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 1 of 4
Crochetville: Let’s give a big welcome to Pam Daley, our special chat guest today. Pam, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us today.
Pam Daley: I’m excited to be here! Thank you for inviting me.
Crafts & Things:Hi Pam! Sorry, I missed the first few minutes.
Denise: clap clap clap
Karen: Hi Pam, do you have any suggestions on how to get started selling things? thank you!
Crochetville: Pam, can you tell us a bit about how you got started on Etsy?
Denise: yeah, would like to hear your story too^^
Pam Daley: Sure! I opened my first Etsy shop in December 2007; my hubby and I had retired earlier that year and my goal had always been to find a part-time career I could “take on the road” when that day came. I’ve been crocheting since I was a little girl and had recently taken up my hooks again while going through chemo. I had a light bulb moment and realized I wanted to try to turn my love of crocheting into that mobile career.
A friend turned me on to Etsy and I opened my first shop – it was called The Crocheted Baby. I had just become a grandmother and my focus was on baby stuff. But as my business grew I found that the name was no longer really accurate, so I decided to change the shop name to Playing with Fiber. At that time Etsy didn’t allow you to change your shop name, so I started over with this new shop in February 2009.
Tenia: Very interesting, congrats on making it through chemo. I’m sure that was a ruff time.
Lynn: How did you get the word out about your Etsy shop?
Denise: wow so do you keep both of them open? so now we can change store name at Etsy?
Pat: I am thinking about doing this. Does it cost to start a shop and do u sell alot?
Pam Daley: Lynn – I opened my current shop in 2009 and it definitely takes time to get the word out. I’ve taken out Project Wonderful ads for one thing…
Susan: What are Project Wonderful ads??
Pamela: So you havent been affected by all the take over I heard a about ….with sweat shop types?
Pam Daley: I don’t worry about things I can’t control – i.e. ‘sweat shop types’. And I’m not sure there is a “take over” anyway.
Denise, – I only have one active shop on Etsy; the others are empty.
Crochetville: Pam, have you found that certain types of items sell any better than others?
Pam Daley: Talking about finished items here, my best seller is a simple Santa diaper set for baby’s first Christmas pictures. Baby stuff is popular; but those fingerless gloves are pretty popular as well.
Eileen: Pam, what percentage of your sales are patterns, and what percent are the finished product?
Pam Daley: Talking number of sales, patterns are 90% of my sales; 10% finished items.
Lorrie: Do you mind if people sell the finished item from your pattern? If so, do you suggest credit in the (Etsy) listing??
Pam Daley: I do not mind if people want to sell items made from my patterns. (If I’m planning to sell the finished item, I don’t sell the pattern.)
And personally, no, I don’t want credit in the listing. People who buy finished items aren’t the same people who would buy my patterns. And – not saying this would apply to you – sometimes the pictures of items made from my pattern aren’t all that flattering.
Lorrie: lol! good point :o)
Lynn: How do you store your inventory?
Pam Daley: Mine is in big plastic tubs; labeled.
Nadwa: Hi I do not know how to start and what is the price for my work
Crochetville: Setting prices for items is a very complicated issue. You have to consider the materials cost, what your time is worth (how much you want to make per hour), how other similar items are priced, and how much your target market will pay. (Young moms will be able to pay much less than grandmas who are more secure financially and want to buy something special for baby, for example.)
Frederica: I note the same vexing question applies to artists who are starting out in their career.
Pam Daley: Ultimately, pricing your items is a very personal thing. It does make me cringe when I see listings for handmade afghans for $15 or $20; even if it’s just a small baby blanket.
We know that it takes hours to make something like that, so the crocheter or knitter is working for significantly less than minimum wage at those prices.
Not everyone who sells their items has the same mindset that those of us trying to run a business must have. We are in this to earn some money – even if it’s just part-time wages
They may not think they are “good enough” to charge more than that; they may truly not be interested in making money – maybe they inherited a ton of yarn somewhere and so don’t have any supplies cost. Who knows!
Do some market research, but don’t let that be the only deciding factor when setting your prices. You need to figure out what YOU need to earn to make a go of your business.
We KNOW that handmade is worth way more than what you can buy at the local wally world – and buyers who are shopping based only on price are not your target market. Emphasize the fact that your items are handmade, excellent quality, and will not fall apart.
And keep in mind that you can’t be ALL things to ALL people.
Frederica: I second the “will not fall apart” bit. I am soured on cheap, Asian mass-produced clothing where buttons & seams fall apart after a couple of washes.
Pam Daley: Yup. I saw a bumper sticker once that said “I’m too poor to buy cheap stuff.”
Lorene: I also like to tell everyone that devaluing their work devalues the craft as a whole and hurts everyone!
Vanessa: Back in the day…. pricing a homemade craft item was always double the material cost x 1 1/2 %. That was the formula. I’m going back to the 70’s. lol And you just understood that you would never get your time paid out of it.
Lorene: that is just not the way it is anymore. Crochet is an art form and a skill. My time is worth the same as anyone elses. I chose to do this for a living but I DO need to make a living. I have absolutely NO problem selling my craft for reasonable fair wages… $15-25 an hour plus materials is my average..
Vanessa: omg.. that would make an afghan cost 100’s of dollars. Wouldn’t think those would sell. Have to make small fast items only.
Lorene: No they usually don’t. Though I have seem people sell afghans for $3-400. I personally prefer small items (hats, cowls, scarfs, ect). though now I design crochet instead of selling crochet. I used to make a good living from just selling. I prefer designing though, less work on my hands more on my mind!!!
Crochetville: You CAN sell an afghan for that much money. You have to find the right target market, AND you have to have artistic skills to select the right pattern and color combination that makes the afghan really look like a work of art.
Vanessa: lol. I need to crochet much faster. I love crocheting afghans and selecting unique color combos that look like a million bucks. Maybe I will try it. Make up a bunch over several months and open a shop. Gosh, that would be a dream.
I remember seeing a pair of crochet slippers on etsy for 60.00 and almost filled my britches..lol. Bought the pattern for 5.00 and made my own.
Pam Daley: Remember too – YOU are not your target market either. Yes, you just bought the pattern and made your own but that isn’t an option for some. I’d never pay what I charge for some of my items – but I’m not my target market. (Actually that was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn!)
Vanessa: I do understand. Great info and eye opener. I can understand that pattern sales were so much more than item sales. And there really are people who can’t sit still long enough or have the patience to knit or crochet but love how the item looks and must have one! Those must be the target market customers.
Thank you so much!! So glad I tuned in.
Sandy: Could you suggest where and how to start selling these products, and what items are best to start with and seem to sell the best……I’m really excited to get started with this…..thanks
Pam Daley: One thing you need to consider when deciding what to sell is the time it takes to make it. Trying to sell something that take weeks to make probably isn’t where you want to focus. You want items you can make fairly quickly so that they are actually profitable, you know?
That being said though, I have had custom requests for blankets & labor intensive items. I charge for them though!
Sandy: Great thanks ….I was thinking baby and of course things for winter right now
Pam Daley: I start making winter stuff about June.
Vanessa: Do you ever get so many orders that you can’t get them done and sent out in a timely manner? That would be my biggest fear.
Pam Daley: October & November are CRAZY for me. I’ve actually closed my shop before Thanksgiving so that I could get everything made and shipped in time.
You just have to keep a close eye on your inventory and be realistic in how much you can do.
Susan: Could you just say something like” Order before Dec. 10 to guarantee Christmas delivery” ?
Vanessa: I guess you could put “temporarily out of stock”. lol You must be a very busy woman with both online and brick shops!
Pam Daley: You definitely can put an “Order by” date – HOWEVER, people do not read. I’ve found it better to just take whatever I can’t make out of my shop. Just deactivate it.
Pat: Does Etsy cost to start a shop? How much if so
Pam Daley: It’s doesn’t cost to start your shop – there are listing fees. 20 cents per item for 4 months.
And then there are transaction fees (from Etsy) and payment processing fees (from PayPal or Etsy).
Angela: I have had an Etsy shop for two years now and I love it. They charge you a transaction fees and per order fees but they are much much lower than Ebay. But to start the shop itself is free
Pam Daley: Etsy has been very good to me as well.
Eileen: And me.
Pat: This is very encouraging
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.