How did you end up launching your own eBay shop?
“Ever since the age of 10, when my mother taught me to knit, I have been crafty. I have merrily knitted, cross stitched, long stitched, and done tapestry and rug making as a hobby, for more than 20 years.
“In 2013, we were invited to a barn dance and I needed cowboy hats for my two girls, then aged 3 months and 17 months old. I searched high and low for baby cowboy hats and the only thing I found was a 0-6 month crochet pattern.
“I had never thought of crocheting before, and had always associated it with grandmas making doilies, but this cowboy hat was gorgeous, so I bought the pattern. The instructions were gobbledygook at first, but I was determined to make the hat, so I ordered yarn and crochet hooks and taught myself to crochet.
“After a few days practice it became second nature and I successfully made the hat. I then managed to redesign the pattern to create a larger hat for my 17-month old. From that moment on, I was hooked. I started experimenting, trying out different shapes and textures, and it was then that I first considered selling my designs.”
When did you sell your first item on eBay?
“I listed my first four patterns – a lion, cow, duck and horse pillow – and within just one hour, all four designs had been sold! It was very exciting and from that point on my sales continued steadily.
“I listed my first four patterns – a lion, cow, duck and horse pillow – and within just one hour, all four designs had been sold!
“But it was when I released my 'Precious Baby Blanket' pattern that things really took off. It quickly moved to the first page on the 'Crochet Patterns' best match eBay search and this saw my sales double.
“I went on to add even more blanket patterns and they also moved to the top portion of the rankings. It was then that I realised my eBay shop was going to be a success and I could make a living selling my designs.”
How did you grow the business?
“Engaging with potential and existing customers has played a big part in the growth of my eBay business. I used to receive lots of enquiries from crafters who wanted to make my patterns, but who couldn't crochet. So, I decided to create my own 'How to crochet' video series. I uploaded them to You Tube and embedded them into my eBay store, to help beginners learn the craft and also talk other crocheters through my unique designs.
“I also made free practice patterns to do alongside my videos, including my very popular Cancer Support lap blanket patterns, which I created to raise money for Cancer Research. This gave crocheters the chance to create a beautiful blanket for a loved one, while supporting a good cause.
“Additionally, I started selling some wonderful, but hard to locate, Canadian and US yarns - which I use in all my new designs. Every yarn order is sent out in an organza bag sewn by myself, with a peach ribbon to add a unique personal touch.”
“It’s fantastic to be able to do something I love. To be able to sit down and do something I really want to do, is just wonderful."