Five years (and two months) ago I started selling my crochet pieces on facebook. Within the next few weeks I opened up my Etsy shop and sold my first hat. That first hat was terrible! No, seriously, it should not have sold. My first customer may have been an “Etsy stranger”, but the next several were friends and acquaintences who were going the extra mile to show their support. My first crochet products were so poorly constructed, the seams were obvious, the tension was not equal throughout, there were way too many dropped stitches and increases to fix the count. I was a noob, having only just learned how to chain, and it was so very obvious.
I have never thanked those first customers, and I really must! They were not buying hats to keep their heads warm, they were supporting me as a crafter and investing in Family Bugs as a business venture. I may not have recognized it then, but looking back at those horrendous things I made five years ago, how can I not see it? So, thank you. To all of you who stood by my beginning, assisted in my learning curve, and tolerated all of the gifts and wonky scarfs…THANK YOU! For funding my next project by purchasing my current one, thank you. For all of the “that’s so cute!” and “you are so talented!” compliments, thank you, it was often encouragement enough for me to keep going with the creating. For all of the brave individuals who requested custom orders with no knowledge of my capabilities, thank you for giving me the outlet to further my skill set and talent. Thank you for all of the pictures and memes posted on my facebook wall, I cherish them all! I would not have even started if it were not for all of you, and now I have celebrated five years!
So much about Family Bugs has changed. What started out as hats, turned into photo props for newborns, warped into costumes for toddlers, shifted into patterns for costumes, morphed into patterns for dolls, and has become a happy mix of pretty much all of the aforementioned. I shared my Etsy shop with my mom while she got her feet wet with embroidery (check her out at Letter Me Cute). I tried to add some other little crafty things to my shop (fabric hair flowers, and homemade fairies) to no avail. I added my crochet patterns to a few other popular sites (Ravelry and Craftsy). For about a year, familybugs.com existed and never flourished. I added Pinterest, instagram, and a plethora of other sites into the rotation. All part of the journey to discover the Family Bugs brand.
Every company has a beginning, a story, a history. I want to encourage you to keep working on yours. Family Bugs is prospering now, but there were seasons when I lost more than I made. They say that 80% of businesses fail within the first year and a half. Not just fail, but crash and burn! One of the joys of starting a crafting business is the fact that the only way you can fail is if you quit. So, change as you need to. Flow with the fads, even if you think they are ugly (ahem, messy bun hats). Take notice of what is in the stores, what people are buying, what they are pinning, what they are sharing with you. Make gifts. Splurge on the fancier yarn. Be patient with the smaller hook. Be fair without selling yourself short. Most importantly: don’t quit learning how to be better!