I should really practice what I preach. After all, I shut down my Etsy shop a few years ago because the sales were virtually dead from the beginning of spring all the way to October. That’s a long time to sit around and wait for sales to come. If I had a better grasp on how to run a company, I might have been able to keep my handmade business open. I realize what I did wrong now, but back then, I thought to myself, “okay, I think it’s about time to get a real job.” But that doesn’t have to be you. As many people reading this are crocheters and knitters, I think late February is just the right time to talk about this subject. So if you’re worried about the warmer weather slowing down your sales, here are some tips for keeping your shop open all year long.
Making Your Products Seasonal
This is priority number one. For knitters and crocheters, we rule the scarf, hat, sweater, gloves, and cozy slippers world. We’ve got winter covered. Unfortunately, when the snow melts and people start thinking of their spring wardrobe, suddenly our line of previously successful winter accessories is no longer selling like hot cakes. If that sounds like your handmade business, it’s time to expand your product list. Just because the weather starts to warm up, doesn’t mean that people don’t want to wear crocheted and knitted items…and I think crocheted bikinis prove that.
Here are some suggestions for evergreen or seasonal handcrafted products that are suitable for any season:
- Baby blankets and clothes
- Crochet crop tops
- Bikinis (check out my interview with Miyuki Crochet here).
- Amigurumi and dolls
- Beach hats
- Tote bags
- Banners and Bunting
Agadoo-doo-doo, push PINEAPPLE, shake the tree! My eldest wanted some bunting for her room for Christmas. And of course in true Daisy and Chain fashion, I made double the pineapples needed and now I have an extra for purchase! #crochet #crochetaustralia #crochetbunting #daisyandchaincrochet #crocheteveryday #bunting #instacrochet #crocheter #crochetgirlgang #instacrocheting #paintboxyarns
And when it comes to spring and summer yarn, simply switching up the bulky wool for something breathable and light can make a huge difference, like:
- Linen blends (The linen/cotton blend from BC Garn Allino is the perfect summer mix)
- Cotton (Lily Sugar n’ Cream is always a safe bet)
- Bamboo (like this 100% bamboo Be Sweet yarn)
- T-shirt yarn
- Silk blends
Make sure to plan your spring and summer collection ahead so that you have plenty of time to design, create, advertise and market your new handcrafted products. Show people you’re more than just a one-trick pony.
If the above list wasn’t enough inspiration, why not take a look at these books that are all about crocheting for spring and summer (drool):
Collaborating with Other Artists
The beauty of running a handmade business is that a friendly face is never far away. The community you’re inadvertently a member of as soon as you commit to selling your handmade wares is bursting with creative and approachable people who may also be experiencing some downtime due to seasonal changes. This is an ideal time to collaborate with other artists. For instance:
- Knitting dolls clothes for a dollmaker
- Selling your crochet bunting to a local shop for its window display
If you want your shop to be a success all year round, it’s important to plan months ahead….like at least half a year in advance. When your steady stream of Christmas orders is keeping you busy, you should already be thinking about what your Spring/Summer season will look like. Don’t leave anything to the last minute. A proper development and production schedule will not only keep you busy all year but it’ll also allow you plenty of time to research what the upcoming trends are for the following season and figure out how to adapt them for your own business.
Content Marketing All Year Long
Planning ahead will also give you ample time to market yourself. If you want to boost your SEO, constantly publishing content on a regular basis will give search engine bots a steady stream of keywords to index. The more often you publish new content, the less likely Google will assume your website is abandoned. One of the biggest SEO faux pas is leaving your small website untouched for months at a time. Publishing new content will maintain your relevancy, so keep publishing!
Are you Ready For Spring?
Alas, for many of us, we use the off-season to collect our thoughts and prepare ourselves for next winter. There’s nothing wrong with that. For many of us, two seasons of high-intensity crocheting and knitting is enough to give us major hand cramps, so we’re glad for the rest. But if the reason you close up shop in springtime is simply that you do not think you can sell relevant seasonal handmade products, it’s time to start thinking outside the box. Hope this helps!
Do you own a handmade business and want to be featured as a Handmade Hero? Contact me! I’d love to collaborate.