The question of all maker questions. This question will NEVER go away and no matter how many articles and blog posts we read, we will never really grasp just how much we should charge. However, a great thing to keep in mind when pricing your goods is what other shops similar to yours are selling them for. A quick and easy solution to finding out what the going rate is for an item is to check Etsy. Simply search the item as your customer would in the search bar and see what listings come up. Find what the lower end prices are as well as the higher end prices. Note the quality of the work, the quality of the shop and price your item somewhere in the middle. You don't want to undercut other makers by offering dirt prices because this just demeans your work, time, effort and all that as well of other makers. You're worth it. I promise. When I first started selling my goods, I priced them SO cheap because, well, they definitely weren't up to par in my opinion plus I was happy just getting paid a few dollars to cover the yarn. But you know what? The people who are buying your goods more than likely don't know how to crochet, right? So not only are they paying for the yarn you're using to create the item, they're paying for your talent and skill. Your time. Your effort. You are able to create this item that they cannot. This is why you should be charging more than just material cost. Whether you think so or not, you're WORTH it. Tell yourself that. Right now. "I'm worth it. I really am worth it." Now say it again, believe it and NEVER forget it.

"That person obviously copied my design and is calling it her own. How do I handle this?!"

Dude. I feel you. Been there, done that, and more than likely will deal with it again. There are MANY others out there with patterns so identical to some of mine. I absolutely know how frustrating it is. I've had quite a few of you contact me asking how to handle this situation. You know what, unfortunately there isn't much you can do. Sucks, right? Unless you have proof that the person purchased your pattern and the one they are selling is identical, you have to sit back and deal with it. Sucks. So bad. But you know what? This is why YOU will be successful. This is why YOU will be happy and feel content. YOU are creative. YOU are original. No matter how many people take your ideas and don't give you credit, keep your chin up and remember that you clearly have such an amazing design and idea that others want to imitate. Take it as a form of flattery and a way to stay motivated to keep going. You are what is making this industry unique. Those original ideas you keep having will make you blossom. I promise. Do not stop. Those big companies you want to work with will see your originality and want to work with YOU, not the person that has a shop full of stolen ideas. Trust me.

"I see so many others making this certain item. Maybe I should make it too, right?"

Quick answer, no. I used to do that all the time. I'd see other shops selling tons of certain items and I'd feel that I needed to sell those items to be successful. But you know what I ended up finding out? I didn't like those items. I didn't like making those items. They didn't even sell well for me. Want to know why? Because those items aren't YOU. Your customers know you and can see when you put your full effort into your items. When you make something you don't like, usually it shows. But when you LOVE what you're making, it DEFINITELY shows. Your stitches are beautiful, your photography of the item is top notch and your description about how much you love it and how they need it in their lives makes it known, without a doubt, that you love what you're doing. If everyone around you is making cowls but you want to make beanies, do NOT make cowls. If everyone around you is making sweaters but you want to make purses, do NOT make sweaters. Make what makes you happy. You may even see sales boosts when keeping to this!!

"I want to sell my handmade goods but I don't know if I should.. What do I do?!"

Dun dun dunnnn. The big question everyone wants to know. Answer: Whatever you want. For me, I started out selling to friends and family on my Facebook page. I'd post items I had made and offered them for sale. After I got more orders doing this, I wanted to be a bit more "professional" so I created a business Facebook page to keep all crochet stuff in one place and not on my personal feed for those that weren't interested. Today, I cannot recommend enough the near importance of having an Instagram page for your shop. Firstly, because the handmade community on Instagram is 99% freaking amazing. Just about everyone I've met has been nothing short of encouraging, supportive and some have become my closest friends. Instagram offers a sort of "portfolio" of your finished items, your works in progress and a way for you connect further with your customers/fans. Following other pages that do your craft as well can help inspire you to come up with other fun ideas, new ways to photograph your items and feel connected to the community. Many of you want to know about Etsy. Opening an Etsy shop can be difficult to decide to do because this can really feel like a make it or break it decision. Will you even get sales? Will the fees be worth it? So many things can prohibit you from making the plunge. Yes, at first Etsy will be slow. You're basically competing for customers among others who have been doing this for years. It can be a really difficult hill to climb. Here are some tips to consider when opening an Etsy shop:

-Customers look at how many sales a shop has made as well as their star rating. When your friends or family purchase something from you, consider making a listing in your Etsy shop for them to purchase instead of sending a PayPal invoice or accepting cash. You want your sales number to go up as often as you can. This can help bring in "strangers". To get people to leave feedback, you can offer 10% discounts for those that leave feedback to hopefully get them to actually do it.

-Use broad tags to reach more customers. Don't use things like "blue", "silly" or things that people aren't actually searching for. Tags such as "womens", "fitted", "scarf" are what people are probably actually typing into the search bar. Consider thinking how you'd search for your item if you were wanting to purchase it.

There is so much that goes into having a shop whether it's on Etsy, Facebook or in person. And the best thing to do is make it how you want it. Do what makes you happy. Use colors that you enjoy. And describe your items in ways that feel personable instead of a sales robot. Be you. ALWAYS be you.

 Jessica <3