>> Sunday, March 28, 2010
My husband and I were talking about the shop the other day and he asked me, "how do we grow your business?" I have been expressing a wish to devote more time and energy to the shop, and to create a bigger footprint for myself in the fiber community.
"Well," I said. "More people need to know about me, about the shop. I need to be mentioned on Podcasts, videocasts, blogs and such. I need to get my name out there, basically. Once more people know about the shop and buy from it, the more business will grow."
Bear (my husband) shrugged and nodded, and conversation moved on.
I should have known that although the matter dropped from conversation, it hadn't dropped from his mind. The next day while at work I received an email with an attachment. "I think you should do this" was written in the subject line.
It was a vendor application for the 2010 Maine Fiber Frolic.
As I clicked through the application, I realized that the rates were much more reasonable than I'd thought. $75 for an outside spot or $95 for an inside one. The Maine Fiber Frolic has well-known vendors such as Spunky Eclectic, String Theory Yarn, Golding Spindles, and Enchanted Knoll Farms, among others. The thought that I could have a booth as well was a tantalizing one.
I have no where near the inventory I'd need for a show like that. The MFF also requires vendors to provide proof of liability insurance. But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it. Bear and I agreed that even if I didn't sell a lot of things, the MFF would be an awesome way to get my name out there into the larger world.
So last week, we hatched a plan. Here's what I've been doing:
1. Called local insurance agencies. Liability insurance costs about $400 a year. That sounds steep, but I can make payments on it and can cancel it after the show without a penalty. I will have an appointment with them later this week.
2. Downloaded an application with a yarn/fiber wholesaler. I just need one more trade reference and a photocopy of my business license and I can send that in. The minimum order is $500 - this is proving to be the sticking point in the plan. If I can come up with this money soon, it should be enough inventory for a booth at the MFF. If not, then it won't happen this year.
3. Dyed up a bunch of my current inventory and spruced up the shop. Most of what I have right now is sock yarn, which I've been adding to the shop over the weekend. I tested out a new method of dyeing that is both faster and more beautiful than my previous method. The shop is no longer organized by collection but by form - yarn, handspun, and fiber are all in separate categories.
4. Got a commision to dye the "bonus" skein of yarn for an existing sock club. This was very lucky for me, as I happened to be in the right place at the right time. If nothing else, this is a great way to get my name out there to people who may have never heard of me. I'm just waiting on my yarn and dyes to arrive. I hope to have them dyed up on Tuesday and in the mail by week's end. Sooner if I can manage it.
5. Joined an online Stitch N Bitch group where I can show yarn porn real time via web cam to a bunch of knitters and spinners who love them some pretty yarn! I'm hoping seeing the yarn and the link to the shop in tandem will spur on some sales. If I get mentioned on the SnB creators' podcast, well, all the better.
6. I'm having a sale in the shop this week to help spur sales. 10% off everything and free shipping over $20. That means every skein of sock yarn ships free. I have my fingers crossed that this helps move my current inventory out so I can get this wholesale account moving.
So that's it. If you have any other ideas on what I should be doing, let me know! I need all the help I can get. Wish me luck!