Over the past year I’ve been trying out a number of new knits and crochets, and trying to grow my fledgling Etsy shop. Anyone who is trying to further develop their craft skills, and who is venturing into selling their work on Etsy or a similar platform, will know that it is often a slow burn venture with challenges and frustrations along the way.
It is also very enjoyable and rewarding, and I’m finding that you slowly but surely grow in confidence in developing your skills and putting your creations out there.
To round off the year, I’ve been reflecting on the things I most enjoyed making. Some were old favourites, but others I was making for the first time this year.
So, here are my top 5 makes of 2017!
In 1st place it was Newsboy Hats. A first for me in 2017. I really enjoyed making these hats, and have become a big fan of the style. I sold a few of these through my Etsy store www.knittyvikki.etsy.com, but my neighbour from back in Edinburgh also bought four as custom orders after I shared a photo of them on Facebook. She first ordered two, and then came back and ordered two more in different colours. Which I took as a good sign I was doing something right! It also shows how helpful social media can be for budding crafts folk. I really like making them, as they’re easy to do and make up really quickly as the yarn used is Bernat Softee Chunky, a super chunky yarn with a 9mm hook which comes in loads of great colours and is super nice to work with. The pattern I used (with a few alterations) can be found at http://www.yarnspirations.com/bernat.
In 2nd place are the Hat and Scarf sets shown below. My first attempt at making these was in the Autumn, but they proved quite popular and each of the four sets I made sold on Etsy very shortly after they were listed. These were made using good old Stylecraft Special Chunky and a 6mm hook. Again, a lovely yarn to work with, and it comes in loads of great colours and works up pretty quickly which is always a bonus.
My 3rd place goes to the plain but never boring Bobble Hat. Who doesn’t love a hat with a huge handmade Pom Pom? Made, again, using Bernat Softee Chunky (I’ve become quite partial to this yarn). Any colour goes, it’s just up to your imagination really.
4th place goes to the old staple, the baby blanket. Easy to do, not much concentration needed and it can even be done whilst enjoying a glass of vino. Only trouble I had (and this can be compared to your vino choice) is which colour/colours to choose. For my blankets I used either a beautiful cotton yarn bought from my local yarn shop, Nairn Wool Shop, or a Stylecraft Special Double Knit which is a great choice for baby items as it’s washing machine and tumble drier friendly.
And last but certainly not least, in 5th place the “can’t live without in this day and age” Texting Gloves. If you live anywhere that gets a wee bit nippy then these are the things for you. Text, call or play games without taking off your gloves and getting frostbite. The pattern I used is very easy to follow (find it at https://www.etsy.com/shop/madewithatwist) and works up quickly.
Now I’m not saying that I’ve sold dozens and dozens of items or made a small fortune over the last year, but I am saying that compared to this time last year things are definitely looking up. So this is my first pearl of wisdom, DON’T GIVE UP!
There’s been plenty of times over the last year where I’ve felt like jacking it all in, and no doubt there will be countless more times over the next year where I feel the same, but keep slogging on, keep listing more items and keep posting on social media to get your shop out there. The social media side of things has been a particular learning curve, but I’m getting there and now learning about things like SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
SEO sounds scary but don’t worry it’s not. It’s basically the process of attracting more traffic to your shop by increasing your chances of being found in search engine results pages by making sure your titles, descriptions and tags are all spot on. There’s plenty of information out there to help you with this. Your photos also need to be top notch (I’m in the middle of updating all my product photos at the mo, a long job especially the dark winter days, but I think in the long run it will pay off). There’s so many Etsy shops out there all selling the same products that it’s important that your product stands out.
So for 2018, I’ll be mainly concentrating on improving my photos, further getting to grips with SEO, and increasing my social media presence by posting on at least one platform daily. Basically, just getting a bit more serious about Etsy.
Who knows by this time next year I may be able to quit my nine to five (whoop whoop) and focus full-time on my Etsy shop. That’s my new year’s dream for 2018.
So that’s it from knttyvikki in 2017.
I hope you all have a great New Year and lots of Etsy luck and success for 2018.