You’re probably aware, but my wife is a crafter. She makes things like quilts, . Recently, she’s been trying to turn her crafting into a business. Being the financial geek that I am, I’m more than a little happy to help her build up a business. But there are all kinds of issues that arise with businesses, craft businesses in particular, which I do not know. Where can a craftsperson (or spouse of a craftsperson) find the information they’d need to turn their craft work into a business?
The Crafty Superstar Ultimate Craft Business Guide seeks to provide information on how a craftsperson can start a craft business of their own. The book (hereafter called the Ultimate Craft Business Guide) from The Crafty Superstar (aka, Grace Dobush) tries to provides a full guide for craftspeople to go from personal crafting to a profitable business. Does it provide the necessary information to create a good business, or leave you hanging? As always, we need to read on to judge:
Summary of Ultimate Craft Business Guide
The book opens by discussing the recent increasing rise in popularity of handmade and indie projects. It also notes the motivations that might drive indie crafters like the reader to create their own business. It includes several pages with prompts to get the reader thinking about things like an elevator pitch and how to regard their business.
Chapter 2: Biz Basics
Chapter two looks at how to begin with a crafting business, providing advice on choosing a business name and setting prices for your products (including why offering discounts can work against you). Much of the chapter discusses how to handle issues like getting paid, managing taxes, and dealing with legal matters, some of the major issues that are involved in businesses.
Chapter 3: Selling Out
This chapter, in spite its name, doesn’t discuss how you can give up on your principles to make money. Instead, it focuses on selling, looking at the various places you can sell your goods, like physical stores, craft websites like Etsy, or your own site. A particular focus is on creating websites and presenting the craft products in an attractive manner. It ends with some suggestions on how to handle particular customer service issues, like problems with shipping or bad customer reviews.
Chapter 4: Indie Craft Shows
The longest chapter of the book covers independent craft shows. It starts with suggestions on pre-show considerations, like how to be accepted as one of the vendors and how to prepare your materials for the show. There are suggestions (and do-it-yourself diagrams) for table displays, more discussions on handling things for the day of the show, and taking stock of how the day went after things are over. The chapter ends with thoughts on how you could throw your own indie craft show if you so desire, and the issues and problems that can arise while doing so.
Chapter 5: Get Noticed
Chapter five is all about getting attention for you craft business, starting with suggestions about online methods like direct mail, social media, and starting your own craft-centric blog. After that, other media options are included, such as magazines, advertisements, and even publishing your own book. Throughout, the focus is on how to build attention for your craftworks through (mainly online) media methods.
Chapter 6: The Next Level
The last chapter focuses on how to handle changes that occur as the business grows. Conflicts with work and family are noted, as are methods of getting helpers, from virtual assistants to full-time workers. Profiling your most valuable characters are covered. The chapter ends, as the first chapter did, with blank pages including prompts to inspire thoughts on where you want the business (and yourself) to be at various points in the future.
The book closes with several appendices relating to the issues covered in the book. The largest appendix, Appendix A, provides some forms for calculating the best price for your items, to monitor sales, and for creating order forms. The remaining appendices primarily provide resources (websites, books, organizations) that can provide further information on how to create a solid craft business, both useful craft resources and helpful business resources.
- Solid Information on Mixing Crafting and Business: The Ultimate Craft Business Guide provides lots of useful information for the creation of a craft business and building and maintaining it over time.
- Excellent Resources: There are a lots of lists and pages worth reading if you hope to create a craft business, from sales tax cheat sheets and pictures of how best to photograph crafts to lists of independent craft shows throughout the country.
- Light Atmosphere: The book is humorous and entertaining, including lots of lighter moments and plenty of interesting pictures and illustrations, keeping the information flowing quickly.
- Not Much ‘Business’: As you might guess from the title, there’s a lot more focus on the crafting end of things than business, which limits the usefulness for non-crafters.
- Little Fresh Information: If you’ve done much reading on starting a business in other sources, you’re not going to see much new material here for businesses that isn’t strictly craft related.
- Female Focused: Most of the material assumes that the reader (and most crafters) will be female, which could turn you off from the material if you are a male crafter and/or businessman.
Ultimate Craft Business Guide is a very interesting read, providing useful guidance for crafters who seek to turn their crafting into a business. I’ll be frank, if you are an individual crafter and seek to build a business, the book lives up to its ‘ultimate’ name and is an excellent guide to business and website creation that I’d definitely recommend. For non-crafters, it loses much of its value, but it still does give useful information; if you seek to have a non-craft-based business, you’d likely find at least some helpful advice on creating websites and promoting your business.