London Jewellery School’s marketing co-ordinator Bronagh Miskelly is also building her own craft business and has come across a useful UK business guide for anyone thinking of selling their own handmade or craft items.
I have been trying to pin point what I need/want from a guide to running a craft business.
The following would be useful:
- That it is written from a UK perspective – the UK and US experiences are very different from how people approach craft to the sizes of the fairs you might sell at.
- That it addresses those perennial questions about pricing and valuing your work
- That it actually encourages me to get on with promoting and selling my work rather than wallow in a sea of self-doubt (makers are great at talking down rather than up their work)
- That it doesn’t make the whole process seem too overwhelming.
So when I chanced upon Your Craft Business – A step by step guide by Kevin Partner in a list of Kindle bargains of the day (it’s also available in paperback), I was very pleased to find a book that fitted very much with my wish list.
Partner and his wife actually run a craft business as well as him being an expert business writer. So he is able to write from the perspective of their business MakingYourOwnCandles.co.uk as well as sharing case studies from other small craft businesses.
Running a craft business means that Partner has got to know other makers and sellers and learnt what makes us tick. Something that is summed up by a few lines from the introduction:
“With a little money (many craft businesses can establish themselves on a budget of less than £100) and the talent and determination you already have, you can create a profitable business in next to no time.
“I have faith in you. All I ask is that you believe in yourself, strap yourself in, grab a notebook and enjoy the ride.”
Sticking with this down to earth style the book takes you through the steps of working out what products will sell and how to put those products in front of people who want to buy them at the right price and run it all legally.
Along the way he sets milestones such as “Make your plan” and “Sort out your website” so that building your business can be done piece by piece.
In particular the book takes a detailed look at the areas that hold many of us back from starting a craft business.
- The self doubt mentioned above – bluntly he tells us to get out and look at what other people are doing. Are our skills as good as theirs? Yes? Then go for it.
- Pricing and creating a premium service – Partner is clear about the importance of actually making money and offers advice of a range of pricing strategies including creating a premium aura around what you do.
- The fear of failure. Is not selling at your first craft fair a failure or is it an opportunity to help you refine your product/collection or pricing strategy? Partner’s matter of fact discussion of the topic should make you feel more confident about dipping a toe in the water.
Over all this is not the only business book you should have on your shelf but it is one that I think every craft business would find useful both as a blueprint for getting started and for dipping into when you need reassurance or a new approach.
We have it in the London Jewellery School library so you can take a look and see if you agree with me next time you are in the studios.