How to Start a New Business (I Hope)

She said…

This summer while I was still laid up from my surgery, I got inspired to find a craft that I could incorporate into our full-time RV lifestyle (see Crafty Chica).  I tried a few crochet projects, which I enjoyed doing, but lots of people already do crochet and my joinings and my finish work aren’t good enough.  I know with practice I could clean it up, but instant gratification is a big deal to me, so crochet came off the list of possibilities. . .and on to the next idea.

As I shared in Crafty Chica, I used to be a basket weaver, but weaving with hard reed required large tubs of water.  So I decided to take that skill that I already had and modify it to fit the traveling lifestyle.  I started weaving baskets out of polyolefin craft cord, and so was born the Woolly Bag.  I made about six of them in two different sizes.  They were soft and colorful and comfortable to carry and, well, woolly!

De Colores Wooly Bag
De Colores Woolly Bag
Big Wooly with Flap
Big Woolly with Flap

Sage Green Wooly Bag
Sage Green Woolly Bag

Small Wooly with Flap
Small Woolly with Flap

When my sister visited last month, she and I each test drove one on our trip to Durango.  Hers was rapidly filled up with purchases and survived the overload road test with flying colors.  And it looked good on her.  Her feedback was that perhaps they were a little TOO woolly, and that maybe some beads on them would be a nice touch.

So, I closed the Etsy store for remodeling and went back to work.  I gave them all haircuts, and have had a wonderful time going through my bead stash and finding wholesale outlets.  I have given away two and done one custom, and am taking orders for Christmas for all of my friends.  It’s the best way I can think of to market them.  The store reopened this morning with a fresh new look, 8 new or revamped bags, and a new title: “Fringe With Benefits” by CaballoBags. There’s a link to the shop in the right sidebar.

banner (2)

New Upgrades!
New Upgrades!

Fringe With Benefits - Dressy Black
Fringe With Benefits – Dressy Black

Lessons learned:

  1. Just putting a bunch of stuff on line and waiting around for people to buy it does not a business make. The new store will have links to Pinterest and twitter as well as its own public Facebook page.
  2. Having some inventory is important; since they are all one-of-a-kind pieces there needs to be more of them out there so potential customers can get a feel for the possibilities.
  3. Give some away. The best marketing tool I have is for people to be seen wearing them.

New idea!  Wouldn’t these be great as freestanding baskets for kitchen utensils, and other containers in the RV?  I still have a bin of hard reed that I want to use up before we hit the road.  Let’s see what happens next!

Leave a Reply