Distributing Crochet Patterns & Building Customers
A new crochet designer has the biggest challenge of getting the word out about their patterns. Whether it be free or paid patterns, the challenge is the same. How do you get it in front of the consumers?
Many new designers experience the same issue of having a lack of money to buy advertising or setting up a website to curate their own patterns. However, they have to invest in themselves if they are expecting others to invest in them as well.
Many designers rely on curated websites to store their designs or sell their designs without ever having their own website. I'm not a fan of that because of a competitive point of view. If the design is sitting with other designs, a crocheter can get distracted and forget about your design in a blink of an eye and move on. Think about how you search for designs. How quickly do you look, judge and decide to stay or leave the section?
Where To Host The Pattern
A personal website gives the designer the ultimate control. The designs within the website are belonging to the crocheter. If people really like this particular designer, they may jump around the website to find other designs. Even for a new designer, you have to start somewhere. You can allow the crocheter to stay within your realm and possibly be inspired to create.
Curated on Pattern Websites
Generally speaking, these types of websites have professionals behind the scenes to get maximum exposure to their website. From there, crocheters can stumble upon your design. Also, if they are playing the cards right, each design on their website will have a potential Google Entry in a search engine for the designers best viewing opportunities.
The problem with Curated is the website/business can experience financial difficulties and potentially shut down. We use to curate on a website that no longer exists. The work involved in setting up the listing was worth it for the time they were in business but once they closed, your opportunities for what they gathered are over.
I find some of the websites, the information requested can be a bit tedious to enter. However, you have to examine your goals. Either put in the time or skip it.
This part of the distribution is where many new designers end up being stranded in a spiderweb and questioning the motives of others for not allowing them to self-advertise to get attention. This is where the friendliness of competitors gets dicey as the new designer is unaware or claiming not to know there are boundaries at play.
The Crochet Crowd has always been around in the time of Facebook. Facebook has greatly changed. Instagram and many other platforms have since come and some have gone in the same time frame.
The House Analogy
The Crochet Crowd Social and Website Properties are each a part of our neighbourhood. Each property like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and our website is house within our subdivision.
Each house was built by my team and me through creating the foundation and building the home's piece by piece. We built the homes by investing in time and creating ideas where crocheters can participate or actively share their WIPS and finished projects.
I learned very early on, that in order for a house to stay up, you have to invest into the house by buying upgrades, fixing a roof or putting up signs to show people the way to our neighbourhood. Even when we were making $50 per month and yes, there was a time for that, I put $5 into the signs to show people the way to my neighbourhood. So essentially, I bought advertising and still do to this day. When you invest in social platforms, they invest in you by giving you better positioning. Let's not deny that to be true.
So yes, The Crochet Crowd is going to be approaching 12 years old. We've had signage up for 10 years of that so far. We have 10 years of building and constant upgrades to the house. So when a new designer comes along as sees our home and sees it as an opportunity to get attention. The sleeping cyber dogs come out and bark at them to go away. Let me explain further as it sounds a bit harsh.
New designers may not realize the investment of time and potentially financial sacrifice a platform has done to get themselves to where they are. So when a new designer sees a large home, they feel they can sneak in the yard to put up their signage. It's called cybersquatting. Sitting on the lawn of another website without permission in order to have the current visitors of the house look at the sign and potentially walk away from the house to someone who is sitting on the front yard trying to deter the visitor from entering our home. A home that we have built through an investment of time and money.
False Show'n Tell
From time to time, we see false show'n tell. Where the designer is doing show'n tell giving the design a review. While giving a link (aka sign) to leave the platform to go somewhere else to either get the pattern for free or pay for the pattern. We have also seen designers who get friends to sit in a property and do a pattern show'n tell but it's the same photograph or project and the designer is a personal friend. This rubs crocheters the wrong way if there is deception in play. For us, if detected, she will ask the designer to refrain or remove them from our community space. We find the people who self solicit are new to the house or don't provide any content other than their own intentional advertising for themselves.
The Best Practice For Distribution
The Crochet Crowd house grew because of referrals. We don't have a practice of liking a social property and self solicit ourselves to lure back guests to our home. New designers will say, YES, but look at you now, how is a new designer to get visitors? Do what we did, you put in the time in building your house.
We know from experience it is best to build your home in stages. Not suddenly have a foundation and then more visitors than you have space for. You have to gradually build your house to fit your visitors. Building too quickly will result in a lot of drama and also a huge turnover of visitors that are coming and going. It's best to gradually grow.
Sometimes, a designer doesn't have the luxury of growing slowly. The best platforms that I know of are the ones that grew slowly. Many platforms and designers that are gone or retired could have been a result of growing too quickly and the polish of the knobs on the door handles wore off too quickly. You need time to clean between guests to keep the space fresh.
For us, it took us just over 5 years before The Crochet Crowd was stable. For some, they want to cut the time in half. I have noticed that designers that steamroll in, end up burning out or crocheters lose interest. It's best to grow gradually and through referrals of people who actually do the projects.
The Crochet Crowd isn't the granddaddy of everything, nor will it ever be. It's just an option for people if they wish it. I've learned that not everyone likes the furniture in the house or the house rules. I realized early on, you cannot please everyone and that most of my designs will not be popular or exciting. The trick is to keep at it, put in the time. Listen to the houseguests on what their wishes are. In the end, just do your best and be as transparent as possible. Transparency is the best practice. If you screw up, offer an apology but if others screw up, don't expect one. If they apologize, which happens from time to time when people misunderstand something, be a gracious host and just move on and offer them a glass of wine to keep on mingling.