Here’s the link for today’s Spin + Chat about having a fiber/small business [with some great asides, as well] – I was joined by Sandy Ward, Charan Sachar, and Christopher Fuentez, who had great insight and questions to add to the conversation. I’ve got my notes posted below, that I compiled before I went on air that add some background to the conversation for those who don’t know my history or want to see my ebb-and-flow progress. I also included links to Sandy’s Facebook page and Charan’s website and YouTube page, and I encourage you to check them out!
I’d love to answer any further questions or chat about your insights; please feel free to leave them in the comments here or on YouTube. And I hope you join us for the next chat!
How did I get started?
- making herbal products first
- started adding my handspun in 2007
- By 2009 I had added hand carded fibers, then dyed fibers. I phased out the bath and body products entirely.
- Then I went through the beginning of my divorce, moved into a small place alone. Change #1!
- In 2011 I did a major move back to Baltimore because I saw that I had MUCH more support there for what I was doing. Change #2!
- In 2012 I opened up my studio/retail space.
- In 2014 I ran and fully funded an Indiegogo campaign.
- Around 2015/2016 I moved the studio back to my house. Pluses, minuses!
- Last year, I got really ill. I’m now recovering in all aspects.
I have never purchased anything with a loan or on credit. I bootstrapped.
I have shifted my business model several times in my career. At one time I was one of the bigger sellers of giant knitting needles and crochet hooks; I also concentrated much more on custom spinning and carded fibers and my clubs. Now I concentrate more on OOAKs, battlet sets, and teaching.
My core principles:
- offer the best fibers I can while keeping my prices accessible.
- only sell things I love.
- strive to be as original as possible
- share things regularly to encourage others to explore and grow
- always extend a hand to other fiber businesses that are a few steps behind me in order to help them up [other small biz, too]
- always be innovating
- never stop learning
- who I am is the most important part of my business
I recommend that you create your own list of core principles to guide your business as well. I’ve got rules beyond this list, like where I will and won’t spend money, or advertise with, but they are really implied in my principles already.
Some questions for you: Where do you want to sell your wares?
Is this something you want to do full time or part time? [reasons why it’s very hard to be full time without a support system]
What makes you stand out? Find something that helps you make a name and reputation for yourself, as the fiber and handmade fields are crowded and it’s hard to compete!
Online, in person, both?
Pricing. Pricing is personal.
SEO recommendation: www.yoast.com
Links from participants:
Charan Sachar : www.creativewithclay.com ; YouTube link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaMo0848OYzvZr1pZbkoopw
Sandy Ward: https://www.facebook.com/s7rstudio/
Christiane Knight: www.threeravens.net