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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Craft Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco

As you are all fully aware, given how much I talk about it, I have a shop on Etsy. I'd love to turn it into something that will generate a little extra income for my family so that I could one day be debt free. (Yes, "one day" is a long long long long LONG time in the future. Do not crush my dreams.) To that end I bought (yes, bought!) this book- Craft, Inc.: Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Business. It's a short little book, only 160 pages, and while not everything in it will really apply to me, there was a lot of inspiration to be found.

Ilasco breaks the book down into chapters about marketing, inspiration, sales, and pricing, among others. The book covers in very general terms all the different aspects of owning your own shop AND creating your own brand. She's very clear that you have to brand yourself fully, you can't have a bunch of random stuff throw together and expect to be a rousing success. I think this is possibly the most useful thing I took out of the book and I expect it'll cause me to think more about my own shop and how I can pull it together more cohesively. One thing I took the time to do already was to create a Facebook fan page for the shop, please go become a fan!

Throughout the book there are short interview from various people who have managed to turn their hobbies into very successful brands. Each one was about two pages long, just long enough to keep me interested, without too many details. Some of them were very inspiring and make me think that this IS possible for me.

The one aspect of the book that wasn't so helpful for me was that a lot of the book does focus on things that can be mass produced. For example- pottery pots, or lip balm, or even knitted hats. Most of what I make tends to be one of the kind- custom team banners, messenger bags, and tote bags from t-shirts. It's a little harder to market something that is so unique- just how many sample banners do I need anyway, if the Twins fans don't bite?

Overall, a useful book, one that I'll add to my shelves. (The bright yellow spine will certainly look nice on them, don't you think?) It certainly does inspire me to work harder at my goal. If you're interesting in starting a creative business of your own, I think you could get a lot out of this book, otherwise probably not for you.

If you could turn any hobby into a business, what would it be? What do you love to do? You don't have to be great at it, I'm just interested in what your passion is... and don't say "I'd love to make a living reading books!" cause DUH.

Craft, Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco

Chronicle Books


160 pages


  1. But reading is my passion! LOL I am not crafty or talented at anything, to be honest, so I'm not sure what I'd do if I could turn a hobby into a career. Writing, probably. That's the only real thing I can think of. That and stuffing envelopes.

  2. Visiting via Sarah's random musings. Saw you on her blogroll.
    I'm going to go find this book; I recently opened an etsy shop, and I do have a variety of things and need to learn to focus. I am doing my first craft fair next week, and I think talking to people will give me a better handle on what people like and makes me unique.
    I'm off to become you're FB fan, hope you'll find me there, too!

  3. It may be a far away dream but it will happen someday. Just keep at it.

  4. You just knew I'd say reading, didn't you?

    Honestly, I'm not very creative, so I'm afraid this isn't a possible career move for me. Darn it.

  5. Thank you for sharing the review. I've often thought about starting an etsy shop too, or in some other way turning my crafting into dollars (crafts fairs, etc.). But I'm not all that good at finishing things. Scheming, planning, starting -- that I love (quilting, mostly). So I thought about becoming a pattern designer. But then picky people would insist that I, you know, actually make the quilts in my patterns to make sure they work and all. My husband and I, who were avid game players before every game piece became a potential choking hazard around here, always daydreamed about opening a games shop in a seaside town somewhere. In reality, I'm not sure if I'd enjoy having my hobbies become my work. Off to browse your shop.

  6. I'd love to be a personal shopper/stylist! :) That's one of my other hobbies-my friends and family always want me shopping with them. :D

  7. I was thinking the other day that I really need a hobby. N just started learning to play the guitar and is really getting into this photography thing that he's doing .. and I've got nothing. I have no idea. Something other than reading and blogging. But what?


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