KarlieRobinson.com

Rural Housewife or Tech Entrepreneur? You Decide

Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Random Acts of Patterns

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Knit Purl GurlLast week, on Google Plus, I was introduced to the most amazing idea by the Knit Purl Gurl, Karrie Steinmetz when she posted…

Tuesdays are for RAP (Random Acts of Patterns)! http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/friends-of-knitpurlgurl/2319615/1-25#24 Please join in!! #knitting #crochet

Although I didn’t quite catch the marketing implications of random patterns until after I had gifted nearly 20 copies of my designs, Random Acts of Patterns is just brilliant on so many levels.  Here’s why…

The premiss is along the same lines of Random acts of Kindness, but in this case the idea is to find a neat pattern and buy it for another Ravelry.com user using the “send as gift” function that’s part of the check-out process.

There are 2 functions of this process that are very intriguing to me.  First, it’s a way to help generate income for independent designers.  The second is that it’s a great way to advertise your own designs by sending them out to random knitters.

From a strictly business standpoint, when I buy ad placements, I take a chance that I won’t have enough sales to break even.  For example, I purchased Ravelry ads a few months in a row.  The fist run I did better than break even on the cost of the ads by also making enough money to cover the cost of the materials used in the pattern.  In the second run, I didn’t do quite as well, but broke even on the ads.  The 3rd and 4th times were a bust putting me in a position where I needed more pattern sales to break even on all of the expenses.

There are many reasons why the same ads didn’t do well over time.  Summer months aren’t always considered as Knitting months.  People may have been tired of seeing the ads. Or any number of things.  While it is possible to hone in on the winning combination the idea of Random Acts of Patterns presents a whole new twist on marketing.

The main consideration with #RAPatterns, for the indie designer, is that patterns, once created, don’t represent revenue until someone buys them. The next consideration is although you might be running at a loss with materials and time put into the design, giving away promo, electronic copies, doesn’t create additional expenses. I always say that word of mouth has to start somewhere and this is a great way to kick it off.

Knit Purl GurlThe bonus of Tuesday’s being for #RAPatterns are the limits designed into the practice. Coupons, door busters, annual sales and all the rest are just ways companies train customers not to pay full price, for anything.  But a random pattern given only on Tuesday is more along the lines of winning a prize. There is no expectation that waiting will result in a discount so people buy when they’re ready to.

By participating in Random Acts of Patterns on Tuesdays you have a great way to get some patterns out in the wild where they might generate some buzz for your work all while keeping people guessing about your next move.  It also doesn’t hurt to be seen as generous either.

The next question is how this process can be adapted for other business models.  Are there businesses this wouldn’t work with?  Why not?  I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment, below.

PS, don’t forget to thank Kerrie for this amazing idea.  Click either knitter to visit her site.

 

Written by Karlie

October 22nd, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Begone, Personal-Use only patterns.

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Hand knitting has to be one of the most tedious ways to create fabric, but like so many others, I’m addicted to it and fuel my addiction by sharing the patterns I have created.  Now that I’m writing up patterns, one thing I don’t understand  is why some designers annex their copyright saying that you’re not suppose to use their pattern if you’re going to sell the finished item.

When I create a pattern, I have time on my side.  Although I put in hours of work to develop the pattern and  knit a prototype, I can count on reselling the same pattern many times and many visits to my blog to see the free patterns.  In theory, I’ll eventually break even and may even profit as long as people keep coming back.

However, when someone buys a hand knitted object, they have no need for a pattern.  Regardless of skill, or time, if the buyer could knit the object themselves they would and since they’re not, the pattern used isn’t even a consideration.

Therefor, if people are going to create items for sale from my patterns, I’m going to encourage them to do it.

Here are my caveats (AKA help a Sista out)…

  • Do not redistribute patterns.  After all, selling patterns and blog visitors is what keeps me going. If you sell the yarn I used in one of my patterns and want to redistribute it, please contact me.  My bulk rates are reasonable and I’ll even personalize the PDF with your shop address and logo so it will look snazzy for your customers.
  • If you have helpers knitting finished objects for you, please buy a copy of the pattern for each of them.  Again, selling patterns keeps me going and my bulk rates are reasonable.
  • You must include attribution with the object.  If you’re selling online, please include a link back to either the blog post, here, or the Ravelry pattern.  Or if you’re selling at a craft fair, a note safety pinned to the object with pattern name, Karlie Robinson Designs and  KarlieRobinson.com is the way to go.
  • If you like the pattern well enough to create finished objects to sell, would you do me a favor and post pictures and details at Ravelry? I’d love to see your work.

So here’s to all the budding fiber arts entrepreneurs.  I hope my patterns contribute to your success.

 

 

Written by Karlie

April 25th, 2012 at 12:15 pm

New Direction for the Blog

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Karlie's collected seed stash

 

Over the last few weeks I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what my blog should be about.  I just can’t pump out business topic posts like a machine because I’m lucky enough to have so much flexibility that I’m not slaving away at… well anything and that means business isn’t always at the front of my mind. While I’m still working in my own businesses, helping others with theirs and testing new business ideas, business isn’t the only thing I do.

In fact, over the last few weeks, my focus has been devoted to developing a knitting pattern for a book submission and the 2 acres of lawn just outside my office window, tease me like a blank canvas teases a painter. But, while I was hearing the seed stash, pictured above, begging for some organization, I downloaded my banking statements and filed NY State sales taxes. I also did a cost analysis of fencing versus hedges and outlined a new business plan, in my head. Then I shucked more than 3000 accounts from my tweet stream and nagged my husband about cutting down the hollow, bug-filled Hawthorn tree in the front yard.

Super Duper Seed StashI’m a modern woman with a Family, Home, Business, and a slight inability to say no to my distractions. Though I think I’ll have more to say, here, if I don’t limit myself to being so single minded about business and let my other passions spill out onto the Internet now and then.

Besides, Google Analytics doesn’t lie and after importing my old blog posts and re-directing my Blogger visitors, I found that more people want to see my Buttercup Bag knitting pattern than want to know about Social Media for TV news.

Which makes sense.  Social Media advice is a dime, a dozen, but a unique knitting pattern only has one source.  (Well it didn’t hurt for me to do a little SEO for the pattern either.)

But anyway, look for a wider variety of posts coming out of this blog as I continue my adventures as a 21st century woman.

Written by Karlie

March 11th, 2012 at 10:17 am

Re: Have you seen this?

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On 07/10/2010 09:54 PM, D. S. wrote:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=microsoft-imagine-cup

No I hadn’t seen it yet, but MS is losing ground to companies like Google and their “Don’t be Evil” stance on business. So how does a company become less evil? They start finding projects for the good of the order and shout it from the rooftops every time they do something that’s even a little bit generous.

It’s actually very cleaver of them from a marketing point of view. They know that they still have market and mind share and while the majority of their clientele isn’t looking at FOSS, they’re adopting some FOSS like programs to soften up their image.

The biggest thing to consider is the basics of business. Throwing money at a problem isn’t usually an effective solution. Yes, MS has lots and lots of money to solve problems with, but FOSS has enough momentum now that no matter what MS does they can’t regain the ground they’ve lost. Their only hope is to slow the exodus now that there is a public awareness of alternatives and that the choices aren’t half bad.

My best advice – remember there is choice. When things like this come up, remind people that the HFOSS project has been doing this same thing for a while now. When MS wants to talk Education, bring up OLPC and such. Yes, it’s good that they’re putting money to good use, but they didn’t invent some of these ideas, nor are they the only players on the field.

It no longer has to be about how FOSS is like commercial, but it can be about how commercial has to be like FOSS and behave like human beings to remain relevant in the changing tech environment.

~Karlie

Written by Karlie

July 11th, 2010 at 10:30 am

Withdrawing my FPL Application

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I should probably trust my gut reactions, they usually don’t lead me astray, but this time I decided to suppress my initial reaction and apply for the Fedora Project Leader (FPL) position.

Here’s the thing, I’ve been having reservations for a few days and had sort of hoped that the FOSS talent pool was so deep that my lack of Software Engineering experience and my hit-or-miss involvement in the Fedora Project would filter me out rather quickly.

Then a couple of things happened today. First was an email from Paul Frields, the standing FPL, trying to nail down a time for a Phone interview with someone at Red Hat.

The second was a cattle call IRC ping for a meeting that was taking place face-to-face somewhere else.

So why should that lead me to withdraw? Let me explain…

Knowing my prompt rejection was off the table, I had to get myself in gear and prepare for wowing everyone I met in the interview process. That means running through possible questions and answers… etc.

That process, for me, can be a lot like a psychological test. The first thing that comes to mind as I begin the Q&A practice is very enlightening for me because it’s not always the answer I would or should give, but it’s usually very accurate as to how I really feel about something.

So while I’m reading and prepping for the call, I got another pointless IRC meeting ping from the guys at Open Video Chat.

So as I’m getting myself polished and sorting through proper answers, I was getting pissy and telling OVC to stop wasting my time… well if my other insights didn’t tell me anything this did. And what it said was “this is a bad fit.”

You see, FPL is not about what I can do, it’s about what I could help the community do and it just doesn’t seem like I should be so cranky about a pointless meeting ping.

In this case, the right answer would have been to go over to RIT and slap the guys around politely explained that they need a lesson on transparency and IRC meetings. Instead, I had the eureka moment I needed to have. I finally could see that I’m ok letting the opportunity slip by. That I’m ok with not being one of the few women leading FOSS projects. I’m also ok not trying to be a rising star.

It’s not failure, it’s just the right thing to do.

computer danger 3 by Gabriella Fabbri

Written by Karlie

April 21st, 2010 at 4:04 pm