Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Favorite Crafting Business Books!

Hi, all! A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about my favorite soaping books. I know many of you Wonder Turtle Soaps blog readers are soapers, and some of you are in the business of selling soap, or you're thinking about selling it. I thought I'd share some books that helped me along the way when I was starting out. I still read as many of these kinds of books as I can, and I try to learn something new everyday.

I already touched on Maria Given Nerius's Soapmaking for Fun and Profit in the above post. The "For Fun and Profit" Series Editor Barbara Brabec writes her own books about crafting businesses, and one that I found to be extremely helpful is The Crafts Business Answer Book: Starting, Marketing, and Managing a Homebased Art, Crafts, or Design Business. This book was updated in 2006, and nearly 300 topics are laid out in an dictionary-style A-to-Z format. This book starts at Accounting and ends with Zoning Laws. Read the book straight through for a business primer, or easily look up a topic of interest.

If you're interested in starting an Indie business, check out Kari Chapin's The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and Online and Grace Dobush's Crafty Superstar. Both books have a fun, hip, conversational tone, and although both cover similar ground, they are each worth a read on their own. Chapin begins by helping the crafter get to know herself and her craft so she can set goals, brand her business, and establish basic business practices. In Part 2, she covers marketing, online crafting communities, blogging, and advertising. Next comes the actual selling -- mainly at craft fairs, online stores, and wholesaling or consigning in brick-and-mortar stores.

Dobush also introduces the handmade "Indie" business and helps the reader with basic business topics like pricing, simple bookkeeping, and keeping a business legal. She also suggests venues for selling -- craft shows, a web site (including Etsy), and brick-and-mortar stores. Marketing and advertising are also discussed. Dobush also devotes a chapter to "finding balance"; that is, balancing work with a personal life (the lines between the two can often blur when you run a crafting business from home). There is also a bunch of appendices in the back covering everything from forms and templates, online craft communities, and small business resources.

Another good book to read is Meg Mateo Ilasco's Craft Inc.: Turn Your Creative Hobby Into a Business. This is also a hip little book with tons of info on business planning, setting up your company, pricing and production, marketing and publicity, how to make and manage sales, and what to do when it's time to grow (or scale back) your business.

And I must admit that I do love the "Dummies" books. A good "Dummies" book has demystified many a newfangled thing for me. If you're thinking about setting up an online shop and using PayPal as your payment source, you might want to give PayPal for Dummies a perusal. This book was published in 2005, so PayPal may have undergone some small changes since then, but the info is still highly relevant. I also got a lot out of Facebook Marketing for Dummies when I decided to set up a Fan Page. This book mainly covers Fan Pages -- how to make them, promote them, and expand your business with them -- although there is a short section on Facebook in general if you're unfamiliar with it. And, yes, I read Google Blogger for Dummies, too. (How am I doing?)

Wally the Wonder Turtle and I would love to hear about some of your favorite crafty business books! Do you have some dog-eared business books that you go to again and again? Tell us all about 'em!