An online friend of mine told me about your site when I expressed an interest on Facebook about finding web-based business owners who can teach us all a few things about how they got their start. I was instantly impressed by how cute your online store is!
Can you tell me and the readers what type of web-based business you have created?
Thank you so much for complimenting me on my little store! Tracey’s Boutique sells crocheted hats and accessories for children. All of the products on my website are my own designs.
What inspired you to begin creating and selling online?
My inspiration is my love of crocheting. I could crochet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Before Tracey’s Boutique, I had a different crochet business called Krazy 4 Kellies. I crocheted one-of-a-kind fashions and accessories for Barbie’s little sister, Kelly. Kelly is five inches tall. The smallest doll I have crocheted fashions for is one inch tall. I had a lot of fun with that, but after a few years I found myself gravitating more toward creating things for children. I’ve often said that I’m just making things for bigger kids now!
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Where do you learn new techniques or patterns?
I experiment with different stitch patterns, and just sort of go from there. Sometimes I will see crochet items that I admire and want to pull different elements from those designs into my own. All my products are exclusively my own patterns and designs.
What do you find the hardest part of selling online to be?
Marketing!!! I want to spend all my time on the creation process and sometimes “forget” about marketing my products. I say to myself daily that I need to work harder on my marketing.
How do you advertise or market your web-based business?
The marketing I have done to date is mostly via Facebook (a wonderful medium for getting the word out!), and word of mouth.
I like to do giveaways on Facebook. They are very popular! I haven’t done one in a while, so maybe it’s time for another contest or draw.
I’ve been deep in creative mode lately, so have neglected Facebook a bit. I would recommend to anyone with an online business to be on Facebook and to have giveaways and contests. It is a wonderful way to get the word out and also a great way to try to “pay it forward” a bit. I’m very grateful to all of my customers and Facebook followers.
What are some of your biggest challenges as a web-based business owner?
Probably my biggest challenge is keeping up with all the paperwork, bookkeeping and website maintenance. I seem to be able to keep it all together. My preference would be to strictly crochet. But there are other things that need to be done, most importantly transcribing my patterns after they’re perfected. They start out as short-hand chicken scratch (notes, stitch counts) and need to be put into proper crochet terminology quickly or you tend to forget what you meant when you wrote it. So there’s always other things that need to be done aside from the creation of the product.
What are some typical costs that one should expect to face when planning to create a web-based crafting business?
Well, you have costs for materials (in my case, yarn), advertising & promotion, packaging materials, domain name fees and hosting costs. The thing I like about a home based web business is that overhead is very low. You don’t have to pay rent for a store (aside from your domain name and hosting fees) and many other costs that are associated with having a store that is say, in a mall.
Any tips for newbies interested in taking their crafting talents to the web?
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Yes, I do have a couple of things; firstly, always be quick with your shipping and be communicative and friendly with your customers and potential customers. Next is to utilize Facebook and to have interactive contest and draws for your Facebook followers. It doesn’t have to be anything huge – just a little something that says that you appreciate them and their interest in your products.