When I started designing patterns for the Countryside Softies book, there were decisions to be made regarding materials. I tend to work mainly using a base of felted wool, and for a number of reasons chose to stick with this as it's easy to work with, very forgiving for those who are a bit nervous about their stitching, and also I do love the way it looks for the finished piece.
But, I was also aware that Softie design is already a fairly smallish market, and one which was reduced further by the use of felted wool. I've had quite a few emails from crafters struggling to find wool clothing suitable to use. My own stash has not been added to as often as I would like. I will still be using felted wool for items I make myself, but it's what they call a 'no brainer' for any PDF patterns I release to use fabrics as their base. Which means I'm now working on choosing which fabrics to use for which designs, which is actually amazingly hard, as from a business perspective, the fabrics can't overpower the design as the images of the finished pieces are what will potentially sell the patterns.
Also, as a way of giving my patterns a bit of kerb appeal, it's all about the added extras. This is why I'm aiming for the patterns to include other bits and pieces, like the cat pattern will be a large cat design alongside the kitten, mouse and a miniature ball of wool. I'm also waiting till I've got 3 patterns complete, as if I launch three instead of just one initially, again from a business perspective it gives more opportunities to run launch offers, 2 for 1 that kind of thing.
As an aside, do you think there is a market for scrap bags of felted wools? It's something I'm going to give a try, but one factor coming up against the idea is our UK postal system and the recent increased charges! Not good for small businesses at all and it's leaving many to have to re-think their product range entirely, which is a real shame.