Vivienne Jackson with her business Peach Unicorn Designs was a finalist in the ‘Expert Seller’ category of the eBay for Business Awards 2017. Vivienne has built up her business in a real niche – crochet and knitting patterns.
Not being enough simply to design her own patterns, Vivienne has engaged her audience with a series of How to video guides to demonstrate her expertise. This is Viviennes story in her own words:
How Vivenne got hooked on Crochet
Ever since the age of 10, when my mother taught me to knit, I have been crafty and I have developed a love for all types of yarn and threads. I merrily knitted, cross stitched, long stitched, did tapestry and rug making as a hobby for 20+ years. In 2013, we were invited to a ‘Barn Dance’ and I needed cowboys hats for my 2 girls then aged 3 months and 17 months.
I searched high and low for baby cowboy hats and the only thing I found was a 0-6 month crochet pattern. I had never thought of crocheting before this moment, I had always pictured grandmas making doilies and lace, but this cowboy hat was gorgeous. I bought the pattern but it was gobbledygook to me! Determined to make these hats, I ordered my yarn and crochet hooks through eBay, of course, and I learnt to crochet. Pretty hard at first, holding and moving the hook felt unnatural, but after a few days practice it became second nature. I successfully made the hat and then managed to redesign the pattern to create a larger hat for my 17 month old. From that moment I was ‘hooked’ and I realised the unlimited potential of this wonderful art.
Peach Unicorn Designs first eBay sales
I experimented with crocheting, trying various shaping and textures, etc. I started to consider the potential of selling my designs and decided to list my first 4 patterns (Lion, Cow, Duck and Horse pillows). Within an hour all four designs had made a sale – it was exciting! Sales continued steadily but it was when I released my ‘Precious Baby Blanket’ pattern, that I realised this was going to be a success and that I would be able to make a small living selling my designs, I was elated when the pattern quickly moved to the 1st page on the ‘Crochet Patterns’ best match eBay search and my sales started to double. More blanket patterns were added and they also moved to the top portion of the rankings.
How to crochet video series
I received lots of enquiries from crafters, wanting to make up my patterns, who couldn’t crochet – could I help? In response, I created my ” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>How To Crochet video series, loaded them onto Youtube and embedded them into my eBay store to help beginners to learn the craft and also to talk other crocheters through my unique designs. I also made free practice patterns to work along side my videos, including my very popular Cancer Support lap blanket patterns which I created to raise money for Cancer Research. These give crocheters the chance to create a beautiful supportive blanket for a loved one.
Peach Unicorn Designs product expansion
I extended my selling to include some wonderful ‘hard to locate’ Canadian and US yarns that I use in all my new designs. All my yarn orders are sent out in an organza bag sewn by myself with a peach ribbon for a personal touch.
I have received many enquiries over the last few years asking for a knitted version of my designs, so I have recently been working on converting the crochet blanket patterns to knitting patterns. I have completed three, which have been released over the last couple of months. The sales are very promising and they are moving up the rankings nicely.
I am continually expanding my range of both crochet and knitting patterns, (each pattern can take 2 to 3 months from design through to testing). I am working on numerous pattern ideas and I receive lots of patterns requests from customers with varying experience.
I am keen to extend my yarn stores with more brands of the popular US and Canadian yarns which are either currently unavailable in the UK or are very hard to find.
While studying for my International Diploma of Crochet I’ve learnt the beautiful art of Tunisian crochet. This almost hybrid of crochet and knitting gives me another great opportunity for pattern designs supported by a further ‘How to’ video series.