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Required Reading for Etsy Sellers: Craft Inc.

Jan 18, 2008

by paperstories

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

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.

Further Resources:
Meg Mateo Ilasco’s website
www.mateoilasco.com

U.S. Small Business Administration
www.sba.gov

American Craft Council
www.craftcouncil.org

SECOND Pebble Soup Bowl in Green
SECOND Pebble Soup Bowl in Green
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CALIFORNIA POPPY Mouse Pad Licensed ART Jill Bliss NATURE Flower MOUSEPAD
CALIFORNIA POPPY Mouse Pad Licensed ART Jill Bliss NATURE Flower MOUSEPAD
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A Very Plaid Friend Indeed
A Very Plaid Friend Indeed
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Lotta Jansdotter Clutch
Lotta Jansdotter Clutch
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fairyland- Origninal Signed Fine Art Photograph
fairyland- Origninal Signed Fine Art Photograph
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Bee Miniature Paper Sculpture
Bee Miniature Paper Sculpture
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Burden Print
Burden Print
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Sugared Walnut
Sugared Walnut
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Floating Point no. 4 -- Limited Edition Letterpress Print
Floating Point no. 4 -- Limited Edition Letterpress Print
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Queen Annes Lace Brooch
Queen Annes Lace Brooch
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Fool on the Hill -- 5x7 polaroid print
Fool on the Hill -- 5x7 polaroid print
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ALOT OF BUTTONS moleskine notebook cover
ALOT OF BUTTONS moleskine notebook cover
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19 comments

  • GuerillaEmbroidery

    GuerillaEmbroidery said 9 years ago

    sounds interesting but is quite americanised? I would like to invest, but I am in the UK.

  • Vanessa Admin

    Vanessa said 9 years ago

    GuerillaEmbroidery, do you know of any good books geared towards UK indie artists and businesspeople? We would love it if you'd like to write a review for the Storque!!

  • lpdesigns

    lpdesigns said 9 years ago

    I got this book for Christmas. Read it in about 3 days, but I can see myself going back to it.

  • claudiasburningink

    claudiasburningink said 9 years ago

    OK does it come as a book on tape. I don't like to read. LOL

  • panoptica

    panoptica said 9 years ago

    are we going to be tested???

  • babastudioPrague

    babastudioPrague said 9 years ago

    Oh! I was going to ask exactly the same thing. Does anyone know of anything that's more European in outlook? Or do you think that this book is sufficiently global to still be useful for us Euros?

  • sewbettie

    sewbettie said 9 years ago

    I really found this book helpful and fun to read too! In my opinion, I think that most of it (besides the legal stuff, which is US specific) would be very useful for businesses anywhere in the world.

  • paperstories

    paperstories said 9 years ago

    I'm glad my review has piqued your interest. While the sources listed in the back are more U.S. based, I think the interviews as well as the general information are very helpful regardless of geography. As for not liking to read, I am also guilty of that but this book was really quick to read. Not because of the lack of content, but simply because of the nature of the writing. It wasn't too dense or boring. Just perfect.

  • InspiredbySchmooley

    InspiredbySchmooley said 9 years ago

    I purchased this book back in September and read it cover to cover in just a few days. Since then I've pulled it back out for reference numerous times. Definitely one of the most valuable resources any crafter could own. I'm glad to see a Storque article on it...this book should be required reading for all Etsy sellers!

  • rawfish

    rawfish said 9 years ago

    i got this book for myself on amazon (when i was buying text books for the semester it somehow snuck its way into my cart :)) anyway, i think its an excellent read and as an artsy person i really enjoyed the graphic design and how it gave small show interviews deliciously interspersed within the chapters. i get bored really quickly so reading those interviews helped me get exciting about conquering the section and helped me remember where i was in the book! anyway, ive now graduated to an even more nuts n' bolts type book. the name escapes me right now (and its all packed up in my suitcase) but it has brightly colored thread on the cover and i highly recommend that book as well. if you want to know what im rambling about send me a convo and ill look it up for you!

  • amuse

    amuse said 9 years ago

    Thanks for the review. Someone else had suggested this book for me when I was asking about taking business classes. I'm definately sold on it now.

  • paperstories

    paperstories said 9 years ago

    super!

  • GumballGrenade

    GumballGrenade said 9 years ago

    ooh need to add to my reading list. Thanks for taking the time to review and share!

  • projectfelt

    projectfelt said 9 years ago

    This book literally transformed my whole way of thinking about a craft business. I truly was touched by this book. So much that I closed my old etsy shop from over a year and opened a new one a few months ago. I took the advice in the book and put into good use. Now, I have a great etsy shop, my sales are growing and my blog is awesome. I will recommend this book to anyone. I carry it in my bag everyday and reference it all the time for advice or tips. Must go buy !

  • photoglassworks

    photoglassworks said 9 years ago

    Just ordered it and I'm excited to get reading! Thank you for find and review!

  • queenBlingerie

    queenBlingerie said 9 years ago

    Well, thanks to all this positive feedback I just ordered the book on Amazon. Can't wait to receive it. Even though I'm not in the US I'm hoping to get some useful tips for my shop.

  • MonkeyTravelClub

    MonkeyTravelClub said 9 years ago

    I've yet to review the book on my blog but I definitely agree. It's a great resource and I highly recommend it.

  • kristincrane

    kristincrane said 9 years ago

    santa brought me the same book! very helpful and inspiring, and beautifully designed ;)

  • AmandaKLockrowJewels

    AmandaKLockrowJewels said 9 years ago

    I bought this book through Amazon in November and loved it. I found it easy to understand and easy to start implementing in my business.

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