Reviews of Meg Mateo Ilasco’s book Craft Inc: Turn Your Creative Hobby Into a Business had been swirling around the blogosphere since the book came out this summer. I hadn’t had a chance to pick up a copy and was thrilled to see that Santa had put one in my stocking. Finally I could read what all the buzz was about.
While I am already past hobby-mode and have been running my little letterpress business Paperstories for a few years now, I still found this book to be very helpful. Craft Inc. starts you at the beginning, giving advice on all the necessary stuff like getting a business license, setting up your product line, and even choosing an appropriate name. Once you get through the basics, the book gives lots of helpful tips on everything from setting up wholesale accounts, creating a marketing plan, and how to grow the business. With chapters like “Your Creative Mind,” “Production and Pricing Plans,” and “Ups, Downs, and Next Steps,” there is a wealth of useful information not only for the newest crafter but for the seasoned veteran as well. Also, as a new mom, there were some wonderful words of wisdom for about running your business during major life changes such as having a baby.
In my opinion, one of the best aspects of the book is its integration of fourteen interviews with some current craft and design heavyweights. Here’s just a sampling: home-goods designer Lotta Anderson (aka Lotta Jansdotter, who did a Open Studio Tour video with the Storque) to design-blog heartthrob Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge (see Grace’s Trends piece on the Storque) to shopkeeper Rena Tom of the Brooklyn based Rare Device (see the Storque’s Featured Buyer piece with Rena’s partner Lisa Congdon and another video piece on an American Craft Council event with Rena). Each interview is thoughtfully interjected into the chapter that best fits the tone of the interview. For me, these interviews were pure inspiration.
A quick read and beautifully laid out, Craft Inc. also covers topics that have been the source of many lengthy forum threads on Etsy, such as the copyright issues involved using commercially purchased fabrics or patterns. This book answers a variety of questions related to good business practices and is full of appropriate resources. In the back there is a handy internet resource guide that even gives a nod to Etsy. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to every shop owner on Etsy. In fact, I think it should be required reading prior to opening a shop. You will learn a lot and hopefully be inspired along the way.
Meg Mateo Ilasco’s website
U.S. Small Business Administration
American Craft Council