Here is the official transcript from Crochetville’s live chat with crochet designer Pam Daley that took place on our Facebook page on Friday, November. We had so many questions that I’ve had to divide this blog post up into multiple parts. Links to all the parts can be found at the end of this post.
(Note: Text appears as it was entered during the live chat.)
We hope you’ll join us on our Facebook page for future chats with more of your favorite crochet designers.
Transcript of Live Chat with Crochet Designer Pam Daley, Part 3 of 4
Susan: I’ve had my Etsy shop for just over 2 years. I have over 2500 views but only 68 sales. Any suggestions on how to get more sales from all the views?
Pam Daley: One way is to build inventory. Think of your online shop the same way you’d picture a brick & mortar store. If you’re in a mall and see a shop with maybe 15 items and another with 150 items, which would you likely shop in?
The “sweet spot” for me was about 100 items – the more you have, the more chance you have for showing up in a search too.
Susan: True, it’s just hard for me to have time to make enough to stock the Etsy store as well as my retail store, and designing.
Pam Daley: Yup, it is hard! There aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all.
Denise: yes, susan i have exactly the same problem…. only less than 20 items in my shop….
Becca: so in other words, the more variety you have in your shop the more attraction is drawn to your shop from the customers?
Eileen: I have seen successful Etsy sellers offer “Made to order” items, so that they don’t have to have all the items they sell already made.
Denise: yes, my items are made to order items, but I guess I need more choices for buyers
Lorene: You can have a sample of items you can make, in a variety of colors so that your potential clients can see what you can make, then they can custom order what they want. but you should still have a large variety for them to choose from in order to make more sales.
Lorrie: Pam, sometimes I find Etsy to be very overwhelming. Did you ever have help with your store…like what to do what not to do? Any thoughts on finding help??
Pam Daley: Etsy has a steep learning curve! And yes, totally overwhelming at times. There is a mentor team there where you can ask questions too – https://www.etsy.com/teams/8744/newbies-and-mentors
Lorrie: Thank you!!! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!
Pam Daley: The fact that it IS overwhelming is one of the reasons I did the blog series on my website and am doing things like this chat. I had a friend who was already on Etsy when I joined; plus it was MUCH smaller then!
Crochetville: Here’s the link to Pam’s blog series: http://pamdaleydesigns.weebly.com/…/1.html
Susan: I found your blog series very helpful when starting my shop on Etsy, and your help with figuring out the shipping too.
Lorrie: That is very helpful. Much appreciated )
Valorie: How do you make your finished items stand out among so many similar items?
Pam Daley: Ah, the $64,000 question!
It’s an ongoing process for sure! Pictures are the first thing prospective buyers will see, so they HAVE to be excellent and eye catching.
And finding some way to make your items just a bit different or unique. Maybe you offer more color choices, or more size choices…
But, yes, it’s tough!
Valorie: My pictures are great, but I have no sells.
Crochetville: Browse around Etsy and find the shops that have sold a lot of finished crocheted items. Take a close look at those photos. Look at how they’re styled: chances are the item was not photographed on top of an unmade bed, for example. Look at the lighting and shadows. Look at the focus: picture must be sharp and clear, not blurry. Look at the angle of photography.
Valorie: I’m currently trying to get ready for a small local craft fair & have several custom orders I’m working on & of course working on my holiday gifts.
Fauna: I second Pam and Crochetville’s advice in regards to increasing sales among similar items. Your items are great, but with a bit of research into how similar items are listed they will be even better. Good luck to you!
Ann: I heard that Etsy has changed rules on business, will that change how you sell things on Etsy?
Pam Daley: Etsy recently changed their rules on using a 3rd party manufacturing company to make items that you sell there. At this point I don’t think it will affect me much – I haven’t spent a lot of time researching the new rules though.
One area it MIGHT affect would be using contract crocheters to make some of the items I sell – but I don’t know that I’d want to go down that path anyway. I’d have to see if that is even allowed under the new rules; plus having to pay someone else to make something I sell would probably cut into my profit margin too much.
Denise: do you mean they use your pattern to make item to sell manufacturing?
Eileen: My understanding of the new rules (that go into effect 1/1/2014) is that yes, you could hire people to crochet your designs and sell the items in your Etsy shop. But I’m with you, I don’t think I could afford to do that.
Pam Daley: It means a seller on Etsy can now use another company – a manufacturer – to make their items for them. The seller would still be the one selling on Etsy. Does that make sense?
Eileen: But one way it could help is for those who design patterns, and want to have someone else crochet their item for use in pictures, etc. That could be a contract employee who makes samples and tests your pattern.
Crochetville: I agree with you both. The price margins on selling crocheted items are already so low, you likely would have no profit left at all by the time you paid somebody else to make your items.
That scenario might work better for knitting, for pieces that could be made quickly on a knitting machine. But since there’s no machine that can crochet yet, it won’t really work for crocheted goods.
Pam Daley: I’ve actually used contract crocheters to make the “guts” of my Santa diaper sets – but I didn’t sell those on Etsy; only on my website.
Denise: totally! sometimes, I go to SF shore and lots of ppl selling character crochet hats, all they all look like the same design but not crochet good enough in my opinion… it feels like manafuctured by many others and the price is cheap!!!
I mean use contractor for samples and picture would be fine, but not making a lot for sell….
Crochetville: Be aware of trademark issues when selling items featuring a popular character. If the trademark owner discovers what you’re doing, they can confiscate all your inventory AND take you to court to recover the cost of everything you sold plus punitive damages. You need to make licensing arrangements or get other written permission from the trademark owner before making business use of their intellectual property. For more information on trademark, go to the US Patent and Trademark Office at uspto.gov.
Pam Daley: It’s so tempting to make Disney hats, Minion hats, etc. – they will sell! But unless you are licensed from the trademark owners you are taking a heck of a chance.
Billie: Thank you for elaborating on that topic as I had been wondering and nervous about crocheting items with a trademark motif.
Sandy: Does that mean if I make a hat from a book I couldn’t sell it
Denise: I think you have to check with design owner, if they said you could sell using their pattern, then it’s ok. Some patter owner noted that you can’t sell for profit
Pam Daley: Generally speaking, you can make items from patterns if it doesn’t contain a trademark.
So no, you can’t sell a Mickey Mouse hat from a pattern unless you get permission – Disney owns that trademark. But copyright doesn’t extend to finished items made from patterns that don’t contain a trademark.
Crochetville: Use of patterns falls under copyright law. There is a “useful articles” exclusion to copyright law in the US that means you may be able to sell things made from many patterns. Many designers also specifically state that you can make items for sale from their patterns. For more information on copyright law, go to the US Copyright Office at copyright.gov.
But trademark law trumps all in regard to popular characters, sports team logos, company logos, etc.
Pam Daley: Copyright/trademark stuff probably should be a chat all by itself.
Billie: I’m new to crochet (I’ve been crocheting about 2 months). I’m wondering about when I see a picture of something and I make it with a few of my own ideas or changes, does that infringe?
Denise: so you mean if i crochet from a published pattern book, I could sell them legally?
Billie: I’m talking about non-trademarked items.
Crochetville: Yes, copyright/trademark stuff could be a chat all its own. Everyone, please be aware, I am not an attorney and I am not giving legal advice. I’m sharing my own opinion on trademark and copyright issues, formed after discussions with many attorneys. If you have a question about a specific situation, I always suggest consulting an attorney licensed to practice in your state, one who is well-versed in intellectual property laws.
Billie: I understand. Thank you.
Crochetville: Denise, the answer is you may be able to. The item made from some crocheted patterns might be considered art (such as sculptural items or items that have a charted picture) that would be protected by copyright so that you could NOT sell items made from the pattern. Everyone needs to do their own research on the US Copyright Office website and consult an attorney with questions you have about any specific action you want to take.
Eileen: When in doubt, ask the author. If I see a pattern for sale on Etsy, for example, and the listing doesn’t say one way or the other if you can sell items you make from the pattern, I ask the seller. If they say “No”, I respect their request, but they have probably lost a sale of a pattern.
Billie: When I see a finished item, I may like something about it, but make my own changes or designs on it. Is this okay in the crochet world? I don’t want to step on toes. I’ve only been crocheting about 2 months, but have always been one to invent or create.
Pam Daley: If you see a finished item and make up your own pattern for it, it’s YOUR pattern. If it’s eerily similar to something someone else has published, you may not want to publish it – I’ve had that happen more than once. But that’s your call.
I’ve done up patterns and then found something that looked EXACTLY like it.
Billie: Thank you.
Amanda: That’s the point of crochet in my opinion, to make it your own and make it unique. It’s all about how you want it to look.
Billie: Thank you Amanda. Hope you’re doing better sweetie.
Amanda: I’m starting to feel better but John broke his foot at work the other night when he got ran over by a fork lift, so it just got a little tougher but we’re making it work, lol.
Links to Other Parts of Chat Transcript:
About Pam Daley
Pam is a full-time RVer temporarily living in a “stick house” while her hubby recovers from a motorcycle accident he had in August 2012. She has been crocheting forever, and ‘officially’ designing her own patterns since 2007. She has over 80 self-published designs and has recently started offering custom made photo stitch markers for crocheters.
You can find Pam’s website at Pam Daley Designs. Her blog is there as well as all of her patterns and stitch markers.