Friday, March 12, 2010
Everyone and Their Mother is making crafts
Handcrafts are hip, there's no denying it. So hip, in fact, we are all spending small fortunes trying to save money by Doing It Ourselves.
Naturally, the trend to make homemade leads to the desire to sell it, too. It's like a gateway drug. You start by repairing a hem or sewing a button and before you know it your house is filled with felt gnomes or knitted coffee cup cozies.
Now it's not likely that any of my handiwork is ever going to be featured on Cool Mom Picks or in the Etsy Showcase. That would be crazier than Amy Sedaris quitting her comedy gigs to sell google-eyed peanuts at craft fairs.
Must I remind you that I am the person who made this?
However, if I WERE going to attempt to monetize my insanity I'd take some tips from Kari Chapin's recently published book "The Handmade Marketplace." ($15, Storey Publishing)
Chapin, a professional in marketing and community relations, offers practical tips for crafters that runs the gamut from sourcing materials and optimising work spaces to getting the attention of buyers and shipping out the finished product.
The advice in the book gleans tips from professional crafters and discusses potential marketing draws, such as getting the word out on your amazing one-of-a-kind thing-a-ma-whats via everything from social networking, asking a local shop to see if they can sell one or two, to buying ads in national publications.
While there's nothing earth shattering in the advice -- one section on attending craft fairs and swaps reminds readers to "look welcoming," "start conversations" and say "thank you" -- the brief, headlined entries are easy to read and collectively offer a firm basis for ensuring new entrepreneurs aren't stepping on their own toes as they join the marketplace dance.
NOTE: Since I'm not going to be one of Everyone's Mothers who unleash felt flops on the world, leave a comment here if you want my copy of the guide. If there are more than one of you out there, a winner will be fairly and scientifically picked at random by a kid with popsicle-sticky hands. ... I won't let them lick the pages. Promise.