As Fella tells it, I just ‘had it one day’; & to be honest I can’t remember where I found out about it, or heard about it or even saw a copy. I really did just have it one day & I haven’t looked back since!
I reached a, looking back unsurprising, plateau about six months after starting Laura After Midnight. My natural investigative nature, passion & sheer hard work had managed to carry me to a point, but I knew there was more I could do concerning Social Media, organization &- my main goal for last year- getting to a point where I was selling regularly & could contemplate running a market stall.
This book, quite literally, obliterated my outlook & is simply a revelation. At no point is Kari Chapin really informing you of anything you don’t know, or haven’t heard about but- and it’s a big BUT- what she IS telling you she sets out in a clear, succinct & supportive way.
To be honest I felt a little silly starting up Laura After Midnight. I couldn’t quite believe someone would want to purchase something I had made, or even be willing to buy in to me as a ‘brand’ & this is where The Handmade Marketplace starts. The first few chapters cover getting to know yourself & your business with sections on setting goals, translating your ideas in to reality, pricing your work within the marketplace & branding & developing a brand:
Defining your image isn’t as tough as it may seem. Ask your friends & family for their overall impressions about your style if you’re having trouble. They might see something that you don’t & the conversation could lead you to an Aha! moment that helps you make some decisions.
Reading this really helped me- what was my style, what did I like & want to buy? It wasn’t until I read this that I realized it had been staring me in the face almost as long as I could hold a pencil- my illustrative style would be pivotal in branding my business! It was so simple, but it took reading about it calmly & positively to gently make me realize this. As soon as I had started illustrating a few simple things it lead me to design labels, cards & all manor of items which help me look professional in the marketplace; & this is the simple brilliance of the book!
The second section of the book covers ‘Spreading the Word’, & it was the section I was most interested in. Taking you through marketing basics, photography, the Crafting Community, Blogging & websites, online newsletters, advertising, publicity & Press Releases as well as putting together Press Kits & pod casting after reading it through I really felt completely exhausted & all fired up, ready to step out there & take over the world in equal measure!!
With tips on how to market your business- there are so many!, making connections within the online community & even explaining blogging from the ground up this section of the book I have read & re-read time & again. Kari Chapin really does lay it all out in a friendly & positive way, & let me realize that this side of my business could also be very creative, fun & something I shouldn’t ignore.
The final chapter is entitled ‘Getting Down to Selling’. Finally, I hear you sigh! but, tempted though you may be to skip straight to this section, don’t! It covers online marketplaces such as Etsy, craft fair selling and all manor of other ways to make money from your chosen artistic field however; I’ll mention no more as you should be concentrating on the first two chapters first!
I strongly hasten you to add this to your pile of bedtime reading if you are thinking about starting a business or even if you are a more established affair, sometimes it helps to see a plan laid out for you to expand & grow. But you’ll need a notepad & pen!