A Crafts Community For Craft Ideas & DIY Projects - Craftster.org
Help | About | Contact | Press | Advertise | Terms | Site Map
Welcome, Guest.
Please login or register.
Random Tip: You can now organize your bookmarks into folders!  Read more here.
Total Members: 296,652
Currently Running With Scissors:
665 Guests and 15 Users
Home Craftster Community Crafting Articles Craft Tutorials My Craftster Crafting Calendar City Guides Craft Shop


Pages: 1 2 [All]
Jump to page:
  Show Images Only     Send this topic  |  Print  |  Bookmark  
Topic: Adventures in starting a craft business  (Read 2831 times)
Tags for this thread:  Add new tag
Share the love... Pin it Submit to reddit add to Wists
1+
 
Artisan82
Offline Offline

Posts: 647
Joined: 04-Jul-2007

formerly Crafty.Canadian


View Profile WWW available for personal swaps
« on: September 05, 2012 07:54:20 AM »

I really, really want to start selling things I make.  I've started reading some books regarding how to sell crafts, and how to start craft businesses.  I haven't really found anything that's a step-by-step idiot-proof, here's how you get started.  So, I'm giving myself some assignments, and posting them here. Hopefully someone else who is struggling with taking the first steps towards making money from crafting will learn from my mistakes.  Hopefully people who have taken this journey already will comment here and help me struggle through this.

So... here goes:

Assignment 1:  Sign up for a craft show.  This will give me a hard deadline (motivation) to at least get some things done business-wise and make enough stock items to sell that I won't embarrass myself the day of.

I e-mailed the lady who runs the "Nick of Time" Christmas craft show at the Buckhorn community centre.  The fee is only $60,  so I figure it's a small cost, even if I don't sell anything.  At least I can say I have done a craft show.


Assignment 2: Pick a name for my business.

A while ago, before my second baby was born, I started an etsy shop called The Turnip Truck Co.  My husband calls me Turnip Truck sometimes, so that's where that idea came from.  I think it was a decent name, but I don't want to use that name going forward.  I think the name suggests a certain sense of humour, which I like, but I think it also pigeon-holes me into making items with a sense of humour.  If one was looking for a goofy monster brooch, then they might look in a shop called "The Turnip Truck Co"... but the name doesn't really lend itself to handpainted fine home furnishings.  Since I make many different things and I haven't really done any market research yet, I need a name that will work no matter what the shop contains.

I came up with two options I like "Jennifer LaBelle Handmade" (origin self-evident) and "Artisan 82" (being that I'm an artisan and I was born in 1982.)  I really like the word artisan and like calling myself an artisan (rather than artist or craftsperson) because I think it most accurately describes me.  I took a quick e-mail poll of a few friends whose opinions I respect in this regard, and the majority liked "Artisan 82".

So... officially the name of my new craft business is "Artisan 82".  Yippi!

Assignment 3:  Make a logo.

Realizing that I will need to make a sign for my craft booth and probably some sort of facebook and/or blog page, I will need a logo.  I really wanted a logo that said: crafty, handmade, stylish, professional.  I started by scribbling my company name in a sketchbook:



I thought I could manipulate my own handwriting on the computer to make something that I liked.  I traced around the letters in autoCAD, and struggled for hours playing with the image in a free image manipulation program called GIMP http://www.gimp.org/ that I didn't really know how to use.  Here are various versions of what I came up with.






After sleeping on it, I looked on the above with fresh eyes, and determined that I needed to try a completely different approach.  And so down the tube goes two hours of struggling frustration

Well, an education is never free... and in my struggles, I noticed that this nifty GIMP program I was using had a 'create logo' function (did I mention that this software is free!).  So I messed around with that for a while and came up with this (using a free, scribbly looking font I had.)


Although I don't love this, I was getting close.

I took a similar approach with a different font, and I think I found my winner:



The flourishes make it look artistic and stylish, but I like how there's some gouges and splashes... it gives it a hand made look.  I think I'm sticking with this one.

My next goals:
Get a facebook, blog, and etsy account.
Make business cards with the above information on them.  This way at least I'll have some form of marketing material to hand out at the craft fair.
Oh yeah, and stock.  I need to produce stock to sell.  That should happen too.

I'm going to keep this post going, even if nobody reads or comments as a way to be accountable to myself.  I do hope that somebody does read it...  Oh, and if anybody reading this thinks that my final logo stinks, please tell me!  I'd like to know before I start printing business cards.  Undecided



« Last Edit: September 05, 2012 08:24:33 AM by Crafty.Canadian » THIS ROCKS   Logged

I post all my crafty stuff on Facebook.  I'd LOVE if you'd like my page!
Artisan 82 on Facebook
My baby, my Etsy shop: Artisan 82 on Etsy
teag
Tutorial Contributor

Offline Offline

Posts: 1944
Joined: 10-Aug-2007


View Profile WWW available for personal swaps
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2012 08:56:39 AM »

Good Luck! Sounds like your off to a good start-
THIS ROCKS   Logged

Antidigger
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2012 03:22:32 PM »

Please carry on with this thread, I'd love to see how you manage and what happens. If it helps, I'll offer you my experience so you can compare & contrast.

I started the other way around: I built my stock first, then signed up for a show, then finally after a couple of shows got around to making some business cards. I'm making so very little, but at least I'm covering the costs of the show and discovering what sells and what doesn't.
THIS ROCKS   Logged

Look twice, buy once. Nooooo
Look twice, decide I can make one instead.
thisbirdsabsurd
Friend of Craftster Friend of Craftster

Offline Offline

Posts: 2845
Joined: 16-Sep-2008

Be Happy!


View Profile WWW available for personal swaps
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2012 04:36:48 PM »

I love hearing about your thought process and how you decided on your logo.  You know better than anyone what the "feel" is that you're looking for.  (By the way, I think "The Turnip Truck" is a spectacular name and could apply to anything - but Artisan 82 is perhaps more sophisticated.)
  I'm also looking forward to hear about your progress, and my only advice would be to give yourself an identity.  I'm also kind of a "Jill-of-all-trades" when it comes to my artistic interests, but when I do craft shows I find that it helps to narrow down my "wares" to a few things. It will make your booth/display less confusing and make more of an impact. (That's the lady who sells dolls, or ornaments, or paintings, or cool refinished furniture, as opposed to - that's the lady that sells a whole bunch of stuff.)
  Best of luck and keep us posted!
THIS ROCKS   Logged

My Etsy shop is here!  www.thisbirdsabsurd .etsy.com
pinokeeo
Offline Offline

Posts: 7619
Joined: 08-Mar-2007

Best of 2013 winner, but this is just as good.


View Profile WWW
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2012 06:02:42 PM »

My advice to you would be to start with the business name before you sign up for the craft show.  That way you are starting out as a professional.  You can figure out the logo before the show, but after you have signed up.

Good luck to you.  I wish you the best.
THIS ROCKS   Logged

http://PiNOKEEOs.artfire.com

50 projects for 2014--20/50
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=430313.msg5136721#msg5136721
Recovering from surgery and crafting again!!!
Chris in VT
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2012 04:25:37 AM »

If I may, I'll give some advice from someone who does craft fairs/shows for a living.

Your sign: The bottom one looks messy to me.  As a customer it would look like the ink ran. The next one up is unreadable. The next one up is perfect. It's easy to read, and a customer can see it and read it in the five seconds you will have to attract him/her to your booth.

How many fairs have you attended? I strongly advize you to go and attend as many fairs as you possibly can as soon as you can. Go to small shows as well as big shows run by promoters with professional exhibitors. You have to see how it's done before you do it. You need to look at displays, and notice that exhibitors who just place things on a table don't sell, while others who have varying heights always do better.  
Here is a page from a promoter I do about 12 shows with. It shows individual displays. You can click on a photo to enlarge it.
http://www.castleberryfairs.com/photoalbum.php

Make sure you have lots of lights in your booth. You can never have too much light, so always spring for electricity. As a customer, I will always gravitate to a well lit booth over a dark one no matter how well lit the building is.

Speaking of customers, here's the hard part. How old are the customers? This is why you must do research. If you have items for twenty somethings and your customers are forty somethings, guess what?  You must have a product that appeals to everyone. From those in their teens to retired people.

When you go to the fairs, look at the booths. Many will have walls on three sides. That makes your space your own shop. Your sign goes up on the back of the center wall, not on the table.  Your lights then shine down on your work.

Here's a page from a show I'm doing this weekend. The promoter is giving tips on displays.  http://www.chestercraftshow.com/helpfultips/index.html

This is a good start. As the season progresses, if you have any questions about doing shows I'll be happy to help. You will find that if you like doing physical shows, and you garner a following, you will make more money in one weekend than 6 months on Etsy or online. Customers will always prefer to buy face to face over a website.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2012 04:31:20 AM by Chris in VT » THIS ROCKS   Logged

There's NOTHING at a craft show, or on Etsy, anybody NEEDS. NOTHING.
www.shadypinestudio s.com
Artisan82
Offline Offline

Posts: 647
Joined: 04-Jul-2007

formerly Crafty.Canadian


View Profile WWW available for personal swaps
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2012 11:03:27 AM »

Wow, I'm so happy that people have responded.  I will definitely keep updating my step-by-step struggle through this.  I appreciate the pointers people have offered.  Gotta love Craftster!
THIS ROCKS   Logged

I post all my crafty stuff on Facebook.  I'd LOVE if you'd like my page!
Artisan 82 on Facebook
My baby, my Etsy shop: Artisan 82 on Etsy
Artisan82
Offline Offline

Posts: 647
Joined: 04-Jul-2007

formerly Crafty.Canadian


View Profile WWW available for personal swaps
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2012 01:56:29 PM »

So I've been trying to set up facebook, etsy and a blog under my new business name, and I've learned that the logo I love looks horrible on these sites.... Back to the drawing board.  I might have to take Chris in VT's advice and go with something much more simple.  Undecided
THIS ROCKS   Logged

I post all my crafty stuff on Facebook.  I'd LOVE if you'd like my page!
Artisan 82 on Facebook
My baby, my Etsy shop: Artisan 82 on Etsy
Artisan82
Offline Offline

Posts: 647
Joined: 04-Jul-2007

formerly Crafty.Canadian


View Profile WWW available for personal swaps
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2012 06:29:10 AM »

I've rejiggered my logo and started a facebook, etsy, and blog under my Artisan 82 business name.  There's no content on any of these pages, but at least I have them all locked down so I can put the urls on my business cards.

In the mean time, I wanted a little project to do A) to get me away from the computer, B) to give me a some material to start populating my blog C) I was thinking about the craft show and I really wanted to use brown paper bags as the 'shopping bags' for my customer, but I thought it would be really cool to if they had my logo printed on them.  I looked about ordering a custom logo stamp online, and the prices were ridiculous! So,  as any self-respecting crafter would do, I did some research, got myself a coupon, and headed to Michael's to grab some materials to make my own.

THIS ROCKS   Logged

I post all my crafty stuff on Facebook.  I'd LOVE if you'd like my page!
Artisan 82 on Facebook
My baby, my Etsy shop: Artisan 82 on Etsy
Antidigger
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2012 09:17:39 AM »

That looks smashing. very nice indeed.
THIS ROCKS   Logged

Look twice, buy once. Nooooo
Look twice, decide I can make one instead.
Chris in VT
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2012 04:04:07 AM »

Good job!
THIS ROCKS   Logged

There's NOTHING at a craft show, or on Etsy, anybody NEEDS. NOTHING.
www.shadypinestudio s.com
Artisan82
Offline Offline

Posts: 647
Joined: 04-Jul-2007

formerly Crafty.Canadian


View Profile WWW available for personal swaps
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2012 09:28:37 AM »

Business Cards!

After a small delay caused by my printer crapping out, I finally have business cards.  I just kept it simple and put my logo and contact info on the front.  I used my hand-carved logo stamps to make a background (stamped them on a sheet of paper, scanned that, then used my computer to re-colour and re-size).

I used business card sheets by Avery that I bought at Staples.  I would recommend them.  They worked really easily and they have perfectly clean edges.



THIS ROCKS   Logged

I post all my crafty stuff on Facebook.  I'd LOVE if you'd like my page!
Artisan 82 on Facebook
My baby, my Etsy shop: Artisan 82 on Etsy
Antidigger
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2012 12:18:04 PM »

They look smart, very stylish.
THIS ROCKS   Logged

Look twice, buy once. Nooooo
Look twice, decide I can make one instead.
Terri@taskforce4u.com
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2012 05:22:38 PM »

Good job!  I too tried to use the font you wanted at first for your logo, mine was going to be done in vinyl....not a cool font for vinyl either.  It's a sharp font, but like you decided it was not a "professional" type of font.  I love the stamp, I never thought about that and the paper bags.  Looking forward to reading more on how things are going.

Great job so far! Grin
THIS ROCKS   Logged
Artisan82
Offline Offline

Posts: 647
Joined: 04-Jul-2007

formerly Crafty.Canadian


View Profile WWW available for personal swaps
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2012 08:56:16 AM »

I have been working on stock for the craft show and doing some research (mostly for booth set-up).  I have a pile of unfinished pine furniture in my garage and some illustrations, and very little else to show for the work I've been doing.  I've been doing some test my crafting materials to make sure there will be no disasters before I set about mass producing.  It's been slow, but I think that taking my time now will enable me to bust out some good products quickly (er... 'efficiently' is probably a better word than 'quickly') over the next few weeks.

Despite growing fears that I've jumped in too quickly, I think its good that I have a deadline.  Pressure is motivation.

Some pics of whats on my desk these days:


Sketches.  The wood panel won't end up as a final product, just using it as a test of materials to make sure that all the products I'm using are compatible - won't degrade each other, cause bleeding, running, etc.


This is an in-progress panel that will be the back of a storage bench.  Most of the colouring is done, I need to start on the outlining/ hatching work. (Think similar to the bird in the pic above.)


More sketches for storage benches.
THIS ROCKS   Logged

I post all my crafty stuff on Facebook.  I'd LOVE if you'd like my page!
Artisan 82 on Facebook
My baby, my Etsy shop: Artisan 82 on Etsy
TwistMySister
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2012 04:34:46 AM »

im going through all the same adventures and am glad youre posting on yours, your illustrations look great!
THIS ROCKS   Logged

Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/On-The-Front-Line/175858075802771

http://www.etsy.com/shop/OnTheFrontLine
blackabbey
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2012 07:58:30 PM »

Firstly, I would like to say great work so far.

A few suggestions that came to my mind
I am not sure about the trading name laws in Canada (where I assume you are posting from, given your user name Smiley) but have you looked in to the possibility/requirement of lodging or registering your business name with the government? I only ask because I know here in Australia you are not legally allowed to trade under a name unless it is registered with the Australian Business Register. May not be relevant to you, but worth checking just in case.

Secondly, if your panel you have pictured does work well, why not sell it as a final piece? Add a wooden frame to it (or make one if you are handy with a saw) and sell it as a nursery decoration. You would still be keeping with a similar theme of hand painted, but would be expanding your potential customer base to new families (younger audience) and grandparents (older audience) with the same sort of pieces, and would also be able to make more of these to add, as the production value is relatively low.

Hope this helps, and definitely keep us updated Smiley
THIS ROCKS   Logged
Threads you might like:
Pages: 1 2 [All] Jump to page:
  Send this topic  |  Print  |  Bookmark  
 
Jump to:  



only results with images
include swap threads
advanced search



your ad could be here!

How-To Videos
How to Make a Split Stitch
How to Operate an Embroidery Machine
How to Write in Italic Handwriting
How to Stitch a French Knot
How to Apply Iron on Transfers
Latest Blog Articles
@Home This Weekend: Teacup Bird Feeder
Winner of Craft Challenge #100-Pottermouth
July 23, 2014 Featured Projects

Comparison Shopping




Support Craftster
Become a
Friend of Craftster

Buy Craftster Swag
Buy Craft Supplies
Comparison Shopping

Craftster heartily thanks the following peeps...
Moderators

Follow Craftster...






Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!

Copyright ©2003-2014, Craftster.org an Internet Brands company.