Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Review: The Handmade Marketplace

Crafters are a genial bunch, helpful at the core. So who better to ask for business advice than several dozen of your crafting peers? The Handmade Marketplace is a commonsense guide to beginning a craft business given in an organized, start-to-finish format with pop-in tidbits from more than 20 craft-friendly neighbors.

Written nearly as informally as a roundtable discussion, Chapin's encouraging tone urges you along. Crafters often stumble into a business following a homemade product's accolades from friends and relatives. They then cluelessly navigate the business world with how-to books geared to brick-and-mortar stores, not small, handmade items made in living rooms.

Most useful sections for newcomers include publicity advice — blogging, putting together press kits, developing marketing networks. Use Chapin's tips on how and where to sell, with pricing recommendations, and your business will flourish from the start.

A few years ago, I launched a knitting business, selling hand-knit wares at craft shows and one brick-and-mortar store, which swiftly folded. If I'd had Chapin's advice, I'd have started the blog and online sales first and sold through the store with a backup plan in mind. But with limited resources, I spent money on the wrong ones and ended up closing shop within two years.

Here's what you can do instead: pick up The Handmade Marketplace and make use of professional, artisans' perspectives, flush with advice that's easy to follow.

Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and On-Line
Kari Chapin
Storey Books, Paperback, February 2010
View the book at Barnes & Noble

Review based on a free copy of this book, courtesy of the publisher.

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