Category Archives: Commentary

From DIY to Thriving Business

Are you the type of craft person who has all your ideas piled up on their desk, strewn about on the floor, and tacked to the wall (or ceiling) around them? Or are you the type of person who has everything neatly organized by category in neat little boxes in the corner of your craft room?

I’m going to raise my hand and say I have a bit of the first in me, though I would much rather see all of the second in my craft room.

Let me make an argument for organization today. Organization and categorization are two very important ideas, especially if you want to take your crafting from hobby to business.

Why are they so important? The difference between your hobby and your business are one of time and precision. Your hobby you do in your spare time. Your business you work at, daily, in order to grow and thrive.

Your hobby you do when the moment, the thought, strikes you. Your business you set about with intentionality, working daily on the various aspects or threads of it, so you can weave together a collective whole and present it to a customer.

For this hobby to become a business you surely will need organization and categorization. There is no if, when, or but about it.

Read today’s article about becoming a bit more organized in the intentionality of your crafting, and continue to press on in the development of your business.

Read the full article here: My Antique Drawer Craft Storage System

Alright, Stop! Collaborate and Listen!

That’s right…Vanilla Ice knew what he was talking about…

Crafting and creating is a great outlet for stress and energy. It is wonderful to see people utilize this outlet for a healthy lifestyle and a positive outlook.

Such positivity is oftentimes shared, or desired to be shared, with those around you. As you spend time at craft shows or online at various art and craft websites, I’m sure you have come across other artisans who not only share you same fervor for all things “glue-gun-glueable,” but who also share a positive outlook on life.

What’s the natural step in this? Oftentimes people desire to meld their great ideas together and work on a new project that will be equally times thrilling and hopefully lucrative.

But when this happens a new level of crafting may come into play…what was once fun, vibrant, and enjoyable can suddenly turn stressful and even worrisome?

Why? Well, with that collaborative effort comes…well, collaboration. Collaboration with another person can be hard. We all have our own ideas as to how something should be done, and we oftentimes want to utilize those ideas for what we believe is the common good. But if we’re not careful, we may end up pushing those ideas upon somebody a little more forcefully than we should.

What we need for a great collaboration is a spirit of mutuality and respect. Think about this…when you come to the table to discuss your collaboration, don’t come to be heard but rather to hear.

Need some more suggestions on collaboration? We have them right here in today’s article. Take a look.

Read the full article here: How to pull off a stress-free collaboration

Stay Sharp, My Friends!

Being the crafties that you are, I’m sure there are two things that you always have on hand: Your glue gun and your rotary blade.

I also bet that you not only have them on you, but you take care of them because these are the tools of your trade, er…craft.

Well, today we have a nice, simple way of caring for one of those weapons in your armament: the rotary blade.

Would you like it to last a bit longer than the norm? In other words, want to learn how to keep it sharp and cutting evenly for longer periods of time?

I’m sure you get tired of exchanging that blade out all the time…all because you want that sharp edge and precise cut. And you know as well as I do, changing out those blades costs a bit of money. Things can add up over time, especially when you have glue sticks to buy!

So what can you do? Well, a simple trick to keep that blade healthy and stealthily sharp. It follows the same concept as sharpening a knife. But instead of using an expensive sharpening tool, you have a simple and easy alternative (read: cheap) already in place at home.

What is it? A bit of tin foil.

Want to know what to do with it and how to use it? Well, take a look at today’s article.

Read the full article here: How to Sharpen Your Rotary Blade

Make Your Little Guys Big Heroes With This Fun Craft

We loved seeing the movie Big Hero 6 over the weekend. It’s a lot of fun for the family with great jokes and a great message. Great for the kids and even adults (who I know!) that have the big kid inside of them.

C’mon, everybody loves a hero! And now, with this new craft, you can carry around your own Big Hero 6 in your pocket. We have a fun little craft you can do together with your loved ones. It’s really simple, and so you can give the joy of having your young ones create the majority of this on their own.

It’s a tin carrying case made out of an altoids case. Now, to go along with one of the running gags in the movie, this is purposed to carry bandages. But you can actually use it to carry anything, and the design will still carry through.

The supplies are very simple and easy to obtain. It will be a lot of fun to do with your younger girls and guys and they will certainly enjoy carrying this around in their own back packs. That’s another reason why I think you can repurpose it. Instead of just having it hold bandages, let them use it as a carrying case for almost anything (well, anything that will fit into the case).

So take a look at the full (and simple) article, and have fun together.

Read the full article here: Big Hero 6 Craft: Baymax Bandage Tin

From Hobby to Career

One of the beautiful things about this craft hobby we have and love so much is the fact that if you love it to death, and are passionate about it, then it can definitely become more than just a hobby. It can become a career. That’s what has happened for many people I know, friends who have been passionate about their craft, who are really great at it, and have found some success about it.

Their passion has taken them from the local craft show to stores on etsy and portfolios on pinterest. This growing trend has been absolutely awesome and awe-inspiring to watch.

Maybe you have a desire to grow more in this area and are wondering how to start. Well, if you do find yourself thinking about such things, we have a little treat for you today. The Weapons of Mass Creation is a conference held every year focused on those who are building there own brand craft companies. It gives ideas, direction, and even stories from others who have gone before to inspire.

The nice thing about this conference is that they place many of their speakers presentations online, and you can take a look today at this wonderful conference and find a bit (or my guess is “a lot a bit”) of inspiration from these awesome crafties.

Watch and be inspired! Take a look here for one of the videos, and then take the jump for some more goodness:

Now take the jump…

Read the full article here: Weapons of Mass Creation

How to Heighten Your Craft Business’ Holiday Cheer

The busiest season in retail has begun and this is the perfect opportunity to market your soaps, your handmade clothing, art, and other crafts for the holiday rush. Making small changes to your usual selling strategy might help fill Santa’s sack with a little bit extra money than usual.

First, remember that your customers might not be buying for themselves, so imagine who your customers might be buying for. Check your inventory and maybe re-write the product description to include people who would like this product as a gift (example: “cute blanket for your friend’s new baby”). Next, cross-promote and collaborate with other online shops. Sending an email to your customer list with recommendations for another shop as your collaborator does with his or hers will hopefully gain more customers for the both of you. It might not hurt to offer free shipping either, especially for large orders. Following some or all of these tips might help give you an even happier holiday season. For a full article on this topic, click here:: 3 Business Boosting Tips for the Upcoming Holidays

Knowing Yourself = Knowing How to Get Your Best Work

The typical jobs are 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. on weekdays, but as a creative entrepreneur those might not be the times or the number of hours where you’ll be at your best. Too many times we forget that a) making your craft project, soap, or jewelry requires you being in a good space and b) you are in charge of yourself. Knowing how your process works can not only make sure your products are the highest quality, but also allows fresh ideas to flow for more items in the future.

So how do you know what conditions allow you to make your best work? Well, a good first step is to monitor your mood and energy during various conditions throughout the day. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Are you more productive when you are isolated and quiet or when there is hustle and noise around you? Do you need to take frequent breaks or get into a “zone” where you feel that any interruption kills your momentum? Address these questions and you’ll find out the best schedule for yourself and become a better creator because of it. For more a more detailed article on this subject, click here:: Discover How You Work Best

Tips for Craft Vendors to Make the Most Impact

You have stocked up on your personally made soaps, jewelry, clothing, or other crafts and are ready to display them for the masses. This may seem daunting and can sometimes create anxiety for crafters, especially for the first time. However, there are some tips out there that can help give you a great, profitable experience as a vendor.

Put your creativity to good use; put up a display and a storefront in your vendor space. It’ll catch the eye more than just a splayed out table. Be approachable and smile at people who stop by at the booth. It might seem weird and uncomfortable at first, but if you approach with positivity, it’s likely other people will be positive back to you. Lastly, you might want to give in-booth demonstrations or work on a current project as you are selling your wares. This gives potential customers an idea and an appreciation of how these crafts are made. These tips should give you a good start for the next craft fair or expo. Read a full article on this topic here:: Little Known Ways to Sell More at Market

Your Good Student Behavior Might Create Bad Craft Business Habits

The theory told in school that good students that get good grades will become successful adults. As you probably know by now, that’s not always the case. In fact, many of the good habits you’ve learned in school have prevented you from forming better habits for your craft or soap business.

At school, we’re told that solid preparation is key: study for the exam, write notes for your oral presentation, etc. However, in life one must be ready to improvise in case plans change. There is no teacher around to automatically see you doing good work in real life, so you not only have to make good work but make an effort to make it visible to others. While you were told to just listen to your teacher, in life there are times when you need to challenge authority so your ideas have impact. Breaking the timid habits of school can add quality skills to your business repertoire. For a full article on this topic, click here:: 3 Habits You Learned in School that Could Be Hurting Your Biz

Add to Your Marketing Strategy by Asking Outsiders’ Opinions

In any industry, whether it is in crafts, soap making, or otherwise, you develop marketing techniques based upon what you’ve seen and has been taught to you by your peers. While those may be great general rules of thumb, it can also limit your scope. It is hard to see other possibilities if you keep yourself inside your industry’s bubble. So what’s the solution? Talk to people who aren’t like you and aren’t in the crafts industry.

On the surface something like car sales, restaurants, or other businesses might not have anything to do with how to sell your wares. However, the differences in personality and approach might give you addition tools and sales strategy that might not have been considered. Like anything, take and try what could work, and leave the rest behind. For a full article on this topic, click here:: Seek Advice From People Who Aren’t Like You