Trade Show: Profiting from your passion

Being able to make a little (or a lot) from your favorite hobby of crochet is a dream many of you have. I feel so fortunate that I am able to design crochet patterns and love the feedback I get from all of you. Many of you talk about doing a trade show, so when Abby from Craftability asked to share an article with you all, I was excited to share her thoughts on getting ready for trade shows, I hope you enjoy her article below.


Trade Show
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Weiqi Xiong

How to Get Started selling at a trade show

Turning a love for craft making into income is a dream come true for any crocheter, knitter, painter, photographer, or other inventive creator. Contrary to what people say, it is possible to make good money by selling art, especially at trade shows. A recent industry analysis proves that the craft world is pulling in billions of dollars. All it takes to profit is a great product, an understanding of the vendor world, and the right amount of elbow grease.

Find Your Event

Begin by deciding where you will be selling, then, knowing whether the venue is indoors or outdoors, and think about the setting’s implications for your booth. Consider the size of the show. Larger ones mean more people, but a high number of craftspeople might cause your display to be overlooked. On the other hand, smaller events might not attract enough buyers.

Trade Show Location & Size
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Oxana

Network with other crafters to learn the inside scoop on which shows do the most business. Submit your application on time and fill it out correctly remember, missing the due date or failing to follow instructions might cause you to be denied entry.

Create Your Trade Show Display

Maximize your booth’s visual appeal by incorporating props and backdrops into your staging. Arrange products with the buyer in mind. Scan the booths of other crafters and incorporate what works.

Trade Show Set your display
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Red Hat Factory

Place piles of creatively designed business cards in multiple places around your booth and double-check that they have the correct information. Undecided shoppers might get in touch with you later once they’ve decided to make a purchase.

Set Your Prices

Charging the right amount is vital. Take the base cost of your products and then add the cost of overhead to figure out pricing minimums.

Perform market research. Match price points with those offered by sellers who hawk similar items. Over time, you’ll learn what dollar amounts are best for getting items to move.

Trade Show Set Pricing
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Scott Graham

Connect With Your Customers at the trade show

Welcome browsers into your booth and inform them that you’re happy to answer questions. Don’t be offended if shoppers say nothing and walk away, because customers who’ll adore your work might be nearby.

Build rapport with interested purchasers. The better you are at creating personal bonds, the more likely it is that customers will return and send referrals your way.

 Customers & Payments
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Christiann Koepke

Handle Your Payments

Many craft aficionados prefer to make purchases with cash. Go to the bank and get ample change before the show.

That being said, more and more commerce is being done electronically. Vendor apps allow independent crafters to accept credit card payments with their phones. Bring a portable charger so that you never miss a sale because of a drained battery.

Manage Your Inventory

Having enough of your products to satisfy demand is critical. You can’t move what you don’t have, so get crafting!

 Keep Crocheting
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Kelly Sikkema

Keep track of what you’re selling. Fail to do this and you’re setting yourself up for an accounting nightmare. Bring a laptop with an electronic spreadsheet that can be updated with every sale, and don’t forget to turn on autosave.

You’re likely to run into bumps during your first time selling. Don’t let these incidents discourage you. The more experience you earn, the fewer problems you’ll encounter and the more money you’ll make.

Take A Walk on the Wild Side in Crochet Designs

April 12th is “Take A Walk on the Wild Side” Day, I found this interesting and it made me stop and think. I am a pretty reserved person, and if you ask my kids, I am not one to take risks. So, as I reflect on this day I thought of the times in my life when I did take chances and it usually paid off.

From a young age my parents talk about me being stubborn, refusing help and figuring things out on my own. I have learned from this to be a go getter (but, I have also learned to ask for help). Growing up on a farm taught me a good work ethic that was instilled in me at a young age.

In college I stepped out of my comfort zone and fought forest fires for a summer. It was a great opportunity to work hard and make good money which supported me financially through college. After that I got a job as a barista part time while still attending college, 4 years later I was the general manager of 5 cafes.

The biggest risk was my biggest reward. Marrying the love of my life, 21 years later and 3 kids later, I couldn’t be happier! But, when I look at my crochet business, what risks have I taken? Did I ever take a walk on the wild side?

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Take a Walk on the wild side Day – It really is a holiday

Date When Celebrated : This holiday is always held on April 12

Walk on Your Wild Side Day encourages us to take a chance. It’s a call to the inner strength within you, to do something out of your comfort zone. Do something wild and crazy, and perhaps a little daring.

www.holidayinsights.com

A little Back Story on the Beginning of SP3

Sweet Potato 3 started back in January of 2013. I was designing crochet patterns that really focused on newborn photography. Collaborating with an amazing photographer helped me showcase my work and business really began to take off (I’ll have links to all these designs at the end of this blog post).

As precious as these design all are, crocheted newborn photo props were a phase, just like most things in life. The styles of newborn photography was changing. So, I needed to start to shift my designs to something more popular. Crochet hat designs was an easy transition and my designing tended to change in that direction. My business was still growing and I was excited to see it continue to strive.

I was being recognized by designers who I had looked up to and was even asked to join in a crochet design competition. It was called battle of the stitches and I was honored they asked me to join.

Design Competition

I have never been much of a competitor so when I said yes, it was definitely stepping out of my comfort zone. My hopes in joining was not to to win, but to be able to work along side some amazing designers that I looked up to. I cleared my schedule for the next 2 weeks to put my “designers hat” on.

competition

For the competition, all the participants were given a stitch that had to be used in a new crochet pattern. The stitch was announced, it was the Front Post Double Cochet Cluster Stitch.

When I saw the stitch I knew I was going to incorporate it into cables. But, I only had 2 weeks to design something, have my pattern tested and photos taken and be ready to release it.

I was trying to think of something small but my heart kept saying, “design a blanket”. I had never designed a blanket before and they are a big project that can take a lot of time to design.

Let the Challenge Begin

After chatting with the organizer, she encouraged me to go for the blanket design. The idea was in my head, it was unique and I was excited to give it a try. My first sample worked up and looked perfect.

Deerly Beloved Blanket Panel

Check out those cables and ridges, I was falling in love with the design. It seemed to be falling into place well. However, as I began the next step I frogged it so many times, but I knew it would come together if I stuck with it. It did and I was so proud of myself for finishing the larger design in such a limited amount of time.

Deerly Beloved Blanket

Just the Beginning

I finished my design, wrapped up the competition, and was very proud of how my blanket turned out. I felt as though I had created a masterpiece. Stepping out of my comfort zone and designing from out of my box had paid off! This was a new passion that I knew could go somewhere.

The feedback I received about the design was astonishing. I felt as though I was reaching a whole new realm of crocheters and it was so exciting. My design confidence was up and I was on a design role. It didn’t take long to make 3 more coordinating designs.

This is when I decided I wanted them professionally published…. yes, look at me, taking another walk on the wild side. I reached out to 3 published and heard back from 2 right away. Check it out.

I did it! The nerves could have easily kept me from ever joining that competition. However, I took a chance and pushed my creative skills. In each design I push myself to learn something new and teach that skill. I am thankful to love what I do. I have 5 professionally published books and over 250 individual patterns available in my shops (check out the links below).

The take Home Message

If your a crochet pattern designer, take some chances and do something totally out of the box. Have fun and reach for what you think is a little too far out there – you may surprise yourself.

Walk on the Wild Side

Links to the Newborn Props shown earlier

How Other Designers Took a Walk on the Wild Side

How Other Designers Took A Walk On The Wild Side

Setting Up Your Crochet Room Guide

Everyone deserves a creative crochet space to relax and crochet your projects in. This can be a small corner in your living room, an entire room full of shelves and inspiration, dedicated nook in your home or if your lucky enough an entire she-shed. I was excited when Tamara from www.porch.com asked if she could share with my readers her Cochet Room Guide.

Enjoy this guest blog post and I hope you are inspired and excited to create your space. Then at the end, make sure to check out the link to my tutorial on making a custom room design for your space.


Crochet Room Guide

Guest Post By: Tamara Segal 

Why is Crocheting Such a Popular Pastime? 

Many people wonder how to start doing crochet, and in the past years, it has become more popular because it is an excellent and fun way to make perfect presents for others and pieces for your home and wardrobe. There are a lot of benefits it has for your life. It reduces stress, anxiety, and the risk of Alzheimer’s and helps stimulate dopamine, and, in this way, allow us to feel happier and better. 

After you have become more familiar with the delicate art of crocheting, learning a few basic stitches, and starting with basic yarns and patterns, you will need some essential tools, and why not, creating a room or space for you to have your own crochet oasis at home. 

Before you begin, gather your crocheting supplies.

For this, you will not need to gather so many supplies; you can just start with the basics. The main item is a crochet hook, and there are plenty of sizes and types available. The most commons are the aluminum ones when beginning, but the most important thing is that you feel it comfortable in your hands. The three basics supplies are: 

  • Crochet Hooks 
  • A ball of wool or acrylic yarn 
  • Scissors 
  • Tapestry Needle 

There are many types of yarn as well, but by using some of them and the hooks, you will discover by yourself which one you like the most (and will also depend on what you are crafting). With some time, you’ll become a pro and start adding some items to your essentials list, but with these basics, you are ready to start getting into the crocheting hobby! 

Crochet Tools

How to create the crocheting room of your dreams

A little imagination and resourcefulness are all it takes to transform any room in your home into your dream crocheting space. You can use the pieces that you have made for the room or space décor. Whether you enjoy your crochet crafts on a comfy couch or in a spacious spare bedroom, use these DYI tips to transform your space into a creative oasis. 

Crochet Room Guide

Make sure your space is comfortable.

When spending some time doing crocheting, as it is very manual, you need to keep a comfortable position to avoid back, neck, and arm pain. You can do it on a sofa, a recliner, or even a comfy oversized chair where you can sit for hours if you are a crochet lover.

Nothing better than a calm and tranquil environment to boost imagination and creativity. 

As every time we try to find space for a new hobby at home, the first thing is to find the right spare room or corner where you will be working and start by decluttering it so you can have an organized space that boosts your productivity. 

Always be proud of the space you are dedicating to your crochet making; keep it tidy, so it’s always ready to use. Love your room, knowing it is for you alone! To have the ideal space, you do not need a whole room or a wall of yarn; sometimes, you need a little corner (although we can always dream bigger, can’t we?).

Crochet Room Design

Go with your own inspiration and experience. 

The most common projects when you are starting are headbands, cup holders, coasters, pouches, the popular and cute amigurumi, and more! With time you will be creating your own crafts, watching tutorials, learning from magazines and patterns you can find online. Just let go of your imagination and create the perfect space for you and your new crocheting hobby.

Crochet Room Design

Customize Your Space with a Free Tutorial.

I’d like to thank Tamara for her inspiration in this great article about your Crochet Room Guide. I love how she emphasizes that you don’t need an entire wall of yarn, just the basics. Carve out your space, make it tidy and inspiring and have fun.

Make sure you check out my Tutorial on how I made my space in my new home office by clicking HERE.

The tutorial includes how I used some simple crates from Hobby Lobby and a photo frame to create this simple little display. It made an ordinary office look like it was made for a crochet lover.

How Crochet Helps and Heals People

Crocheting has always been more than just a hobby for me, it is also like a therapy. After a stressful day, I can always unwind and relax while crocheting. I know many people also use crochet as a way to heal, especially during the annual hat drive for the Crochet Cancer Challenge.

Crochet Helps

This year I was so excited to have Marly Bird join as a designer in the challenge. We got to chatting and she asked if she could do a guest blog post about how crochet helps and heals. She wrote a lovely post and I am honored to share it with you all today.


Marly Bird

Crochet is a wonderful craft that’s simply a lot of fun to do. However, there’s also a lot more to it than that for many people. People use crochet as therapy to heal from depression, anxiety, and stress. People also use crochet to work through the challenges of both short and long-term physical health conditions. Crochet heals individuals and can bring communities together.

Crochet As Stress-Relief

One of the biggest ways that crochet helps people is through stress-relief. The modern world presents so many stressors, especially in 2020! Stress can lead to, or exacerbate, a variety of other health issues. Therefore, by controlling stress levels, you improve overall health. 

Crochet has been proven to offer relief from stress:

  • Focusing on the stitches and sensations of crocheting brings you into the present moment.
  • You can even practice mindfulness and breathing while you crochet.
  • The repetitive motions of crocheting row after row or round after round release serotonin which helps bring happiness back into your body.
  • In general, the craft grounds you in your body, allowing you to release the stress of the outside world.
  • There are so many things in the world that we have no control over. However, it helps to focus on what we can control. Being able to choose yarn and patterns and work those stitches to produce something tangible is healing.
Marly Bird Pod Cast

Learn More: Craft Yarn Council’s Mary Colucci shared thoughts about how to Stitch Away Stress on the Yarn Thing Podcast with Marly Bird.

Crocheting Through Depression and Anxiety

As aforementioned, studies show that repetitive motions including those of pulling up loop after loop in crochet can release serotonin which helps improve depression symptoms. And in the same way that coming into the present moment with crochet helps reduce stress, it can also lower symptoms of anxiety.

crochet helps

Crochet has also been found to help people with depression and anxiety because it interrupts the ruminations of the mind. Particularly in depression, but also in terms of the worrying aspect of anxiety, the mind wants to go over the same old stories again and again. This makes the symptoms of a condition worse. Interrupting that by counting stitches, refocusing on the pattern at hand, and creating something beautiful can give your mind a much needed restorative break.

Moreover, crochet has been found to boost self-esteem. Many people struggling with depression have low self-esteem. Crochet is a way that you can create something beautiful, functional, or just plain interesting. You can give crochet as gifts. Maybe you can even sell some crochet items or patterns of your own to contribute some income to the household. All of this helps people struggling with depression and anxiety to move forward.

crochet helps heal

Fun Fact: Crochet designer Ellen Gormley was a mental health counselor who used therapeutic crochet to help people with depression and anxiety. Learn more about her here.

Crochet During Chronic Illness

Many of the same reasons that crochet helps with mental illness also help when someone is coping with a physical illness. If you’re wiped out from chemo treatment, you might begin to feel like a useless burden upon your family; crocheting items that give them joy can be a way that you overcome that feeling. If you’re stressed about medical test results, learning to practice mindfulness through crochet can help you stay in the present moment and feel as much peace as possible while dealing with those challenging things.

Vibrato Violin

Fun fact: Music is also healing. The Vibrato Violin Crochet Blanket Pattern combines a love of music and a love of crochet in one healing blanket pattern. A related fun fact is that established crochet designer Dora Ohrenstein had a career in music before her career in crochet.

Crocheting for Charity is a Healing Act

Each year since 2014 Sweet Potato 3 has hosted the Crochet Cancer Challenge as a way to raise awareness and funds for people living with cancer. It’s also a way for the community to come together. Many designers share their patterns for the challenge. For example, one of the contributions this year was the Wings of Hope hat pattern from Marly Bird. This is a warm and cozy crochet hat patterns with a fun pom on top, made of soft yarn so that someone going through chemo treatment could comfortably wear it.

Wings of Hope Hat

Charity crochet helps with healing in a variety of ways including:

  • Studies show that focusing on helping others is good for your own mental health.
  • You can feel useful in the face of big challenges including when you or a loved one get a scary diagnosis. Crocheting for others in that same community can feel very healing.
  • When you share about crocheting for charity, or participate in something like the Crochet Cancer Challenge, it allows you to spread the word about causes that you care about. This is empowering.
  • It helps you connect to your community of people. Community itself is also healing. And connecting with other crocheters who share your same causes of concerns can be a very therapeutic experience.

How to Choose a Healing Crochet Pattern

People need different things when it comes to healing crochet. Some people find that they need to work on new crochet techniques or a challenging crochet pattern, because that’s the only way to get their mind to quiet down. Overwhelmingly, though, when seeking stress relief crochet, people seek easy, repetitive crochet stitches that allow both body and mind to get lulled into a healthy rhythm. 

Stellar Stripes

Marly Bird’s Stellar Stripes Shawl (also available in a knit pattern version for those of you who are bi-crafty) is a good example. It’s a repeating stitch pattern using simple single crochet and half double crochet stitches. However, after every two rows, you change colors to create the stripes. You get the meditative repetition with just enough of a steady interruption that your mind can’t wander into dark, worried places so much. 

Plus this crochet pattern is designed to be made with yak yarn, which has a soft luxuriousness to it. Why does that matter? Because crochet has the potential to engage all of your senses, enhancing the healing potential. Choose yarn that feels good to the touch in colors that truly delight you and your crochet project will make you feel that much better.

This is a guest post by Kathryn Vercillo, author of Crochet Saved My Life, working in collaboration with Marly Bird. Follow Marly Bird on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or Pinterest. You can also sign up for her free newsletter, which includes many links to new free patterns each week.

Everyday Spirit Wall Hanging Crochet Pattern & Tutorial

Wall Hangings with fringe are all the top trends in home decor right now and I love how these decor pieces showcase our Everyday Spirit! The whimsical charm with the modern single color is the perfect combination to add to any room.

The Everyday Spirit Wall Hanging combines the love of crochet and the look of the ever popular fringe wall decor. This is a fun design that can be made in a day and you can change up your colors with endless possible looks.

Everyday Spirit

Everyday Spirit Crochet + Photo Tutorials

The pattern features a full step by step tutorial to put all the pieces together. Basic crochet skills are required for the crochet pieces.

Supplies for the Wall Hanging

  • 10″ Metal Hoop, click HERE
  • 375 yards Worsted (#4) Weight Yarn
  • Crochet Hook G (4.00 mm)
  • Small Thread Crochet Hook to use as a tool (not for crochet, so the exact size is not necessary)
  • Scissors
  • Measuring Tape
Everyday Spirit Wall Hanging

Where to find the Everyday Wall Hanging pattern


Check out some other samples from a couple testers

Test by Brandi

Brandi is the crocheter behind Craft Creations by Brandi Aldrich on facebook and @brandialdrich on IG. Brandi said her granddaughter snatched this up as soon as she was finished. That is quite the compliment!

Everyday Spirit

Test completed by Michelle Wulf

Michelle is the crocheter at Magic Mommys Yarning on facebook and @wulfmichelle on IG. She does amazing work and I love how she incorporated multiple colors into her wall hanging.


Do you Love Wall Hangings check out a few more:

More Crochet Fun

Follow Sweet Potato 3 on Facebook to see more pattern releases, sales and crochet fun, just click HERE.

However, if you would enjoy a more interactive group experience, you need to join my Crochet & Conversations facebook group, click HERE. It is a ton of fun and I encourage everyone to share their projects, WIPS (works in progress) and inspirations. Plus you get exclusive deals, are the first to see new releases, give input on designs and have opportunities to win patterns. Join now and get to know others who also enjoy the art of crochet.

pattern group

Cascading Fringe Wall Hanging Tutorial & Kit

Wall Hangings are all the top trends in home decor right now. Plenty of people are looking at their options on www.neonfilter.com as well as tutorials for DIY hangings so that they can make their own. And as a lover of DIY decoration, I thought it best to hop on the bandwagon with a wall hanging tutorial of my own.

I love the simplicity of the look to a Cascading Fringe design, so that’s the type of hanging I went for. I worked in collaboration with BluPrint to come up with a beginner-level piece that anyone can make. Quick, fun, and simple. We decided on a neutral color scheme with blush tones and used basic supplies to create the look.

Cascading Fringe Wall Hanging Sample Photo

Cascading Fringe Video & Photo Tutorials

The Wall Hanging has 3 video tutorials hosted by, Vanessa Vargas Wilson. Vanessa did an amazing job showing the details in each step to create the perfect look therefore, even a beginner can easily follow along.

Supplies Needed to Create your Own Cascading Fringe Wall Hanging

Cascading Fringe Supplies Needed

To make the Cascading Fringe Wall Hanging you have a couple of options. Purchase the Kit through BluPrint and you will get everything you need including the 3 skeins of yarn, wooden dowel and the metal ring.

You can also purchase the supplies on your own or use your own scrap yarn from your stash. If you are looking for the supplies used in the sample you can see the affiliate links included below:

  • Sprightly Yarn (3 skeins – 1 of each color), click HERE
  • Wooden Dowel (this one is slightly shorter but has the end caps on it so will work just as good), click HERE
  • 10″ Metal Ring, click HERE
Cascading Fringe Wall Hanging

Where to find the Kit & Videos

As I mentioned earlier, the Cascading Fringe Wall Hanging can be made by nearly anyone, it is a beginner level project. But, trust me, this is fun for even experienced crafters.

Cascading Fringe Up Close Details

Get all the details on the Cascading Fringe Wall Hanging on BluPrint by clicking HERE. Keep in mind that the Kit does not have any “crochet” in it, so this would make a great gift for any crafter or anyone wanting to give it a try.

Do you Love Wall Hangings?

If you love wall hangings but want to incorporate some crochet into it? Well, check out the fun Forest Friends Wall Hanging. Pick from any of the 6 animal faces to make this whimsical decor perfect for your room: fox (or wolf), owl, skunk, raccoon or deer.

Forest Friends Wall Hanging

Get more details on the Forest Friends Wall Hanging and the coordinating Blanket & Pillow by clicking HERE.

More Crochet Fun

Follow Sweet Potato 3 on Facebook to see more pattern releases, sales and crochet fun, just click HERE.

However, if you would enjoy a more interactive group experience, you need to join my Crochet & Conversations facebook group, click HERE. It is a ton of fun and I encourage everyone to share their projects, WIPS (works in progress) and inspirations. Plus you get exclusive deals, are the first to see new releases, give input on designs and have opportunities to win patterns. Join now and get to know others who also enjoy the art of crochet.

pattern group

One More Quick Look at the Project

Cascading Fringe Wall Hanging