Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Economics of Knitting - Marketing

I've mentioned before that I often teach at my guilds skills exchange evening. I've done this many times in the past, long before I ever planned to pursue a knitting career. The first time I did not prepare a handout because I simply didn't think of it and I viewed what I was doing as a part of the volunteering I occasionally do for the guild. I didn't know until the end of the evening that the guild gives each instructor a small honorarium. One of the members did let me know that she was very disappointed that I didn't prepare a handout so in following years I always did one. I was still working full time so I had easy access to photocopying and was not thinking in terms of profit and loss as I had a full time salary.

Fast forward to the present and if I do a handout I have to pay for it myself either by paying for the paper and toner and printing at home or by going to a copy shop. So I debated about if I should consider this as teaching and expect a profit, should I just break even with the honorarium or should I consider this to be marketing and create a handout that would also have details about my patterns and my blog as well as my YouTube videos. I went with option three. 

After sharing this with some friends it turned out that they were pretty surprised that this is how the economics of knitting really work. In total for the evening, it cost me above the honorarium another $30 to print my handout and to get there. I did not calculate the time it took to knit the samples I used. I took garments that I have made in the past to show the techniques I was teaching as well. I knew all of  this going in and made the decision to do it anyway, I enjoyed myself as I love teaching. However having said all of that, going forward I do have to question how often can I afford to market myself in this manner. I'm not complaining, I'm just sharing information about the economics of knitting that is apparently very surprising to many knitters.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, it's surprising to most people prior to starting their own business. Most people think if they are paying you a decent hourly rate to talk that they are doing you this big favor. But in fact, factor in the time to prepare,your materials, your transportation (plus time getting to/from venue) and your actual time at the at event and it is rare that anyone breaks even unless they learn to charge for it all. Sometimes knitters, in particular, are a little too giving and thus an event designed to pay them money ends up costing them money as it did you. Will be interesting if you can follow-up over the next 12-24 months to see how much business was generated out of that hand-out. That will tell you if it was worth it or not.