The 3 Types of Maker Business Failure (with One You're Already a Pro at Overcoming)

The 3 Types of Maker Business Failure (with One You're Already a Pro at Overcoming)

One of the hardest things about running your own business is having to deal with failure. It’s isolating and extremely discouraging-- which can create a downward spiral if we’re not careful.

We talk about the three ways I think makers and other creative businesses typically fail-- with two of them stinging the most and one of them that most makers deal with pretty well. Once we know what kind of failure we are experiencing, we can better make a plan to move on (I’m not saying it will be easy, but I’m saying we can!).

YOU NEED TO TAKE A STEP BACK

YOU NEED TO TAKE A STEP BACK

If you feel stuck in your business at all, taking a step back, as ironic as it seems can be huge for moving forward. If this post sparks something in you or you recognize what we're describing, take our Maker Business Type Quiz to better understand what's happening in your business.

State of Making Announcement: New Session Added

State of Making Announcement: New Session Added

I'm pleased to let you know that we have added a bonus session! Last time we invited social media and online strategist Meighan O'Toole to do a bonus after she was unable to make it to her scheduled session.

It was such a fun time just chatting about what was going on in social media that we decided to do it again. This time we are focusing on how businesses deal with politics and controversy. It's certainly tricky and can be damaging if not done right. We'll talk with Meighan about making your way through potential land mines of running a business online!

WHAT'S HAPPENING AT CRAFTCATION 2017: PART 3

WHAT'S HAPPENING AT CRAFTCATION 2017: PART 3

We are thrilled to partner with our friends at Craftcation on their sixth annual business and makers conference happening April 27-30, 2017. Each year they gather up makers, artists, DIYers and creative business owners in the beach city of Ventura, California (just a little north of Los Angeles) to get away and learn new craft and business skills.

This year we helped them create tracks from the schedule of over 100 workshops and activities-- which was quite the feat because there are sooo many great sessions to choose from! Putting the tracks together showed me that there's something for everyone at Craftcation.

What's Happening at Craftcation 2017: Part 1

What's Happening at Craftcation 2017: Part 1

This year we are excited to partner with our friends at Craftcation on their sixth annual business and makers conference. Each year they gather up makers, artists, DIYers and creative business owners in the beach city of Ventura, California (just a little north of Los Angeles) to get away and learn new craft and business skills. This year we helped them with the creation of tracks from their many classes-- OMG it was crazy to sort through all of the amazing classes ahead! Putting the tracks together shows there's something for everyone here.

Next Level Blogging with Miriam Dema

Next Level Blogging with Miriam Dema

This is our second post on blogging as a lead up to our Blogging for Makers workshop on July 19. We asked member Miriam Dema about her recent experience transitioning her blog to new a platform (wondering which blogging platform works best for you? Find out more at the workshop!). She is always thoughtful about these things and gives some great information on what that was like and why she did it. Thanks Miriam!

Next Level Blogging with Marissa Harrington of Bourbon and Goose

Next Level Blogging with Marissa Harrington of Bourbon and Goose

Next month we host our second Next Level workshop, designed to take your creative business to the next level. This time we are focusing on how to blog when you're a maker (and not a blogger). Blogs can be a great way to build community and share more of yourself with your customers, but it can be hard to know how to maximize it for selling. As a preview, we're curating a few posts from creatives about their blogs and some advice. 

Our first post comes from member Marissa Harrington, a creative director who is using her blog, Bourbon and Goose, to highlight her photography and creative endeavors. 

What I Learned at the Next Level Business Workshop

What I Learned at the Next Level Business Workshop

This past October we held our first Next Level Business Workshop, our signature, day-long business event. We're grateful to Jennifer Priest, member and crafty social media renaissance woman at Hydrangea Hippo and Rainmaker Media Works, for writing up her experience about attending the workshop. 

Workshop Recap: #ALadyFantasyPhotoShoot

Workshop Recap: #ALadyFantasyPhotoShoot

Last weekend we had the pleasure of hosting Aurora Lady at the Hub LA last Saturday for A Lady Fantasy Photo Shoot a workshop all about planning your own photo shoot. Aurora’s helpful tips outlined all the planning steps to direct your own photo shoot without using a fancy SLR camera. Co-founder KC gives us the low down from that workshop.

Next Level Thanks

Next Level Thanks

Saturday was the culmination of MONTHS of planning and preparation to make our Next Level Business Workshop happen! We feel it was a great success and we learned valuable new information. Plus we had great time socializing and hanging out with a great group of makers. Truly, we felt so blessed! Thank yous are in order for all of the speakers, panelists and photographers, as well as everyone who attended. AND of course our sponsors The Naked Grape and Dominique's Kitchen

YOUR BOOTH SHOULD INSTANTLY MAKE SENSE

YOUR BOOTH SHOULD INSTANTLY MAKE SENSE

We're doing a blog series on things that can take your business to the next level. Things that are crucial for you to go from amateur to money-making professional. Which is why we created the October 26 Next Level Business Workshop as a day where you can make these tweaks happen. This post by co-founder KC talks about one of the biggest ways to help people understand what you make at a craft or trade show... signage! 

YOUR BOOTH SHOULD BE MEMORABLE

YOUR BOOTH SHOULD BE MEMORABLE

We're doing a blog series on things that can take your business to the next level. Things that are crucial for you to go from amateur to money-making professional.  Which is why we created the October 26 Next Level Business Workshop as a day where you can make these tweaks happen. This week we spoke with Ann Loud, a display artist and set designer who will also be teaching display and merchandising techniques at the Next Level Workshop! Ann gave a little preview of her class and some things to think about when you are creating your booth set up.

YOUR PICTURES NEED TO BE AWESOME

YOUR PICTURES NEED TO BE AWESOME

There are hats you should really leave to a professional. Even though Pinterest is acting like you can DIY your whole life, do you really want your head shots and your product photos to turn out the way those crayon candles you had pinned turned out (or insert other pin fail here_______________)?

Why You Need to Take Your Business to the Next Level

When we started the Academy of Handmade, our goal was to help craft artists really shine like they never had before. We looked around and saw so many driven and talented people becoming successful in this industry and felt like they needed to be celebrated. But we also saw people who had been doing this for a bit and had kinda hit a wall. So we thought of ways we could help get people thinking outside the boxes they seemed to be stuck in.

Our dream for the Next Level Business Workshop is to help people get unstuck and/or push to the next level. We created a day to all of the things that you are always saying, "I will do that when..." You want to do these things, but getting it all together can seem overwhelming. We're going to be going in depth in the next couple weeks more on why you need to be at this workshop, but for starters... 

  1. YOUR PICTURES NEED TO BE AWESOME: Like it or not you will be judged on your looks in this industry. If what your showing people doesn't look professional and well-done, it will look like you are not serious about your business. You might also be asked for photos of your product or yourself for blogs or magazines, but if you are sending them bad lighting and weird angles, they may not want to use you at all.
  2. YOU NEED TO BE PREPARED WHEN BUYERS APPROACH YOU: Buyers know that shows are a great place to find new merchandise for their shops. Are you prepared to have a discussion about wholesale? Do you have anything to show them? Know your prices? You'd be surprised and how much information you'll need to produce to close that deal
  3. YOUR BOOTH SHOULD BE MEMORABLE: If someone wants to come back to your booth or go to your website later, but you have no sign or have such an unmemorable set up you are indistinguishable it makes it very hard to gain and retain customers.
  4. YOUR MERCHANDISE SHOULD INSTANTLY MAKE SENSE: When people walk by your booth it should be obvious what your product is and why they need to have it. They don't have a lot of time and will quickly move on if you haven't captured their interest.
  5. YOU NEED TO TAKE A STEP BACK: If you've been doing shows for a bit now and feel like you've "got it down," now is the time to take a step back and see what you can do to refresh. Best way to do this is with some feedback from experts and your peers!  

We hope to see you October 26!

Food Based Natural Dyes – Demo at Etsy Craft Party 2013

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Did you enjoy the natural dye demo with KC at the Etsy Craft Party? Or did you miss and want to try out the fun at home for yourself? Here's her tips on the dyeing process.

Food Based Natural Dyes – Demo at Etsy Craft Party 2013

Turmeric – Yields a vibrate yellow. (Ranging from sunshine to pure gold in nature)

Recipe and Instructions:

For every 3 cups of water use ¼ cup of turmeric.

For large batches, It is safe to assume that no more than ¾ of a cup is needed for a bold color.  For the Etsy Party demonstration I used the largest capacity crock pot available (which is just over 24 cups) and used ¾ of a cup of turmeric. If you would like a subtle yellow, try a lesser amount of turmeric like 2 tablespoons to 8 cup ratio.

If using a hot pot, put in the ingredients in the crock pot and set it to cook on high for 2-3 hours before dyeing your fabric.  If you are doing this on the stove, try to have a rolling boil for 20-30min. then simmer for around an hour before adding fabric.  Stir the liquid frequently as the turmeric cooks. Because when you add your item to dye into the dye bath, the turmeric is very potent and will stain if it splashes back on you.  For dyeing in the crockpot keep your item in the liquid still on high heat for at least 30 minutes. Most results will be reviled well before 2 hours with this method. Don’t overcook! If you are cooking on the stove make sure your temperature is turned down to a simmer and that you are stirring often. This color is very colorfast and doesn’t need any additional fixatives.

Coffee (Espresso) – Yields a range of deep brown.

Recipe and Instructions:

For every 5 cups of water use ¼ cup of ground espresso.

For large batches - no more than ¾ of a cup is needed for a bold color.  For the Etsy Party demonstration I used a smaller capacity crock pot (probably around 13 cups) and used ¾ of a cup of espresso. If you would like a wash of brown so it just looks aged, try a lesser amount of turmeric like 1 tablespoons to 8 cup ratio.

If using a hot pot, put in the ingredients in the crock pot and set it to cook on high for 2-3 hours before dyeing your fabric.  If you are doing this on the stove, try to have a rolling boil for 20-30min. then simmer for around an hour before adding fabric.  Stir the liquid frequently as the coffee cooks. Be careful when you add your item to dye into the dye bath, we don’t want it to splash back on you!  For dyeing in the crockpot keep your item in the liquid still on high heat for at least 30 minutes. Most results will be reviled well before 2 hours with this method. Don’t overcook! If you are cooking on the stove make sure your temperature is turned down to a simmer and that you are stirring often. This color is very colorfast and doesn’t need any additional fixatives.

Onion Skins - A wonderful way to create a yellow to brown range.

This process really reacts to the metals in clamps and washers. The longer you cook the fabric in the onion broth or let it sit overnight the variations attained due to metal will come out with high contrast.  

A note on Foraging for Onion Skins at the Grocery store:

Whenever you are at your local grocery store, Look for the loose union skins in any of the varieties and keep the skins collected all mixed up to use as a wonderful dye

You can use cheese cloth to bundle the onion skins all together to create the dye.  I have found that the produce bags you can purchase that are white mesh works really good as a reusable net bag to hold the skins while cooking.

Red Onion and Mixed Onion Skins:

You can scavenge the red onion skins at your local grocery store…

Recipe and Instructions:

More in-depth instructions for Onion Dyeing can be found on the Make. Shop. Live. Blog. Since onion skins are hard to get a precise measurement, there are pictures and breakdowns of the process.

Here- http://makeshoplive.blogspot.com/2010/08/how-to-dying-with-onion-skins.html#more

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Some helpful items to look into if you’d like to dye more:

Dharma Trading Co. is the best place to order fabrics, pre-made items to dye, dye supplies, and all kinds of textile craft supplies! If you haven’t ordered anything with them you will be hooked in no time! http://www.dharmatrading.com/

Synthrapol is a special soap that is good for cleaning and processing fabric. http://www.dharmatrading.com/html/eng/2127-AA.shtml

One of my favorite books to use as a reference for natural dyeing is Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes by Rebecca Burgess. http://www.amazon.com/Harvesting-Color-Find-Plants-Natural/dp/1579654258/ref=wl_mb_hu_m_2_dp

 

Time to (Etsy Craft) Party!

KC and Sharon are hosting another Etsty Craft Party... this time with the ladies of Creative Outlet Studios in Orange County. We hope you will join us on Thursday, June 20 with the night benefitting a great charity that helps families in crisis, Share Our Selves. PLUS if you are member you get in free (just another perk for being a member! Many more event discounts to come).

We're looking for some help with a few things if you are interested... free admission if you do (and we promise not to be slave drivers and make you work all night. Most likely you would work the first or last half). Here's what we need help with:

  • Registration Table and Set Up
  • Teach Screen Printing (if you have experience only please!)
  • Teach Letterpress (if you have experience only please!)
  • Dessert Bar Supervision
  • Bobby Pin Craft Supervision
  • Card Making Supervision
  • Natural Dye Station Assistance
  • Parking Direction
  • Runner to Help Where Needed
  • Tear Down/ Clean Up
  • Help Prep Decorations at Creative Outlet Studios 6/11
  • Dessert Bar Donations (for at least 50 people and you can include your shops information in the display)

If you can do ANY of this, please email academyofhandmade@gmail.com with what you're thinking. It will be a great time to interact with the larger community who might not be as familiar with crafts and handmade businesses. We look forward to partying with you!