Working with makers for nearly a decade now, we've seen so many grow into new problems. Inventory is always one of them! Tracking, planning, forecasting and all kinds of managing of inventory takes some work (I think it's something that every maker has to truly adapt for themselves, which makes things tricky to sort out). Our friends at Katana MRP have some tips for figuring it all out.
We are taking a break from our usual blog topics to discuss something that's foundational to the ability for all of us to run a business-- a free and open internet. Today is a day of action for net neutrality in the US and so we wanted to make sure we participated in this important day.
On December 14th the Federal Communications Committee (FCC in the US) is set to make changes that will allow Communications Providers (ISPs, Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, etc) to pick and choose what websites load faster or make sites purposefully load slower for you.
Alright guys, it's time for another edition of the maker version of HGTV. We're doing a studio and today we're excited to introduce you to Keira Schultz' fantastic studio. I love how she's set it up so that she can also use it for background in her photo shoots (check out her Insta to see how she sets up her photos). Check it out!
When making resolutions in the new year, I used to arbitrarily and somewhat wistfully make my resolutions. It was often based on some kind of nostalgia for what I used to be (10 pounds lighter!) or what I thought I *should* be.
Like so many people, I was letting the past and arbitrary expectations dictate my goals. They weren’t bad per se, but they weren’t based on the realities of my current life and the path I wanted to take to make improvements.
Owning my own business has given me a bit more clarity into my resolutions. It’s grounded me in reality a bit more. Instead of letting whims, wishes and external comparisons guide my goals for the year, I now think: Where do I want to be at the end of this year? Then I work backwards.
I know that asking “Where do I want to be at the end of this year” seems arbitrary and that it even could become wishful thinking. However, I find that when I have to ask myself this question it is actually quite grounding. I have to create a picture of the end. Of all of the achievement. And even qualifying it with “by the end of this year” gives me the “T” in SMART goals already (time bound).
Starting with the end and working backwards is the best way to set goals. It makes things feel less overwhelming and also helps you evaluate if you are playing too small (or might be biting off more than you can chew).
On the podcast Isaac discusses the idea about looking at the end with two makers: Holly Marsh of Marshmueller and Melissa Wert of Print Therapy. Both work toward their goals in different ways and have also changed course along the way. I think you will enjoy it if you haven't already listened.
I'd challenge you to think about how you can apply this in your own business.
Some questions to think about:
#1: Are your goals related DIRECTLY to getting you to where you want to end up?
#2: Have you tied your goals to a timeline and realistic action items?
#3: Have you made goals a priority or have you made busy work?
Price is personal. Especially for handmade businesses, where there is such a clear labor of love for sale. Sharon and Isaac share their perspectives on a tricky part of business. It's also extremely personal for this week's podcast guest, Kristen of PF Candle Co., who has to price her products to support her, her employees AND a growing family.
Aside from the occasional craft show or visit to a local stockist, makers largely do their work alone (except maybe a cat walking across your desk or a child tugging at at you). It can be hard to get peer camaraderie and advice from other makers who are more advanced in their career path.
Mentors can be an invaluable to a young and growing business, or to a business looking to make some "next step" leaps. But often they can be hard to find and even fleeting.
It feels like the easy and smartest thing to do when you're stuck-- take a course to help you with whatever it seems like you are struggling with or maybe even peruse the internet for a blog post or podcast for something, anything, to help!
Courses are GREAT! But we see all the time that a lot of people are afraid to make moves in their business and the answer is to course hoard.
Here's why a course might not help you the next time you're feeling stuck.
Your first craft show or even first couple can be pretty overwhelming (especially if you're an introvert!). The day is usually long, you're on your feet, you're answer a lot of different questions and you're always in that awkward balance of wanting to sell your stuff but not be pushy or hover. Community member Maria Aranes shares the lessons she's learned as newbie seller.
One of the things we've noticed in talking with thousands of makers about their businesses, is that frustrations often come when makers don't have a clear idea about what they want out of their business. They think they see a business on Instagram or see them on store shelves and think "Yes, I want that!" But the realities of that are much different than they realize.
We talk with three makers about how they adjusted expectations and had mindset shifts that helped them grow their businesses.
I cannot tell you how delighted I was to put this post together today! It included seeing the beautiful faces of so many makers in our community AND I got to relive the fun time we had at Craftcation with Sarah Deragon shooting our new photos. I hope you enjoy seeing the transformations as much as I did and that they inspire you!
This past spring at Craftcation we hosted a Think Tank (group feedback session) on packaging. We did not anticipate the high demand for this class. Apparently a lot of you have questions about the best way to package your products, especially for wholesale and especially about jewelry. So, we thought we'd get some of the smartest shop owners we know to share what they like to see when it comes to jewelry packaged for their shop.
We have some exciting new things happening with Academy of Handmade, along with some pretty big changes. There is a lot of information to share and get through, but I hope you will read on as we share how we plan to continue our mission of helping makers grow sustainable businesses. Plus, we’ve got a fun surprise at the end!
Back in May our theme for the month was The F Word: Failure. In our community forums we explored the topic of The Perfect Fail-- essentially the idea that you can do everything *right* and still come out with a bummer result. Maker Lynn Quire got vulnerable and shared the time that she new she literally had to close up shop. I think we all can relate to a lot of the things in this, especially making hard decisions despite what people will think.
Today we've got another chance for you to peep on a maker's studio space! This one has some pretty dreamy windows and is surrounded by what looks like a forest to this city-dweller. It's the business home for creative power couple Chris and Andrea Zatarian of Chris & Andy Design. Check out how they make it work for their multiple and varied business needs, plus learn more about how they built their business!