Sunday, June 11, 2006

Not doing nothing

True, I've been a bit quiet on Blogger lately. And I haven't been visiting other blogs as much, so my apologies for the silence. However, I HAVE been doing stuff. Above (clockwise) is the completed jacket I knitted for my daughter Sophie; this morning's glorious sunrise; the 12 metres of fabric I dyed yesterday waiting to be rinsed, washed, dried and ironed; and the wool I dyed to make a similar jacket for Hattie, my son's girlfriend.

I've started to make the fabric, which I call my "Blended" range, in distinct colours so that I can put it on the website for sale. By distinct, I mean recording the dyes used and giving each colour mix a name so I can reproduce it. There are 5 or 6 colours on each piece.

A major reason for my lack of blogging is that I'm wrestling with what direction to take with my business. At present, my income is from my dye business . My fiber art doesn't make any money and is unlikely to be major income source as no-one in New Zealand can earn a living this way. My business used to sell fabric (it was an existing business that I bought), but as I wasn't attending trade shows where most of the sales were, I stopped featuring it on the website. Now everyone and their dog is selling hand-dyed fabric, including my own customers, and it's also sold on auction sites (which devalues it). So my Blended range is a way of producing something different, as it's not immersion dyed like everyone else's fabric. However, I am reluctant to sell it to shops because a) they're notoriously slow payers and b) I have to accept so much less for it wholesale. My dyeing method is very time-consuming and hands-on, and my price of $30 per metre (equivalent = US$19, Aus$25, 15 Euros) reflects that. So I am trying to work out the best way to market it, and I don't have thousands of dollars available for advertising.

Dyes is also a product with a limited market, New Zealand being very small, and I want to expand out into something else but I don't know what . (If you, dear reader, know of any wildly desirable, high profit items related to what I'm doing now, please email me separately!!!).

Sigh. Decisions, decisons....... Posted by Picasa


Pixie said...

Can you use your blog somehow to sell fabric? There seem to be blogs out there making money, but I guess it's very very modest. Hopefully your Oamaru shop will help when it's ready?

cedar51 said...

Shirley, finding that niche market that gives you a steady income is a pretty hard thing or it's just a lucky break.

Many craftspeople find that tutoring the only way to survive. But on saying that often a participant will take your idea and start out on their own...the copyright issue on this on other items recently reared it's head on the Creative Fibre email list.

Maybe you have to use this painted/dyed fabric in an unusual way so that everyone is begging you to teach it :-)

I also have found it difficult with onselling dyes to people in the crafts world. That is why I haven't gone out and purchased from other wholesalers.

However on the other hand what has been a popular booklet has been the "how-to dye" from Teri Dyes. We usually sell them faster than a bunch of dyes.

I have been sorting up a lot of my crafts life and stash recently because I'm going to shift! And I'm going to have to do a lot of making stuff from a whole lot of mainly woven webs.....but what to do with it and will it become a paying option

keep surfing the net - keep on looking at the trends in your world and out there in the general world. Something will gel

yep restarted with a new blog. Not all that interesting yet but I'll get there!

Shirley Goodwin said...

Thanks for your comments. I am not at all sure about the shop either, Pixie - this is very restricting when you're a one-person business, and difficult if you're ill or want/need to go away. Tutoring is certainly on the list, Cathy, and I will soon have dyeing ebooks available on my website (freebies, initially).

cedar51 said...

ummmmm just had another thought mainly because one of my weaving lists is talking about rag rugs from somewhere at $20 at the local big store ?Walmarts.

and what to do to create a market that will wear her much more expensive product.

of course the string has moved on to mean all sorts of products.

from someone in the States telling us what one person will pay and what another won't pay. i.e. they do a lot of handwoven tea/dish towels in the states and they are betw $25 +++ each.

and mostly she can sell them pretty well. however her Mother thinks that terrible but on the otherhand she bought a doll house rug 2"x3" rug for $60

so maybe you have to look down into the small world....I do believe esp. in the States that miniature trade is in pretty good state

also maybe you could look at the scrapbooking world....lots of things seem to be needed there. I notice that lots of people are selling threads/fibres to these people as embellishments.

MargaretR said...

I'm afraid I can't help at all here Shirley. I have never even bought one thing off the internet as I like to see what I'm buying and I still buy things I don't need! But I know others do buy lots online and are very happy. I have heard many saying that teaching is one way of using your talents. How about online lessons on how to dye?

jenclair said...

The fabrics and the wool are beautiful. Hope you find away to make what you do so well into a more profitable enterprise!

Valeri said...

I'm with you on this problem Shirley as I wrote in my blog a while back. Very hard to make a living selling hand-dyes. Teaching is the way to add a good solid base into your accounts and I find that my students then buy my fabrics especially if I've used them in a project as I do more often than not. If one doesn't do the round of the shows then it is so much harder to get a profile. Steady income is hard!