Friday, 30 September 2011

How to start a crochet business. Here are some top tips..


Over the last few months I have met many crocheters wanting to start their own business and I've come to realise that there are some key ingredients to not only making your business successful but also to keeping you sane.

Baby Wash Cloths Crochet Pattern
www.happyberry.co.uk
I think the first and probably most important thing to remember is, dont try and do everything at once.

You may have looked at other crochet businesses and thought that's what I need to be doing but you will only find that you quickly become over-whelmed and over-worked. Instead take a more relaxed approach and perhaps, sitting down with a cuppa and a notebook, write down your strong points, what you enjoy crocheting the most and start from there.

Start thinking about your target market. You may want to do everything for everybody but sometimes its best to just focus on one area, even better if no-one else does much of it, such as boy's clothes or teen stuff. Start a folder on your computer named ideas and start saving images on google of the things you like or save items you like on Etsy for inspiration.

Once you have your planned projects written down, start thinking about a name. Perhaps this could be something personal to you, or related to the items/patterns you wish to make. If you plan to move on to different things in the future, think about if your brand will move on with you. Perhaps design a logo if you have some technical skills.

You don't need to worry about a website but it's a good idea to start setting up a PayPal account if you don't already have one as hopefully you will want to take payments. Open up some accounts on Ravelry and Etsy, these will also require a PayPal account. And start a Facebook page if you havent done so already.

The next step which I find is where most beginner crochet entrepreneurs are at is they get this far but now they start worrying about how many Facebook likes they have. Sadly these don't come over-night and people with lots of likes have probably been around for quite a while and have worked up a good network around the various social media sites.

Some good tricks though to think about to get those numbers up is to promote free patterns. Not everyone can afford to do this but it is an incentive for people to join your page. You could sell patterns on Ravelry and say they are free on your Facebook page if they like your page or offer discounts and coupons for items you sell.

Show off your work on other people's pages, share your ideas and thoughs on a blog, tweet your thoughts and ideas on twitter and link everything to your Facebook page.

But when it comes down to it, Facebook isnt the be all and end all. Your work is and the more you design and make and show off, the more people will find you and the more likes you will get so get working! (^-^)

Photography is another sore point I find. Many people assume they need a professional photographer to show off their work. This is a fantastic opportunity but isnt necessary. It can also come with many pitfalls such as photographers taking your work and not supplying you with images. Just get yourself a good camera, find some natural sun light and work up your own photo shoots. You will be amazed at how well you can do with just the basics. If you know of children or babies then ask if you can take some photos with then. If you don't, perhaps pick up some poly heads to show off your work, even dolls. The most important thing to remember though is a good shot and sometimes just laying your work down in a pretty setting is just enough, without the need for models. There are hundreds and thousands of photos on Etsy that just show the product without a model. The above picture is a fun way off showing off some wash cloths, all types of objects can be used as props!

As you build up your portfolio you will soon get used to how you want to work and what works best for you. Do get ideas from other people's work but don't fret about needing to copy everything they do. Think about your work, your style and before you know it you will become one of those you use to envy. Good luck!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Continuing to raise money for Japan


As the world slowly begins to forget the terrible tradegy that hit Japan earlier this year the disaster is still very much fresh in the minds of the Japanese. Even more so after the recent typhoons that have left 54 dead in Western Japan.

HappyBerry is still continuing to raise money to Global Giving projects and has raised another $25 from recent sales of the Kokeshi Doll pattern which can be downloaded here: Download Now for the NGO project AAR JAPAN who are responding to the devastating earthquake and tsunami by distributing food and basic goods, as well as providing mobile medical services, repairing institutions which serve the elderly and people with disabilities, and providing long-term socio-psychological assistance to displaced people.

AAR in particular focuses on the elderly and those with disabilities because of their extreme vulnerability during and after these disasters - over 65% of those killed in Tohoku were over 60.

We hope to also be designing some new Japanese themed crocheted patterns in the coming months to help aid these wonderful projects that are doing so much to help our friends in Japan.

Follow all our projects and receive many free patterns and discounts on sales on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/happyberrycrochet

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

HappyBerry continues to raise money for the Japanese tsunami survivors


Since our last donation to the Japanese Red Cross we have raised another £46 in aid of the Japanese tsunami appeal from our Kokeshi Doll crocheted pattern sale on Ravelry.com - You can find the link here >>

Since Google has dis-continued helping us to donate directly to the Japanese Red Cross we are now donating all funds raised to Global Giving to help with the various relief efforts in the affected areas. This time the money has gone to Tohoku Kids' Support Project which will help orphans rebuild their lives post-tsunami, here is their story...

"There are approximately 100,000 displaced children (according to Save the Children estimates) as a result of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that took place on March 11, 2011. Although there are relief organizations in the Tohoku region currently providing food, shelter and crisis counselling support, many orphans will need longer-term support to help restore their lives and renew their spirit. Many orphanages (in and around) northeastern Japan will now have new orphans under their care.

Tohoku Kids' Support Project will directly address two-tiers of support at those affected orphanages. By working closely with orphanage staff, local prefecture wards, and children's homes associations, we will address the specific needs at each orphanage. Tier one support will replace those personal items that were lost in the disaster such as clothing, footwear, school supplies, books, toys, phones,bikes, etc. Tier two support will address child counselling needs and therapeutic activities."

HappyBerry will continue to raise money and you can help by buying our pattern on ravelry here! So far nearly £200 has been raised and donated.

Happy Crocheting (^-^)

Monday, 4 April 2011

Over £140 ($225) has been raised for the Japanese Red Cross

March was a terrible time not only for Japan but for the Mad Hatter too as we watched the news reports closely and tried desperately to contact our friends and family in Tokyo. Thankfully everyone was confirmed as safe but the disaster touched us so personally that we wanted to do our bit and so decided to design a very kawaii kokeshi doll to help raise funds for the Japanese Red Cross.

And what a success it was! Thanks to the kindness of our friends around the world we managed to raise over £140 around $225 which will help feed, clothe and keep warm the families that have been affected.

The charity sale which took place on ravelry.com has now ended but if you wish to still help them why not pop by the pattern page which is now listed for free and make one to perhaps send out to friends or family you know that are living in Japan to show that you are thinking of them and their continuing struggle.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/kokeshi-doll-2

Thanks again everyone!! (^-^)