How to Start a Knitting Business

Knitting as a hobby-turned-business may not be highly profitable, but be sure it stays enjoyable.
Knitting as a hobby-turned-business may not be highly profitable, but be sure it stays enjoyable. (Image: Stewart Cohen/Pam Ostrow/Blend Images/Getty Images)

If you enjoy knitting and are looking for a small business idea, consider setting up a knitting business. Many knitters who knit for profit do so for fun and to pay for their hobby, as the cost of yarn can add up quickly. A knitting business has low overhead; you can knit almost anywhere, and startup costs shouldn't be, at the time of publication, more than a couple thousand dollars, to cover yarn, necessary needles and other tools.

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Developing a Plan

Before hanging out a shingle for your knitting business, think about what kind of business it will be and whether your knitting skills are advanced enough for you to produce professional-looking items. As with any business, first plan all the details of the business. Perhaps you prefer to knit what you like and put those items up for sale. Or maybe you are willing to take commissions from potential customers who admire your work and want something specific. You can also earn money by designing and selling knitting patterns.

Make these decisions before you commit:

  • What your business will entail
  • What you will charge
  • How you will market your products
  • If you will take custom orders

Selling Your Knitted Products

Now that you know what you want to knit, think about how you are going to sell your finished products. You can enter craft shows and sell your work at a table display, establish yourself on an online craft-selling website, or create your own website. Ask at area yarn shops if they hire knitters to knit samples for their stores to show off yarns and patterns. Local gift shops that sell handmade products are another potential market.

Selling Your Designs

If you are able to design your own knitting patterns, selling your designs can be another income stream for your knitting business. Create your patterns in a visually appealing format, with clear instructions and photos of the finished product, and save them as PDF files, which are easy to print out and send in emails. Beyond selling your patterns on your business website and at the craft shows you attend, try marketing them to local yarn stores and even to knitting magazines.

How to Price Your Products

Knowing how to price handknitted items for sale can be difficult. The cost of the yarn alone for a simple hat can be as much as $10 to $30 or more, at the time of publication, depending upon the fiber and its quality. Add to the yarn the cost of the time you invest in knitting that hat, and you may feel you have to price the hat beyond what a potential customer might pay. Some knitters ask their customers to buy the yarn for a given project and then charge only for the labor to knit the item. Other knitters research the going rate for a particular hand-knitted item and try to align their prices with the price the market will bear.

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