Growing the Business

>> Sunday, March 28, 2010

My husband and I were talking about the shop the other day and he asked me, "how do we grow your business?" I have been expressing a wish to devote more time and energy to the shop, and to create a bigger footprint for myself in the fiber community.
"Well," I said. "More people need to know about me, about the shop. I need to be mentioned on Podcasts, videocasts, blogs and such. I need to get my name out there, basically. Once more people know about the shop and buy from it, the more business will grow."
Bear (my husband) shrugged and nodded, and conversation moved on.

I should have known that although the matter dropped from conversation, it hadn't dropped from his mind. The next day while at work I received an email with an attachment. "I think you should do this" was written in the subject line.

It was a vendor application for the 2010 Maine Fiber Frolic.

As I clicked through the application, I realized that the rates were much more reasonable than I'd thought. $75 for an outside spot or $95 for an inside one. The Maine Fiber Frolic has well-known vendors such as Spunky Eclectic, String Theory Yarn, Golding Spindles, and Enchanted Knoll Farms, among others. The thought that I could have a booth as well was a tantalizing one.

But how?

I have no where near the inventory I'd need for a show like that. The MFF also requires vendors to provide proof of liability insurance. But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it. Bear and I agreed that even if I didn't sell a lot of things, the MFF would be an awesome way to get my name out there into the larger world.

So last week, we hatched a plan. Here's what I've been doing:

1. Called local insurance agencies. Liability insurance costs about $400 a year. That sounds steep, but I can make payments on it and can cancel it after the show without a penalty. I will have an appointment with them later this week.

2. Downloaded an application with a yarn/fiber wholesaler. I just need one more trade reference and a photocopy of my business license and I can send that in. The minimum order is $500 - this is proving to be the sticking point in the plan. If I can come up with this money soon, it should be enough inventory for a booth at the MFF. If not, then it won't happen this year.

3. Dyed up a bunch of my current inventory and spruced up the shop. Most of what I have right now is sock yarn, which I've been adding to the shop over the weekend. I tested out a new method of dyeing that is both faster and more beautiful than my previous method. The shop is no longer organized by collection but by form - yarn, handspun, and fiber are all in separate categories.

4. Got a commision to dye the "bonus" skein of yarn for an existing sock club. This was very lucky for me, as I happened to be in the right place at the right time. If nothing else, this is a great way to get my name out there to people who may have never heard of me. I'm just waiting on my yarn and dyes to arrive. I hope to have them dyed up on Tuesday and in the mail by week's end. Sooner if I can manage it.

5. Joined an online Stitch N Bitch group where I can show yarn porn real time via web cam to a bunch of knitters and spinners who love them some pretty yarn! I'm hoping seeing the yarn and the link to the shop in tandem will spur on some sales. If I get mentioned on the SnB creators' podcast, well, all the better.

6. I'm having a sale in the shop this week to help spur sales. 10% off everything and free shipping over $20. That means every skein of sock yarn ships free. I have my fingers crossed that this helps move my current inventory out so I can get this wholesale account moving.

So that's it. If you have any other ideas on what I should be doing, let me know! I need all the help I can get. Wish me luck!


What the heck WERE those pics?

>> Friday, March 5, 2010

I promised an update/explanation of those pics and so now, several days later, here it is. The first few pics are of a newly-finished scarf. It's my design, and I'm calling it the Harvest Wheat Scarf. As soon as I can figure out how to make a .pdf file, it'll be for sale in the Etsy shop and on Ravelry. I may also do a giveaway here. I will be sending four copies of that scarf to Ida Walker's Fiber Friends Feed America campaign (F3America). I will be giving you much more information about that soon. The scarf is a simple design, and is a super quick knit with bulky weight wool and size 11 needles. I haven't measured it yet (I will) but it took almost exactly two skeins of Lamb's Pride bulky. I reversed the cables at the end of the first skein so when one wears it, the cables go in the same direction on both sides.

The second knitted item from the last post is clue #1 of my Evenstar Mystery Shawl, designed by Susan Pandorf. I'm about 1/3 of the way through clue #2 now. I'm mad in love with this shawl and wish I had more time to work on it. Every other row is straight knit and the charts are fabulous. I do have to pay close attention to what I'm doing, however, since a single missed or added yarn over will screw up the pattern completely. I've had to unknit a couple of times. Clue #2 is going more smoothly since I'm paying closer attention. Clues come out every two weeks, so I've got to hurry up if I don't want to get behind. There are only seven days to the next clue, and I have about 22 rows left of clue #2!

Please let me know what you think of the scarf. I can't wait to hear your opinion!


10kH is here for now. Hush.

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