We have reached the home stretch of the Centre of Excellence’s Crochet Diploma. The remaining four units focus on business knowledge and strategies relevant to crochet designers and fibre artists. They are also not as long (or as fun) as the crochet based units so I thought I’d roll 14 and 15 into one post.
Module 14: First Steps
This module covers essentially the back of the envelope part of planning your new business. The lessons help you identify what you are good at and how to utilise it. For instance, do you want to teach crochet or maintain an inventory of handmade goods to sell? Who is your target market? And how do you identify and locate them? It also goes into further detail about copyright and the associated laws surrounding copyright in the UK.
In many countries, including Australia where I am from, your own original work is copyright protected from the moment it is created. It does not cost anything and you do not need to do anything. Patents, trademarks, creative commons and other licensing, however, are regulated and may cost money.
Module 15: Venues and Advertising
I liked this module. It concisely boiled down choosing your venue/s and advertising strategy to a quick and easy to digest list. For instance, many people would not realize that a website is a venue. You do not necessarily have to find a craft fair, farmer’s market or yarn store that takes consignments to get started. For others, this is obvious and Etsy is your jam but you may be missing out on vital networking from in-person venues that could grow your business.
Social media presence is important and should absolutely be factored into your business strategy. Don’t try to be the jack of all trades, master of none when it comes to your social channels though. Pick a few of the ones most relevant to your target market and stick with them. I got some good tips on advertising channels I have not thought of before while completing this module too.
The assessments are still very much based on the content however the questions for the last four modules ask for more extensive responses. I used many examples from my own small, crochet business Liz and Lottie to answer questions. The assessments were not overly difficult and answering the questions with my own business in mind helped me clarify my goals for 2019 and realize I need to reconsider a few things.
Intro to Design. This module guys, oh my goodness. So much math.
This module introduced the idea of creating your own patterns and provided equations for working out where to place increases and decreases.
The first parts were about finding inspiration and working with drape. All good so far. We created some swatches of different yarns – wool, cotton, acrylic, free choice treble crochet, and compared them. Next came the sizing lesson. This was amazingly useful! I always added a bit of space to baby jumpers but learning the exact measurements for “wearing ease” and “design ease” was like a light bulb going on in my head. I’ll be keeping those notes for future reference.
It was lesson 3 where my trouble began. Lesson 3 – Shaping, broken into two sections Increasing with a formula and decreasing with a formula. Maybe I am just a bit thick but I was very good at algebra in school and have never had a problem adding increases to my own project but this module did my head in!
I had my pen and paper ready and scrolled down the increasing formula section. And scrolled. And scrolled. And scrolled. WTF? My year 10 math exams weren’t this long. Anyway, I managed to get through the first part of what I thought was a 3 part equation. So I subbed in the measurements to t (c) – n = x and got an answer. Ok good. Then it went wonky. The next equation seemed to be working out a number which was actually a constant (tension) and was already given? After that the height added equation was arranged in such a way that I was getting answers like 270 metres?
Now I resigned myself to the fact I might just be thick, had a go at the assessment and only answered half the one question that uses this equation. Later that night I put my notes in front of my data analyst husband. He had me pull up the original lesson, rearranged the equations and after hitting the same issues I did working manually with pen and paper, said he’d just build me an excel calculator for me to use in my own design work.
Now this might just be my experience of it not clicking in my head but please let me know if you do this course and you have trouble with this section too. I have my own calculations for working out where to place increases so I think I will stick with those.