Once you've worked so hard to establish your craft business, created a product line and decided what your brand represents, taking things to whole new level can be daunting. I've covered topics from finding support for setting up your own business, online marketing and I've interviewed several designers about their process. Today on the blog, I've invited Alana Dakos of Never Not Knitting to give her insights into developing further and she's sharing her top tips for business development in the knitting industry.
What motivated you to add distributing into your business?
"Our first self published book, Coastal Knits (co-authored with Hannah Fettig in 2011) opened up our eyes to the world of distribution. To our surprise, we were literally inundated with orders. Our first print run was gone within the first few weeks. I was 9 months pregnant at the time and we worked 12 hour days for weeks with the help of our family and friends to ship out all of the books to knitters around the world. Even after I had my son, my husband had to leave us at the hospital to ship more books! :) It was a crazy time. That experience taught us so much and we had to learn a lot quickly about efficiently shipping out multiple orders. We developed a system and really got it down to a science. When I released my next two books, we had it down and it was much less stressful. Since we had all of our systems in place, we felt that we could expand our business to begin distributing for other designers as well. It has worked out great! :) I love to be able to offer really high quality patterns and books to shop owners. I feel like I am helping to support my fellow self-published designers and make their special products available to stores and in turn knitters."
With designing and publishing, your days must be really busy. What helps keep things together on a day to day level?
"I have to stay very regimented and organized. Fortunately I have the help of my husband who is employed by NNK Press and an assistant. Without them I would be in big trouble! :) I make lots of list. I never procrastinate and I keep up on tasks (like returning emails) on a daily basis. I try to follow the motto to "not put off til tomorrow what can be accomplished today".
Running a multifaceted business must take a lot of planning. How do you go about looking at your long term goals and how to achieve them?
"My end goal has always been running a successful business that supports us as a family. I am very happy with what we have accomplished so far with NNK Press. I don't really have specific plans for expansion in the future. I evaluate every opportunity as it presents itself. "
What would be your top 3 tips for people planning to develop their own creative businesses?
- Look for a niche to fill in the creative field of your choice. Is there a product that you could make available to consumers that is fresh, new or not currently readily available?
- Never skimp on quality. Whether you are putting together a promotional flyer, packaging, logo or anything else for your business, do it well. The more professional you are, the more your potential customers will take notice.
- Let your enthusiasm for your craft come across in your business. When you are excited about a product, others will be too.