By the looks of things, my business will be changing over towards the end of July or beginning of August, and the biggest change that will be visible is the change in currency and prices.

My main currency - on this website and on Etsy - will change to Euros. Ravelry, Craftsy, Kitterly & Patternfish will remain in US Dollars. And I'll keep LoveKnitting as the one place for Sterling, because I'd like there to be somewhere that is. Makerist will remain in Euros, as it is now.

Because I have to switch currencies, it also means a juggle in prices, mostly to align with the EU prices that are already established.

Prices in US dollars haven't changed in a very long time, years, and that does need to adjust slightly to match my prices in Euros. The one I feel most awkward about is the change to Sterling - this one had an increase most recently (just over 2 years ago) and the fall in value of the currency means I gotta do it again. But it is what it is.

You'll know that these business changes back end are pretty big - getting incorporated and VAT registered and all the grown up things - and in many ways I'm glad it's all happening at once... we've one big bump to work around and hopefully everything will settle soon enough.

Going forward, the new prices will be:

ePatterns
€5.50 : $7 : £4.75

eBooks
<4 patterns: €12 : $14 : £11
<10 patterns: €14 : $17 : £13
10 patterns: €16 : $19 : £14
>10 patterns: €20 : $24 : £18

I will be paying the VAT, just as I do now.

These prices will be effective as soon as the business moves, and right now I can't give an exact date but as I said, it'll hopefully be in the next 4 to 6 weeks. Anyhows, I know I've no need to justify any of this but since it's all of you lovely folks who buy my work that keeps the food on the table and a roof over our heads, I like to be transparent where I can.

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Thank you for the fantastic response to my donation drive! I wasn't sure how well we'd do as it's the lowest point in the season, but we've topped €530 so far! I was hopeful I'd have €500 or thereabouts to donate by the end of the month, so I'm pretty chuffed.

I know a lot of folks like to turn to their knitting as a way of escaping what's going on in the world, and I get that - I do. But I don't have that luxury. The situation we're in - which could get more precarious, who knows - has been bought about by politics. The rise of far right politics, mostly.

So as much as a few people complained about my most recent newsletter (where I didn't talk about the situation as in depth as I did here) the current state of things here and my want to do something is personal. Good for you that the current politics doesn't affect you, that you can ignore it, but we're not all in the same boat. Thanks for your understanding.

(besides which, politics is everywhere, in everything. Making a donation to charity is political; choosing to support independant businesses is political; and choosing to abstain or ignore politics is political, too.)

Thank you to all of you for your continued support. It's been a difficult few weeks and I'm glad we're all still moving forward!

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead
CategoriesIndie Biz
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I've been talking to a couple of good indie dyer friends of mine about ways that I can support them beyond what I already do. Stopping print wholesale will be less of an issue for shops but more of an issue for dyers, as they won't have access to the Ravelry In-store system. So I got thinking, and would appreciate some feedback?

 
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Business cards with pattern details

This is the first idea I had, and it's something I can easily do for dyers in the UK or EU. 

For the new collection and for Elemental, I could put together business cards that have images on one side, then yardage/gauge/size info on the back, with the URL of where to buy the collection. This would ideally be coupled with the dyer knitting a sample or two, and I'm up for sending you a gift download link if you get in touch.

Maybe business cards wouldn't be big enough, maybe postcards would be better... and as I'd be printing a fair few the cost would be relatively low for me. I could then send these out to dyers in batches of 50 or so, gratis, and then you have something to give to your customers when they buy yarn based on the sample they've seen.

Win win, except I'm not going to be sending envelopes of heavy paper around the world! 

So then I got thinking about downloadables, so you could print them yourself. However, I'm not sure whether the business/postcard sizes would suit dyers, as having them printed professionally is going to cost and that might be prohibitive, and I imagine that some/many dyers may prefer to print at home? And if so, what size do I make the downloadables? Or would having the business/postcard sizes available for free download be enough, and then you'll juggle how to print them yourselves?

Do let me know what would be easiest - if I'm going to make a resource pack for dyers I want it to reach as many as possible.

 
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A workaround for wholesale

So print wholesale has been nipped in the bud, and yarn stores can purchase through the Ravelry In-store sales system, but that doesn't help dyers.

I have worked with a few dyers, either by them ordering wholesale print from Magcloud, or by me printing an exclusive set of (printed) patterns that I then invoice for, and going forward neither of these will be an option.

But how about I still prepare the digital file, you buy a license to print however many from me, then you print them yourself? The invoice would simply be for a digital license, calculated on however many copies you think you'll need to print. For some that maybe only 10, for others 50. Digital Printing in the UK is where I usually get consumables printed and their rates are pretty reasonable. They've branches in Ireland, too, although I'm not sure if they'll ship to the EU. I could also make a US Letter version of the file, as well as A4, so I could offer this out worldwide.

The other option is to invoice for however many single use download codes, which you could then add to a postcard or leaflet, but most indie dyers have told me that if possible, folks like to buy the printed pattern at shows alongside the yarn?

Please do give me some feedback on this! It will involve some trust but I don't have a problem with that - I have a pretty good relationship with dyers.

 
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Any other suggestions?

If there's something I've not mentioned that you'd like to see in action to support indie dyers, please do let me know in the comments below! Obviously I've my own limitations to factor too but I want to try and find clever solutions that suit both of us.

I really like the downloadables idea - free marketing material that you can download and print off. I could set up a separate page or include them on the collections' pages, alongside the blogger/reviewer press packs.

But I'm sure there's more I could do, so do let me know :)

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead
CategoriesIndie Biz
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A few questions have come up, so I'll take the opportunity to explain things further.

Firstly, print = hard copies - I absolutely will continue to publish PDFs for as long as I'm in business!

Should a future relationship with a distributor or publisher develop, whereby they handled printing and stock and it was stated clearly in my contract that I only receive royalties, then I should think that would be OK. The problem with Magcloud is that it's a 3rd party that essentially makes me the publisher, and although it's not used that way, it could be, and that's the concern. Being a business that manages tangible stock would move me into a different business bracket and I can't justify the extra work and cost involved with that.

I used to have a nice little set-up for print wholesale that allowed shops and dyers to buy directly from Magcloud at wholesale prices, and I only receive the royalties. When sterling crashed after the referendum the print wholesale side of my business was basically killed off, as many of my customers were in the UK and everything on Magcloud is set in US dollars - everything became too expensive for them. 

Digital sales remains strong through Ravelry In-store sales, so you can still support your LYS that way. I'm sad to no longer be able to support them with print, but more and more shops are moving away from print to digital, and increasingly I think you'll find less options for print unless it's for something very niche like the big books Susan Crawford likes to produce.

I am hoping to continue to have sample copies of my eBooks in print format, as they'll belong to the business and not be for sale, but I'll need to double check that with the accountant. They're really useful for Hat clinics, trunk shows and workshops, as you can see quite clearly what's inside the eBook which you can't do with digital in any other way.

And having checked, I can't sell eBooks via Magcloud without first selling a print option, so that platform will be closing entirely. It will take a little while to set up the new company and move all the accounts and I will try to keep that shop open as long as possible for you to get your last minute purchases.

There are some more important changes I need to talk about but I'll finish up here now and write the rest during the week!

Posted
AuthorWoolly Wormhead
CategoriesIndie Biz

You'll know that over the years my relationship with print hasn't always been straightforward. I've never wanted to hold tangibles - the idea of having boxes of dead trees around fills me with dread, and I've never wanted to have money tied up in those boxes. That's not a criticism of anyone else's business model, as we all do things the way that suits us best and I know that if I was a big book person myself I would probably push the print side more. But I'm not - I prefer digital books and am never keen to have too much stuff.

Despite this, I've always tried to keep print options open. POD (print on demand) has served that area, as have print distributors of my patterns. But slowly, those areas have slipped away for various reasons, the biggest of which is the low level of sales compared to the amount of work preparing items for print takes.

And now, for a slightly different reason, I'll be closing that last remaining print option.

 
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As I'm sure many of you are aware, Brexit leaves us in a very difficult position... one that will cost us a lot and see us jumping through too many hoops just to try and hold onto what we have here. Yesterday the stress of it all broke me but today I picked myself up and carried on, because I have to.

One of the most important things I need to do is separate me and my business. In the UK I'm a sole-trader, which means me and my business are the same thing. It's the simplest way to do things (it should surprise no-one that I like to keep admin simple!) and it means I'm not officially a registered business. Truth be told I never wanted to be, and one of the few original aims I had was to not be enough of a business to get VAT registered!

But that all has to change. I'm also not very far away turnover wise from the UK VAT threshold so I know the time to change is here whichever way you look at it.

I did think to get incorporated in the UK, as it would make sense to not have to learn a whole set of new tax laws, but we have to do the latter anyway if we're to move our residency to Italy (and nope, I'm not moving my business there - the tax laws are eye watering).  And it's daft to keep my business in a currency that we're not using daily - the drop in the value of Sterling has made the cost of our daily living much more expensive.

There are fortunately options for micro businesses to incorporate abroad, and Estonia is leading the way on this with it's e-residency program. And the companies that offer accountancy services also help set up the business and get you through the process quickly and efficiently for a very reasonable fee (you see why I went this route, yes?). The whole set up is progressive and streamlined and has been very popular with freelancers, digital nomads and the like.

Having done some research and talked to a few companies, I think I've found a company (agency?) to work with who sits well with me. The downside is no tangibles in terms of sales. Having discussed how the Magcloud set up works they're still not keen to support that and rather than lose the opportunity, I've decided to close the POD door for good.

What I earn through Magcloud - both on eBook and print book sales combined - comes to less than 1% of my turnover. So POD sales would be about 0.5%-0.6% of my turnover. And considering how much time and extra effort it takes to prepare for print, and how much I need to reduce and streamline admin, it doesn't make sense to try and fight to keep POD on the table going forward. I closed POD wholesale last month and had been toying with the idea of shutting POD across the board, and this move of business has been the deciding factor.

I know I have a few customers that prefer print and I hope you can appreciate that I've tried to keep that option open but do need to move with my needs and my business.

I'll leave the print option open for as long as I can but I suspect it'll be shut within about a week. If you'd like to get a print copy of any of the books I offer on Magcloud, you may wish to do that sooner rather than later! (I will though try to keep the eBooks on Magcloud, though I'm not sure that's an option without the print side...)

Thanks for your understanding :)

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead
6 CommentsPost a comment

I'm considering myself pretty lucky to have been able to continue to work through the worst of my right shoulder freeze, and throw together both Circled and Elemental, the two collections I'm proudest of.

To do so, I needed to change my knitting style. I'm an English Thrower, and a very sloppy one at that. According to articles I've read my knitting style is meant to be the slowest and the messiest yet it's served me well for 44 years (I am very far from being slow or messy). To make things more comfortable for my right shoulder I changed ever so slightly so that more of the throwing motion was managed by the left hand, or at least, more of the movement was. And thus I could knit pretty easily and still keep my right shoulder from too much repetitive action.

Fast forward to my left shoulder being seriously grumpy and my right shoulder reminding me it's not ready for a return to our old ways, and knitting is difficult. 

I picked up my interest in wanting to learn the Continental method, and also the Combined method, but I very quickly found that the motion required by my left hand, in particular that one finger (that in turn made the wrist grumpy) was too much - knitting this way was actually more painful than trying to throw. So I gave up (the knit stitch is easy but the purl stitch is all kinds of illogical and definitely more work that my hands wanted to do).

And so I was stuck.

My throwing style isn't wild, and I can throw quite easily without finger tensioning and without moving my shoulders all that much. (I literally drop everything - needle and yarn - as I wrap a stitch) That in turn though puts more pressure on the elbow and wrist which my right arm is fine with but my left very much isn't. But because of the way I do it, it doesn't take too much effort to tweak things. I don't need to ask a joint to lean something new, just ask it to do a little more or less.

I'd been hunting for some affordable decent supports (of the splint non-compression variety) and eventually found some, so ordered myself one for each hand and one for the elbow. I only need the elbow one at night, and my right hand doesn't need it most of the time. The left hand one has been crucial - and it has made all the difference.

When I wear the wrist support, I can knit. My right shoulder is still doing as little as possible and my left side is still sharing the load, but my left wrist is supported. I knit a whole Hat in one day on worsted yarn and my arm ached a little the next day, but that was it. No deep nerve pain or screaming joints. And this can only improve.

 
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Today I'm pattern writing, and that feels like such a huge jump from where I've been at these last few months! Finishing these two Hats, and being happy with them, is a turning point.

I'm pretty organic in my designing, in that I always have an idea of what I want to do before I start, but it's very much done on the needles, with an awful lot of tweaking going on. I can design it all up front and then knit, but I find the work I produce that way very dry - as far as I'm concerned, it's those details that I change when it's on the needles that make the difference. Even when I'm knitting sideways, which means I have the whole thing charted before I even cast on, I go back and change things. My Hat is my swatch, it's a live test for my ideas, and I enjoy working this way. But it does mean more knitting.

I think, subconsciously, I've put more effort into getting as much planned as possible before I cast on. That said, I'm very much about the process and even if I did get it all perfect before casting on, I'd have to go and reknit some aspect just to satisfy that part of my brain. I'm not satisfied until I've corrected something, otherwise it seems too easy? But I'm pretty certain that I've streamlined this side of things, too. Because I've had to.

Invariably I find pattern writing the least enjoyable bit of the design and publishing process, but right now I'm feeling lifted by the knowledge that there's something to write down.

I'll reveal more about the yarn and these patterns later in the year - someone's bound to ask so that's all I'm saying for now! I can say that the stitch pattern is very enjoyable to knit and an awful lot simpler than it looks (we like those ones).

Posted
AuthorWoolly Wormhead
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