your advices are very helpfull. I have to make a business plan and put the things in order. I have thought all these you wrote to me but without any sequence , that's why i am so confused and i don't know how to start all this. I really love crochet and knitting when i do that i am very happy, i love that but i am not so experienced for making business plan which is necessary for starting a crochet business...i must read about that and see other professionals how to do that..You are really good in advices and also helped me to think some ideas..i will not have any stress and i will try to do it step by step.. Thank you anyway you helped me a lot!! :ty

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You're welcome. =)

 

I'm no good at business plans either, I just kind of blunder my way through. Heehee. I did find this article recently that may be of some help to both of us about some of the finer aspects of developing a business: http://www.brighthub.com/office/entrepreneurs/articles/87471.aspx

 

Ah, and you can use OpenOffice or GnuCash (open source accounting software, similar to QuickBooks) to help keep track of your income and expenses. I use the OpenOffice Calc (equivalent of Microsoft Office Excel) to keep immediate track of my customers' orders and details like billing and address, and I GnuCash to track things like postage more specifically. You could have it generate a monthly report (or figure one up yourself, they're very easy) to see which months your business does best in and then make preemptive decisions about advertising in local papers and stuff. More than likely, your big boom will be between September and November. Most of us hobbyists get busy around that time after we've had a little while to get our name out there.

And sometimes it's fun just to make reports every month and place them in a notebook to make yourself feel all fancy and legit. ;)

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The article you found about craft business plan is very very very good!! I think i have many thinks to do and organize, i like that!! Yes sure i will use OpenOffice for money issues. I will have paypal for selling my products. The subject with international shipping is a little bit complicated needs to calculate everything in order not to make any mistake and finally not having profit from your sell.

For internal shipping i know, i don't have problem. 

Sometimes i wonder if i will do all these about selling my products and not works?? If my creations don't like to other people? I have some money to invest for the begιnning but if i will loose them?? Ok..i don't like to make negative thoughts..whatever i will not invest so much money!

Dear AsheSkyler if i will need more help can i ask you? You are more experienced than me as i can see and have good ideas. Also i have to make a progress with my english because all articles and informatons are in english. In Greek are few unfortunately..One think i did not undesrtand..why the big boom is between september and november? what do you mean? thanks a lot anyway and sorry if i have been wearing. :)

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No trouble at all. Ask me anything any time. =)

 

The fear of no buyers plagues all sellers. I don't blame you for the worry. I still worry! Especially during the quiet months.

 

Since there is potentially a lot of upfront costs with crocheting, I wouldn't recommend keeping a large inventory of items ready to ship. Maybe make one of each thing you wish to sell, kind of like the display items in stores, and wait until you have a buyer before making another to ship. If you are successful, then it would be safe to start keeping an inventory on hand so you can ship items faster.

 

If you develop a big American base, and probably also true for Canada, Australia, and the UK, between September and November is when people start getting ready to do their Christmas shopping and know that their intended gifts may take a while to make. My earliest shopper so far was in October. I'm pretty much oblivious to holidays in other countries, but I think it safe to say that if you know of a big gift giving holiday it wouldn't hurt to do a little extra advertising during then.

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yes, this i will do, crochet one thing of each king and wait for selling! I will try to finish all this project till september in order to catch holidays and also catch the new winter season here in Greece..another idea i thought is to go in a few stores here in my neighborhood and show them my work...why not? if they like them i will be lucky if they don't i will not!!

Whatever every day i have new ideas, i must write them and see what i will do!!

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That would be good, and the list thing too. Many different kinds of artists usually have a very good local following, and online sales are more of a supplement.

 

I'm still building up the courage to show things in person. I'm shy! :P

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