PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

the secret of my success

Yesterday morning, I tweeted:

HUGE milestone reached: in February I earned more than when I had a day job! I’m awestruck..! #crochet #pro #dreamjob

…and all day, people were asking me how I did it. At first, I said “I have no idea!” but as the day progressed I kept thinking about it and I realised that’s not at all true: the last two months have been amazing, business-wise, and I can track that back to the fact that I decided not to let money be my priority any more. Putting that into practice, I’ve started to make changes. For example:

  • Sellers’ List: I don’t want to, or have the time to, sell finished toys. So, I set up the sellers’ list so I can field those enquiries to my customers who do want to sell finished toys made from my patterns. (I make nothing from this service.)
    Unexpected result: More pattern sales to happy customers who are selling the toys they crochet.
  • Videos: I want to continue to help other people improve their crocheting skills, so I’m aiming to create one new crochet tutorial video per month. Each one is a big time commitment, but it’s important to me, and people are responding well to my videos and asking for more, so I know it’s worth it.
    Unexpected result: As my videos become more popular, I’m actually starting to make a significant amount of money from the ads on my YouTube channel.
  • Succulents: I didn’t think my Succulent Collections would be big sellers; I just really wanted to make them for myself! I thought that, if I was lucky, maybe half the people who enjoyed the Cactus Collections might pick up the succulent designs too…
    Unexpected result: Not only have the succulents been wildly popular, but they are generating more sales of the cactus patterns too.
  • Baby Bunnies: I also didn’t expect my Baby Bunnies to be especially popular – I mean, there must be hundreds of bunny patterns out there already… I just wanted to use my angora yarn and make something cute that would make me happy.
    Unexpected result: Turns out that my Baby Bunnies make a lot of people happy!

2012 bestsellers: Succulent Collections and Baby Bunnies crochet patterns by PlanetJune

So what does this show? Well, embarrassingly, it shows that I’m clearly terrible at making calculated decisions when it comes to my business – after all these years in business, I still can’t predict what will be popular and where my time would be best spent! If I was just going for profit, I probably wouldn’t have designed either of these hugely popular patterns; I wouldn’t make a free list just to help my customers make money; and I certainly wouldn’t be ‘wasting’ my time making videos for free.

But all these things have actually helped to bring in more customers, more money, and more publicity for my site – all without me doing any advertising or marketing.

How can this help you?

I’m not telling you to stop thinking about making money! What my decision has really done is allowed me to be more me – to concentrate on what I do well and what I love, instead of what I think may make the most money. And people are responding to that – I have (inadvertently) created the PlanetJune ‘brand’.

You can do this too! There are countless designers/artisans/crafty business owners out there, but there’s only one you. What makes you special? It’s your unique qualities – your passions and skills – that set you apart from everyone else, and if you can build those into your business, you can create something that’s all you.

Passions

Take some time and figure out what you’re really passionate about, in your craft/business and in life. (If you can bring the two together, even better!) It’s about finding your own style and developing a brand for yourself, based on the real you. If you love what you do, it shows.

  • It’s pretty clear, when you read my blog, who I am and what I love: animals and nature; discovering crochet techniques and passing them on; finding a balance between a realistic design and an easy-to-follow pattern.

If you design crochet patterns, but when you’re not promoting your designs, all you talk about are your food photography and baking projects, it’s easy to see that your passions, at least partly, lie elsewhere. How can you bring those into your business? How about creating a line of crocheted baked goods that each include your recipe for the edible version? It’d be a unique and popular selling point, and help build your brand.

Skills

What can you do well, and how can you apply that to your business? Even the most mundane jobs and past experiences build your skills, even if the jobs themselves are totally unrelated to your business.

  • For me, I’ve learnt a lot of things that have no use to PlanetJune, but: 2 science degrees taught me the importance of accuracy; years of technical and research support taught me how to help people; and my technical writing experience taught me how to explain things clearly.

Maybe you have skills in photography, face to face communication, drawing, project management, storytelling… How can you make those skills work for you, to make your business better and more uniquely you? How can you provide a service that your competitors can’t?

Be Yourself

What sets us apart, as indie businesses, is the way we can interact with our customers. They get to know us and trust us through our blogs, through social media, and through the way we respond to their emails. They aren’t just buying a pattern from a faceless company, they are buying from you, a real, genuine person.

Let the world see a little more of the real you, and use your skills, passions, and personality to shape your business into something that only you could do. You can create a brand that will get people talking, make you stand out from the crowd, and sell your work for you!

27 Comments »

  1. Linda said

    Wow! This Post is AMAZING!
    Love the way you explained and structuzied the article! Awesome!

  2. Jesse said

    Wonderful post and superb advice. And congratulations on the huge milestone!

  3. You talk a lot of sense.

    Thanks for your tips.

    I’m hoping to start my online hand knit business in April and your comments have been very useful. You can read about my two passions knitting and running on my blog:
    fleurcotton.blogspot.com …and after taking in your comments I will try to just concentrate on these two passions!

    Fleur xx

  4. what a wonderful and perfectly said post june!

    i am making your succulants right now and i cannot tell you how fun they are to make.

    i will post photos on my blog soon and send you the link as soon as it is live.

    thank you for always sharing.

    you are a very special person, artist and soul.

    xoxoxo

  5. Katherine said

    Thanks for this post, very useful and I LOVE the tip about crocheting baked goods and selling them alondside a recipe, such a great idea.

    I am a huge fan of your bunnies (particularly the floppy eared one and the fluffy one) so much so that I am off to purchase the pattern now – I already have the pocket amis bunny pattern which is so cute!
    I just love the simplicity of the pocket amis and sell them at craft fairs for £1 each and call them ‘Pocket Money Pets’ children absolutely adore them and the affordable price is appreciated by parents who dont want to spend a fortune.
    There are so many craft sellers out there that charge a heaps for their work which is absolutely fine as you can tell that a lot of hard work has gone in to creating it, but I feel my ‘brand’ is the afforable cost for good quality items and as this is my hobby rather than my job I tend to make so many through the enjoyment of the craft that I have to sell them in order to make roon in my house and without even trying I tend to make my money back, which is a huge bonus!

    Sorry waffled on a bit

  6. Katriina said

    Thank you for this article, June!

    I think you’re right – if you enjoy the things you do the others will notice it. I’d also want to add that the way that you write to your blog has made you approachable which is really important. Especially in a crafty business I much rather buy from a person that acts natural and feels like a friend to me, not from someone who is a total stranger or, worse, I can notice to be totally money orientated.

    I was really interested in reading this post mostly because I’ve always seen you as a successful craft entrepreneur. Of course I want to know your secrets! 😉
    I’m really happy to hear you reached the huge milestone, congratulations! 🙂 I hope one day I will reach that milestone too.

  7. Jana said

    Great post! I, too, loved the idea of the baked goods with a recipe. Wonder what else you could tie in like this? Hmm. Had an idea based on a new CAL starting on Ravelry! Will PM you with it! 🙂

  8. Mark Southgate said

    Dear June, what wonderful post. Thank you so much for confirming my belief that happiness is sharing not having. If you ever feel like coming to Ibiza and sharing your passion in the sunshine just say the word. Both your succulent and cactus creations would be very at home here x gracias, Mark

  9. Chrisie Merriman said

    Well said June! You have a true passion for your craft and it shows.

    I think it’s also worth noting that we the pattern buyers are happy to pay for your patterns, and we celebrate the fact that you are doing a successful business. I think this has a lot to do with your openness, and willingness to help and join in conversations. There are a lot of fine free patterns out there and I still go to yours first.

    Thanks again for allowing and encouraging sales of finished items from your patterns. It has allowed me to purchase more patterns from you as well. I don’t think I would have considered selling my items at all if you hadn’t started the seller list. 🙂

  10. Congratulations! And thanks for sharing some of your insights with us.

  11. Launi said

    Fabulous article–thank you so much! This has given me just the boost I need to get moving on some projects that are close to my heart–but have been on the back burner for some time now.
    Thanks for being willing to share your wisdom!
    :}

  12. doxietrek said

    Congratulations, and thank you for a well thought out article. A lot of the small businesses I serve as a CPA could use the principles you’ve explained here.

  13. This is a really great article. I definitely think that it’s important that money not be the main drive in a creative business (although of course you have to have a head for it and pay attention to it). You’ve shared some great info about yourself here that will definitely help other creative folks.

  14. Mireya said

    I loved your bunny pattern and wanted to share with you, my little bunny based on the bigger-mini bunny in my house. I needle felted after it was done so I was able to get her pattern spot on. thank you for this post as well, congrats on your earnings!! you really deserve it ^_^

    http://abeadedyear.blogspot.com/2012/03/bead-212.html

  15. Sky said

    Thank you. Your article gave me hope!

  16. Meg P said

    As usual, June, you are offering wonderful advice for free — I guess that’s the biggest part of the PlanetJune brand! Thanks again.

  17. Renee said

    June, thanks for the advice and encouragement.

    Renee 🙂

  18. Sharon said

    GREAT blog today. Terrific reflection and advice. It has encouraged me in a couple areas of my life. While I have a conventional day job, it reminds me to approach it with passion and in a creative, powerful way that only I can offer. Blessings….

  19. Audrey said

    I cant imagine the amount of effort you have gone through setting up your business, but I m glad for you that you have finally achieved some results and recognition. I myself find your video tutorials very helpful and would like to thank you for a job well done. In my opinion, you have a knack for accurately depicting your subjects right down to the tiniest details (dogs, cactus and succulents and latest bunnies). This made your pattern stand out among the crowd of patterns that has been exaggeratedly ‘cute-sified’ and manga-like, not that there is anything wrong with that too.

  20. Anastacia said

    I’m really so VERY happy for you! That is just awesome, exciting news, & I’ll be proud to say I “knew her when”. Big kudos! I’m noticing a bit uprise in sales since 2012 began, too, but I have only a little clue why – I’m glad you realize some of the things that helped your business to grow. It doesn’t happen overnight, either – it’s funny how some of the little decisions we make end up affecting our business in the long run.

  21. Wonderful article and advice! I plan to include a bartering section (free listings) on my website.

  22. Chelita said

    🙂 I am smiling really big here in Louisiana U.S.A. 🙂

    I am very proud of you.

  23. Katie Rose said

    Big congrats on your well-deserved success! I’m teaching myself how to crochet right now- I’ll be sure to check out your patterns and videos. This was a very inspiring post- thank you for sharing with us!

  24. Sarah said

    Congratulations on hitting your milestone and thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I am not a crocheter but I am a maker. I make stoneware clay buttons ( palominoblue.etsy.com ) and I am currently navigating the marketing realm. I really identify with your comments on following passions (mine also include animals and nature, but I also LOVE buttons). Some of my best sellers include my botanical buttons; buttons that have had leaves or other various plant parts pressed into them and then stained to give them an antique look.
    Best wishes to a fellow maker/designer.

  25. Well what a really enjoyable read June, thank you for passing on your wisdom and congrats on your milestone achievement, fabulous! I am not a crocheter if that is the right term!! But I am a fellow crafter and I have recently been down a reassessing of my ‘crafting’ world and found too that I am missing out on what I love about my crafts (which is beadmaker/jewellerymaker) MAKING, I dont really enjoy the selling at craft fairs, so I have decided to stop that, I am trying to do more teaching of my craft as well as introducing more tutorials to my blog for jewellery making, and as you put it passing on my knowledge to others is something I love to do. My new blog is now up and running awaiting for me to get the tutorials ~ rolling!! Ha ha!!

    I found your blog via Etsy Mentors Blog and was very happy to drop in on you.

    Best wishes ~ happy crafting!!

  26. Congratulations! This blog post is so incredibly wonderful and inspiring. Thank you for writing it! It just goes to show that if you just have faith in yourself all the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place eventually. Reading this was a GREAT way to jump start my week!! Wishing you continued success and happiness!

  27. June~Continued success! We produce handcrafted magnets and have been doing so on a wholesale basis for 20 years now. We recently joined Etsy and have been selling our magnets retail and slowly, with the help of people like you and these articles and blogs, we have begun to increase our views and sales. So thank you for going the extra step to share your knowledge! You have also given me a teriffic idea…to sell my designs, decals, and magnet supplies so that people can make their own creations! Creating the artwork for the magnets that we sell to museums, historic sites, and gift shops in regional vacation areas is what I really love to do…making magnets is my way of getting my artwork out there, but to sell it to allow people to create what they want is an awsome thought…and it’s not copying what you do with your patterns…it’s a whole new idea! Thanks again! Fredda from The Magnificent Magnet

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Comment

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment here! I read and appreciate every comment. I only respond to questions here on the blog, so please return to this page to see my reply, or check the box below to subscribe to new comments by email.

Please note that I can only answer questions related to PlanetJune patterns and tutorials (see details), and I can only respond to questions or comments written in English. Thank you :) - June

  • Welcome to PlanetJune!

    June Gilbank

    Hi, I'm June. Welcome to my world of nature-inspired crochet and crafting. I hope you enjoy your visit!

    If you'd like to get in touch, you can contact me here.
  • Follow me

    RSS FeedSubscribe to my blog by EmailFollow me on TwitterFollow me on Facebook
    Friend me on RavelryWatch me on YouTubeFollow me on PinterestFollow me on Instagram
  • Life Behind the Scenes

  • Browse Blog Categories

  • Blog Archives

  • Support PlanetJune!

    Want to say thanks? You can send me money in seconds at paypal.me/planetjune.

    Or simply click one of these links before you shop at Amazon:
    Thank you for your support!
Back to top