Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
I’m Becky, a Professional Crocheter in Canada. I design, teach, and sell finished crochet items. And while crochet is my biggest love (don’t tell my fiancé!), I’m rather obsessed with anything to do with yarn – knitting (with needles or looms), weaving, locker-hooking, pompom-making, latch hooking, the list goes on!
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I started my business in January of 2015, and opened my Etsy shop in February.
In February of 2014 I was forced to quit my job working as a sales floor associate and yarn expert at Michael’s due to psychological issues, specifically depression and anxiety. I have been dealing with this my whole life, but it really came to a head at the end of 2013. I tried to hang on, but alas. I was finally able to get help, and on my good days, I spend my time designing crochet blanket patterns.
As this year started, I had hopes of going back to work when another issue reared its ugly head, this time it was a cognitive problem that makes it impossible for me to work outside the home. Refusing to give up, I decided that I would just work from home, instead!
Tell us a bit about your products.
In my crochet pattern collection, you will find mostly blankets, with a couple of hats and scarves thrown in. My passion is blankets – it’s like one big, cozy canvas!
I like to take existing techniques and tweak them a bit – give them a bit of a twist. So I took a continuous join technique and applied it to squares of multiple sizes at a time. I took the standard granny square blanket, and threw some “edging” steps in before all of the squares were joined. I took Jacob’s Ladders and sent them off at an angle. I also invented a new stitch that I call “Oddly Linked”, which works with regular crochet and Tunisian crochet.
If you don’t crochet, you can still get these blankets because I sometimes sell the pattern sample! I also sell items that are made using patterns I’ve designed that wouldn’t work well as a pattern for others to follow (usually because I just can’t figure out how to describe them clearly)!
The pattern for this blanket, for example, includes a step that goes “I don’t know… just fiddle with it until it’s right.”
You’ll also find items made using another yarn technique.
What inspires your work?
I like putting different things together to see what I get. I like to take existing things to the next level, especially with crochet – I’ve been crocheting since 1996 and I’m absolutely fascinated with what you can do with it. I try to learn how to do it all, and sometimes I find interesting ways to combine things.
I’m also a bit odd and am known to wear a Christmas stocking as a hat – and think you should too!
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
I’m hoping to make at least as much from my business this year to match what I was making working part-time in retail.
My dream is to be able to release at least 20 new patterns every year.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
With my patterns, I offer some more advanced patterns (which are hard to find in crochet!), and my easy/beginner patterns have a twist that make the finished items look deceptively complicated.
With my physical items, you’ll find new and interesting designs. And much silliness.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I live in a two-bedroom apartment, and my “studio space” is nearly the whole thing. There is yarn in the living room. Yarn in the master bedroom. Yarn in the second bedroom. Yarn under the TV. I do my picture editing on the computer in the dining room, and most of the rest of my computer work at my desk in the living room. I use our bed for blanket pictures, and just today I did a photo shoot in the sun room.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
I did a lot of research before starting my business, and had the benefit of having run a music studio out of my home just over a decade ago, but I didn’t realize until I was well into it just how important and complicated Search Engine Optimization is.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Spend time on the Etsy forums. Check them every day to get a feel for what people are talking about. Look in on the threads that are seeking advice on getting more views. And build up a bit of an inventory before starting – shops with only a couple of things in them just don’t tend to do well. The more things you have, and more types of things you have, the better.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
When I’m not playing with yarn (which is almost never), I like to read, and watch educational videos on Youtube.
What is your favorite quote?
“We have enough youth; how about a fountain of smart?”
Where can people find out more about your business?
My blog is where all of this comes together, and you can find it at http://fantasticmio.com.
If you would like to be featured, please go to the CIJ Etsy Forum and fill out the questionnaire. Please note you must be a member of the CIJ Etsy team to be featured.