Scan of the cover.
Author: Grace Dobush, 2009
Publisher: North Lights Books (Cincinnati)
This book was an unexpected discovery I made one day while browsing the arts & crafts section at my local used/new book store. I was actually looking for stitching patterns or crochet books, when I saw this book laying out in the book shelf’s “display” section. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about setting up an Etsy shop, or maybe doing some consignment arrangement, in order to sell a few of the many crafts that I’ve made. It was a used copy, and marked down 50% of its “new” price, so I went ahead and bought it.
While I haven’t read straight through it, cover-to-cover, I have browsed it extensively. Its a very useful and practical guide to setting up a small craft business. I particularly found the parts about branding, copyrighting, and pricing to be useful (although, for copyrighting, the book basically says “get a lawyer”, lol). The book is peppered with various “case-study” type examples collected from successful artisans. Additionally, there are multiple appendices filled with lots of useful links and information at the end of the book.
Here’s a brief summary of each chapter:
Chapter 1: Do you DIY?
This chapter discusses the handmade / indie trend’s history and popularity, as well as suggesting that you do some serious thinking regarding your expectations and motivations for getting into selling.
Chapter 2: Biz Basics
This chapter is focused on all of the small and big things that you need to take into consideration when naming, organizing, and running a small business. Topics include pricing, boosting production, organizing a workspace, and keeping track of income/expenses and legal issues like taxes and copyright.
Chapter 3: Selling Out
This chapter includes information about different ways to sell your products. For instance: online sites like Etsy vs craft shows vs consignment shops. It also talks about building a website and customer service, and even bartering your crafts for services and goods!
Chapter 4: Indie Craft Shows
This entire chapter is devoted to the notion of selling at craft shows, which, despite the rise of the digital era, is still probably one of the most popular and most utilized methods of selling crafts. The chapter talks about things like applying for shows, prepping products, creating displays, networking while at the show, and hosting your own show.
Chapter 5: Get Noticed
This chapter is all about marketing your business and building up a customer base. There are some suggestions about getting coverage in magazine and blogs.
Chapter 6: Finding Balance
This final chapter is about balancing your day job, family, and craft job, as well as maintaining your inventory. It has a few recommendations regarding either reducing your crafting business, or increasing it to a full time gig.
There’s also a brief Epilogue, and then the following appendixes:
- Appendix A: Forms and Templates
- Appendix B: Craft Communities
- Appendix C: Awesome Craft Blogs
- Appendix D: Craft-Friendly Publications
- Appendix E: Small Business Resources
- Appendix F: Reading List
- Appendix G: Online Consignment Shops
- Appendix H: Samples
- Appendix I: Major North American Indie Craft Shows
In A Nutshell: I am happy with is book and it was totally worth the $18 original price (I paid $9 – so, double yay!). Sure, you can find similar information and suggestions online, probably for free – but I appreciate having it all together in one place. Its sorta like having check list to work on item-by-item. If you are considering selling your crafts and want to do something more than just a one-time craft show, then I think this book and a worthwhile investment. 🙂