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The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and On-Line
     

The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and On-Line

4.0 21
by Kari Chapin
 

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Turn your craft into a successful business! Even the most expert crafters may find it challenging to market and sell their wares, but with Kari Chapin you have an experienced guide at your side. Learn to determine your cost of goods, set prices, identify the competition, and understand the ins and outs of wholesale and retail sales. Explore the various sales

Overview

Turn your craft into a successful business! Even the most expert crafters may find it challenging to market and sell their wares, but with Kari Chapin you have an experienced guide at your side. Learn to determine your cost of goods, set prices, identify the competition, and understand the ins and outs of wholesale and retail sales. Explore the various sales venues available, including independent craft fairs, Web sites such as Etsy, and traditional stores, and learn to maximize your visibility and sales in each one. Want to start your own website? Chapin shows you how to style and prop your crafts for photography and explains how the most popular Web marketplaces operate. You’ll find everything you need to turn your talent into profits.

Editorial Reviews

designer Jennifer Perkins

The Handmade Marketplace is the first small business book I have seen that is written to, for and by the Indie Crafter. It is perfect for any crafter thinking of taking that next step and selling their wares. The Handmade Marketplace is also a real page turner and enlightening read for someone who has been in the crafty biz for years.”
designer and author of Sewing Green Betz White

“D.I.Y? Why not?! The Handmade Marketplace gives you all the answers to the D-I-Whys, Whats and Hows of being a crafty-preneur in one handy, great and very informative guide!”
Amy Butler Design Amy Butler

Kari has thoughtfully created the very best guide book for navigating the craft marketplace. Her personal voice, guided by personal experience is evident throughout the book. You'll feel encouraged, inspired and informed..... totally confident to jump start your own craft business!
BookPage

"For folks who create unique things with a view to getting paid, this book should prove quite useful...for makers at any stage, from just-thinking-about-it to ready-to-quit-my-day-job."
founder of Sublime Stitching and author Embroidere Jenny Hart

It's remarkable to read so much of the information I spent years divining from trial and error between two covers! The Handmade Marketplace isn't just a guide for navigating a very unique and burgeoning market, it's a fascinating record of how so many people in the DIY movement have collectively contributed ideas about running independent businesses with cornerstones of honesty, ethics and above all: personal creativity.
Director and author of Handmade Nation Faythe Levin

The Handmade Market Place is a fantastic resource full of useful tips and guidelines from top D.I.Y. insiders. Their testimonials along with Kari Chapin's easy to follow outline and the fabulous design work of Emily Martin (aka the black apple) makes this book a must have for any makers library.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781603424776
Publisher:
Storey Books
Publication date:
02/27/2010
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
666,051
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

SETTING THE SCENE FOR SUCCESS

The very fact that you're reading this book says that you're interested in taking your handmade experience to the next level. Perhaps you want a second income stream. Maybe you're considering selling your work full-time and leaving your 9-to-5 job behind, but you want to start slowly and test the waters a bit before you take a cannonball-type leap into full-time entrepreneurship. Whatever your reasons, exploring selling your work is an exciting endeavor.

Nothing beats having your work appreciated so much that someone is willing to trade their hard-earned money to own it. (Well, the feeling of coming across your work out in the world when you weren't expecting it is a super-rush, too!) Doing what you love and actually earning money from it is an amazing feeling. Doing work you both enjoy and control while making a living is the best. It's as simple as that. Even if you love your day job, no matter what kind of satisfaction you get from it, the feeling of supporting yourself from something you created can't be beat.

If you're willing to put yourself out there and try something, selling your crafts can be a very rewarding experience. You can make it whatever you want — that is the beauty of running your own business, whether large or small. You get to be in control, and you can change your mind about the way things are happening whenever you want.

Do you like to stay up late and wake up late? You're in luck if you're your own boss because you can set your own hours. You can also determine what your projects and objectives are, and you decide how you want to measure your own success.

You'll have the opportunity to hone and develop your skills with your creative whims as your guide. Connecting with a community of buyers and likeminded sellers is a little like choosing your own coworkers. The feedback you get once you put your work out there into the world can feel like receiving a great review from a day job.

You don't need to be an expert at any one thing to make a go of trying new things. You simply need the desire to start something. You can take it anywhere you want after that. You don't have to choose just one thing, either. If your creative heart likes to decoupage and spin wool, then go for it.

For the most part, all you need to start a tidy little business is the desire to create and the desire to sell. If you choose to set up booths at craft fairs during the summer or around the holidays, well, sure, you'll need some extra supplies like a tent and table. But armed with a digital camera and a computer, you could be in business at any time.

CRAFTERS TALK ABOUT

CHOOSE JUST ONE THING? WHY?!

If there's one notion that virtually everyone in my Creative Collective agrees on, it's that you don't have to choose just one craft — or even one way of doing one craft — and stick with it forever. In the sage words of whomever it was who said it first: Variety is the spice of life.

All crafts are fair game to me — the only thing in my way from using a supply/medium is time, sometimes the know-how, and sometimes the equipment. I can usually find all three if I am dead set on learning something.

— AMY KAROL

I think however narrowly or broadly you need to define yourself or your work to make the best work you think you can make is the right decision. I personally always have conflicting feelings. I don't want to be a jack of all trades and master of none, but I also don't want to feel stifled.

— ASHLEY GOLDBERG

I don't think people have to choose only one area of focus. I believe all of the arts and crafts overlap and feed into each other and fuel new ideas. There are no boundaries where creativity is concerned.

— MATI ROSE MCDONOUGH

Setting Goals

If your schedule is already tight, you may need to consider what you want out of your business before you dig in. Setting some clear goals regarding why you want to sell your crafts will help you make some very important decisions along the way. Do you want to earn enough money to keep your craft habit afloat? Do you want extra income to pay for an annual vacation? Do you want to start a college fund for your kids? Or do you want to quit your day job and craft full-time?

Like anything else in life, your craft business will give you what you put into it. If you choose to have an online store and you want to make a big chunk of change within a year's time, you'll need to be able to devote yourself to making sure that happens. This may require spending a few hours a day updating your online store, spending Saturday mornings packing up your orders, and spending Sundays writing descriptions and uploading quality photos of your goods. Are you ready for that kind of commitment? Is your family?

If you have a family, they have as big a stake in your venture as you do. Are they supportive of your taking on something like this? Talk over your business idea with the people you live with, the people who depend on you. This can be the first step to making sure that everyone will be on board. Having the support of those closest to you is paramount. Your goals in combination with your current day-to-day life will likely affect how much time you can devote to selling your crafts.

Here are some things to think about before deciding that selling your crafts is right for you:

• Why do I want to start selling my crafts?

• What are my monetary goals?

• What does my idea of success look like? How will I know when I've achieved it?

• Do I have enough free time to devote to selling my work?

• Do I have the tools I need at hand to begin selling what I make?

• Do I have a support system in place for taking on this venture?

• What are my biggest fears?

• What excites me the most about starting a business?

Build a Nurturing Space

Where you create can have an impact on the work you do. You know what kind of working conditions work best for you, and you should try hard to ensure that you have the kind of creative space you need. Surrounding yourself with things that inspire you is a good start. If you don't have the space to devote a whole room to your crafty pursuits, you'll need to think outside the box. Can you turn a closet that's currently filled with junk into a craft closet? Or can your china cabinet double as a place to store your craft supplies if you work at the dining room table?

Welcoming Inspiration

What inspires you? Nature? Exercise? Travel? Exploring your town? Window shopping? Inspiration can strike at any time, in any place. One minute you're folding laundry, and the next thing you know, a creative problem that has been plaguing you is solved. A walk in the woods can refresh your mind and body and spirit, and the path you take can lead not just your feet somewhere new but your mind as well. Sometimes when I cook or bake, I find my mind wandering, and the next thing I know, I'm dying for that kitchen timer to sound so I can get into my studio.

Take note of what you're doing when inspiration strikes. Maybe you'll begin to notice a pattern between your good ideas and your activities.

FROM THE CREATIVE COLLECTIVE

YVONNE EIJKENDUIJN

With my basement sewing room I can go crazy and leave fabric cut-offs laying around for a couple of days.

My husband is a writer, and I'm not kidding when I say he gets out of the shower every day with a new plot twist written out in his head. Carry a small notebook with you everywhere — though perhaps not the shower — and take the time to jot down ideas when they occur to you. But make sure your notes are clear enough for you to understand them later. I am still puzzling out a note I wrote to myself a few months ago that says "love to pet animal car." I have no idea what that means or what my intention was, but I wish I did because it sure sounds intriguing!

It's also a good idea to have a camera (or a cell phone with a camera) with you at all times. These days you can get an affordable camera small enough to fit in your pocket, and having one handy is a valuable tool. When you're taking your morning jog, for instance, you might come across a beautiful wildflower that gives you an idea for a piece of jewelry or for a wonderful painting. Inspiration is often unexpected, but it's always welcome.

Set Up an Inspiration Wire

Even the tiniest workspace can host an inspiration wire. Simply hang a length of cord, string, or ribbon, and clip to it whatever strikes your creative fancy. You can use clothespins, bulldog clips or paperclips, or even tape to secure your paper muse to your wire. Make sure you hang the wire someplace where you'll be able to look at it often — maybe above your worktable or even over your kitchen sink.

And an inspiration "wire" doesn't have to be literally a length of wire (or cord). You can create an inspiration wall, an inspiration bulletin board, or even an inspiration collage sandwiched between a piece of Plexiglas and a frequently used table. I happen to have an inspiration scrapbook. As I read magazines or find images on the Internet or look through photos, I clip out or print images that speak to me, and into a box they go. Every now and then I go through the box, and those images that pass the second round go into my inspiration scrapbook.

Working in Small Spaces

My studio is my perfect, lovely, tiny cave. As a little girl, I used to have illusions of setting up my closet as a reading nook, with just a lamp, a few pillows, and a blanket. Now, my studio is truly a respectably sized closet, and I've filled it with buttons, old photographs, a toy piano, stacks of fabric, and handmade and vintage toys, but it still feels like my childhood closet. It's the coziest place I could be. As far as actually drawing and painting, I drag that all over the place; but my computer work, sewing work, and solitude seeking is done in my tiny nook.

— EMILY MARTIN

If your crafting space is limited, don't despair! There are lots of creative solutions to make an organized, mobile work space.

Storage bins, cookie tins, and coffee cans can all be useful when it comes to storing your supplies. Craft them up by covering them in pretty paper, or test out your desire to decoupage on shoeboxes that are now your storage boxes.

Transforming unwanted or unneeded items into something pretty can also be a great way to get your creative juices flowing. If you're short on ideas, working on something for yourself, like covering your magazine storage boxes or turning an old coffee can into a paintbrush holder, may help you get back on your creative track while helping personalize your workspace.

Getting Unstuck

What You Can Do When Inspiration Has Skipped Town and Taken Your Creativity with Her.

Inspiration is at the root of starting and maintaining a great handmade craft business. Sometimes you can be so full of inspiration that you're bursting with ideas and concepts, and you just can't wait to get started. You spend all of your waking moments thinking about your ideas, to the point where normal daily tasks like driving to work or doing your dishes seem to be time wasters. You will not be satisfied until you sit down and get to work. Constructive times like these should be relished because inspiration can be a cruel mistress. Because there will be times, and probably plenty of them, when you sit at your work station and sigh with frustration.

That's when you look around at things you've created before and you wonder, "Why did I make that?" or "Where did that come from?" Your supplies don't call to you. Your creative flow has dried up, leaving you deserted on the Isle of Nothingness with no hope of rescue in sight. You will be alone in your uncreative world. When this happens, do not despair! You can do lots of things to clear up this unfortunate condition. It happens to the best of us, and you are not alone, my friend.

FROM THE CREATIVE COLLECTIVE

LAURIE COYLE

I find motivation in the simple fact that I get to make art on a day-to-day basis, and I have something to offer the world through that work. I find I am much more productive when I have a selling opportunity like a craft fair coming up.

Window Shop

So you're still stuck. You have gazed anxiously at your inspiration wire to the point where you want to yank it down and strangle yourself with it. What else can you do? Leave!

Go out and absorb the sights in your town. Study the windows of your favorite boutiques. Jot down notes in the little notebook that you of course have in your bag. What catches your eye? A certain color combination? An artful display? The pattern in some beautiful fabric? All of these details can supply you with a new outlook and a new vision.

Look at work that is similar to your own. If you throw clay bowls, see what other people who design clay bowls are doing. Look for new trends and new techniques that you may be able to put your personal twist on. Challenge yourself to do what you normally do just a little bit differently. Learning new things and studying the work of others is a great way to pick up new ideas. Conversely, studying the past of your craft of choice may reinspire you. Take a trip to your local library, and look up, say, the history of embroidery. I bet you'll discover something so old, it is new to you.

FROM THE CREATIVE COLLECTIVE

TARA SWIGER

When I'm inspired by a color, usually in nature, I try to recreate it in a yarn. But when I'm inspired by reading something or soaking up a new city, it impacts me differently. It gives me a renewed sense of vigor and excitement, which usually leads to me challenging myself to do something I haven't tried yet.

Feed Your Artistic Senses

I make a point of always being open to inspiration, so perhaps that's why I'm able to find it virtually everywhere. Some sources are obvious — craft magazines and art and craft books, for example, or craft stores or websites like Etsy — while others may be less so. Seek out museums and galleries for fresh ideas, or go to places you've never been but have always meant to visit, like a historic house with gorgeous gardens. Flea markets, antiques stores, and thrift shops can be endless sources of ideas; look especially for vintage books (particularly old children's books) and ephemera and interesting textiles and wallpapers, both old and new. Search out other crafters' blogs to see what the community is up to. And don't forget to look around you: nature is the best inspiration going! Examine the patterns in rocks or flower petals, shells or a dragonfly's wing. Amazing! Enjoying life's simple pleasures, such as a long bath, a good meal, listening to music, and especially paying attention to your dreams are all wonderful resources.

Get Together with Other Crafters

Sometimes all we need to get us going is other people. Being around other creative types who share your passion can be really rejuvenating. Building community around your craft is one of the biggest advantages you can give yourself. Take a class or join a craft group. There you can learn new skills, make new friends, or simply partake in someone else's joys and sorrows when it comes to living a creative life. Friendship is one of the world's most inspiring things, right?

CRAFTERS TALK ABOUT

INSPIRATION LOST AND FOUND

Everyone has felt deserted by inspiration at one point or another. And everyone is eventually reunited with their motivation. Here's some wisdom from some experts.

All the obstacles I've encountered have been related to figuring how to do something. How can I grow? How can I balance family life with obsessive crafting? There have been no obstacles imposed by people or organizations; it's been internal.

— TARA SWIGER

If I am working on a textile design and get stuck, I will look at cookbooks and bake. I never try to get unstuck by going at it directly. I go for a walk, take a shower, or just go out with friends — the worst thing I could do is TRY to be creative when I am not feeling it.

— AMY KAROL

Both my craft room and my office at work are filled with images, art, and color that inspire me. I also keep the spaces as clean and uncluttered as possible; otherwise, it's hard for me to focus on the task at hand.

— AMBER KARNES

The best way I've found to get unstuck is to dramatically switch gears. If I'm banging my head against a creative project with a growing feeling of desperation and panic in the pit of my gut, it's time to walk the dog or throw in a load of laundry. I need to do other stuff and let the unsticking happen when I'm not paying attention.

— KIM WERKER

I need to be surrounded by the things that inspire me, that make me happy, and that I find beautiful to look at. It's all about me, really. In my former home I painted the pantry a bright pink, and people asked me why since nobody was going to see it. But I have to look at it every day!

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The Handmade Marketplace"
by .
Copyright © 2010 Kari Chapin.
Excerpted by permission of Storey Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

Amy Butler
Kari has thoughtfully created the very best guide book for navigating the craft marketplace. Her personal voice, guided by personal experience is evident throughout the book. You'll feel encouraged, inspired and informed..... totally confident to jump start your own craft business!
Amy Butler, Amy Butler Design
Betz White
“D.I.Y? Why not?! The Handmade Marketplace gives you all the answers to the D-I-Whys, Whats and Hows of being a crafty-preneur in one handy, great and very informative guide!”
Betz White, designer and author of Sewing Green
Jenny Hart
It's remarkable to read so much of the information I spent years divining from trial and error between two covers! The Handmade Marketplace isn't just a guide for navigating a very unique and burgeoning market, it's a fascinating record of how so many people in the DIY movement have collectively contributed ideas about running independent businesses with cornerstones of honesty, ethics and above all: personal creativity.
Jenny Hart, founder of Sublime Stitching and author Embroidered Effects
Jennifer Perkins
The Handmade Marketplace is the first small business book I have seen that is written to, for and by the Indie Crafter. It is perfect for any crafter thinking of taking that next step and selling their wares. The Handmade Marketplace is also a real page turner and enlightening read for someone who has been in the crafty biz for years.”
Jennifer Perkins, designer
Faythe Levin
The Handmade Market Place is a fantastic resource full of useful tips and guidelines from top D.I.Y. insiders. Their testimonials along with Kari Chapin's easy to follow outline and the fabulous design work of Emily Martin (aka the black apple) makes this book a must have for any makers library.
Faythe Levin, Director and author of Handmade Nation

Meet the Author

Since the publication of The Handmade Marketplace in 2010 and Grow Your Handmade Business in 2012, Kari Chapin has gained national visibility as a sought-after speaker at craft business conferences and events. She also offers one-on-one creative coaching and courses online. She's known for her effective coaching style and distinctive, supportive voice, along with her strong ability to market and network.

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Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and On-Line 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
frenchaccentbymagali More than 1 year ago
This book is an immense source of guidance, encouragement, inspiration and friendship! A lot of the writters are friends and share their findings, wisdom, insight and laughters to this wonderful guide!You feel like getting on their blog and strick a cyberfriendship with them! This very updated book is more than a guide to begin or perfect your steps toward selling your creations, it is a fun companion too! They list everything you need to know and where to join them, how to improve this or that with ladies who are expert in those domaines. This is the book I always wish was out there, understanding of where I come from and where i wish to go, I don't feel like a struggling crafter anymore, this book has equiped me with all the info, tips and encouragements I needed to not give up and insteads knowing what I need to improve, work on and so on! All the references, websites and blogs are up to date, the graphics, text and overall design is very appealling to me, and I am considering this book a strong reference to anyone. You have a sense of a friendship, like you have joined a new sisterhood of creativity and it is extremly encouraging, uplifting and cheerful!! I LOVE this book! frenchaccentbymagali.etsy.com
Books_And_Chocolate More than 1 year ago
I've sold crafted items off and on for many years and can't help but wonder how much better I would have done had I known the information in this book. Chapin does a great job informing the reader about things such as determining the cost of goods, pricing items, identifying the competition, navigating through the business side of selling crafts, and selling in various venues available to crafters today including Internet stores like Etsy. I like that the author keeps the tone of the book upbeat and conversational as she sticks to the facts about the craft business. Chapter topics include basic business practices, branding your business, marketing, making connections in the crafting community, using blogs to promote your craft, advertising and publicity, and using marketing networks and social media. Also covered are the pros and cons of venues for selling such as craft fairs, online stores, brick and mortar stores, and other selling opportunities. The tips on how to create a good craft blog and taking photos for using online were helpful. The author includes the advice of successful crafters as well as that of experts in specific fields such as an accountant's general advice on what can be deducted as an expense when filing taxes, etc. Although this isn't a detailed business book and won't address every issue one might encounter in running a business, it is one that will answer basic questions specific to the craft business and minimize having to learn from mistakes. I've learned a lot and look forward to implementing the ideas for more success in selling my own creations. I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review but the opinion of it is my own and wasn't solicited. If I didn't like the book, I would say so.
Jennifer Trujillo More than 1 year ago
I paid a few more dollars but the book is so cool that i couldn't help it. But no matter which one you decide for. It's a great book, great ideas to run your own business and super helpful. If you are into the world of crafts you really need to get it.
GIMI More than 1 year ago
Maybe it’s not the have all, end all of books on creating a business – with every possible step in excruciating detail, I honestly feel that the approach of this book is SPOT ON for the artistic people who are reading it!  We're crafty - creative - think outside of the box kind of people.  We want to be inspired AND practical - and this book does that.  It gave great insight into a lot of the little "How To's" that people don't think of - great resources, great ideas, great direction.  But my favorite part?  The little extras – the “Act Now” sections – the little quips, quotes, and questions.  Those thoughtful little “get the creative juices flowing” parts – and the bullet-pointed “hey, this is practical stuff you HAVE to do, so listen here!” parts.  LOVE this book.  HIGHLY recommend this book.  If you are even remotely, just a little bit, maybe – kinda interested in making money at your craft – GET THIS BOOK.
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cg10 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book so much. It is filled with valuable information!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the complete starter guide to seeling your handmade goodness. I am a teen,though,and I can't do most off the stuff she talkes about in the social networking chapter.
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