facets of the business

I often realize that there are many different facets to my business, Gwen Erin Natural Fibers. While it may have started as a knitting-focused endeavor, things have definitely changed. When I am at craft show, where most customers expect to buy finished goods, I usually get a few people who ask about my mitts as if I am there solely for the purpose of giving them ideas for their next personal knitting project. They flip the mitt over and over again, trying to figure out exactly how I created it. “Oh, I can do that,” they inform me. “I never said you couldn’t,” I think. Even though these interactions bother me, I’ve come to the conclusion that knitwear is not my primary focus. Rather, I am in the business of selling fiber and yarn. If I can encourage a customer to purchase yarn because they see what I’ve made with it, then I’ve still made a sale. I have now come to see my finished goods as samples-for-sale. Of course, if I were actually able to record the patterns for the things I make, all the better!

There are two main types of events I participate in, and they have slightly different inventory. This can be confusing sometimes. Why didn’t I bring my spindles to the Holiday Art Show? Because I didn’t make them. Below I have outlined the major characteristics for these two types of events.

Yarn/Fiber Shows

  • Items must be fiber related
  • Large quantity of fiber & yarn
  • Spinning & knitting tools (including resale items)
  • No finished items (or a very limited selection)
  • Typically a “booth” space (10×10, 10×12 or 8×8)

Craft Shows

  • Everything must be handmade by the artist/crafter
  • Focus on finished items: knitwear, jewelry, housewares
  • Smaller selection of fiber
  • No resale items (spindles, notions, etc.)
  • Typically a single table (6 or 8 foot)


In addition to “live” sales, I have had an online shop since 2008. Recently I shifted from using Etsy to using Storenvy. One of the main reasons I made this decision was financial. Also, I wanted to step away from the restriction of only selling handmade items (not that it really matters on Etsy anymore). My goal was to create a separate branch of the business, a way to differentiate the online aspect and keep it open during festival season. This led me to create a destashing shop. The fiber inventory listed there will only be available online.

Having all these different aspects to my business can get confusing, but it also makes me very versatile. I can shift from one type of event to another, recreating myself as I go. My display changes with the inventory, but the theme stays the same: natural fibers!

2 Responses to facets of the business

  1. Very good article. Very clear and informative . Enjoyed reading it and seeing what you do.

  2. April says:

    Versatility is a very good thing and something I’m trying to work on myself. Good to hear that you’ve found something that works for you and is open to change as time progresses.
    April recently posted..Wander the Web 39My Profile

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