Beyond Etsy

Beyond Etsy Letter Size  You’ve probably read books on how to start a business and even some on creating a  business selling your art or handmade crafts. There are even some courses out there on starting a crafts business but most are from the perspective of someone who has sold their craft online OR at craft shows OR sold wholesale. None give you first hand advice and stories from artists and crafts people who have experienced ALL areas of the hand made world.

I keep hearing from readers that they want to make a living selling their handmade art and they’ve read books and even sought advise from SBA advisors but that they are more confused than ever because they don’t understand the MBA speak. Creative entrepreneurs think differently and need advise from someone who speaks and understands their language.

I’ve been listening to your questions and challenges, making notes from my decades of experience as an artist and gallery owner and interviewing artists and crafts people, makers and bakers.

Finally

it’s all in one place, a course that speaks a language

that creatives like YOU understand.

I’m not going to waste your time or mine on the stuff you can find in a “how-to” business book. This is first hand advise on the stuff YOU need about how to make a living from your craft

because the myth of the starving artist is a bunch of baloney.

I’ve taken a lifetime of wisdom and experience in the business of handmade art and put it all together in a comprehensive course. You’ll get worksheets and references and hear advice and real life examples of fine artists and crafts people who make a living creating and selling their paintings, calligraphy, textiles, candles, bath and body products, jewelry, graphics, photography  and just about every craft you can imagine. Some are even bringing in a six figure income from their art and they’ve offered up their wisdom, experiences and secrets to success on topics about all areas of the handmade art world, online and off. We share what we all learned from our mistakes and what we’d do differently if we knew in the beginning what we know now about starting and profiting from a creative business so that you can do it right the first time.

We’ll cover every aspect of making money selling your creations ONLINE AND OFF, at retail and wholesale to shops, at craft fairs, home parties, in galleries, even how to open your own craft gallery or co-op. We’ll talk about pricing, photographing and writing descriptions for your handmade.

I know we all have different learning styles so you’ll get a mix of PDFs, worksheets and Audio files which you can download and listen to at your own pace.

 Get the Full Course Below Now for only $47. 




Steps you should take NOW to ensure your craft business will continue to thrive in the New Year

I know you’re busy producing and and shipping your crafts for the holidays but if you don’t want your sales to dip drastically the first quarter of 2014, you need to do a little advanced planning.

Remember that the wholesale trade shows begin right after new years. Galleries and shops barely catch their breath from the holidays before they’re off to market and it will be much more difficult to get them to take your work at that time. They will have spent their first quarter budgets and won’t have the physical space to exhibit your products. Making the connection NOW, you’ll have a much better chance of having retailers take your work either on consignment or purchase outright.

Do double duty while you’re holiday shopping the shops and galleries for gifts, (you ARE buying local and handmade, right?) and make a list of those shops that carry crafts that compliment your work. Look for merchandise your ideal customer would find appealing, similar price points and style. You definitely don’t want the merchandise to be significantly lower priced than yours nor should you place your work with a shop that sells mostly contemporary if your pieces are vintage.

Notice how helpful and polite the staff is toward the patrons and if the pieces are displayed creatively. Does the merchandise appear new or like it’s been sitting awhile?  You don’t want to tie your work up in a shop where the jewelry is tarnished because it’s been on display a long time but not sold.

Make a list of some galleries or shops that feel like a good fit and then prioritize in order of your first choices.

Remember, this is a scouting expedition so don’t talk to the shop owner or staff about your work on the initial visit. Wear your best pieces and have your contact info with you incase the owner comments on it so that you may set up an appointment for a time when she is not busy with customers.

Never walk in without an appointment with a case of your wares.  The best etiquette is to mail photos and a line sheet to each of the shops. Follow up with a phone call a few days later and request an appointment with the buyer during her slowest time, before or after hours.  Usually,  midweek morning is the best time to call.  After introducing yourself, let the buyer know you understand that customers are the first priority and you will make yourself available at a time when she is not busy.

 

Arrive for your appointment prepared with a well-thought out collection of pieces that represent your craft rather than just showing up with a random selection. Your work will sell better if the pieces display well as a grouping and compliment one another. Bring duplicate copies of a printed inventory of your work. If you are planning to consign, list retail prices and number each piece so that you and the the shop owner both have a reference for what items they have and make it easier for them to pay you when pieces sell.

Remember to respect that the purpose of the gallery is to sell craft. How would you’d feel if your work was already on display in the shop and personnel was busy working with another artist and ignoring the customers?  You’d want them to be selling your work, right?  Let the buyer know that you are fine to wait while she caters to customers as they come in.

Taking the time to do this extra work now will ensure your craft business will continue to thrive in the new year.

For more great ideas like this, check out Tele-class:  “12 Easy  Ways to turn your Creative Hobby into an Extra $1200 a Month”

Are you supporting the stores that are going to put you or your friends out of business?

Last week, I attended a first birthday party.  I went to a local store that often carries all lot of fair trade items in search of a handmade gift . I found some puzzles perfect for a one year old boy but when I checked the labels, they were made in China. I went home to search online for handmade wooden puzzles. The ones I found were significantly more expensive. I know I could have found something larger and just as cute at Toys R Us or Target for a fraction of the price and the baby sure wouldn’t know the difference.  BUT I WOULD. I wanted to support indie craftspeople so I ordered the puzzles from a couple who make them in their shop in Oregon.

I know that the socks you hand-knit and the jewelry or lotions or candles you lovingly make take more time and are better quality than a seemingly similar item made on a machine in China so of course you have to charge more for your hand crafted products than the big box stores do.

I also know you’re a sensitive, empathetic person so let’s turn the tables and as you’re holiday shopping this month, think about this:

If you want consumers to support you, it’s your duty to make it a point to buy hand made because if you are are buying from Walmart or other discount shops, you’re supporting companies that will eventually put YOU and your artist buddies out of business. MOST PEOPLE JUST DON’T THINK ABOUT IT. But you, as an artist yourself, you want others to support your work so PLEASE don’t rationalize about buying imports because they are cheaper.

Don’t assume that everything at a craft fair is made domestically, either. Only juried shows control where the items come from and you’d be surprised how many mass produced pieces show up at craft fairs.   If you have difficulty finding locally made gifts, seek out an artists’ co-p. These are generally owned and operated by a group of artist and you can frequently meet the artists and even watch them at work.

Remember, if you want the public to buy your work and support you, commit to buying handmade because you have the choice.