by Jo Varney

Handmade to Sell is a guide to running a craft business written by the directors of an organisation called Hello Craft, which is based in the United States. Hello Craft is a non profit making trade association, for craft entrepreneurs. They hold an annual business conference, known as the ‘Summit of Awesome’ which aims to equip crafters with the relevant business skills to succeed, and Handmade to Sell is essentially all the information from the conference consolidated into a book. Topics in this title covered include: Making Things, Starting Your Crafty Biz, Learning the Nuts and Bolts, Creating Something Awesome, Selling Online, Selling at Craft Fairs, Talking Shop, Marketing, Expanding Your Business and Walking the Walk. Try to ignore the colloquialisms if you can!


Handmade To Sell By Kelly Rand (999 A145)

Kelly Rand and her associates (also directors of Hello Craft, as well as other craft organisations in the United States) have split their combined wealth of information into 10 information packed chapters, which are then organised into further subsections meaning that nothing is too onerous to absorb. Every different aspect of each subject is given a separate title and paragraph, meaning you are quickly guided to the relevant information you seek without having to wade through acres of inconsequential text. For example, Chapter 5 ‘Selling Online’ (which is an essential skill in today’s market), is divided into 6 sections dealing specifically with things like Curated Online Shops and Using Analytics to Gauge your Online Shop’s Success as well as actually setting up your online shop. In my opinion, this is one of the best and most useful chapters in the book providing solid and useful information vital for online success. There are even tips on taking successful photographs for online selling, including a guide to building your own light box so the authors have tried hard to cover as much as possible!


Another great Chapter is ‘Selling at Craft Fairs’ which contains some cast iron, common sense advice on everything from planning and logistics, to your Craft Fair Survival Kit checklist. Having this sort of information in print makes you truly appreciate that the authors really do know what they are talking about, and have actually been there.

One of the main features of this text is that it is written by crafters for crafters, so you will find no complicated business jargon – in fact quite the opposite. In places the book resembles more of a comic than a business guide, and thus will be well received by anyone daunted by a more formal approach.

“It takes time to learn and hone your craft and to turn it into a truly amazing kick-ass business, but once you get there you need to own your awesome.”

It is also worth stressing again (for anyone who hasn’t already picked up on this!!) that this is an American text, so there are a few sections e.g. Taxes, Health Insurance etc. which are not applicable in the UK, so you will need to do your own research on these topics to obtain accurate information.

On the whole though, I would say that this is a good, comprehensive but informal guide to running a successful craft business, and if you can manage to ignore the overzealous use of the word ‘awesome’ you will find this book extremely useful.

Handmade to Sell is an ideal guide if you are thinking of turning your jewellery making from a hobby into a business, so why take the first step on the next stage of your journey and purchase your copy of this title from Cooksongold here.

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