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[#31cbbcJuly2013] {Crochet Business Interview} Milly Vanilly Handmade

 Introducing Maria of MillyVanilly Handmade

 This crochet business interview is one I’m honored to have. Earlier this year I met Maria during the January 31 Days of Crochet Business Blogging Challenge.

She had the intention of starting her blog and maybe opening up an Etsy store. Her product line became so popular that she had to move from Facebook to her own online store. Congrats on making your dream come true Maria. 

Milly Vanilly Handmade

Did you set out to make money with crochet or was it an afterthought? How did you get started?

My business is extremely new. I’ve only been at this for 7 months now. The idea came up this Christmas. I was busy making all these handmade gifts for my friends and my friends kids.

A girlfriend of mine told me I should start trying to sell my stuff. Click to Tweet This

I kind of just brushed it off (thinking she was just trying to make me feel good). She kept telling me that when she went out people were complementing her on the scarf I had for made her. My husband’s co-workers were also egging me on to try and sell my stuff (I had made scarves for all the ladies at his work). So I up and decided I would give it a go on Facebook, and made a Facebook page.

The response I got was unbelievable! Overwhelming almost. I really didn’t think it was going to work out the way it has. I just thought I would try and fail and that’s that. To my surprise and to the surprise of many it has taken off.

 What is the main income stream from your crochet?

I have to say I don’t have a main one. So far it has gone in bouts. Every one went crazy over a scarf I made with a big flower – so that month I sold a whole whack of those. Another time it was slippers, people just went crazy over them. I had one customer order 6 pairs just for herself! And of course baby products are always a hit who can resist the booties or themed hats?

How do you market your crochet business and/or crochet blog?

I market my business in many ways. Here goes:

  • Pinterest (I pin my blog posts on there)
  • Self hosted WordPress site (I blog about my life and my work and have an online shop of my in stock products)
  •  Google + (I connect with other bloggers and crafters)
  • Facebook (this is where everyone goes to buy my products and browse through my inventory for ideas on made to order products)
  •  Business cards (I hand them out every chance I get even to men – I don’t discriminate LOL)
  • I advertise on my local Kjiji classifieds
  • I have somewhat of a mobile shop where I make my friends and family bring my products to their work places and sell for me.
  • I stick labels on everything (with contact info) – I make goodie bags for play school, I stick a Millyvanilly Handmade label on it. I am a shameless self promoter 🙂
  • I have made custom car magnets for my vehicle displaying my logo and website.

I basically have no shame, when it comes to marketing my business. I don’t force anyone but I make sure everyone around me knows what I’m about. I had a garage sale at my home not too long ago and almost everyone that stopped by went home with one of my cards.

I try to seize any opportunity I get to get my name out there. In order to have customers you need to get customers.

How long was it until you really saw your financial goals being met?

I have to say that my financial goals are not being met as of yet. But I know that I will get there.

The most important thing is that you see an up-wards trend in your business; if you see that then you are on the right track.

Of course being just a young business I am still in the process of dedicating all my profits back into my business. Short term sacrifice for a long term goal.

 Any Advice you’d give someone new to starting a crochet business?

My advice would be to always stay positive. Don’t let others tell you what you can and can’t achieve. If you stay dedicated and work hard anything can and will happen. You just have to picture yourself there already, I know I do.

Every month I create short term goals that I want to reach and I don’t loose sight of my end game. Sometimes life gets so hectic that you don’t even know what path you are on anymore. Remember to trust your gut instincts, you know what you can and can’t handle.

Remember the universe gives back to you what you put out.

Thank you Maria for answering my questions. I Hope to interview you again 1 year from now to see how much you’ve grown. 

 

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About I Love Crochet

Sara Duggan is a Wife and Mom enjoys crocheting and writing. She joined the crochet blogging community in 2007 as Momwithahook. In 2008 she toyed with designing patterns and shares her creations with you. Connect with Sara on Twitter and Pinterest.

  • Wow! Very insightful post with great tips. I’m an artist and I feel that a lot of her tips apply to any small biz. Adorable stuff too BTW:)

    • Yes, Soraya, I think her mindset is awesome. It is one of the reasons she is able to push forward in her business. She has her goal, she is shooting for the stars and beyond.

  • Staying positive is key –

    I think Pinterest is an excellent marketing tool –

    • Positive thinking (not the denying reality so you don’t have to change positive thinking) CAN help tremendously in everything. Business, Life, Relationships, De-stress etc. It is work but something I practice daily.

      Totally agree. Currently it is one of my top traffic referrers

  • Donovan

    What a great idea to interview someone doing what you do and finding out great tips. They are beyond crochet and all about business. Thank you for sharing!

    • Donovan, it’s nice to meet your through UBC. I am always learning from other business owners (not just crochet businesses) so of course I would highlight them. If it is something that can be gleaned for me, I know my readers will want to know the same thing.

      I like the interviews too because you can watch them grow. I’ll probably revisit all of them in one-year for an update. I think that will help those new to owning their business – to know that everyone struggles AND learns.