As promised, my review of Meg Mateo Ilasco’s Craft Inc.! First, let me just say that I really, really love this book; where was it all those years I’ve hemmed and hawed about starting a arts/crafts based business?! Its as if Ms. Ilasco has gathered up all the valuable information on the nuts and bolts of running a small crafts business and put it in one spot. One very user-friendly spot I might add; the tone of the book is quite down-to-earth and doesn’t scare you with a lot of “do this” or “don’t do this” rules. I daresay this is going to be one of those books that I refer to again and again (I’ve already marked my copy up with notes, highlights and dog-ears!).
The book is laid out to take you through the steps of starting a crafts-based enterprise: from conception, to making it legal, to actually starting, marketing, pricing, etc. Everything is thoroughly covered without being exhaustive, and generally broken up into small pieces (which is more reassuring to us easily-intimidated individuals). There are pep-talks early on to break down that lingering doubt about your ability or your product’s success or failure. Little motivators to get you not only thinking and planning, but actually moving towards your goal. She even talks about conquering the biggest monster: Procrastination!
Craft Inc. covers so many topics, questions and concerns pertinent to the aspiring (or even established!) craft entrepreneur. From the nitty-gritty details of making the business legal (even the oft-confusing question of taxes are discussed!), understanding how to acquire wholesale supplies, outsourcing your work as your business grows, packaging and shipping, business policies, taking your business to the next level (wholesale/retail). Even the basics of opening a retail store are discussed, would that be your goal!
One of my favorite aspects of the book is the interviews scattered throughout of successful business owners. Most of the names you’ve probably heard: Lotta Jansdotter, Denyse Schmidt, Jonathan Adler, port2port press, just to name a few. The questions and answers cover a variety of topics, problems and issues facing the creative business owner. The real-world advice given is highly valuable, and I found myself highlighting various points and tips that were made!
The most savvy aspect of the book, in my opinion, is that she includes many references to the vast internet community and marketplaces open to crafters. This is something that many other craft-business books ignore or downplay, I think in part because they tend to be written by those that are less internet-aware. Craft Inc. fully embraces the idea of the internet and what it has to offer, and doesn’t focus fully on marketing and selling via traditional venues (craft fairs, newspaper ads, etc.). In that same vein, the idea of the craft fair and traditional advertising methods isn’t ignored either; she really pushes the idea of doing market research in order to best target your product’s audience through whatever venue.
I daresay this book will fast become the new craft business classic; it navigates the intimidating waters of becoming a “real” business in plain English. Craft Inc. makes the idea of actually doing, rather than day dreaming, attainable.
cheers & creativity,
♥ casey [ email me ]
p.s. I want to thank you all so much for all your kind well-wishes as to my health! I'll be posting shortly about the nature of my illness, but let me just say I'm looking at a long (3+ month) recovery. Its gonna be an interesting autumn...