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Start a Handmade Business

Lesson 37 of 39

Crafting Success

Kari Chapin

Start a Handmade Business

Kari Chapin

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Lesson Info

37. Crafting Success

Lesson Info

Crafting Success

Everybody at home get your questions ready for clotting here you can go right to our website collage artist dot com she's going to be talking with us today she is and everything from licensing her work to having her own product lines to writing books she has a great website in a great blawg she ham sells her stuff online herself she's just and all around amazing lady and absolutely a virtual mentor for many of us online she has been heavily involved in the crafts community since the late nineties and she has loads and loads of experience and on top of that she is super duper super duper nice and I am so glad to welcome miss clouding to share some time with this high I really been enjoying your class I've been watching every a minute of it oh well thank you I've been enjoying it too yeah I mean I've been self employed for thirteen years and I have learned things so it's not just for beginners that definitely there you have packed so much information into this class wow thank you so much...

it's been a lot of fun to do I really had a great time you know it shows that you're having a good time and I think I'm going for us yes good of super honest is that what you said that's what makes it fun for oh yeah and your super on it are you in your studio there I am this is my studio in the apartment that we rent in washington d c and it is it just happened to be in my favorite color, which is teal or aqua and used to be the people that own this apartment thiss was their little boys room so it worked out that it's in with my branding yeah that's a lucky lucky situation there it's cute q claudia and I want to ask you and there's a section in the workbook actually for everybody tio jot down any any realization zehr ah ha moments or questions they have for claudine on beach one twenty three but you've been in business for a long time and you've tried so many things that I'm interested to hear how you make the decision to move about in the world the way that you d'oh you go I'm gracefully from one area of the business to another to another to another like how do you decide what's next for you? Well, I'm glad that it looks gracefully on the fine on inside it does not feel graceful and white husband can attest there are many nights of gnashing of teeth and tear my hair out and wondering what I'm doing is right or not right? But I have done during that by the way I love I think that's so important for all of us every guest we've had on skype has said there are times when it's whole hard I don't feel like I can keep doing it and I get so down that it's so good to know that I'll speak for me that I'm not alone you know that's wonderful that your you know, able to talk about it yeah, I mean you're not you're not alone and none of us whether you've been in business for one year, two years or fifteen years it's always an evolving process like what you were saying I have done just about every aspect of the craft industry I've written books these I was on martha stewart all these different things but then there's always the next being that you're evolving to the next thing that you're trying out and to answer your question I really don't have a calculated way of deciding like this is what's next or this is the or I'm going to strategically go over and do this other thing to add into my business it's all been very organic either through what I'm doing now with my etc shot that was because of a couple of licenses that I worked on that didn't really work out and I rediscovered my love of packaging design teo figuring out if somebody comes along and they're like how well you teachable these great workshops you've written some books how about filming some dvds and so I was like, ok, that sounds great so I kind of and drawn a little bit by what opportunities come my way, there's not that much calculated steps happening there, so you're just open and, you know, opens is talking with people and discussing ideas, and I think most importantly, what I took away from that is that you're open to trying new things if what you're originally think is goingto happen doesn't work out the way you wanted tio, then you are able tio intuitively shift or you don't give up, you just try tried in a different direction, so if you have a licensing deal that goes south, but you have already done the work and you like what you're doing, you figure a different way to package that work in a different way to put it out in the world, even if it's not the way you originally intended, you are exactly right. And I think that, as as business owners, we all have to be willing to look at the opportunities that come our way, where at first, it might be seems like something really sad that happened like I was devastated when these licensing things didn't work out for me. I'd spent a lot of time working on them, so after a period of mourning and lots of crying, then later I came up with this great idea to reuse that work, so there's always something that you can do to change but you have to be willing to pivot your business and be open to different things and you're were all creative people we like the new things to work out I mean, I know I like toe work on new projects I'm always really excited about those and so you can use that to your advantage and use that to explore new opportunities. Yes, so one one thing we've learned from all of our guests that a good quality in a handmade business owners the ability to cry when you need tio that's something that we all know how to dio you exactly we're really good at that you were really good at letting it out. So what? What do you think is one of the most important qualities that a handmade entrepreneur needs toe have like? What is this skill? A personal skill that we can all work on developing to be the best kind of business person or the best kind of boss to ourselves that we can be? I spend a lot of my time trying to teach people how to be a good boss to themselves, and I think that that's a really important part of the overall process what what what kind of skills do you think we need to work on developing and cultivating in order to do that for ourselves? I wouldn't have to say the number one personal skill that you can have is resilient because they're going to be so many times when you feel like giving up, I mean, it still happens to me are like, I can't do this anymore, I'm going to go work in a coffee shop now or something like that, so I would say resilience, because there you may feel like giving up, but then later, just simply because you love the work and this is the kind of people that we are, we really can't do anything else, so later you will pick yourself back up and get back at it, and there will be times when the business is hard that we times when the business is really great, so I would have to say resilience would be the number one quality as a business owner, that's a good one, I know that a lot of us have top I have a hard time taking the time to celebrate milestones or great accomplishments that it's hard to say. I'm going to celebrate this today, or I, for one, am not motivated by rewards like manicures and pedicures. When I read that online, like once you accomplish that big project, get yourself a manicure, and I think I'll get a manicure whenever I want, whether or not I finished that that project like that's, not and incentive to me to like work really hard to have to have my nails painted so what do you do to celebrate or how do you get yourself to check in on those accomplishments into how do you remind yourself to feel good because it's hard to remember when there's something new something new something new something is next something's next yeah stay in your zen moment well, I am a terrible example for this because I think I'm looking for a good one well I do do that oh, you know I'll give myself you know, pedicure when I get my hair done next and I'll really enjoy having a half day off because I'll get this thing done but then by the time that comes my goal posts have moved and then I get to the appointment and there was like this new thing to get done and and when I get that done then I will enjoy myself so I am a bad example about celebrating accomplishments and it's actually something that I'm really working on because I loved all of your talk about being a nice boss to yourself because I am a mean I mean boss myself I am not nice and like you were saying if you had an employee if you were working for someone that was the way that you treat yourself of the boss they would have quit like a long time ago it's definitely working on celebrating even small accomplishments that couple on because I do think it's important, because we're running a marathon here, we're not running a sprint, so clouding would you be willing to set in attention and sharing that with us around celebrating your milestones when you have one? Definitely, and you will find me, I will tweet out when I am celebrating my milestones and that I'm actually allowing myself to enjoy that pedicure instead of thinking of all the other things I should be getting done during it, and you could be doing during those thirty minutes. Yeah, good for you, good for you, so I'd love to know if there's any questions for clotting, or if anybody has any, any love to share with her? Yes, you've got some stuff from online I would love if she would show us some of her products if she would mind holding up a couple things, so, I mean, we're getting it online, but I'd love to see it. Yeah, I see your little ovens in the background. Yes, the others are back there, and then I've got, let me see a move this son. So this is the little oven box, and it opens up and there's a cupcake can fit inside this is my most popular kit and and I never ever expected this to be popular. I just thought it would be funny to dio oven with the cupcake in it because that's, where you make your cupcakes and it's turned into it's actually, I'm so thankful for the oven because helping me pay my bills singlehandedly from my shop and it's a good example of the eighty twenty rule where twenty percent of your product will make eighty percent of your income because that's definitely it for me with the ovens. And I also have these little I love that you love these, and we'll gift cards confessed inside so they open up and then you could put a gift card inside on you. Yeah, too, and it all started from I had done quite a few different packaging designs for my product line that I had on the home shopping network, so this was a little sweet shop. I don't know if it's fitting all the way in, and it held a scratch and sniff stickers, and so I was really cute kid, and it was so much fun to work on. And so when I was working on this, I and I did ice cream truck and a milk truck, and I did other packaging, I started to remind me of how much I enjoyed doing packaging, so then that's, where the etc shot came, and I also got this little champ er e here so and that also fits cupcakes once I caught on that my customers really well on a cup boxes that would hold cupcakes and them now everything thing I make I think about how can I get a cupcake you could've come thinking yeah you learn that about sure about your ideal client how did you learn that they were kuku for cupcake containers well it was a really lucky happenstance I had oven and andi it was self flying a little bit but then this wonderful baker blogger with who's blogging from utopia dot net she had pinned my oven and then she facebooked it and I started getting orders like I was where all these orders coming from I mean it was it was insane they're like order a minute coming in so that was really good press you ever hear business that didn't come from like a national media source, right? Yes I mean, I never ever thought about I mean I'd already designed a box that a cupcake going but I never thought well I'm going to target the the baker bloggers until she came along and it was just really wonderful and it kind of went viral on pinterest which could be a good thing but there's also not great parts to it like now my image has gotten separated from the original source so every time I see one on tensions still be like thanks for putting my other than it's available in my at the shop. Yeah, kind of that, yeah, keeping up with the location with it. But that was it's a great way for me to find out who my ideal or one of my sections of customers are, and so that was just amazing, and I'd like I'm constantly like universe. Please bring another amazing bloggers to me where I can have a super I'm anything we could like I did there that's wonderful. I love that. Yes, we have a fabulous follow on question for that this's susan, thank you, clothing for being here. People are really excited all over the world. People are saying that they have seen your products. I've seen that on tv have seen that, so everyone is really accepted in particular the red scorpio wants to know if you will make your camper in red. I have a serious, serious question following up from v v v v who says, when it comes to selling products, screen printed, tease, hand painted patterns or things that you are selling should be registered and licensed, the designs or images, or just the name of the company? How do you protect your ideas and protect your products? Well, well, I think she's talking about when she's saying register and license plate I get the feeling that she's talking about register with the library of congress for copyright and I do do that for every single one of my kids now that's not going to prevent somebody from you know ripping off your image or but it will give you the ability to take action when when they dio for me I sell digital products and it does happen and I it never get any easier but it does but at least I've got the copyright um I d number so you khun do takedown notices on the internet and and actually forced them to take down the item through doing a take down notice and by having the copy right number gives authority to your through your case but then they can't claim that that they in fact meet it before you d'oh no I do recommend it doesn't cost that much money it used to be thirty five dollars here in the united states obviously worldwide it's different but I now I think they raised it to sixty dollars and you can register in batches and so so you can get a few items in that batch by some people do hundreds of items in a batch but I just do a few because that was what my lawyer suggested not to do hundreds of them cause I think somewhere don't cov on is that kerry says I'm not a lawyer's she was saying earlier but um but I think that there's something to do with the damages that you can claim if if there's hundreds and hundreds within that case number so yeah but I definitely recommend and now you can do it online I mean I used to do it when you had to send slides in and you had to fill out a form by hand and now online it's really easy thanks internet yeah internet I know that's a great closing I'm wondering if you can share with us like s oas lung is we're on the topic of copyright and like protecting your ideas have you ever run out of ideas? Are you are you afraid any more of that happening? I know a lot of people feel like they're doing the best thing they're ever going to do like right at this moment it's never going to get better than this and if they don't succeed with this than they're gone er are you afraid of running out of ideas? Yes well my eye covers your you know your radio it's filled with my good ideas? Well, I mean I will have a lot of ideas but then there are periods of time I mean, I've noticed and it's good for all of us to watch our creative cycles like all notice in certain times of the year I'm really good with coming up with ideas and one thing leads to the next time I'm really just churning out kits and things and then then then there's other times of the year where it just feels so hard I just can't come up with any ideas and so I do I live I think is a creative person we all have that fear deep down that what if we get blocked or what if we just happen to run out of ideas and that's it for us and you know now we'll go do some other job so you're variant so far it's all we have run out of itself, right? You're not working at another job right now exactly the ideas always come but but I can definitely relate to the fear of the idea is not coming but they they always do come again and it's all about getting relaxed so the more tense you get up about not having any more ideas than its like a self fulfilling prophecy. So the ideas come when you're relaxed and it's a good idea to just make notes any time you have an idea so that you can go back on the times when when you're feeling kind of less full of ideas I agree with that one hundred percent one hundred percent this air question yes, kathy, I was just going to say that it's more of a comment but it seems like a full circle moment for me because I've seen clouding teach a scrapbooking um, class, it was back in two thousand one in vancouver was artistry, and it was with ali edwards and donadoni. So it's interesting how we've both kind of landed here again right here that shows the resilience right now, everything goes around and take, you know, community connections and continuing to build and grow your community, and we want to work with good teachers and that's what I was meaning when I was saying that body is a mentor because she has been in business for so long and you've been so flexible and you've been so open to trying new things. I mean, you keep reinventing your wheel and that's amazing, because that's not easy to d'oh it's, not it's, not easy to do, but you are always turning out really amazing stuff out of all the jobs that you've had in the creative industry, which one has been your favorite? Well, I would have to say, actually, right now what I'm working on by working on my own at sea shop it's really been good for me to kind of come back to myself and what I wanted create and get back in touch with what I think is a good idea. Spent many, many years working for so many different manufacturers and customers and clients and and changing ideas to fit their needs that I actually felt a little bit like I kind of lost myself along the way like what in my confidence and oh, I think this is a good idea I'm going toe run with it and then it would go to whatever executive committee and you have all these other people deciding whether your idea was a good idea and it's been really freeing for me just working on my etc shop I don't have a client telling me what I should do I don't have anybody second guessing me except for my own brain and so I would have to say right now I really enjoying the work that I'm doing that's great that's wonderful I want to thank you so much for being here with us this has been so glad that you were able to were fined invest in these three days and I really appreciate you taking the time out to be this I know it's like dinner time at your house I got after news of her but I think it's just been an honor to be here in your class and I really have just so enjoyed your class I really loved as a super carry well, thank you very much I appreciate that thank you is it a great I mean, she's really, always upbeat and positive? She's. Just a wonderful example, and I love how she's just I should have asked her. But I bet whatever she's currently working on is probably her favorite thing. Because I think it's interesting that she pointed out her online store now, because she's doing what we were talking about earlier, which is taking control of your business, which is why I think you should have your own online home as well as a shop if you want to have a different kind of venue.

Class Description

Most artists and crafters are easily inspired to create new work, but getting inspired to build a business that shares that work with the world can sound like a much more daunting prospect. Kari Chapin, author of The Handmade Marketplace and Grow Your Handmade Business, is ready to teach you everything you need to know to break into the online marketplace and share your work with the world.

Kari will help you determine the online sales venue that’s best suited to your handmade goods. You’ll learn about the pros and cons of both selling through an existing online marketplace (like Supermarket or Etsy®) and setting up your own independently-operated website. You’ll also develop the optimal marketing strategy for sharing your products with the world, from social media to blogging to branding and packaging. Kari will cover essential best practices for running a successful crafting business, including confidently setting price points, creating media kids, acting as your own publicist, and much more.

No matter what you make, this course will give you the confidence to see the things you have to offer as uniquely valuable to customers, the inspiration to take your work to new heights, and the foundation you need to ensure your business’s success.



Kari Chapin's course, Start a Handmade Business, was a game-changer for me. Her content was presented in such an accessible, engaging, easy-to-digest, and oftentimes hilarious way. At the same time, she did not sugar-coat things. Having a handmade business is a job and requires work. I love that she emphasized that fact. Not only did she give the nut and bolts of how to start a handmade business but spent a lot of time on the emotional component of being an artist trying to sell her work. Her guests (Skype and in-studio) were well-chosen and showed the rapport she has with her community. This showed that she lives what she teaches. The interaction with the studio audience and online community was integral to the course because it showed real-life examples of business owners at varying stages in their career. (I was so lucky to be one of the studio audience members. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity!) This class was a comprehensive look at handmade businesses that everyone from fledgling businesses to more established businesses can benefit from. I highly recommend this course! Thank you Kari for sharing your mind-blowing wisdom and warm and fuzzy heart with us! And thank you CreativeLive for having this awesome resource for the creative community! --Cathy Pascual,


Well, it's been a few days since the course and I am still pumped. Kari said a few things in particular that I needed to hear and I'm so grateful for that. I have been involved in the facebook group she put together and I am so happy about that. It's an awesome resource and my fellow creatives have been very helpful and encouraging. I totally recommend this course to any creative entrepreneur at any stage in their journey. Plus she is cute, funny and has just the right amount of snarkiness. I so enjoyed it!

a Creativelive Student

I loved this course with Kari Chapin! Her wealth of information delivered with such an honest and funny voice was refreshing and inspiring. I have accomplished things in the last few days that have languished on my to-do list for a year or more, largely due to this class. Kari is very down-to-earth and just plain adorable! I highly recommend this course for anyone creative who has or wants to have their own business.