Saturday, December 09, 2006

Swatch, swatch, swatch

I am in a big old giant swatch-o-rama these days. It seems like every single magazine on the planet has a call out for submissions right now, and being the opportunist that I am, I seem to need to submit to every single one of them. Never mind that I have about six projects that I should be finishing up instead...I just can't resist the siren song of "submissions wanted".

I had a huge swelling of pride the other day when Sydney came up to me and said "That's a beautiful 'watch, Mommy!" I mean, how many 3-year-olds know about swatches? I can't wait until she's old enough to knit herself. Although the real question won't be when is she old enough to knit, but when will I find myself with enough patience to sit down and teach her...

The whole published-by-others knit design thing is going very well these days. I've got enough work to keep myself and my trusty sample knitter Lisa very busy. However, the self-publishing is not going so hot. I'm still not getting many orders (I've gotten all of one, from the darling Erica, since I put the new cart in). I have a question for all of you, if you're willing to help me out a bit. Namely, what could I do to make you unable to resist my patterns? Is the photography lame? Are the designs to complex (or too simple)? Are the names stupid? Is the cart hard to navigate? And the sock kits, which I thought would be flying out the door, are just sitting there. What's the story? If you could leave a comment or e-mail me directly (if you don't want to comment), that would be fantastic. I really want your opinions! I'm thinking maybe I need to just focus on publishing with other people rather than trying to market my own designs. I know that it takes time to get a business up and running, but I can't keep pouring time and money into something that isn't going to be worth it!

Anyway, thanks as always for letting me vent and for sharing all of your thoughts with me. You guys are the best!


Blogger Shelley said...

I think the more magazines you submit your stuff too the more chances you have at someone accepting a pattern. Go for long as you don't go insane from it all ;o)

As for the suggestions to your store...things might not be flying out as fast as you hoped because people are busy with Christmas and getting Christmas knitting done. And how about putting a post up on the Knitter's Review or some place like that to let more people know. Or what about having a little contest...something like for all orders made by a certain date their names will get put in for a draw on a free pattern or a skein of yarn or something. Contests are always a big draw.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Can I still sock a month? We had a house fire in November and I lost the pair I had done in October and I've just not had time until now. But I have the PRETTIEST yarn to make a pair of socks with now and I'd love to get back in on it!


9:48 AM  
Blogger Lavendersheep said...

I think people are just busy, like Shelley said. My business has slowed down now that it is so close to Christmas too. The big thing that helped my shop was having Wendy of Wendy Knits knit up a sock out of my yarn. Maybe you should try asking your test knitters to talk about the patterns that they have done or letting them post in process pictures. Not anything that will give away your pattern, but enough that people will become interested in them and want to make them.

Another idea is to offer a couple of simple free patterns so that people are attracted to your site. I know that you don't really have time for that, but it is an idea. Good luck with your site. Things are sure to pick up after the holidays.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think maybe you should start a sock club or advertise yourself in magazines. How about doing something similar to Knit and Tonic where she has her pattern on a different site with other pattern designer. It is just a suggestions.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Chrissy! Don't give up! As someone who launched a website and then got very discouraged, I can tell you that patience is the key. It took a good 12 months to build up an online presence, via word-of-mouth, advertising, links from other people, search engine returns, etc. I was so down at first, but I definitely noticed consistent improvement over time. It just took a WHOLE lot longer than I ever imagined when I got started. Your patterns are great so we all know that's not the problem! :)

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Sydney of yours should hang out with my girls. They always ask me if I'm going to, "weave da ens in and bwock it."

As for the self-publishing, have you considered offering your patterns to LYS's? I know that's a whole different investment time and moneywise, but it might be worth looking into. (of course, I'm not a marketing genius by any means)


p.s. could I get my N for November? Thanks!

2:42 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I agree with the marketing side of things, not that you need to spend a lot of money, but it may take some time. The tie-in with Mama-E is great, and should drive some traffic your way. Can you collaborate with other yarn suppliers in the same way?

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason I haven't bought anything is just money. I'm planning on buying a kit and some patterns either after the 15th of this month or early January. So maybe it's just that people are too busy with Christmas to buy anything for themselves right now. I'd keep having it up and just wait it out. It does take time. And the more patterns you sell to others the more people are going to be drawn to your store to buy don't give up yet. It really takes at least a see how a store will really do. Just tough it out and one day you will be so thankful you did!

4:43 PM  
Blogger Tina in Wonderland said...

I also think the Christmas season tying up everyone's pocketbooks might be the problem right now, and I bet things will pick up in January when us knitters have more cash to actually spend on ourselves! Your patterns are awesome!!

Since it is Christmas time, maybe you could draw in the people buying gifts for other knitters. Those sock kits would be great for a gift to a knitter! Maybe you could have a "Christmas Special" where you throw in something with each order made before Christmas - like a free pattern for a scarf, stitch markers, just something that really would not be hardly any expense to you. I know I always LOVE deals where I get something free thrown in. Anyway, just an idea.

And definately put a link to your site on some posts to any and all knitting web boards you visit!

Good luck, and hang in there!

8:05 PM  
Blogger ScrapHappy said...

Okay, here goes...
FIRST, the comment about the "'watch" was adorable! LOved it!
I just went to your pattern store for the first time. I absolutely love the design of the site and found it easy to navigate. I think your patterns are great... I'm a sucker for socks! Unfiltered comment -- the photography could be better, part. on the Autumn Leaves socks. It's too bright or something... hazy? Noticed the same thing on the sweater pic and one of the sock kit pages. Not the crystal-clear photos we've come to expect in this day and age (we're so spoiled!).
I think you should just keep building and building. The bigger the selection, the better. You've got a lot of competition, and I think the more exposure you get (from publishing, from Sock-a-Month, etc.) the better! It will eventually pay off.
Just some thoughts. Nothing huge, though -- I think it's just a matter of time... If you believe in it, stick with it!

8:41 PM  
Blogger wendy said...

Well, I'll add my two cents.
When I gave away yarn people didn't talk about it all that much or sometimes even remember my name...ouch, but it did help sales better than having my yarn as prizes. (My plan now is just to be around for like ever and redo my think that having the more popular knitters talk about you is the best option for the money.
I like sock patterns that have lots of pictures.
I think right now people are going for quick projects for gifts that they can use their stash. (lots of people are talking about scarves..hint, hint)
Well, I hope that helped.

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding your store: The retro graphics are great. Your patterns are great, too. Now for the suggestions: 1)skip the intro page and go directly to your patterns page (or another page with products). 2)Put big pictures near the top of each page so visitors don't have to scroll down to see something. 3) move the administrivia at the top of the patterns page to its own page, the bottom, or a sidebar. 4) have a free patterns section with two or more patterns 5) I thought pricing the passport bag the same as the socks was iffy. Maybe the passport bag could be one of the freebies??? 6) for marketing, can you offer free patterns to some of the big knit bloggers (e.g. harlot) if they'll blog about your patterns?? Do people do that? 7) Consider local yarn tie-ins. Blue Moon maybe. Don't give up quite yet

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

continued from previous comment. 8) Do you have any hat, baby, or other patterns you can add to the site? 9) Add links to your free published patterns (knitty? magknits?) in the free patterns section. 10) Add links to forsale patterns elsewhere, especially if you get a royalty for each purchase.

12:40 PM  

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