As part of my continuing efforts to kick my marketing and selling skills up several notches, I picked up Torie Jaye’s How to Show & Sell Your Crafts from the library. I will get books from the library first most of the time, and if I find the information in them to be valuable, I’ll buy a copy for my own shelves. I won’t be picking Jaye’s book up, though.
The book’s focus is on branding: creating your own brand and making sure it saturates every level of your business. A good chunk of the book is dedicated to things like picking your brand’s colors, creating great banner images, choosing an avatar. This is a book written by a crafter who sees “strong brand focus” as “pivotal to her online success” (as stated in her biography), so the emphasis on branding is understandable.
There’s another section on how to photograph crafts that I found very helpful. And there are several profiles of other crafters who have made a business of their designs. The book itself is very pretty. The layout and design is pleasing, and the pictures are beautifully photographed and presented. This is the kind of book you want to flip through for inspiration.
However, I came away from the book feeling that it is a blog’s worth of information stretched over a books’ worth of pages. While the crafter profiles are nice, the focus was mainly on their bios. Words of advice or guidance is would be more inspirational than reading about their passion for vintage items.
Included in the book are several crafts. Ostensibly they were tied into the sections they were found in (paper covered cans as pencil holders in the section on organizing your work space) but they felt like filler meant to pad the page count.
Those sections that I was more interested in—the business of doing business—were sparse. The page on business plans doesn’t really tell how to write one, or what one looks like. It doesn’t even tell readers to research more information. There’s no mention of dealing with taxes, or what it goes into setting up a business.
The book reads like a wish fulfillment manual: emphasis on packaging your crafts and setting up your booth space, talk of when you might need to hire help, blogging and social media. While these are important things to consider, they’re really ancillary concerns (and in the case of hiring help, concerns that won’t crop up for 99% of the crafters out there) compared to things like finding venues, bookkeeping, taxes and other boring, but necessary details.
If you are looking at trying to make money from your design skills and passions, I’d recommend skipping this book and looking for something more in depth. If I find one that fits the bill I will definitely mention it here.