We have already discussed the wide variety of crafts that needle art covers, but as a quick review: “Needlework is a broad term for the handicrafts of decorative sewing and textile arts. Anything that uses a needle for construction can be called needlework. The definition may expand to include related textile crafts such as a crochet hook or tatting shuttles.” Which covers the following: crochet, knitting, cross stitch, smocking, embroidery, felting and others.
Last post in this series, I focused on crochet, knitting, and felting. This post I want to focus on the other needle arts: cross stitch, smocking, and embroidery. Cross stitching is often done on a very specific type of material that has little holes in a grid-like pattern, but can really be done in any material. Using a needle and some embroidery thread, the crafter makes little crosses and basically pixels an image or text into the material. Smocking is similar to cross stitching except that it is done on material that has been pleated. Embroidery is also similar to cross stitching but without the cross-action, and can be hand embroidered or machine embroidery.
There is lots that you can sell that is related to these three crafts of the needle arts, so let’s get to brainstorming!
- Clothing accents – Little details on necklines, hemlines, or pockets to change a plain garment into something fancy.
- Interior decorations – Tapestries, wall hangings, pillows, table runners.
- Heirlooms – Baby blankets, Wedding Hanky’s.
- DIY kits (include the material, the embroidery thread, needle, hoop, directions or instructions).
- Smocking plates (a lot of people don’t want to do these themselves, even though it is really simple in my opinion, it still takes time and resources that they may not have or want to expend).
- Grid pictures and patterns.
- ANYTHING can be personalized to add an extra incentive for customers to buy.
These are really time-consuming crafts, so really play-up that they are hand made with careful attention to each stitch and detail. If you make-up your own patterns market the individuality of you as the designer and artist. Hand-stitched, will probably be your key words to use on a regular basis. Don’t be afraid to let your customers know how much time and energy is going into one garment.
If you purchase pre-made garments and then personalize them in whatever way, don’t be afraid to let your customers know where you get these, and even let them supply their own garments when able. Even if you just did the smocking on that little girl’s dress, you picked out the pattern, the colors to use, and even the dress to put it all on. So, try marketing to that perspective.
If you are making wedding or heirloom items, make sure that your products are TOP quality, and then TELL your customers that they are such. Always make sure that you are pricing your items competitively, and let your customers know why they are priced that way. Higher quality goods are going to cost a little bit more…market that!
There are lots of different ways that you can advertise and market these particular niches of needle art. I think that the biggest marketing campaign is going to be letting your customers know when something is hand-stitched. Even if you do use a machine, people are willing to pay for customized products and cuteness!!
Blog topics – once again, I am covering 3 different crafts in this post (albeit related crafts), so I am going to have 15 blog topics instead of the normal 10
- How did you learn to do this craft?
- What is your inspiration for your products?
- Where do you get your materials?
- Let your needle have a conversation with the fabric. Or your pleater can have a conversation with the needles. Or whatever materials you use, let them talk to each other about what is going on.
Explain, in a different perspective, the creation process. Maybe take the point of view of your left pinky fingernail. Take your craft from the research period, to the gathering materials, to the actual creation, marketing, and all the way to the packaging and shipping out.
- Why do you sell what you make? to what purpose does your business exist?
- A day in the life of… pick something, pick one of your tools, talk about yourself, maybe from the table where all of your work takes place.
- Tutorial. Maybe from the very beginning. “How to smock: basic stitches”.
- Maybe throw in a “help me” post to give suggestions, tips, advice, to fellow needle artists.
- In what ways have you grown and developed your skill set to become more efficient, faster, or increase the quality of your work since the beginning of your business?
- Where do you get your patterns? Or if you design your own, when did you first start doing that?
- Research the production of your materials. For example, pick your favorite brand of embroidery thread. Find out how it is manufactured. Then, narrate the process, or go on a factory tour.
- Try something new. If you normally cross stitch on the specially designed fabric, why not try to cross stitch on a pillow case?
- Is there something about your craft that bothers you? Don’t be afraid to rant about it.
- Famous people who needle art. Google it, do a bit of research, then blog about these historic or pop culture figures.
I don’t think that hand-stitching is necessarily hard, but it does take a bit of time. Time that a lot of people don’t want to spend. If you have a blog about ANY needle craft, leave a comment with your page link, I sure would love to come check you out!
To check out my other “For the Crafter” posts in the series, just click a link below
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- Needle Point Projects (montanadesigns.wordpress.com)
- Embroidery and cross stitching (dutchwitch.wordpress.com)
- Winterwoods ABCs Cross Stitch Sampler Kit (and Embroidery Supplies) Now on Sale! (rosylittlethings.typepad.com)
- Project: Altoids Tin Travel Embroidery Kit (craftzine.com)
- Rap-Themed Cross-Stitchings – The Dave Lieske Artworks Bring Hip Hop to Grandma’s House (TrendHunter.com) (trendhunter.com)
- Choosing The Right Fabric For Your Embroidery Project – II (kenyaembroiderersguild.wordpress.com)
- Definition: Smocking (fabsugar.com)