In the past decade, the crochet industry has woven a pattern of steady growth and increased popularity. Starting a crochet business today is more than just a good idea, it’s a wonderful creative outlet that can bring personal satisfaction and can bring in extra money or eventually become your full-time job.
This is largely due to the rise of handmade crafts and the appreciation for unique, personalized items. Running your own crochet business could be a successful business path for anyone with the passion and skill for this art form.
I started my crochet business in 2011 by designing for magazines. I wanted to make some extra money on the side so I sold original designs to various sources (magazines, yarn companies, etc) and eventually in that first year I started my online business as a blog.
Today I’m going to give you a great starting point in your journey to a successful crochet business.
Why Start a Crochet Business?
There are many reasons to start a crochet business in this competitive market. For one, the industry itself has seen so much growth. In the past decade, there has been a surge in the interest in handmade crafts and crochet items, resulting in more potential customers and the potential to make money with your craft. With the rising trend of online shopping and the ease of setting up online stores, it’s never been easier to reach people who might have an interest in your unique creations.
Understanding the crochet market is vital to navigate your way to success. Now there are a lot of people in the crochet niche – whether that’s blogging, selling physical items online or doing market fairs.
So you’ll need to do some market research so you stand out from other crochet small businesses. Market research will provide valuable insights into your target market, such as what they prefer and what they are willing to spend. We’ll get to that in a minute.
Setting yourself up for success involves starting off on the right foot and maintaining a track record of excellence. It means constantly coming up with new ideas and patterns, and staying abreast with the latest trends in the crochet industry. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, and it’s going to be work, but I can tell you from experience that it’s worth it.
This comprehensive guide aims to help you create a successful crochet business, from crafting your business plan to managing your operations and finances. It can’t cover every aspect of starting a business, so I’ve linked out to some other helpful resources if you’d like more information.
Ready? Let’s get started!
Crafting Your Crochet Business Plan
When it comes to launching your own crochet business, an essential first step is to develop a comprehensive crochet business plan. This plan will serve as a roadmap for your business, outlining your vision, goals, target audience, unique selling proposition, pricing strategy, and potential revenue streams.
Defining Your Business Goals
To start, you need to clearly define your business goals and objectives. What do you want to achieve with your crochet business? Do you want to generate a full-time income, supplement your current income, or simply monetize a hobby?
As I mentioned before, my first goal was just to make a little side income to help pay off some bills. Later, I turned my attention to taking my business full-time, then making six figures. Now I’ve achieved all of these and am aiming higher.
Your goals might evolve over time like mine, but it’s important to start with a clear vision in mind of where you want your business to go. This will not only provide direction but also motivate you as you navigate the journey of running your own crochet business.
Identifying Your Target Audience and Market Niche
Next, it’s crucial to identify your target audience and find your niche within the vast crochet market. Who are your ideal customers? They might be parents looking for unique baby items, people searching for modern home décor, or craft enthusiasts who appreciate handmade items. Understanding your target market’s interests, needs, and spending habits will guide you in creating products that they will love and buy.
Now, don’t feel like you will be stuck making only one thing if you decide to niche down. I did baby items for a long time (blankets, booties, sweaters, etc) because that was the point I was at in life (I had a baby when I started designing, and had three more while growing my business!). Now, I have branched out and make all types of things, both knit and crochet.
But niching down can be the perfect way to build an audience, so if you love one aspect of crochet, say amigurumi, then go for it and look for ways to set yourself apart.
Crafting Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
With countless crochet businesses out there, you need to define what sets your business apart from the rest. This is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). It could be your signature design style, your use of eco-friendly materials, or your commitment to personalized customer service. Whatever it is, your USP should resonate with your target audience and make your crochet business stand out from the crowd.
This can be hard to determine in the beginning, so don’t spend a lot of time stuck here. It’s okay to put out some different types of patterns to see what resonates with people, and then do more of what works. Sometimes it’s just little things that set you apart.
Determining Your Pricing and Profit Margins
If you’re going to be selling physical products, pricing your crochet appropriately is key to your business’s sustainability. When determining your prices, consider the cost of materials, the time you spend crafting each item, and your desired profit margin. Remember that your prices should reflect the value and uniqueness of your handmade items. It’s essential to strike a balance that covers your costs, ensures profitability, and still appeals to your target market.
You are entering a market with a ton of hobby makers who will sell their items for just the cost of materials, and there’s nothing wrong with that if you enjoy crocheting and are looking for a way to pay for yarn. But if you want to have a business, you will need to make a profit, and this can be a tricky area that trips some people up.
If you’re selling patterns, like I do, then shoot for a price similar to what’s selling on marketplaces like Etsy. You can sell at a lower price, but be aware that some people will think it’s lower quality if it’s too cheap, but on the other hand you don’t want to be too expensive so this is an area that will take some research and it debated in the crochet designer community.
Planning Your Revenue Streams
It’s also important to think about your potential revenue streams. While selling your crochet products will likely be your primary revenue source, there are other ways to generate income. For instance, you might decide to sell crochet patterns, offer crochet classes, or monetize a blog where you share your crafting journey and expertise. Diversifying your revenue streams can help stabilize your income and maximize your earning potential.
This initial phase of planning is critical to the success of your crochet business. By defining your goals, understanding your audience, crafting your USP, setting your prices, and planning your revenue streams, you’re laying a solid foundation for your crochet business to thrive.
Building Your Brand and Online Presence
In this digital age, creating a strong online presence is an important aspect of any business, including your crochet business. This includes everything from choosing a memorable crochet business name and setting up your own website or online shop, to writing engaging blog posts and nurturing your email list.
Choosing a Crochet Business Name
The first step in building your online presence is choosing a memorable business name. The name should reflect your brand’s essence and resonate with your target audience. It should be unique, easy to remember, and ideally give an idea about the products you offer. Your crochet business name is an important part of your brand identity and will play a critical role in your business’s overall perception.
This is also an area that lots of people get hung up on. Let’s face it, it can be hard to come up with a good name! You can use your own name, but I’d suggest staying away from that. I tried it with my own name and even though I got some traffic, I found that people resonated with my designs much better after I changed to Love Life Yarn.
Another word of caution from experience about choosing your business name. My first crochet blog was called Designing Crochet and I loved that name… until I wanted to add knitting to the mix. I didn’t feel right about putting up knitting patterns on a crochet blog, so I had two sites for a while until I combined them.
Make sure your name will allow you to expand if you choose to. Now I’m so happy with Love Life Yarn because I feel I can put any yarn craft on there and it will still fit with my brand!
If you’re using AI at all I have found it can be a great tool to help brainstorm ideas. Ask the AI tool for name ideas, and if it comes up with something you kind of like ask it to think of things that are similar. It could spark some ideas and it’s a great place to start!
Creating a Professional Website or Online Shop
Once you have a business name, the next step is creating a professional website or online shop. Your own website or blog serves as a central hub for your business where customers can browse and purchase your products, learn more about your brand, and contact you. Ensure your website is user-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and reflects your brand’s style and values. Various platforms can help you set up a professional online shop without the need for advanced technical skills.
Establishing a Strong Social Media Presence
Social media platforms have become invaluable tools for businesses. Establishing a strong social media presence allows you to reach a broader audience, showcase your products, and interact with your customers. Consider creating accounts on popular platforms where your target audience spends time, such as Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook. Make sure your social media posts are engaging, visually appealing, and reflective of your brand.
Please, please, don’t try to do all of them at once, though! While I admit it’s great to go ahead and grab your brand name on each handle, one of the most common ways people get burned out is by trying to do all the things. You do NOT have to be on every social media platform. Just pick one or two that you enjoy and that makes sense for your brand.
For me, I got rid of Twitter and hardly ever do anything on Facebook, so I focus on occasionally posting to Instagram and YouTube, but spend the majority of my time growing the content on my blog and growing my email list.
Sharing Expertise Through Blogging
Blogging can be a powerful way to share your expertise, connect with your audience on a personal level, and drive traffic to your website. You can share blog posts on various topics, such as how-to guides, tips and tricks for crochet, or the story behind your latest pattern. This not only positions you as an expert in your field but also provides valuable content that your audience will appreciate.
Many people struggle with the paid vs free pattern dilemma. Personally, with so many free patterns out there, I decided to go with the free patterns on my blog with an ad-free PDF version available if someone wants to purchase it.
This has worked extremely well for me but that doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for everyone. You need to do what makes the best sense for your own business, and that might not mean a blog at all.
Building an Engaged Email List
Building an engaged email list is a very important part of your online strategy. An email list allows you to communicate directly with your customers, send them updates, exclusive offers, and nurture a deeper relationship.
On some social media platforms, only a very small percentage of your audience actually sees your posts. However, you can get a much better response with an email list and it’s also valuable to drive traffic to your website or sell products with an email list.
You can collect email addresses through your website or online shop, offering incentives such as a discount on the first order or access to exclusive content, or even freebies. There are many ways to encourage people to opt-in.
Building your brand and online presence is a continuous process that requires time and effort. But, with consistency and a keen understanding of your audience’s needs and preferences, you can create a strong brand and online presence that supports the growth and success of your crochet business.
Showcasing Your Crochet Skills and Designs
One of the main attractions of any crochet business is the unique skills and designs of the maker. By showcasing your crochet skills, developing your own design style, offering a variety of products, and even possibly providing free crochet patterns, you can attract and retain a loyal customer base.
Let’s take a look at ways to showcase your skills and designs.
Creating High-Quality Crochet Items
The cornerstone of your crochet business will be the high-quality crochet items you create. Your crochet skills should shine through each product, demonstrating the care, precision, and creativity involved in your work.
Customers appreciate handmade items for their uniqueness and the level of effort and skill invested in them. Be sure to consistently produce and maintain high standards for your crocheted items, as this will significantly contribute to your business’s reputation, whether you choose to sell physical items or take photos of your creations for your patterns.
Developing Your Own Design Style
To stand out in the crochet market, developing your own design style is crucial. Your unique style is your signature, something your customers will come to recognize and love about your crochet items.
This could be a specific color palette, distinctive stitches you use, or a unique theme that runs through all your products. Remember, your own designs not only demonstrate your creativity but also set your crochet business apart from the competition, which is more important than ever with the sheer number of designers out there.
Offering a Variety of Crochet Products
While it’s important to have a unique style, it’s also essential to offer a variety of crochet items. Variety caters to different tastes and needs, allowing you to attract a wider customer base. From home décor items like throw pillows and blankets, to wearables like scarves and hats, to unique gifts like toys and bookmarks, there are many different things you can create and offer in your crochet business.
You can also offer different types of products such as physical handmade items, crochet kits, crochet tools, a membership, crochet patterns, hand dyed yarn and more.
Providing Free Crochet Patterns
A great way to engage your audience and showcase your expertise is by providing free crochet patterns. This can attract a host of DIY enthusiasts to your website or online store and increase traffic. While they may initially visit for the free patterns, they may end up purchasing some of your finished items or paid patterns. Free patterns are a wonderful way to give back to the crochet community, demonstrate your skills, and attract potential customers.
Even if you don’t want to offer all of your patterns for free, having some on your website can attract your potential buyers and get traffic to your site.
By focusing on creating high-quality crochet items, developing your unique design style, offering a diverse product range, and providing free crochet patterns (if you choose to do so), you can showcase your crochet skills and designs. These elements combined will play a significant role in attracting customers and helping your crochet business flourish.
Reaching Your Target Market
Once you’ve established your brand and product line, the next step is to effectively reach your target market. Both local strategies and online platforms offer numerous opportunities to connect with potential customers. Collaborations with other crafters and crochet designers can widen your reach and create mutually beneficial relationships.
It can get lonely being an online business owner, so having other designer and business friends can really help you stay connected as well. Plus it helps to have a mentor who is just a bit ahead of you and becomes a friend!
Local Marketing Strategies
Don’t underestimate the power of local marketing in spreading the word about your crochet business! Craft stores, local craft fairs, and yarn stores are wonderful places to showcase your products. You can consider selling your products in a local store or setting up a stall at a craft fair. This not only allows you to sell your products but also gives you a chance to engage with your local market, receive direct feedback, and understand your customers better.
Expanding Your Reach Online
The online world offers way more possibilities to reach a larger audience. Apart from selling on your own website or online store, consider various platforms such as Etsy, Ravelry or Love Crafts. Additionally, consider offering online courses if you’re comfortable teaching, or delve into affiliate marketing where you promote crochet-related products for a commission. These strategies can significantly expand your reach and open up additional revenue streams.
Collaborating with Other Crafters and Crochet Designers
Collaboration is a powerful tool for expanding your business. By partnering with other crafters and crochet designers, you can tap into their audience, share inspiration, and even create unique products together. You could guest post on each other’s blogs, share each other’s work on social media, or organize joint giveaways. These collaborations can foster a sense of community and provide mutual benefits.
Reaching your target market is a continuous effort involving both local and online strategies. By understanding your audience, leveraging various platforms, and collaborating with others in your field, you can effectively market your crochet business and build a loyal customer base.
Marketing and Promoting Your Crochet Business
A critical aspect of running a successful crochet business is marketing and promoting it effectively. Both traditional marketing tools and digital marketing techniques play a role in getting your business in front of potential customers. Creating social media profiles and optimizing your online presence for search engines can significantly enhance your visibility and reach.
Utilizing Traditional Marketing Tools
Even in the digital age, traditional marketing tools like business cards retain their value. A well-designed business card can provide a quick and personal way to share your contact information and website or online store details at local craft fairs, networking events, or even casual encounters. Don’t underestimate the power of a tangible reminder of your crochet business in a potential customer’s hand.
The first time I had business cards made was when I was going to the Crochet Guild of America’s Chain Link Conference. I felt so professional! I still carry business cards and love to network with other crafters. These work especially well at conferences and craft fairs.
Leveraging the Power of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is a great tool for promoting your crochet business. This covers everything from social media posts on platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, to email newsletters and online ads. Regularly sharing beautiful photos of your products, behind-the-scenes snapshots of your process, or customer reviews can keep your audience engaged and attract new customers. Also, remember to use relevant hashtags to increase the visibility of your posts, on platforms where it’s appropriate.
There are SO many different ways to do digital marketing. Start by learning just one or two and work your way up to more. Again, you don’t have to do it all at once!
Creating a Facebook Page for Your Crochet Business
Creating a Facebook page specifically for your crochet business is another effective promotional tool. With its vast user base, Facebook offers a significant opportunity to reach a broad audience. You can post updates, share photos, host virtual events, and interact directly with your followers. Make sure to keep your page updated and engage with comments and messages to build a strong, active community around your business.
Optimizing Your Online Presence for Search Engines
Optimizing your online presence for search engines (a practice known as SEO, or Search Engine Optimization) is essential if you are promoting a website, Shopify shop (YES there is SEO for Shopify!) or even YouTube. Proper SEO practices can improve your visibility on Google search, the YouTube algorithm and even Pinterest, making it easier for potential customers to find you. This includes using relevant keywords in your website content, having a mobile-friendly website, and regularly updating your website with fresh content, such as blog posts or new product listings.
Google, Pinterest, YouTube, Etsy, etc all have slightly different SEO strategies, so be sure to check out the best SEO tips for the platform you are trying to promote yourself on.
Marketing and promoting your crochet business involves a mix of both traditional and digital strategies. By leveraging these tools and platforms effectively, you can increase your visibility, reach a larger audience, and grow your business.
Managing Operations and Finances
A crochet business, like any other, requires effective management of operations and finances to thrive. This includes accurately calculating the cost of materials and supplies, managing custom orders and timelines, maintaining a healthy profit margin, and implementing efficient inventory management strategies.
This was something I struggled with at the beginning, and it has really helped to separate my business finances from my personal ones. If you can, open a separate account to buy supplies, take customer payments, etc. It will make life so much easier!
Calculating the Cost of Materials and Supplies
Understanding the cost of materials and supplies is crucial to pricing your products accurately and ensuring profitability. This includes the cost of yarn, crochet hooks, pattern books, and any other supplies you need. Keep track of these expenses diligently, and consider buying in bulk or during sales to lower costs. Remember, the cost of materials forms a significant part of your product price and plays a significant role in determining your profit margin.
If you are truly running a business, don’t forget to add the cost of software, online courses you purchase to further your business, etc into your expenses for tax purposes.
Managing Custom Orders and Timelines
Custom orders are a fantastic way to offer personalized service to your customers and stand out from the competition. However, they also require careful management. Be clear about the production process, including timeframes for completion, and communicate this to your customers. Implement a system to keep track of orders, due dates, and progress to ensure you deliver on time and maintain customer satisfaction.
Maintaining a Healthy Profit Margin
Pricing your products correctly is critical to maintaining a healthy profit margin. Your pricing should cover the cost of materials, your time, overheads such as website maintenance or market stall rental, and still leave you with a profit. Research what similar items are selling for to gauge market expectations, but don’t undervalue your work. Your skills, time, and unique designs add value to the finished product, and your pricing should reflect that.
Efficient Inventory Management
Managing your inventory effectively is essential, especially if you’re selling on multiple platforms. Keep a regular check on stock levels to avoid selling out or overstocking. Consider using inventory management software or tools to streamline this process and prevent errors. Remember, good inventory management can enhance customer satisfaction by ensuring their desired products are always available.
This is especially important for items like kits, hand dyed yarn, etc. – NOT for custom orders or digital patterns.
Effective operations and financial management are the backbone of a successful crochet business. By carefully calculating costs, managing custom orders, maintaining a healthy profit margin, and efficiently managing your inventory, you can set your crochet business up for success and growth.
My Personal Experience
So, if you’ve read this far you must be serious about starting a crochet business. For me, it all started with magazines and getting designs published in them. Then I branched out to designing for Red Heart and eventually Lion Brand Yarn.
I started my blog in 2012 as a way to showcase my latest designs and never had any idea it could actually be used to make money. Fast forward to 2016 when I was scrolling through Pinterest while nursing a baby and came across my first blog income report. Totally blew my mind! I thought – “I can do that!” – and set out on a quest to do just that.
I joined Mediavine in 2019 and my blog has been making good money ever since. In 2022 I had my first ever six figure year, and now my quest is to help others leave their jobs and earn a living online, just like me!
I’ve been full-time blogging and designing since June of 2021, the day that I walked out of my classroom for the last time.. and I’ve never looked back.
Common Questions about Starting a Crochet Business
A crochet business can be profitable depending on various factors such as the quality of your work, your pricing, marketing strategies, and the demand for crochet items in your target market.
The earnings of a crochet business can vary greatly. Some small businesses might make a few thousand dollars a year, while more established businesses could earn in the tens of thousands or even more. My business earns over six figures a year!
Forming an LLC isn’t mandatory for a crochet business. However, it can provide benefits such as protecting your personal assets from potential business debts or liabilities. Most small crochet businesses are sole proprietorships.
Yes, you can make money selling crochet. It depends on factors like product uniqueness, quality, pricing, and your ability to reach and engage with customers.
The weaknesses of a crochet business might include the time-intensive nature of crochet, potential difficulties in scaling up, market saturation with many hobbyists selling crochet items, and the seasonal nature of some crochet products.
Final Thoughts on Starting a Crochet Business
Okay, ,so this is a LOT to take in. I know it can seem scary and overwhelming, but you can do this! The crochet industry has really seen a lot of growth in the past few years, and now with the online world there are SO many opportunities for creative entrepreneurs.
More and more people are interested in unique, handmade items or in making their own following others’ patterns. Yes, you really CAN make money with a crochet business, but you have to plan carefully, work at it consistently (I worked nap times and after the kids went to bed!) and really understand your audience.
Please do not make excuses… I love the saying “done is better than perfect” so just get out there and try! It would be better to try and see what happens than look back in a few years and wish you had given it a shot.
Embarking on the journey of starting your own crochet business involves several next steps. From crafting a comprehensive business plan and building an online presence to mastering the art of reaching your target market and managing operations and finances, the early days will be busy and might seem overwhelming. It’s essential, however, to remember that every successful business began somewhere.
The world of crochet offers a canvas for creativity, dedication, and passion. Running your crochet business will definitely involve a substantial amount of time and a lot of work. Every little bit of effort you put in, every little thing you learn along the way, and the little moments of free time you dedicate to honing your craft will all contribute to your ultimate success. It’s worth it!
Starting a successful crochet business is not just about making money. It’s about sharing your passion with the world, one stitch at a time. So, embrace the opportunities, face the challenges, and enjoy the rewarding journey of turning your crochet skills into a thriving business.