Monday, May 6, 2013

Small Business Upgrade

Insert crackly announcer voice:
"We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog for this special report..."

Some of you may have noticed a link I added at the bottom of my last post (some of you are probably even wondering why I'm posting twice on the same day). That link, in case you missed it, goes to my entry in a contest for small businesses to win $5,000 for business improvements. I can't even tell you how much $1,000 would mean to me right now, let alone five times that.

1. I know that my patterns aren't the best they could be. I do most of the photography myself. I do all of my own charts. I haven't designed sweaters because I'm not ambitious enough at math to attempt grading. The FU scarf had to be updated a few times because of errors. This money would mean I'd be able to pay a tech editor and photographer, and maybe even a couple of sample knitters, making my turn around time infinitely faster.

2. All of my photos are taken with a crappy little point-and-shoot. I'd love to be able to get an SLR (even a low end or used one) and possibly some lighting, both for photoshoots and for actual craft usage. An OTT light has been on my wishlist since I was working for a craft store in high school.

3. Most of my samples are knit with acrylic yarn. I got a box of it for free last year. It's not great, but it will suffice. I'd love to get a mix of fibers, though, so that I could experiment with different techniques and garment types. It would also be nice to have a swift for winding those hanks of yarn into a ball.

4. My "studio" is currently just storage. I can't even afford a table and chair from the thrift store (at least, not one that is even remotely sturdy/comfortable), let alone nice storage. So right now, I just have a stack of plastic notes and a couple of cardboard boxes down there. It would be nice to have some bookcases and/or units with drawers for storing and labeling yarn and fabric.

5. I'd be able to join professional organizations like The National Needlearts Association and The Knitting Guild Association. I used to be a member of the TKGA, but couldn't afford the fee to renew it. Joining these groups would give me better access to events, education, and other services.

6.  I'd be able to advertise my patterns, and if my book proposal is rejected, I'd have a base to use for self publishing costs and advertising.

7. I've been using Excel/Numbers for my charts. I'd like to get some actual chart-creation software, and something that I can use to create graphics/schematics. In an ideal world, I'd also go back to working on a Mac, and purchase another backup hard drive for saving files in case of another computer implosion like I had at the end of last year.

In the off chance that anything was left after all of that, it would go into overhead costs. I think I mentioned that our heat last winter ran $500/month. We will probably be moving to a cheaper place, but if we can't find one I'd like to be able to pay down some of the debt I incurred and look into alternative heating.

So, if you're so inclined, please take a moment to vote for me here, and please share the link if you could. I only have until the 12, and the business with the most votes get the prize!

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