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Is there pin money (scuse the pun) in knitting/crocheting etc?

(14 Posts)
itsbeingsocheerful Fri 04-Sep-09 20:29:12

Looking to earn a little more money for Christmas extras, and the only thing I think I can fit in is knitting/crocheting to order.

Has anyone successfully recreated a cottage industry from their craft skills at earned anything in just three months?

LauraIngallsWilder Fri 04-Sep-09 20:31:39

I have been wondering this too ibsc - pin money yes, full income no is my current verdict

Unless you can become Cath Kidston styleeee success story

BornToFolk Fri 04-Sep-09 20:36:37

I can't see how, to be honest. You'd have to buy fairly cheap raw materials and make fairly simple things to make any kind of profit, and it would take ages.

Plus, you'd need to be quite a good designer as you shouldn't really sell things made from other people's designs.

FaintlyMacabre Fri 04-Sep-09 20:45:15

TBH I don't think many people would be prepared to pay anything like the 'true' value of a hand-knitted item. We are too used to being able to buy knitwear extremely cheaply.

Having said that, making things like little knitted toys and other 'whimsies' (sorry, can't think of a better word) might just be feasible.
Might be worth looking here to see what sort of things other people do and the prices they charge. I know its American but could be a starting point.

itsbeingsocheerful Fri 04-Sep-09 20:50:09

I suspected as much. I do have some knitting design experience, picture knits etc for friends' kids, and cuddly toys but not much else.

Ah well back to the drawing board.

Hoglet Fri 04-Sep-09 21:09:24

I think you could make some extra actually if you have a clear focus and keep it simple.

My idea would be that you knit Christmas stockings - they would be cute for Christmas and not too big or fiddly to produce and you could maybe crochet or embroider things like snowflakes or even personalise with the name of the recipient in matching wool.

Make a few up - I would say pale blue with white wool snowflakes embroidered on (no need to work snowflakes into the design as it will have the same effect but be quicker to produce with embroidered ones) and maybe pale pink with red snowflakes on - would be absolutely gorgeous for a Baby's First Christmas gift.

You could advertise on MN or in Post Offices or ask to leave leaflets around local baby massage classes or baby groups, or you might even be allowed to pop in with one or two samples and take some orders smile

Actually I will be your first order if you make them (depending on price wink) there you go, business already!

Hoglet Fri 04-Sep-09 21:16:09

PS A plain knit stocking with multi coloured or single-colour pom poms arranged & sewn on polka dot fashion would look charming. (The sort of pom poms that are bought and are tightly packed) ie here but not in acid green hey wink

LauraIngallsWilder Fri 04-Sep-09 21:18:12

I agree with hoglet

If you have a good idea - seasonal esp good
Simple idea or two
People will pay good money if the product is nice enough and marketed well
Use affordable wool that looks fancy (if such a thing exists)
I bet grandparents would buy handmade stockings for their grandkids

You can always add to the advert a bit about bespoke orders being welcome

itsbeingsocheerful Fri 04-Sep-09 21:25:59

Hoglet, you're now my business manager and as such you'll obviously get staff discount .

How much would people pay do you think. Although I love creating dinky stuff, I would never buy it - I always fall into the I-could-make-it-myself mode and then don't.

You've also given me another idea, which I have already done for my kids - proper fabric advent calendars with pockets for sweets, ear-rings, make-up. Could that work? once I dig out the sewing machine

Hoglet Fri 04-Sep-09 21:34:38

Things like beautifully made, handmade Christmas stockings are what most people consider heirloom items. The kind of thing to pass on through the family. Maybe call them Heirloom Stockings to make it very obvious they are no ordinary mass produced commercial stockings smile

Great especially in these times of a return to carefully chosen quality over quantity and throwaway.

You could/should pack it beautifully in tissue paper, with a brown paper label stamped with Heirloom Stockings (or whatever) (tissue, stamp sets and labels vv cheap on Ebay, even Tescos do stamp alphabet sets at £5 I noticed). For external packaging, maybe white paper bags here stamped with a stocking stamp here or here.

Hoglet Fri 04-Sep-09 21:50:10

There's an enormous amount of really quite nice, ready made fabric advent calendars out there so I would be surprised if you could beat those in terms of cost and time spent labouring over them.

There's less around in terms of knitted items and I imagine if you're good at knitting you will probably be far quicker at making those.

Stockings don't need to be 3D with a turned heel and toe - just two flat stocking shapes sewn together. Also they don't need to be massive, I would say about 25-30cm tall and about the same shape as a baby's sock, ie cute and snub. Just enough to fit a new box of coloured pencils, a tangerine and some chocolate money in. Oh, the nostalgia grin

As for cost, there's the big q. I don't know - it depends on size and materials and the time you spend on them I guess. I am thinking somewhere around the £25 mark for something lovely that is a keepsake and a present in itself as it were. A lot will depend on the style completely fetching, charming, whimsical and very vintage-looking. On Ebay there is always a brisk trade for Christmas jumpers of "50's man fairisle with reindeers" style so I would guess that's the style you could aim for.

If you get one stocking out of a ball of wool priced say £3.50, with scraps for embroidery and packaging coming in at probably £1.50 per unit then you could probably produce one for £5 materials then the rest is your time.

Hoglet Fri 04-Sep-09 21:57:41

You'd have to do a bit of market research though and ideally make up a few to drum up interest and find out what people would pay for them.. A quick check of Ebay shows the usual cheap and nasty machine made acrylic stocking nightmares in garish designs, but nothing handknitted, subtle, pretty, vintage or charming.

Depends on finding the right up market grin who appreciate finer handmade things.

itsbeingsocheerful Fri 04-Sep-09 22:01:29

Good grief. I'm impressed Hoglet. And a little bit scared

I'm doing little more than musing if only's and you've come up with a business plan, suppliers, marketing - the lot. I hope my knitting lives up to your acumen!

I'm not close to my needles atm, but tomorrow morning I will be up early to click away at shapes and styles, see what works.

You're a true inspiration. And forget about the discount, the first Heirloom Stocking is yours

Hoglet Fri 04-Sep-09 22:19:44

Thanks itsbeingsocheerful grin

I am a crafty type with a few business skills, although knitting is sadly something I've tried and failed. Cannot do it (haven't got the speed or the patience and lose track of rows, drop stitches etc... smile) so I am very envy of that skill!

I do think that there's definitely a niche market for very nicely made, nostalgic items, made available to the right people who appreciate them. For example there are tiny bears of only 5" high that sell for £300 upwards, because every single element is unique or handcrafted, ie the fur is hand-dyed mohair and the clothes they wear are made from antique fabrics and notions and are tiny replicas of exact clothes of the 20's or whatever era such as blazers and hats. They are collector's items even though they are newly made because they are so carefully constructed.

Handknitting is a true cottage craft and it's dying out so as time goes by, there are less and less people with those skills so in time people like you who knit will be in great demand. On Ebay there's handknitted baby clothes but they tend to be in acrylic wool and don't sell for much, whereas a beautifully made pair of bootees in finest mohair or lambswool, sold elsewhere, would fetch much more.

Anyway, enough ramblings smile it's fab if I have inspired you in some small way, and Good Luck smile

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