Guest Author - Lisa Linnell-Olsen
This newly released book from the founders of the nonprofit "Hello Craft" is meant to be the basic guide for entrepreneurial business management for crafters. Hello Craft has offered workshops in business skills throughout the country, and is now offering the information in this book. Many books on starting and running craft businesses have appeared over the years. "Handmade To Sell" is a modern, updated version that traces through the recent handmade retail movement and includes important social media marketing advice and online retail information. This book covers a lot of ground, including developing a business plan, what type of business to form, initial starting up, pricing,trade shows, craft shows, when to hire employees and more. If there were such a thing as a college handmade retail business degree, "Handmade To Sell" would probably be the main text for the required 101 class.
And good advice is important in small business. A common statistic is that close to 99% of all small businesses fail within their first 3 years. What most people don't realize is that the successful businesses overwhelmingly had a better handle of business knowledge before they started. This is why it is critical to find successful mentors, do your research, and have handy guides to help you set up your business. Having a nice craft product is a very small (but important) piece of the business puzzle. You also need to get a good background in small business education. This book gives that start.
The start of the book traces a history of the current handmade retail craze. Personally, I believe that Gen Y will not let this be a cyclical fad. The increased technology and mass production that is everywhere has created a backlash love of locally produced, one of a kind items. Throughout the text, the idea that buyers want a personal connection to products is emphasized. This book gives three or four different formulas to suggest pricing your items. Many of the other books I read only gave one formula - which doesn't work in the real world. The need to develop various markets and income streams along with how and where to do so are given throughout the book. The proper role for online resources and how local, personal markets will affect your business are explained. Many anecdotes and personal stories of different successful crafters are scattered throughout the book, giving a real-life and personal feel to how this business works.
Scattered throughout the written text are numerous website addresses of different craft businesses for examples, online places to sell, and occasionally where to find more information. For example, in the section on taxes, the writers suggest going to www.irs.gov for further information. It is true that the IRS is its own best authority on tax advice. Many of these references are not listed in the appendix. I would also liked to have seen more references for those wanting more information on a particular topic. The advice given for writing a business plan is very brief. For some crafty entrepreneurs, it will be all the advice they need. Others will need to go deeper. I hope that when the next edition of this book is released, it includes a by-chapter list of online and print resources for those who feel they need more information. Also, since so many references are not in the index, it would be handy to read this with a highlighter and some sticky flags since it is good for lots of information you may need in the future. Of course, if these were added into the next editions by-chapter index, that would not be necessary.
Overall, this is a really good book for those looking to modernize their craft business, or those just getting started who don't have a current business education. I want to stress current here, because a good advertising campaign will understand current online media, and if you haven't updated your advertising strategies in the last decade, heck, even two years, you probably need this book.
Potter Craft/Random House book publishers provided me this book free of charge. My reviews are always my honest opinion.
To order this book from Amazon, click the link below:
Handmade to Sell: Hello Craft's Guide to Owning, Running, and Growing Your Crafty Biz