I was given Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin as a gift when I left my 9-5. Yes, it has taken me over a year to read it and tell you about it! In my defence I was given a few craft/business books when I became fizzi~jayne full time so it took me a while to get to this in my reading pile. Here is what I thought....
This book is aimed at the USA market so for technical information on areas like tax, it isn't relevant if you are based in the UK like me, you don't want to pay your taxes to the IRS if you don't live in America! The rest of the book is an informative, well written book and relevant regardless of where you sell your crafts.
The book is broken down into easy to read sections with no business jargon. Within each section, each topic has their own chapter giving you lots of information to think about, make sure you have sticky notes and a pencil to hand!
Part 1 starts with setting goals, branding, pricing and basic business practices. The latter section covers some areas which you can relate to any business in the world not just the USA, for example it offers advice on things like having a separate bank account for your business. The areas such as record keeping will still highlight the information you need to find out for your country.
If you have already started your business you should still find it interesting. I found it useful to read, it made me think and re-evaluate my goals. There is even a section on finding inspiration, so if you ever have a creative block this may help.
Part 2 is all about spreading the word and covers marketing basics, blogging, advertising, attracting media attention and tips on social media. There are also helpful tips on photography which is important to make your products look beautiful if you sell online, but it is equally important for marketing materials and your blog. If you haven't got a blog and are interested in starting one as part of your business, it has a good introduction to blogging and newsletters too.
Want to know about podcasts? this book covers the basics
Part 3 is all about selling, not just online but at craft fairs, in shops and other creative selling opportunities. Kari even offers advice if you want to start your own craft fair, perfect if there isn't one in your area. If this isn't for you she'll take you step by step through finding the right craft fair, the best way to apply (if required) and be prepared.
Photography is touched on again within online selling, including useful tips on effective product descriptions and tagging your products which is common on sites such as Etsy. Kari also gives guidelines on shop policies and customer service.
It's full of information for a creative business!
I really enjoyed reading this book, I think because it is aimed at creative folk and not a business text book. It has case studies from what Kari describes as her "Creative Collective" throughout the book who share their experiences and advice.
Overall it was inspiring and thought provoking. It's a book I will definitely refer to again, I have lots of notes throughout. I recommend this if you are already selling your crafts or if you are just thinking about starting or developing a creative business. However, if you are about to start the exciting journey of being an entrepreneur and based in the UK, then I would advise getting information on tax and registering with the HRMC etc. The HRMC website is a good place to start.
Since I started reading a Second Edition of Handmade Marketplace has been released. With the ever changing world of the online markeplace and social media, I would recommend reading this version. If you do, let me know what you think.
Next on the reading list is Craft a Creative Business: Making & Marketing a Successful Creative Businessby Fiona Pullen. I have read lots of good things about this book. I hope to have lots of reading time over Christmas and report back on my thoughts as soon as possible!
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