Thursday, April 26, 2012

I know, I've been terrible about keeping up with this blog lately because I've been so swamped with work. I keep meaning to do a long post on how to design clothing with thread lace but I'm so tired of doing it that I can't bring myself to write about it in the little spare time that I have. I've also had some great shop reviews and gotten some great advice from a marketing exec that I want to tell you about too as well as to celebrate about how my new shop is already doing better than my Etsy shop is. So, instead of writing a real post I'm going to treat you to 2 of the funniest legal letters that I've ever seen. The short version is that Etsy has decided to allow factories to be called collectives and selected an importer to feature on the front page. Much drama and hysteria ensued and the legal threats started to fly around. The first letter is from the outraged reseller's "lawyer" and the second is a response from a real attorney. Here is the response: You've got to love a guy that can legitimately fit "intractably mentally ill", "bumptious", "malapropisms" "preposterous", "ridiculous", "empty thuggery", "freakishly unprofessional" and "gibberish" all into one legal communication. It almost makes me wish that someone would sue me so that I could hire him.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tips for Running Multiple Venues and Shops

Most people agree that you need to run multiple venues to have a successful business.

While this is not always true (many successful businesses are run on one venue), it certainly helps for security, being found by a wider range of people, and sometimes even for hitting your target market better.

The more venues you are on, the more webpages you have, the more likely you are to be seen.

Also, having different venues helps if one closes.

I currently sell from the following pages:
OneStitchdesigns On Etsy (finished Items)
OneStitch on Etsy (supplies) (mixture of 2 shops above)
TraditionalByNature On Etsy (rustic home goods, wedding decor, business card holders)
Ravelry page
Craftsy page

So how does one juggle all of these different venues?

Well, It isn't easy!

Because I have different crafts in many of the shops, I devote certain days to a different craft. One day, I'll make a new design, another, I'll work on new colors of old designs. Some days I work on stitch markers, on others, I'll make paper stuff.

Every day I'm coming up with new designs in my head. The list of designs I want to make real is very, very long.

I spend at least one day a week doing computer work only.

Traditional by nature is the easiest, I just design the product, my fiance makes it, and he runs The etsy version caters to a different market, and I know Etsy real well, so I run that shop.

It's easier if you stick to one craft, but it's boring :)

I make sure to do a little bit of work in each shop everyday. And put at least one link back to each shop everyday.

Except forRavelry and Craftsy. I just list there, and leave it be. Both are for patterns, both have their own really good traffic. And neither take much work.

It's a lot of work, but the security is worth it.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Something Odd I've Noticed

This seems strange to me. Whenever there is a thread with that Etsy game where you pick an item from the shop that posted above you as your favorite thing in the shop I see the same pattern. People who don't crochet always pick one of the most elaborate, difficult and expensive items in my shop. People who do crochet almost always pick the simplest, easiest and least expensive items. I suppose that the obvious answer is that they don't like the sweaters but you'd think that a few non-crocheters would feel that way too. I tend to be the opposite - I always like the crocheted things best that show the highest skill level with the most amount of effort put into them. Go figure - it's just another one of those "only on Etsy" mysteries, just like "custom made vintage" (huh?) and "She's copying my copies of other people's licensed trademarks!".

In other news, I figured out a way to send a message to an actual staff person on FB to ask why the last $150 in free ad money they've given me won't work. I didn't get an answer yet but it felt like a major accomplishment just to find the form.

Monday, April 9, 2012

A bit about Google+

For those of you that don't know, Google+ is google's answer to Facebook. As usual google is being vague about how they plan to use it but the one thing that's clear is that they will use it as part of determining page ranking. It's not even half-baked yet and it's very confusing to use and once you figure it out you realize that it's a ghost town anyway with a non-stop parade of commercials. Essentially you have a personal page and you can add a business page and then you have to start getting into circles and hoping that people share your posts, just like on FB. It has a stream like the FB newsfeed that you have to narrow down to circles because otherwise every single post there is mushed together into one big list.

It's fairly easy to set up and it's probably a good idea to start to have a presence there so that you already exist when google decides what to do with it. One thing is very important to note. It might have been a coincidence but once I joined G+ I noticed that I was getting personalized results on my google searches. It was delightful - all of a sudden my most trivial stuff was covering the first 2 pages. Since hell would freeze over first I looked a bit harder and realized that I had to change the search from personalized results back to regular ones and then I went right back to where I had been. It might be happening to everyone now but you'll need to turn it off to test your SEO to get true results. Well, sort of true anyway because with personalized results no one knows what anyone else is seeing anyway.

Please come see my handmade designer plus size sweaters, sweater coats, capes and shrugs at

Friday, April 6, 2012

What is a hobbyist?

It seems that Karen and I have separate views on what a hobbyist is.

My views:

First of all, it's important to note that if you are selling anything, you are a business, and are subject to laws in your area governing your type of business, though the IRS does declare you to be a hobbyist if you do not come out ahead most years.

At it's most basic, a hobbyist is merely someone who does what they want to do, makes what they want to make, which could put about 90% of everyone who works for themselves into the hobby category.

But in my mind, a hobbyist who sells doesn't really need the income from it. Usually when a hobbyist sells their stuff, it's because the stuff is taking over their home, or they just want their supply money back. Anything extra is icing on the cake.

But there's more layers to it. Many hobbyists I know who sell their stuff are just trying to get some of their money back to make more. A few of these people drive me nuts. If your going to give it away, just give it away, get some money back in the form of a deduction.

These people don't make business plans or anything for a business, a lot don't even realize they have to pay taxes, much less know anything about CPSIA laws for kids products, etc.

But then there's also the people like Karen, who run their hobby like a full on business, all the promotion, taxes, laws, business plans, etc. (hell, I'm not a hobbyist, and I don't even have an official business plan for OneStitch designs).

While those people are still technically a hobbyist, they are actually somewhere in between.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What is the difference between a hobby and a business?

Not much as far as I can tell...

Another never-ending opportunity for snark on Etsy is the age-old comparison of hobbyists to "real" business people. I really hate to break it to the more opinionated business folks but unless you're deriving a significant part of your income from this then you're just a hobbyist too but with aspirations to become more than that. That somewhat obnoxious posing in the forums makes one look a bit silly when anyone with a calculator can tell that the numbers don't line up with the arrogant attitude. (Yeah, I'm kind of annoyed but at least I didn't blast the latest smug brat.)

On the other hand, calling what we do a hobby doesn't mean that we're off the hook and that we don't have to do all of the things to operate a business as anyone else does. Business plans and budgets have to be made, legalities have to be covered, taxes have to be paid when due, marketing and advertising has to be done, SEO has to be mastered, social signals and backlinks have to be created and then (when we have time after all of that work) we have to make stuff so that we actually have something to sell.

Maybe in the end it comes down to how realistic our business plans and expectations are. I know that I want to design and create and not go into mass production, patterns or having other people make my designs so I know that I'll never get the economy of scale that it would take to bring in a full time income but I don't need one. If that means that I'm a hobbyist then that's OK with me. Now if I could only stop with the 12 hours days...

Please come see my handmade designer plus size sweaters, sweater coats, capes and shrugs at