Craft Inc. – The Ultimate Guide to Turning Your Creative Hobby into a Successful Business
By Meg Mateo Ilasco · Reviewed by Jess Soutar Barron
Take what you love and turn it into what you do. Easy. Or is it?
There’s more to it than simply increasing rates of production. Meg Mateo Ilasco, American, arty, business minded, has penned Craft Inc. – The Ultimate Guide to Turning Your Creative Hobby into a Successful Business. It’s the book to read while you’re making the decision rather than after you’ve quit your 9 to 5 and turned your sun-porch into a studio.
Although very American, with a fair chunk requiring translation for NZ crafters, there’s a heap of useful stuff that can be used as a work book for aspiring professional makers. Bit by bit it’ll unwrap all the areas to consider before leaping in.
Your workspace is all important. Rather than a room with a view you’re asked to consider a room with a muse. A space that inspires AND lets you create unhindered. Some of the tips included seem simplistic but during this big time of change it’s the small things that tangle and it helps to have a road map. No matter how creative, makers love tick-box lists as much as the next woman.
One of the areas that really resonated for me, and what I see in the makers I work with, is turning the handmade into mass production. Mateo Ilasco gives some good tips for efficient production and again asks readers to take a reality check. The very thing that turned you on to your craft may be the very thing that’s lost when you go “into business”.
Once you’ve turned your slow-made wonders into units you then need to sell them, and that’s another hard reality. When what you love is an almost anti-economy of self-made, gifting and exchange, being faced with supply/demand graphs, ins and outs columns, profit and loss, can be a threatening turn off. Mateo Ilasco has some excellent tips for selling, whether it’s markets, shops or online. The pricing advice on page 87 is very helpful and on page 126 she provides examples of how to harness that same creativity that made the products, to sell them.
It’s a beautiful tactile book, with a generous layout and welcoming typeface, encouraging you to return again and again to its pages. Helpful, comprehensive, articulate – it inspires and gives a reality check in equal measure. It is a revised edition so some may have the 2007 incarnation, but if you are moving forward from cottage-craft to cottage-industry this is the guide book for the journey.