Meet the Maker with Melissa of Woods and Wool

Here on my blog today, I have a very inspirational and talented maker, Melissa, from Woods and Wool. If you are a part of the Instagram maker community, you surely know and love Melissa's cheery smile.

Melissa runs an Etsy shop where she offers ready to ship unique crocheted items and patterns. Along with running her small business, she inspires and helps other makers through her live videos on Instagram and through the Maker Strong Community.

I was so happy when Melissa agreed to do a small interview for Meet the Maker as I know she would be able to offer valuable information for fellow makers and aspiring makers alike.

In the interview Melissa talks about her small business, pricing advice, Maker Strong, and more.

How did you come up with the name 'Woods and Wool'?

My husband, Austin, actually gets credit for this. :) I had been racking my brain for weeks to come up with the perfect name for my Instagram handle/Etsy shop. Austin and I were headed up to northern Michigan and I'll never forget as we were going down a winding road, surrounded by beautiful trees, he said "What about woods and wool?" We both love the outdoors, Austin loves woodworking (even though you don't see a ton of it on the Woods and Wool feed), and it just felt right. So that was it. I made the Instagram account about 2 minutes later. :)

What inspired you to start selling your items and to set up an Etsy shop?

I started to meet fellow "millennial makers" in real life and they had online shops and sold at craft fairs. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world and dreamed of doing the same... It took me a little while to figure out what my brand would look like, but those friends really inspired me to take the first steps and try it out.

With having a full-time job, how do you make time for your small business?

I've realized that if I don't prioritize my maker goals, they won't happen. Sometimes that means giving up other things, but it's just a matter of figuring out what is important to you and making it happen.

I also love planning! When I set out to create a new pattern, I create a schedule for myself and for my testers to set the expectation and stay accountable. I should say that my testers are the best and have never let me down, so the deadlines are mostly so that I don't let them down! It also helps me to announce a release date on Instagram so that I have to stick to it! I've done this for my Fall Collection release and all of my pattern releases so far.

How do you find craft fairs to sell at? Do you have any do's & don'ts for craft fairs?

I consider myself a rookie to the craft fair world still, but my biggest suggestion is to find fairs that are during the right time of year and draw in the right audience. I've found websites with information about craft fairs in my area where I can compare how many people attend a fair, whether they have to pay to get in, and even if there is food served or live music. You can really hone in on what fairs would be a good fit for you! I booked both of my craft fairs 6+ months in advance which gave me peace of mind and plenty of time to prepare!

Pricing can be tricky to figure out for crocheters wanting to sell their finished items. How do you suggest handmade items be priced?

To keep it simple, I always suggest using your material cost + hourly rate to find your wholesale price. If you're not sure what your hourly rate should be, start with at LEAST the minimum wage in your area. You should also consider any overhead costs into this number. Then, you multiply the wholesale price by 1.75 to create your retail cost, which now includes a profit margin! Yay!

I know you and a few other makers are very passionate about helping the maker community and have created a MakerStrong Facebook group. Could you tell us more about that and who can join?

Maker Strong is an educational and inspirational community all about boosting maker confidence and building profitable businesses. The group started as a mission by Chantal (@knitatude), Toni (@tlyarncrafts), and myself to help support and encourage other makers to know their worth. Anyone can follow along at @makerstrong on Instagram, or by joining the Facebook group here!

If you can give any advice or tips to someone aspiring to make and sell their handmade items, what would you tell them?

I would tell them to stop waiting for the perfect time, and just go for it! I constantly have to remind myself that "done is better than perfect" and you just have to start somewhere. Little by little, you'll find your way and keep getting better and better!

I hope you enjoyed Melissa's interview! She's such a gem and is so positive and genuine. If you haven't followed her on Instagram yet, I recommend it - you won't regret it! Along with her beautiful photos, she always has encouraging words and valuable information to share.
Once you've followed her on Instagram, be sure to check out her Etsy and visit her blog!

Insta: @woodsandwool