by Alison Stapleton
Are you the type of person who only has cable TV in your home so you have to watch adverts and a canned newsreel?
Do you ever buy the specialized channels and perhaps pick up the BBC or the science channel even though you have to pay for them?
How about Netflix? Would you pay $8 a month for a vast array of movies and no commercials?
You can see straight away if you appreciate the value in paying for something, over getting it for relatively nothing (but with strings – the ads).
Value is the difference between what a casual crocheter, or hobbyist crocheter and a professional crocheter provide.
You can get a crocheted hat at your dollar store for $1, or you can pay $30 for a similar hat at the mall, or you can pay $75 for a well-known designer hat.
But the expensive hat probably does the same thing, it keeps your head warm and looks trendy, or does it?
If you can see the value in buying better things, made with better materials and crafted in a better fashion, and having good, or even the best things in your life that you can afford, why would you settle for the bottom of the range?
Do you choose basic or do you want something else?
The 3 Types of Crocheter
There are three types of crocheter; the casual crocheter, the hobbyist crocheter and the professional crocheter. Each of the three types can be clearly defined if you look at how they handle money and value
You can see which type of crocheter you are by reading below.
The Casual Crocheter
The casual crochet is where we all start when we begin to crochet. You start with one hook and a ball of yarn. Over time you make things and you enjoy the process. That’s why you do it.
You may leave crocheting for a time and then come back to it. There is no pressure to complete things it is simply a leisure activity.
As a casual crocheter you:
- Buy your own yarns
- Pick and choose what to make as it takes your fancy
- May use the finished item yourself or
- Give it away to someone as a gift
- No money changes hands and you do not make a profit
The Hobbyist Crocheter
If you are a hobbyist crocheter you buy your own yarn and make items or garments. These items can be to order if say, your sister wants a hat just like the one you are wearing.
You buy the yarn and make the hat and your sister gives you money to cover the cost of the yarn, and perhaps also covers minimum wage (around $8.50 and hour) for the labor (this is “for your time”), or your labor is free.
Your sister pays you, but it just about covers the yarn and maybe an hourly rate.
As a hobbyist crocheter you may barter your skills and maybe make a hat to swop for babysitting your kids on Saturday night or some other trade off.
If you are a hobbyist crocheter you:
- Do not advertise or promote that you crochet
- Make a few crocheted items each year
- Sometimes you get reimbursed for the costs
- Make things at cost
- Get a nominal amount “for your time”
- Barter crochet for other services or goods
Although some people will give you money (and you may tell yourself you are in “business”) you are not in business, and you do not make a profit.
The Professional Crocheter
The first two types of crocheter (casual and hobbyist) are entirely different to the professional crocheter.
As a professional crocheter you are in it to make money and not just cover the cost of the yarn and your time.
You keep accounting books and know what it has cost you and what you have taken in each day or month.
At the end of the month you have profit. The money that you have over when you have paid for your overheads (computer, phone, advertising, materials, postage etc. and your labour costs) and all business related items is your profit.
You are a professional crocheter if you:
- Have a crochet business name
- Have your own crochet business cards
- Own your crochet domain name (YourCrochetBusinessName.com)
- Run a current website and post every week
- Promote to all social media channels that work for you (examples: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram)
- Have a growing mailing list of clients and potential clients
- Have a fan base of readers, clients and followers (weak fan base = less than 200 fans, medium fan base = less than 2000 fans, strong fan base = more than 2000 fans)
- You know your niche, stay in it and own your niche
- You know who you are (and who you are not), what you do (and what you don’t do) and can recite your elevator pitch in less than thirty seconds and under one hundred words
- Have multiple income streams from your crochet business
- Buy yarns carefully (wholesale and online) to maximize profit
- Price your goods fairly for wholesale, retail and your custom work (bridal etc.)
- Have a crochet business plan for the next 12 months
- Use an editorial calendar
- You keep financial records (this can be as simple as money in vs. money out)
- Your income covers your business costs (web hosting, printing, labels, postage etc.)
- You make a profit each month and each year (of course this profit can be small but it is still a profit)
Do not confuse yourself between a hobbyist crocheter and a professional crocheter. This is why hobbyists charge so little for their garments it is because they can.
A professional crocheter is in business to feed their family and will charge more because they typically have a much large setup and can provide continuity in their items and inventory.