How I Made Almost 3k in 30 Days With Crochet Bow Ties

The story of Crobow begins with a rambunctious 15 year-old punk (aka, me). After discovering the Krochet Kids story at a school assembly, I was curious. These three dudes didn’t just crochet: they also built a brand that had a positive impact on the world. So I went home that night and asked my gramma if she knew how to crochet.

She didn’t. (Just kidding, how would I be telling this story if she didn’t.)

She did know how to crochet and she agreed to teach me that night. Let’s just say, by the next morning I had my first complete beanie (or toque for all you Canadians) done.

The Spark

Fast forward five years. A thought popped into my mind one Sunday morning as I was getting ready for church.

Bow ties. I like bow ties. I think they’re stylish, classy, and unique. It adds something to an outfit. A splash of personality. Everyone’s got that friend who is into them.

“I wonder if I could crochet a bow tie…”

No pattern, no plan, no nothing. Just me, a crochet hook, and some yarn. Fifteen minutes later I had a bow tie to wear to church.

I got more response than I expected. All positive. So I wore it to work. More compliments. So I wore it to the local business events. What do you know, more smiling faces. Some people even wanted to buy one.

Hold up, other people want these too? And they’re willing to pay for them? This just got real.

The Beginning

Long story short, my co-founder (aka, my best friend from high school) and I launched a Kickstarter. Actually, we did a boatload of work two months before the Kickstarter (if you want details on that let me know). So, we launched, and the results surprised us both.

Here’s the Kickstarter page.

Original goal: $2500
Actual pledged: $2915 in 30 days

A success! After all the time and energy, people actually wanted the product enough to pre-buy it. That’s pretty cool. Another key statistic to this story was the email list.

Email list: 129

I know, that’s tiny, but that was the biggest email list I’ve ever made, so I was proud.

So we’ve got some sales, we’ve got a little audience.

Now what?

The Business

The next step was to make a website and see if people would go there and continue to buy bow ties.

After completing all the Kickstarter orders, building the site, and building some buzz for our new website, we launched.

And… crickets.

Okay, so how were we going to get eyeballs to this new website?

The Strategies

  1. Email list — that 129 people, none of them converted. I sent 2 textbook emails and got no response.
  2. Instagram promotion — 600 followers, but none of them bought when we launched our website.
  3. Facebook ads — paid $20 for 2 clicks (which is weird because I’ve made Facebook ads with $0.30 cost per click)

The Results

Unfortunately, though the Kickstarter was successful (and that was a grand an glorious time), the novelty had wore off for our followers (or so I suspect).

When talking to anyone about the idea after the Kickstarter I would often hear this,

“That’s such a cool idea! I can see how that could get big. And they are made so well!”
“Well thank you! Would you like to buy one? I’ve got a couple right here…” -me
“Oh, I don’t wear bow ties.”

So after long deliberation, my co-founder and I decided to close up shop. It was a successful project, and we were content with leaving it at that. If nothing else, it put a little extra change in our pockets for the coming holidays, and it’s something fun to put on our resumes.

What I Learned

There was a lot to learn from this project. The shear timeline of it meant that I had to consume various aspects of business to pull it all together. Here are some of the main points:

  • If scalability was a 1–10, crocheting bow ties would be a -50
  • For physical products, images are everything (for both product shots and Instagram)
  • For Kickstarter you MUST bring your own audience. You can’t just publish it and hope people see it. They will not.
  • There’s something magical about yarn and handmade goods. Maybe that’ll come up in an idea later on.
  • Create a shipping process BEFORE you have to start fulfilling orders.
  • Packlane is awesome for quick, custom product packaging.
  • Above all: know who your audience is and where they are. Without that, you’ll blindly spend money on things that don’t matter.

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