Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Conclusion: Selling Finished Crochet Pieces

In Home Parties
I've had folks in Florida tell me that they host in-home parties (like Tupperware) to sell their finished crochet pieces and they do just fine. However, I did not hear them say they were making a living at this; just pleased with their results.

This sounds like a fabulous way to sell crochet... if you live in a community or apartment complex where you know your neighbors... or if you work in a large office building where folks know each other... This would work, but only if you have a large list of potential clientele that you don’t mind bringing into your home.

You would need a quiet isolated room in your home, where the rest of the family would not be tempted to intrude. Your party room, kitchen, and bathroom would need to be very clean. You would need to have refreshments, and games for ‘ice breakers’... basically, you would need to organize and host parties in your home- quite often to make your crochet pay for itself AND the expenses of hosting frequent parties.

I work out of my home; my husband is a territory sales rep, so neither of us know lots of people that we would want to invite to our home. Also, I have an open floor plan where my ‘entertaining room’ is my tv room and connected to my dining area. And I have a cat who would make the party miserable if he were locked out of that room, and make a nuisance of himself while he was in the room.

Nope, in-home parties would not work for me.

Portfolios & Contract Crochet
I had one lady tell me she created an 'artist’s' portfolio of her finished pieces and took them to local interior decorators. Her services were stitching pieces in the colors/yarns/patterns that the decorator and client chose.

Other ladies have told me they use the portfolio concept to sell their services for stitching samples for several Local Yarn Shops.

At least with this concept, you can create a finished piece ahead of time for the portfolio, and not include those projects/yarns that you absolutely hate to work with. You can also gently guide a customer into what will or will not work with the yarn they’ve chosen.

This could be a viable option, if you live in an area that has the need for a lot of interior decorators/designers. Not so in my little town in the Middle of Nowhere, Texas.

This would be great, if you live in a town with numerous independent yarn stores.... but our Local Yarn Shops have all closed, and they were primarily needle point and cross stitch shops that tried to branch out into knitting and crochet.

I love this idea of a Portfolio, but to be a successful stitcher, you would need to invest in that portfolio as much as artists, actors, & models invest in their portfolios... in other words... you really should let a professional put it together.

You would need to pay a professional photographer for the photos of your designs... and preferably one with experience in photographing things like this. Your ‘professional portrait photographer’ at Sears or WalMart is not a good option.

A top quality portfolio could make you look like a true professional worthy of top pay, but portfolios like that are expensive... and like a high priced craft show... still offers no guarantees at selling your stitching services.

Don’t misunderstand my cynicism here, I think this is a fabulous idea to crochet for pay; but as with any business; you must do your research in order to be successful. And you must be a top notch sales person with this marketing plan; because if you can’t sell the concept to Interior Designers or Yarn Store owners, you won’t have any business.

Contract Crocheting for Publishers...
I have heard that some folks do quite nicely as contract crocheters for publishers. However, I've heard complaints that an editor can dump 3 huge projects in your lap (lace table cloths, queen sized bedspreads with detailed graph work done in sc), and then they get angry when the crocheter couldn't finish all three huge projects in a week or two.

This is where you must be able to meet strict deadlines or have the time to work 8 hours a day crocheting. And your stitching must be perfect and fast, so that you can make a bedspread in a week.

Pattern Tester for Designers & Publishers....
As a pattern tester, you need to be an intuitive crocheter, so you can correct mistakes or ascertain that this is a mistake and how to correct it.

There is ok money in this from major publishers/designers, IF you can convince them to use you.

The biggest problem with contract crocheting and pattern testing is getting your name into the hands of those folks who need those types of crocheters. And honestly, I have no information on how to do that.

Before you approach an interior decorator, or a publisher for contract crocheting, chart available time that you can dedicate to crochet. Interior designers & publishers will have strict deadlines that you must meet, or they can cut your pay, or not pay at all for pieces that are excessively late.

As you can see, there are many many options of getting paid to crochet, but each avenue has it’s pitfalls and risks. Only you can determine what is the best avenue for you, and knowledge is the first step. Research, Research, Research. Armed with enough research and proper planning, you can be successful.

One final option is Designing and Publishing your own projects, and I will cover that in the days/weeks to come.

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