This blog is meant to be a record of my adventures as a new home-based business owner. Starting my jewellery business was one of the most daunting things I've ever done, next to giving birth. Especially since I was (am?) pretty technically stunted. In this blog I will describe the trials, tribulations and, hopefully, eventual successes I experience while navigating the world of (really, really, really small) business. I also plan to use this blog to talk about all the aspects of jewellery design that fascinate me, keep me addicted, and cause me to spend thousands of dollars (What, honey? No, I didn't say thousands...) on gemstones, beads, findings, etc. I welcome your input, ideas, and stories of similar experiences in beading, jewellery design, or running a handcrafts business.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Handmade Marketplace

Must-Have Resource for the Budding Bead Tycoon
I found a book that is an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to sell handcrafts.  It's called The Handmade Marketplace:  How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and Online.  Written by Kari Chapin, it is chock full of ideas, hints, and advice on everything you need to start up an online handcrafts business.  The book begins with advice on finding your niche, setting up a space in which to work, and identifying your motivation and goals.  Chapin goes on to talk about branding, pricing your work, collecting money, marketing, and becoming part of a community as a way to find help, inspiration, and spread the word about your product.  There are three whole chapters on using social networks to market your work.  The chapter on blogging was particularly helpful for me, as I had never even read a blog before starting this one.  The next part of the book is about selling your work at craft fairs, online marketplaces, and at brick-and-mortar stores, including wholesale and consignment.  The last chapter suggests ways to diversify your empire, such as doing  trunk shows, parties, teaching courses, and offering kits.  Chapin's advice is clear, practical, and timely, and she gives plenty of examples of how her suggestions might be used by artists of various media, such as jewellery designers, knitters, sewers, fabric artists, painters, and woodworkers, to name a few.  The author calls upon artists in various fields who are running successful businesses to share their advice and experiences (good and bad) with the reader, which they do in a friendly, open and personal way.  Some sections are set up in an easy-to-access FAQ style.

The book is illustrated by Emily Martin and Jen Skelley.  The hand-drawn black and white cartoon illustrations are simple and charming, just like the handcrafts they illustrate.  The headings are clear and relevant, making it easy to find pertinent information again and again, even after you've read the book from cover to cover.  Even the shape of the book is pleasing.  It's almost square. 

I usually hate instruction manual-type books, but this book reads more like a novel.  I read it from cover to cover, and have referred back to one section or another many times since.  I would definitely recommend this book to other budding handcrafts tycoons.

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