Tuesday, October 16, 2007

ethics in knitting

Well, my previous dilemma has been solved. I contacted the author of the My So-Called Scarf pattern, and she said that the person who posted it on the Sheep in the City blog actually doesn't have any authority to distribute the pattern. However - she gave me full permission to sell scarves made from the pattern as long as I don't give out the pattern itself. So, that answers that question.

I'm working on becoming a better seller. I ordered business cards from V!staPr!nt, and they should be here soon. I bought red ribbon, rubber heart stamps & red ink, white tissue paper, and beads. I have made up care labels to attach to each scarf and stamped them with the red heart stamps, and will attach them with the skinny red ribbon. Then I'll wrap each scarf in the white tissue paper and tie a wider red ribbon bow around that. If I have to ship them, I'll wrap each one in plastic.

On the business side, I've been thinking about how to keep up with the expenses and track yarn purchases to specific sales. A coworker suggested using Qu!ckB00ks at work but I'm not sure if I should do that. I have to talk to my mentor about other, work-related things, so I will ask him then. For now, I have an Exc3l workbook set up to track everything. I've designated one of my checking accounts to be strictly for this little business, and after I get my W@chovia credit card paid off (it has a relatively low balance), I'll use it if I need to for business stuff. I plan to become an LLC next year, I think, just in case someone has some crazy reaction and tries to sue me. For now, I will just do it under the table to figure out my business plan.

I've completed my commission for Lisalou and for my coworker LG. I just have to deliver the scarves to LG tomorrow! I've already started on the commission for GC, but real life is sidelining me.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


Well, I've been working on Lisalou's scarves for a little while and was nearly finished with the last of her order. I was thinking about what to do next, and one of my co-workers came to my desk to ask about the scarf I sold to another coworker. It ended up with her commissioning six scarves! Two or three for herself and three for Christmas gifts. The original co-worker decided that Christmas gifts sounded like a great idea and ordered two more herself. Then one of my friends saw the signature pointing to my Etsy shop, and is figuring out what colors she wants out of a FunFur scarf.


So 6-scarf coworker is getting a decent discount for such a bulk purchase. The other two - not so much.

My previous quandary has come back up again. Since I'm new to all of this - I'm not sure what the rules are for selling scarves knit from patterns. I understand that a pattern published in a book or that has to be paid for shouldn't be knit and sold. It should be gifted or kept. I have no problem with that at all. But what about free patterns? Specifically, the My So-Called Scarf pattern? I made three before I knew about rules like this, and have sold them, and they are very popular. I don't try to claim the pattern as my own and gladly point people to the website where I've found the pattern. Also, the person who posted it says that the people who came up with it don't care about the distribution. When I have sold these - I take the position that I'm charging for the materials and my time. I don't want to take credit for the pattern at all. So is this okay? To absolve my concern - I think I'm going to donate part of my profit.

I just want to make sure I'm not stepping on anyone's toes just because I'm new to this. Hm.

So, here's what they ordered:

GC: (by 12/15)
1 Seed-stitch scarf
1 Boucle garter-stitch scarf
1 FunFur scarf
3 MSCS scarves

LG: (by 11/30)
1 Boucle garter-stitch scarf
1 Seed-stitch scarf

I have one of the boucle scarves done, so I think I'll go ahead and do the seed-stitch scarf to finish LG's order. GC knows that LG's order is due sooner so I think she'll understand. I really like the yarn I've picked for this one but jesus does it shed.

Other things to figure out:
Exact pricing structure so I know how to negotiate in the case of more wholesale orders
Business cards (anyone have any recommendations for relatively inexpensive suppliers?) - went with V!staprint
Care instruction cards (I'll just print these on cardstock but I need to figure out the details) - found several websites with legends for care labels; will just prep them for each scarf as they are finished.
When to make this official as far as legal & tax issues