Many times the most profitable companies start out as side businesses that are little more than extensions of personal hobbies. Many smart entrepreneurs take their own interests, put a unique spin on them and market the results to the masses. Knitting is one such hobby that can be parlayed into serious profits with the right approach. Thanks to a surge of interest in all things homemade these days, it’s actually the perfect niche to exploit. Read on to find out how to make your knitting compulsion pay.
Pick a Unique Niche to Dominate
Before you begin to knit and purl on a commercial scale, it’s important to settle on a niche that works for you. Consider focusing on a specific item like afghans or sweaters and expand to things like mittens, hats, shawls and socks later on. Alternatively, you could start out by working with a particular material such as Merino wool or Angora fleece and produce an array of items. You could also specialize in all-organic, hand-crafted textiles that use only natural dyes and fibers.
Hone Your Chops & Learn New Skills
No matter how good you may be with a pair of needles, you can always be better. Putting out high-quality merchandise is of the utmost importance if you want to be able to justify premium prices. Refine your technique when it comes to flat, circular and arm knitting with a variety of materials. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and play with unfamiliar stitches. You may just discover new knitting talents that you didn’t know you had.
Stock Up on the Necessary Gear
Naturally, it would be prudent to buy raw materials in bulk before you “go live” with your knitting operation. Look for deals on wool, cotton, flax and hemp yarn on sites like Yarn Paradise, Overstock and eBay. Harder-to-find materials like raffia and coconut husk will take some Googling to locate. You can secure some great deals if you set up Google Alerts or IFTTT email notifications to apprise you of bargains that pop up. You can find a slew of needles, scissors, frames and boards at Michaels or Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft.
Clear Away the Paperwork
Prior to selling your goods to the general public, you’ll need to get your business affairs in order. Be sure to get a business license from the appropriate local or state authorities. Form an LLC or other corporate entity and trademark the brand moniker that you plan on using. As far as paperwork and number crunching go, a basic PC and an open-source office suite such as LibreOffice should meet your needs. Rent a small commercial space if your home or apartment won’t suffice.
Solidify Your Brand Identity
While some entrepreneurs find overnight success online via sites like Etsy and Craftsy, most start out small and local. Try knitting custom-fitted items for friends and family to get the ball rolling. The idea is to get your name out there by any means possible. Attending regional craft fairs is a great way to network and spread the good word about your unique creations. Whatever you do, make sure that potential customers know your brand name and associate it with you and your work.
Identify Competitive Price Points
The hardest part of launching a successful knitting side business is zeroing in on the right prices for your handicrafts. The best strategy is to lowball your creations in the beginning and bump up the prices as your clout grows. For instance, a relatively simple sweater with a limited color palette and little embellishment could go for $30 or $40 at the outset. With a little creative marketing, you should be able to command far higher prices for your knit apparel as you find your optimal target demographic.
Market Your Goods & Services
Sooner or later, you’ll need to set up a company website and flesh out your social media profiles. A professional site can be built in just minutes without any technical skills using WordPress. Be sure to promote your site via Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Considering the popularity of video marketing, it is essential to leverage YouTube for promotional purposes. Sending samples of your goods to Internet tastemakers in the hopes of locking down an endorsement is never a bad idea.
Branch Out from Your Wheelhouse
Like any business, the knit goods industry can be fickle. Consequently, it’s important to broaden your horizons if you wish to remain relevant. Gradually expanding your product line to include novel items like hammocks and car seat covers is always a wise idea. In addition, you could write e-books about knitting and sell them on iTunes or Amazon. Another potential profit opportunity would be teaching online video classes to beginner knitters. If you think outside of the box, knitting know-how will always be a potential source of revenue.