Thinking About Business

The idea of starting a shop on Etsy, etc. has been going through my mind for a while now. And while the prospect seemed daunting. No, wait. It still feels daunting. I am getting more comfortable with it.

The different sources that I have been using to read up on it. Mainly books that I have checked out from the library were helpful. Though they also left me wanting more information. As it stands I do not have the confidence to just jump right in. But that might be what I do. To avoid analogies with learning to swim. It might be the best way o get a feel for the way people do business on the site.

When I was in college one of my roommates was making trinkets and selling them first on ebay and then on in the early days, Etsy.

It worked for her well enough. She always had some money for the weekends – and she paid for a girl's weekend out when we graduated. Which trilled us.

One thing that I have noticed when I buy something from Etsy you often get a business card, presented as a coupon card or care card specific for the product and seller. It is a nice touch that gives it a professional look. Things like, while I can appreciate, I never would have come to the idea myself. Of course I am going to do it. And while it might not be my first step those little cards are actually pretty cheap to have them printed.

I saw that I could order about a hundred cards for less than $20 which makes them five cents a piece. For that and the visual appeal that the finishing touch adds it doesn't make any sense to skip them.

The problem I have with them is either have them professionally designed. This presents a problem in that it makes the whole endeavor more expensive. Or I can design them myself and have them printed. Both have their ups and downs. Professional designs will problem look a lot better. But the added expense might not be worth it.

If I design them myself I can save on the overall cost, the time expenditure, yet I am not sure if I can achieve the same quality with my limited design skills.

In the end I will probably go with the second option. The main reason is that if I need to make changes I won't have to rely on the original designer to make them and I will have the source files to work with.

As you can see there is a lot to consider and I have a hard time making a commitment.

Start Small, Learn The Ropes (Or Yarn)

I’ve been a recreational knitter for many years and never really had any interest in offering my items for sell. I usually give them away since the making and the giving are the rewarding part for me. I use it as a hobby, to relax when I come home from work, and that is all I expect from it.

That doesn’t mean that you have to “limit” yourself but to be honest if you are going to do it professionally you will see that it takes time to knit and you have to ask how much is your time worth.

People often ask me for suggestions or help on picking out hooks. They will tell me they are thinking about brand X though it is twice as expensive as band Y. When I hear this I will say something like “why don’t you just pick up a cost-effective set with everything you need?” The thing about cost-effective sets are that you do not need to continue buying each hook separately. That gets expensive quickly!

If you haven’t gotten the hang of it, know what you want/need, or don’t even know if you plan to continue, buying all of the expensive equipment upfront can be a waste.

When I first got started I was using whatever I had around the house for yarn markers. And while it was a nightmare trying to cut yarn with my rickety old scissors that were as dull as they were sticky I learned something important. I like knitting.

At that point I upgraded.

While the hair clips and other “counters” I was using didn’t work out like I wanted (I pulled out a lot of rows because I lost count). I was thrilled by the whole experience. For Christmas my mother bought me a kit which make things so much better. In fact it was more than I could have ever hoped for, more than I ever imagined!

I started a new project after I received my kit.

It has scissors, an assortment of needles, and a measuring tape which was mind blowing at the time.

Since then it has been replaced a number of times, at least piece by piece, but there is one thing that I learned. I loved to knit, had I blown my money on a bunch of equipment I think that I would have been more than disappointed. Especially since I know how hard it can be to learn on aluminum needles.

The Wooden Beginner

When you start knitting you are a little stiff, things don’t flow right. And you will inevitably learn that the darn yarn just doesn’t stay on the needle. Well. Thankfully there are a few tricks that you can employ.

If you tried to learn to knit with the old aluminum needles you will know what I mean.

The yarn keeps falling off the needles. If you have watched the videos on youtube you may have noticed that a lot of people use bamboo needles. You could opt for something like Clover size 8 needles and some yarn and got started.

If you have tried in the past to learn to knit you will notice how much of a difference bamboo makes. I now knit and purl away. Perhaps you might want to start with an American/English/throwing knitting style, this is much easier for beginners. Since you will be starting with the bamboo needles they will grip the yarn snugly enough so that you don’t drop stitches. The yarn doesn’t slide sloppily all over the place either. Don’t worry about the fit, there is enough slack to knit comfortably and easily.

Since the Clover 8s are only 9 inches long, they are much more ergonomic experience and put less strain on the hands and wrists than the longer needles do.

Bottom line: if I can knit it might just be because you never had the right needle. I have known people that tried multiple times to knit but it wasn’t until they switched their needles that caused you a few head aches. Both Brittany and Clover needles are good starters for the beginning knitter.