8.18.2017

It's A Hat Parade!

My Summer Hat-A-Long is in full swing. The first few hats have started to arrive (and many of you have told me that more are on the way)!
Summer Hat-A-Long Hats
I've gifted the generous knitters who made the hats a copy of my pattern Spero
 Spero Hat by Jen Lucas
Anyone who sends me hats to donate before September 15th will receive a copy of my new pattern for free! You can read all about the Summer Hat-A-Long (including where to ship the hats) in this Ravelry thread.

The knitters and crocheters - you continue to give me all the feels. Thank you.

8.11.2017

Design Your Biz: Selling at Craft Shows (Or Not)

Ah, the constant requests on Facebook....

Can you make me one? How much to make me that shawl? Do you sell this online or at craft shows?

My answers: No, nothing because I'm not making you one, and nope. :)

I've said it many times before in the Design Your Biz Blog Series, everyone navigates through this industry differently. I sell patterns online, write books and teach. Other people knit or crochet and sell finished items. Some might start selling kits, yarn and the like. There's no right way. Everyone should do what feels right to them.

Today I'd like to talk a little bit about why I don't sell finished items.

Design Your Biz: Craft Shows or Not
Can I Get Paid Fairly? I think you can find the right market to get paid fairly for selling your finished hand-knits, but it's hard to find. I'm a math kind of gal, so let's get straight to the numbers. It probably takes me 16 hours on average to knit a small-ish 500 yard shawl. Ok, so let's say I charge $10 an hour for my time, that's $160. Then the yarn might cost another $40 or something. Am I really going to find someone to pay $200 for a shawl? Maybe, but it's going to take a lot of work to find that customer. You may be thinking - now, Jen, come on, $10/hour for knitting? Yep, this is my full-time job. And, honestly, $10/hour is pretty low.

It's Not Just the Cost Of The Finished Items! If you're selling your finished items at craft shows or online, there's a lot of work that goes into those things. You have to write up listings and take photos for your online shop. Organize everything for your craft show booth. There's all the marketing and social media that you need to do to help your business grow. Thinking about getting paid to get these non-making things done needs to be taken into consideration when pricing your items.

What About The Old Samples? I have been considering selling off some of my old samples, like some of the shawls I made when I first started designing. Why? I've already made my money off of them with the sale of the patterns on Ravelry. I'm willing to price them a little bit lower, because I've already covered my costs of knitting them (and all the other costs that go into producing a pattern). It's a great way to make room for new samples! I find myself wanting to keep the majority of my samples though - I constantly take them with me when I'm teaching.

There are lots of people who are successfully selling their finished items online and at craft shows. Good for them! I'm so happy that they figured out a way to make that work. For me, it's just not something I'm willing to put the time and effort into to find the right customer, grow that part of my business, etc. And that's ok!

Do you sell online or at craft shows? I'd love to hear about your experiences!

8.09.2017

Stitches Midwest 2017

Last week, I made my annual visit to Stitches Midwest in Schaumburg, IL. The fun began on Thursday night when Alex and I made a little date night out of hearing Franklin's new talk.
Stitches Midwest 2017


Stitches Midwest 2017
On Friday I went back and met up with some of knitting buddies for shopping and fun. My plan was to come home only with the new Knitter's Pride interchangeable set. That, I did, plus a little extra too. :)
Stitches Midwest 2017 Haul
The yarn is from Sun Valley Fibers and is for a Wonder Woman Wrap. If you read this blog regularly you know that I rarely get "selfish knitting" in these days. But I really want that shawl. No, I really NEED that shawl.

I also picked up some stitch markers and a sheep infinity scarf from Stunning String. Those were most definitely impulse purchases. I regret nothing.

If you were at Stitches Midwest, what did you pick up? If you shared on your blog or Instagram, let me know in the comments. I'd love to see your Stitches hauls!

8.04.2017

FO Friday: Liberty Hat

It's rare these days that I get to knit or crochet something that isn't my own design - the one drawback to my job. But, while I was at the Hope-A-Thon last month, I made a point to only knit or crochet patterns that weren't my own. It was the perfect opportunity to have a weekend where yarn crafting was my hobby and not my job. :)

Today I thought I'd share with you the Liberty Hat I made. It's a crochet pattern by my dear friend Laura Krzak. The pattern is available on Ravelry.
Liberty Hat by Laura Krzak
She sold me with the color combo and that starting star motif. Laura was so kind and shared her leftover yarn from her sample with me, so I could make one exactly the same as hers. The yarn is Lion Brand Heartland. It was very nice to work with!
Liberty Hat by Laura Krzak

I hope this hat will brighten someone's day. I love it and I plan to make a couple more for my Summer Hat-A-Long!

8.02.2017

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

It's a kind-of rainbow of yarn. :)
A Rainbow of Yarn

My $5+ patrons on Patreon got the scoop on what's happening with all this yarn. Join the fun: www.patreon.com/jenlucasdesigns

7.28.2017

Design Your Biz: Trade Shows

Let's talk about trade shows!
Trade Show Exhibiting for Knit & Crochet Designers

As a knit and crochet designer, there are a few options for trade shows, but TNNA is the one that gets talked about the most (at least in my circle of designer buddies, there are other trade shows out there).

When I first started attending TNNA, I went to walk the floor. I'd schedule a few meetings, see what's new, and hang with my friends. As my business has grown and I've started working with a pattern distributor, I've had the opportunity to exhibit at the trade show. My TNNA looks much different now. With more and more designers (and other Business Creative Services members) exhibiting, I thought I'd talk a little bit about exhibiting as a designer.

It's All in the Planning.
However long you think it's going to take to get your booth ready, double it. As a designer, you have to bring a ton of samples to display in the booth. Do they need to be re-blocked? Do you need a new sample knit? You'll also need to have materials for shop owners to take with them. I made a mini-catalog of my patterns available through Stitch Sprouts. I had copies of my teaching brochure. These things can take a lot of time to layout and then you have to (most likely) have them shipped to you. No one wants to pay for expedited shipping!

Google Image Search is Your Friend
Obviously you don't want to straight up copy another exhibitors booth. But, spending some time figuring out what you like (or don't like) about other booths will help you with your own booth vision. I searched not only for booth photos from TNNA but also for craft shows.

Map it Out
This was key for me. 10-ft by 10-ft might seem like it's easy to fill, but my first TNNA booth looked majorly empty. So this year, for my second TNNA booth experience, I added more furniture and a lot more samples. I drew out my booth on graph paper both as a bird's eye view and each wall. I didn't necessarily plan out the exact location of each sample, but I made sure that all my furniture would fit like I thought it would and it really helped me get clear on how I wanted it to look. Here's my booth from this year - nice and full!

Know What Your Goal Is
As a designer exhibiting with my pattern distributor, it's easy to go in with the mindset that the TNNA booth is only "worth it" if I sell enough paper patterns to cover the booth and the trip. But the reality is while physical patterns are an important part of my business, it's not the only part. I was also promoting my new book and my teaching. If I book a couple teaching gigs off of TNNA, it'll have been "worth it" from a financial standpoint.

And Know Your Audience
Exhibiting at TNNA allows me to get in front of a different audience - the yarn store owner. On Ravelry, Instagram, Facebook and all the various other social medias, I'm catering my content to the knitter or crocheter directly. At the trade show, I'm making connections with a different group of people, and one that's important to the growth of my business. In addition to the yarn shop owners, I'm also showing off my work to yarn companies, publishers and magazines. Keeping your audience for the trade show in mind really helps make the planning a little bit easier too!

Have you exhibited at a trade show? What advice do you have for those planning to have a booth at an upcoming industry trade show?

7.26.2017

Hope-A-Thon Recap!

The 24-hours of knitting & crochet fun at the Halos of Hope-A-Thon at Wall of Yarn has come and gone. I've finally recovered from my weekend of very little sleep and I'm awake enough now to tell you about it. Haha

When I arrived at Wall of Yarn on Friday, they already had a pretty sizeable stack of hats ready to be donated to Halos of Hope. Their customers are amazing!
Hats for Charity Donation
I helped out the Halos of Hope crew to set up the prize table. There were lots of prizes to win!
Prize Table at Halos of Hope-A-Thon
The real fun began with Franklin Habit giving a lecture at the nearby Wagner House. I, of course, used this as an opportunity to start a hat (a hat I later frogged because I was a bad crocheter and failed to check my gauge).
Carmichael Hat by Laura Krzak
Once we got back to the store after the lecture, it was all hats all the time! I started on a new hat, Tensfield by Martina Behm, and it was the perfect pattern for 24-hours of hat knitting! By the morning I had one done and was on my way to starting a crochet hat!
Clock at Wall of Yarn in Freeport, IL
 Liberty Hat by Laura Krzak
I started on a third hat (another Tensfield), but didn't get it finished at the Hope-A-Thon. I did finish it on Monday though! I'll be donating it in my Summer Hat-A-Long.

By the end of the event we had 375 hats, covering over 10% of the hat needs Halos of Hope has each month.
Hats for Charity Donation

Hats All Packed Up at the Halos of Hope-A-Thon

It was so great to be a part of this amazing event. It was so fun staying up late and barely sleeping and knitting and crocheting for a great cause. I highly recommend that everyone organize an event like this with their shop or guild. Seriously, such a blast!
Halos of Hope-A-Thon 
The Halos of Hope Crew with The Yarn Guys and Franklin!

7.20.2017

Hat for a Good Cause

Tomorrow I head to Wall of Yarn in Freeport, IL for the Halos of Hope-A-Thon. With me, I'll be bringing lots of copies of my new hat pattern, Spero.
 
($2.50 of purchase goes to Halos of Hope thru August 6th)

Spero is knit out of Stitch Sprouts Yellowstone - an amazing sport-weight yarn. It's one of my favorites! It takes 130 - 150 yards of yarn to make one. If you make the small size, you can get two hats out of one skein of Yellowstone - one for yourself, and one to donate to a local cancer center or give to a friend.

If you'd like to purchase the pattern, awesome! But, if you'd like to get the pattern for free - you can!

Just send me a chemo cap to donate to my local cancer center between now and September 15th, and I'll gift you the pattern on Ravelry. You just need to include your Ravelry name or email address in your shipment so I know who to give the pattern to. You can find all the shipping information here
($2.50 of purchase goes to Halos of Hope thru August 6th)
And, if you're at the Hope-A-Thon this weekend and make a donation, Spero will be one of the patterns for you to choose from as a thank you!

I hope you enjoy this new pattern. And I hope you'll consider joining my Summer Hat-A-Long to get it for free! ;)

7.17.2017

Stunning Stitches Trunk Shows

Now that Stunning Stitches has been out for a couple of months, it's time to pack up some of the pieces and send them out to yarn shops all over the country. Let your LYS know that you'd like to see the Stunning Stitches trunk show at the shop, and have them email me at jenlucasdesigns[AT]gmail[DOT]com to get on the list. I have two trunk shows for the book.

The first one features the Bampton Set & the Kelsey Set.

The second trunk show features the Glarus Set (which includes the shawl on the cover of the book) and the Violetear Set.
It's always a little hard to ship off my book samples. They're often traveling around for a year or more and I miss them. I want to wear them all! :)

Disclaimer: This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links.


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