Lately I've been making my girls little skirts out of fabric pieces. It's like a skirt a month around here!
Other than thread and elastic, I'm trying to use only what I already have at home. This is also me attempting to reduce the size of my fabric stash. Here are the 2 skirts I made in April.
My youngest found this gauzy stuff in the clearance section of Joann's. It's Frozen themed with Elsa on it.
It's also awful to work with -- which is why both girls got waist bands made out of knits with the gauze gathered inside.
I cut my eldest's skirt at an angle to give it a dropped side effect. I hemmed the bottom with lace (because this stuff is seriously prone to fraying apart).
These are totally play skirts. I expect them to get ruined. They each took me about 2.5-4 hours to make.
I'm not going to lie to you and say, "Oh, these are easy and can be done in an hour."
I'm sure if you've been sewing a lot your entire life, they will be faster. Like, if you're my mother. She makes sewing look easy-peasy. She put the larger of the Cotton Fairy skirts together in an hour.
Yes, I had help on that one. Granted, it was AFTER I'd spent the better part of the day working on the smaller one!
I'm learning quite a bit with each of these and am very proud of how they turned out. I'm planning to create a few shirt modifications for myself in May. I'll tell you about those after I get them done and that's assuming I do get them done...
But January was disheartening. I'd talked to my knitting friends and my inlaws. Let's just say who you ask advice of is as important as the advice you receive.
Asking non-entrepreneurs about pricing is the wrong move. So is being the lowest priced. When it comes to knitting patterns Free and $0.99 means crappy and poorly put together.
I raised my prices to the $3 mark in early January plus added my patterns to Ravelry. January ended up being my best month with $16.41 in sales after Paypal fees.
Get ready to slowdown...
February had a single sale and I'm at no sales for March. Not a single sale came from Ravelry. (Considering how convoluted Ravelry is to use, it's not winning any affection from me right now.)
Winter is over in the United States too. It may be several months before I have another pattern sale.
It's not all bad...
Still, this little business paid for my domain and requires nothing to maintain. It's pretty much a passive income, abet a seasonal one. So I'm keeping it open and will add more patterns as I can. I am not going to be knitting like crazy.
Truth is I never intended Ruth Designs to be a full-time effort. Its a side hustle for some cash and a creative outlet. I'm cool with it being what it is. I'm not going to be spending more $$$ until it starts earning again.
I'm the primary caregiver for a 4-yr old and an 8-mo old. That's my full-time plus job right now.
I'm looking forward to when my youngest hits a year and my oldest enters pre-K4 in the fall. Until then, Ruth Designs will mosie along. I'll be working on some house project, enjoying the outdoors, and writing more in the coming months.
What do you think about my business that I'm intentionally not growing? Every penny it earns is still all profit. Is that something you could see yourself doing? Would you just look at it and go, "Yeah, ok, whatever," like I have? Or would you try driving it more?
Ever tried to start a business for free? I thought it would be easy with lots of info on the web. I was wrong. There's plenty of advice but it all starts with...
1) Get a Domain
2) Setup hosting
3) Build a website
Um, those ain't free!
$100+ was too high an initial cost. Seriously, I didn't want to put even a penny down until I was earning. I needed to start using only what I had or could access for free.
Here's what I did to build a business for free.
How I picked my business...
Typical Advice: Aim for something that utilizes a skill and materials you already have (or can access for free).
For me that meant knitting (and, to a lesser extent, crochet). Why?
1. I know how to knit and crochet
2. I own knitting needles and a few crochet hooks
3. Websites to sell knit/crochet stuff already exist
4. I could join those websites for free
The real hardship with my business idea came in two areas: yarn and final product.
Yarn can get expensive fast. I overcame the yarn obstacle by initially creating patterns based on what was in my stash and yarn donations. In total honesty, it was a large yarn donation to my knitting group that allowed me to start.
As for the final product, well, due to time constraints (two young kids, remember), I decided to create patterns only. I focused on hats too. Hats are fast to knit up. Plus it was October when I started and that's the beginning of hat season in central Illinois.
The beauty of a pattern as the final product really appealed to me.
I opted not to go with Etsy or BigCartel. Those sites are known for wearable finished products.
Instead I used existing memberships at Ravelry and Craftsy as my selling locations. My personal computer supplied the software to write out the patterns. My iPhone served as my camera.
It can be done.
Need some ideas to get you started?
Here are some links to pages that will help you brainstorm possible options.
No Money to Start a Business? Try These 5 Options
Business Idea Center
Low Cost Business Ideas
1001 Business Ideas
50 Small Businesses You Can Start on Your Own
I'd love to hear from you.
Seriously, I would love to hear from you. Drop me a note in the comments if you have questions about starting and I'll do my best to help. If you've started a business, please share your story. Thanks for reading this post. I appreciate your time.
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