How a needlework/crafts channel hit 33K subscribers & $800/mo

Sep 29 2022
Case Studies

Channel Overview

Channel Overview

Name – Danielle Jones (Stitcherista)
Niche – Needlework/crafts
Subscribers – ~33K
Watch time – 1,466,430 hours (lifetime), 9,067 hours (monthly)
Revenue ($ per month) – ~$800/month
Videos published – 776
Date of first video – July 19, 2016
Employees – 0 (solo)

Why/what made you want to start this YouTube channel?

I was at a baby shower casually chatting to my friend about needlework projects and she said, “Oh yeah, I saw a similar project on YouTube”. I replied “Huh?” out of surprise.

She said “Go home, search ‘needlework’ on YouTube and then text me”. When I did, I immediately texted back with “OMG, we need to do a channel!”. And I did my first video the very next day.

Cross stitch and crafting can be a very isolating hobby. So I felt I could connect with and help others by sharing my projects, thoughts, purchases and tutorials. I’d been a cross stitcher for forty years, so I had lots to share about it.

I had no intention of making money from my channel. I just wanted to share my love of needlework. I didn’t even monetize my channel for the first two years.

How did you get started?

I watched videos of other similar YouTubers in the crafts niche (like The Stash Queen and Coffee Stitcher) and took notes. Then, I made a brief outline (talking points) so my video would be cohesive and not all over the place.

To film, I didn’t buy any extra gear at first. I just balanced my cell phone on a stack of boxes, filmed in my home office/craft room and used Windows Movie Maker to edit.

It took me eight tries to get my first video right.

First Video 1

Stitcherista’s first video (19 July 2016)

Later, I purchased a tripod but I still film all my videos in my home office and use Windows Movie Maker to edit.

How & when did you get to 10, 100, 1000 subscribers and ultimately partnered to where you are currently?

I hit 10 subscribers almost immediately. To get there, I shared my channel on my Instagram page, but also to a needlework Facebook group I belonged to.

I hit 100 subscribers around a week after starting. To get there, every time I posted a video I would link the video on my Instagram page and the needlework group I belonged to (which had roughly 20,000 members).

I hit 1,000 subscribers within a year. When I first started my channel there weren’t many creators focused on needlework. So just by linking my videos on Instagram and the needlework Facebook group, I became fairly popular from the start. Plus, I was diagnosed with breast cancer three months after starting my channel. I chronicled my entire journey and treatment on my channel, along with my needlework.

I’d decided from the start that I was going to be fairly transparent on my channel, including my everyday life as well as my needlework/crafts.

I hit 10,000 subscribers within three years. Switching to diamond painting from cross stitch played a key role. I was getting burned out on cross stitch and I had been seeing diamond painting pop up on my feed on Facebook, so I decided to give it a try and I was hooked. So my journey in diamond painting garnered me many thousands of subscribers who were also diamond painters.

Diamond Painting Success

Diamond painting videos seemed to do well vs cross stitch

I promoted my videos like normal (via Instagram and the Facebook group). But at the time, the (COVID-19) pandemic had started and many people were locked down at home searching for hobbies. Diamond painting was a huge hit so my videos popped up in searches. The YouTube algorithm also may have had something to do with the growth.

How much money are you making (and how)?

The channel currently averages ~$800/month from:

  • AdSense – ~$700/month (87.5%)
  • Paid subscribers (supporters) – ~$100/month (12.5%)

When I reached 30,000 subscribers, the “Join” button was enabled for my channel. In my videos, I casually mentioned that if people wanted to support me and the channel, they could become a paid subscriber.

Membership Options

In the beginning, I did a video just for gold members once a month but with my full-time job and daily content schedule, it became too much. I lost some paid subscribers but those who remain support me for the sake of supporting me because they’ve been around for many years now.

In the past, I’d review products related to needlework or diamond painting in exchange for receiving the product for free. But I stopped this.

After a few years, [reviewing products] became cumbersome and I felt I couldn’t give an honest review because I was receiving it for free.

What does your content creation process look like (after finding an idea)?

Finding ideas

In the beginning, I had so many ideas because I’d never shared any of my needlework projects/thoughts apart from a few people. After that, I looked to communities.

A lot of my ideas came from needle-work and cross-stitch related Facebook groups. People would ask questions and I would say to myself, “Oh, I know how to solve that problem”. Then I would do a video about it and post a link in the group.

What my schedule looks like

When starting out, I only did a video once a week. In the meantime, I’d been writing down so many other ideas for videos that soon I was uploading a video every single day.  

I created one video per day for many years until I burned out.

Now, I make videos five days a week, where I update my viewers on my current needlework project, books I am reading, TV shows/movies I am watching, and life.

Creating videos

Initially, I took notes on a legal pad during the week about what I wanted to talk about in next week’s video. Today I still jot down notes on a legal pad for the next day’s video, just so I don’t forget items/topics I want to talk about.

I have a tripod, use my cell phone to record and Windows Movie Maker to edit/render my videos.

Since I do a video five days a week, I used PicMonkey and copyright free images (from Pinterest and Dreamstime) to create thumbnails. A friend also has created some thumbnails for me. From time to time, I’ll also take my own picture and use PicMonkey to make the thumbnail.

Promoting my content

I don’t promote my content anymore.

I have had my channel for six years now, work full-time as an editor, and am married with a household to manage. I have a core group of subscribers that watch almost everything I put out.

What are the key lessons you’ve learned from your journey?

Be yourself! Viewers will know if you are not authentic and want to see that you’re human and relatable. Every video doesn’t have to be over-produced and made perfect to within an inch of its life.

Don’t start with the intent of making money or being able to quit your current job.  Start the channel because you love whatever topic you are talking about/demonstrating.

Keep it simple. You don’t need over-the-top production quality and all the extra stuff. Your cell phone and a simple tripod from Amazon is really all you need to get started.

Make sure to look into the camera and not at yourself so it looks like you are looking at the audience.

Remember you can’t please everyone all the time. This is your channel, so do what you like and don’t be afraid to pivot if something isn’t working. Allow yourself and your channel to be fluid as trends change and things happen in our world.

Try not to let the negative comments get to you, although this is easier said than done.  Everyone receives negative comments and calling them out is a waste of energy. People who leave hate comments want attention, and just blocking them and moving on diffuses that right away.

I have said many times on my channel “If you don’t like me or what I am showing or how I am talking, all you need to do is click off of the video.”

Where can we find out more about you? And is there anything else you’d like to add?

Aside from my YouTube channel, you can follow me on Instagram @stitcherista

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