Monday, February 25, 2008

Part 5: Why is that kitten sleeping in a Muffin Hat?

Answer.... because I had dozens of them and didn’t know what to do with them. No, not really, but a good title catches the attention.

Don’t make my biggest mistake: crochet a lot of things ahead of time, that you cannot give away as gifts.

I had wanted to take advantage of our active historical re-enacting community and a local Renaissance Faire, so I made dozens of crocheted shawls, & sewed muffin hats from satin and plaid flannel.

While I was busy crocheting all these shawls and sewing all those muffin hats, the Renaissance faire in our area had an embezzler keeping their books and they went bankrupt. I never got an opportunity to sell my crocheted shawls and muffin hats to their targeted audience. I didn't have enough merchandise to try for a larger RenFaire in a big city, and couldn't afford to travel 5-600 miles round trip every weekend for 2 months.

In my college days, I was marketing director for a Science Fiction/Fantasy Convention, and I remembered that the convention had a huge SCA attendance, as well as D&D gamers in costume.

I decided to take my products to the SF convention and sell them to the Fantasy and SCA people. However, I failed to ask about that SCA element before I paid my rent... only to find out that this convention had been taken over my combat video gamers when their local Convention went under.

The SF Convention organizers didn’t bother to ask the SCA to participate at the convention, and they weren't interested in D&D-so they didn't schedule the customers who would have bought my hats and shawls...didn’t come.

I tried to sell my shawls at another Old West Rendezvous and to online sutlers, but the Civil War and Frontier re-enactors didn't want my shawls in man made fibers, nor the muffin hats.

After storing these for several years, I gave the muffin hats to our local Cancer Society for chemo caps, and the shawls to our battered women's shelter... only to have shawls and ponchos become all the rage 6 months later.

Trying to keep up with trends is a very difficult thing for a small business owner. You can drive yourself crazy trying to ride the waves of the Fads, that are usually gone, before the average crocheter can catch up. You can also create serious financial hardships, if you spend serious money on supplies for finished items you can’t sell.

I got extremely lucky (depending on who you ask) when my local Hobby Lobby had a management turn over and they marked half of the yarn department 75-90% off. I bought $300 worth of brand new yarn, for $75.

I made all those shawls, from that yarn; plus towel toppers and hot pad/coaster sets, and gazillion other little things. I could afford to give those shawls away, because I had very little expense in them.

Do your research before you invest too much time and money in crocheting your items to sell at various venues in your area. At the very least, crochet those things that you can use as gifts for family and friends.

Tomorrow’s Post: Nooks, Crannies & Niches

© Angela ‘ARNie’ Grabowski 2008. All rights reserved. For more crochet fun, visit
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