Crochet Life

Pinstripe Bandana Scarf

Moogly - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 14:46

Get the look without the heat – the Pinstripe Bandana Scarf is made with cool cotton bamboo yarn and sized just right for wearing with every outfit. Add a little extra coverage, ward off a little chill, or just make your outfit pop with this fast and easy free crochet scarf pattern! Disclaimer: This post [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

#MooglyCAL2017: Afghan Block #8

Moogly - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 15:00

I’m so excited to welcome a new contributor to the Moogly Crochet Along this month, who’s designed block #8 for us! She is amazing, and her squares have been dropping jaws all over Ravelry. So let’s get to the latest square… courtesy of Polly Plum! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. First a quick summary and [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Get Happy Yarn Mail with Sewrella (And Get a Coupon Code on Moogly)!

Moogly - Wed, 04/12/2017 - 15:00

I love connecting with other designers and bloggers, and one of my newest favorites is Sewrella. And Ashleigh at Sewrella has just launched a brand new subscription box that I think you’ll love! So I’m working with her today to show you how awesome Happy Yarn Mail is – and I get to share a discount [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Yarn Valet Pattern Holder Plus Storage Giveaway!

Moogly - Mon, 04/10/2017 - 15:00

“You know what your paper pattern looks like at the end of your project..? It’s wrinkled, folded and covered in chocolate and wine stains.” How did they know?! Well, *I* know just how great their Pattern Holder Plus Storage works – so I’m working with Yarn Valet today to bring you my review and a [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Long Eared Bunny Basket

Moogly - Fri, 04/07/2017 - 14:54

Spring is in the air right now, and what’s more a sign of spring than bunnies!? Whether you’re celebrating Easter or just love a happy rabbit, the Long Eared Bunny Basket is perfect for your seasonal decor – and useful too! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. Does anyone remember Longaberger Baskets? I have to admit, I [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice Rainy Day Giveaway

Moogly - Thu, 04/06/2017 - 15:00

I love designing with Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice – it’s one of my first go-to picks! And today I get to work with them to bring you the Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice Rainy Day Giveaway! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. If you haven’t tried Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice before, then you’re missing out! It’s a [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Tidal Wave Shawl Edging Tutorial

Moogly - Wed, 04/05/2017 - 14:38

The Tidal Wave Shawl already has one video tutorial showing how to make the main portion of the pattern. But what about the border? Your questions will be answered in this one – here’s how to crochet the Tidal Wave Shawl Edging! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. How to Crochet the Tidal Wave Shawl [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

free crochet pattern: Carnations

Planet June - Wed, 04/05/2017 - 12:40

It’s Donationware time again! Put a smile on someone’s face with my new Carnations pattern:

Beautiful, realistic, and so easy, you can crochet a pretty one-piece carnation in minutes – and I bet you won’t be able to stop at one!

Here are some ideas for use:

  • Use the optional stem instructions to create a bouquet or vase of carnations
  • Stitch a pin to the back of a carnation to make a pretty brooch or buttonhole
  • Accessorize a bag by sewing on a couple of carnations
  • Sew or glue one or more carnations to a hair clip or plastic hairband

As I like to reward people who chose to donate for my donationware patterns, the PDF version of this pattern includes additional assembly photos and a special technique for fastening off the yarn neatly at the base of the stem. As always, the pattern is free for you to use, and you need only donate if you’d like to thank me for my time in creating it, or if you’d like the easy-to-print PDF version.

I hope you enjoy my pretty Carnations pattern!

Go to the Carnations pattern >>

Categories: Crochet Life

Hookin On Hump Day #140: Link Party for the Yarny Arts!

Moogly - Wed, 04/05/2017 - 01:00

You’d have to be an April fool to miss a round of Hookin On Hump Day! We’ve got another amazing collection to share – picked with your clicks! So let’s take a look at the best crochet and knit projects from this last round – and while you’re here, be sure to link up your [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Knotted Rainbow Tote Bag

Moogly - Fri, 03/31/2017 - 14:16

I love crocheting tote bags – they are super handy, fun to crochet, and make great gifts! And I had a lot of fun playing with the colors and stitches in the Knotted Rainbow Tote Bag – a free crochet tote bag pattern here on Moogly! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. The “knotted” part [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

#MooglyCAL2017: Afghan Block #7

Moogly - Thu, 03/30/2017 - 15:00

It’s almost like a bonus – 3 blocks this month! And it’s lucky number 7, so let’s get right to it – block #7 in the MooglyCAL2017! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. First a quick summary and some important links: No need to sign up/officially join – just jump in and start crocheting! Work [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Lion Brand Social Media: Inspiration You Need Now!

Moogly - Wed, 03/29/2017 - 15:00

I love crocheting and knitting with Lion Brand® yarn, and today I’m working with Lion Brand® to tell you all about their social media channels – inspiration you need now! Facebook: Keep up to date with all aspects of the yarn world. Whether you knit, crochet, or weave, Lion Brand® on Facebook has the top [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Leisure Arts Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set: Review & Giveaway!

Moogly - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 15:00

At a recent blogger event, I was gifted a Leisure Arts Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set to try – and today I get to tell you all about it, and even give one away to one lucky reader! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. First, for those not familiar with loom knitting, it’s yarn crafting [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Home Clean Home Dishcloth

Moogly - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 15:05

It’s like a childhood tradition – pictures of the family home, drawn simply, usually with the stick figure family out front. Those homey, happy little drawings are the inspiration for the Home Clean Home Dishcloth! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. The Home Clean Home Dishcloth is almost all double crochets, and perfect for personalizing [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

How to Read Crochet Pattern Symbols

Moogly - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 15:00

Part of learning to read crochet patterns is learning what all those symbols mean. Parentheses, asterisks, brackets, oh my! All of these can be used in the same pattern, and while it might seem confusing at first, they actually make the patterns much easier to read. Here’s what all those crochet pattern symbols mean! Parentheses [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Hookin On Hump Day #139: Link Party for the Yarny Arts!

Moogly - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 01:00

Is it Lamb time yet? I don’t know about you, but all these springy crochet projects have me thinking warm weather! What’s featured this round? Well, it’s your clicks on all the little squares of projects below that determine that! For this round of Hookin On Hump Day, we’ve got another amazing collection to share [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Tracking Customer Queries in your Craft Business

Planet June - Tue, 03/21/2017 - 13:40

It’s been three years since I started logging my customer support requests, or, more accurately, questions, comments and suggestions that ask for a response from PlanetJune.

I’ve recorded almost 2300 interactions, and now I have three full years of data, I can do a comparative analysis and see if the ‘improvements’ I’ve been making to PlanetJune have actually been making a difference to my workload!

(If you run your own business and don’t already track your customer interactions, you’ll definitely want to read on to see how tracking this info has helped me…)

The Numbers

The number of support requests I’ve received overall has dropped slightly each year (from 788 to 757 to 735) – that’s almost a 7% drop since I first started logging requests.

(But that doesn’t show the whole picture: during that time I’ve increased my sales significantly without any sign of a corresponding increase in the volume of customer support. If the same proportion of my customers had a question for me now, I’d expect to see well over 1000 queries per year by now, so a small drop actually represents a big win!)

I’ll give you some more details below, with the overall percentage first, followed by a breakdown by year, from three years ago to today: (Year 1, Year 2, Year 3), so you can see any trends over time.

Sources

69% (70%, 69%, 65%) of support requests come directly through PlanetJune (email, blog comment, shop message form).

The other 31% (30%, 31%, 35%) comes through Ravelry, Etsy, social media, YouTube, etc.

Type of Support Requests

17% (12%, 20%, 19%) are Etsy-related.

16% (20%, 16%, 14%) are for technical support.

14% (13%, 13%, 16%) are for general crochet/craft support or requests for help with another designer’s pattern. [I only log these requests when I respond to them, so this number is far smaller than the actual number of questions I receive.]

13% (13%, 14%, 12%) are for pattern support (pre- and post-sale).

10% (13%, 12%, 8%) are for account administration.

6% (7%, 5%, 5%) are suggestions for new content (patterns and tutorials).

6% (5%, 6%, 7%) are requests for items I don’t sell (finished items, patterns for art pieces, translations).

5% (3%, 5%, 6%) are navigation related (where to find a certain pattern/tutorial).

The remaining 13% covers a miscellany of different subjects, ranging from requests from the media and offers to write books, to notices of my patterns being copied or pirated.

Improving Systems

My goal when I started tracking these numbers was to see where I can make improvements to streamline my business by:

  • Reducing customer questions and building my FAQ so people don’t need to contact me for help
  • Setting up canned responses for common questions so I can minimise the time I spend answering the remaining questions

I’ve improved several systems during these three years, and I’m happy to see that those are having a clear effect: despite having more customers, I see fewer tech support and account admin questions each year, as I keep trying to make every step easier to understand.

There’s still room for improvement; for example, I’m seeing more people every year contact me to ask for the link to a specific pattern in my shop. I don’t know why this is, but perhaps there’s a way I could make it more obvious how a customer can find the answer without contacting me.

The Etsy Factor

The biggest barrier to my success in reducing queries is the customer support burden from Etsy, and I know exactly why that is: people on PlanetJune.com generally know where they are and what they’re buying, but many shoppers on Etsy see a pretty photo and hit ‘buy’ without reading the title or description, leading to a lot of misunderstanding about:

  1. What they’re buying (yep, it’s a downloadable PDF pattern, not a completed toy for $5 with free shipping!)
  2. How they’ll receive it (clearly stated in both the item description and in the ‘note from seller’ that’s sent with every order, but many Etsy shoppers don’t read any of that)

I see this as a part of my cost of using Etsy – not just in terms of the tangible cost of the Etsy fees, but the time cost of dealing with customer questions and misunderstandings. Despite this, Etsy remains a valuable funnel for new customers to find me (and then, hopefully, to buy directly from PlanetJune in future) so the fees and time are worthwhile expenses.

Even though my sales through Etsy make up only a small percentage of my income – and a much larger fraction of my customer support interactions – not having a presence on Etsy would be a mistake, as many potential customers only think to look for crochet patterns on Etsy and would never find me in the first place if I didn’t show up in the Etsy search results.

And, although the numbers are high, the misunderstandings are the same things over and over again: people not realising what they’ve bought or how/when they’ll receive it, so I’ve set up standard responses that make dealing with these questions very fast.

Verdict: Is Tracking Queries Worthwhile?

If you run a small and growing business, I’d definitely recommend tracking your customer support requests. It’ll give you a clear picture of support areas you may be able to improve, and the data to be able to provide the answers to questions on your website so your customers don’t need to contact you.

If you’re planning for the future of your business, being able to calculate whether you can expect to be overrun with customer support as your business grows, or whether this is an area you can continue to manage yourself, is critical. Might you need to hire a customer service manager at some point? Or will your systems be able to keep your admin workload in check?

For me, for the time being at least, the answer as shown from my analysis is encouraging. I’ve created a solid foundation for a long-term manageable business, but I’ll keep tracking requests so I can monitor my workload and keep looking for areas where I can tweak my systems to improve the PlanetJune experience for all my visitors.

Categories: Crochet Life

Carrying Yarn Along the Side of a Project

Moogly - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 14:47

I love stripes, you love stripes, everybody loves striped crochet projects! However, unless you’re using a self-striping yarn, you’re going to be working with multiple skeins at the same time. With some patterns, the only solution is to cut the yarn every time you switch to a new color. But sometimes, you can carry the [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

Greyson Baby Blanket

Moogly - Fri, 03/17/2017 - 14:47

I’ve always loved the name Greyson – it was almost the name of our middle child! It turns out it didn’t quite fit him, but it does fit this gorgeous neutral baby blanket – a free crochet baby blanket pattern here on Moogly! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. The Greyson Baby Blanket is a [...]

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Categories: Crochet Life

#MooglyCAL2017: Afghan Block #6

Moogly - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 15:00

March is a special month in the Moogly Afghan Crochet Along – five Thursdays mean three blocks this month! That won’t happen again til August, so let’s get right to it – block #6 in the MooglyCAL2017! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. First a quick summary and some important links: No need to sign up/officially join [...]

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