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Start a Handmade Business

Lesson 33 of 39

Media and Press Q&A

Kari Chapin

Start a Handmade Business

Kari Chapin

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Lesson Info

33. Media and Press Q&A

Lesson Info

Media and Press Q&A

Think about sending an email and not having an attachment. So do we embed a photo in the email rather than because I'm so what I always do is I released two photos, so I will provide a link that's clearly states if you can see more photos here, and I will sometimes give multiple places where you can see more photos so it could be flicker, it could be here's a pinch of sport and here's where you can see the products on my site. Um, but, yeah, it's tough, because you know that that photo is going to be an attachment, and it might get caught in someone spend. Right? Right. Okay. Thank you. Yeah. Press board. You make her the pinterest board, you say press board is your title or how do you? I had a gradually I call it, whatever the product don't say, press forward, that's an interesting idea, though I say, what? The for me, what I do for planes that say the client's name and their product line. So this is, you know, whatever their product line is called on by, and I just direct I like that...

because I think photos look really beautiful on pinterest, I think we're used to going there to look a inspiration, and I think it's also then you know the editor could see, like how many times it was repent or if it was that's more social proved too so you would put your own business name as a as a pinterest board and then just keep the photos you want to share with the media. Yeah, and I would include a description to saying, this is my spring line, you know, and give a description of your products and where people can buy buy them and any information about that, how they can get back in touch with you. I have several different pinterest boards that cover of my book, so I have one that shows my books with readers that they send to me because people vacation a lot with the indian market place. So, you know, finally enough, I have a lot of great pictures of my book spent all over the world and it spent on ships and in the sand, and I mean, people take really cute photos and themselves with it, so I have a board that's just proof that people like to read my book even when they're relaxing, which I think is so nice, and then I have, you know, media photos that are also available me on tv there's going to be some of me here creative live like, showing what I do with the information that I have and, you know, I'm trying to sell something so it's all has my business name on it, you know, I'm not just putting this stuff up for the casual observer to be like, what's that girl from seventh grade doing today, I wonder, you know, I want somebody to come and say, what, how good is carried shape and let me find out, you know, so you should do the same thing your business name is important, and I love the idea that called action for your I'd like for your customers, tio, like how you have photos of people reading your book, like, if you have a product that people are wearing or ask them for, you know, and I know you covered this a little bit, but you're right like your customers, they're such they're all word of mouth, they're doing the press for you, you're doing depressed, like by weighing, you know, so just think of it as that teo and, um I think it's a great like gather photos from weddings where people have used your vases like that's, that'd be really cool board to see too you ask customers to like maybe hashtag your name and share them and just post them, or do you ask them to? Send them to you in an email or post in someplace you can collect him that was to go easy way for a customer, I think, asking having a hashtag like, I know kerry has talked about it's a little bit because then you just need to be on the lookout for it and find it on. And if you have a really clear call, the action where it's, easy for you because you want to create you don't want to create too much work for your customer, sometimes you'll probably just get photos because people love you and wanted, you know, look at me with your product, but oftentimes I think it's just, you know, they're throwing up on instagram photo in this sweater that they love and know here's the hashtag went with the person who made it. Yeah, and they just might tag you in that sometimes people do really, because I write for such creative and amazing people, sometimes they d'oh phenomenal things with my books. I've seen people painted, I've seen people arrange it, like, so style that it looks like it's on the cover of a magazine with tea and flowers, and you know what they're doing that day, and so they're working on their craft, and my book just happens to be a part of it, and I just write to them and say you know could I use this picture for this specific purpose and nobody has ever said no because they're happy to get the photo credit and they're happy to get a link back to their business but you you will just stumble upon your products out in the world and that's that's wonderful I always think people when they do that and I also encourage people to do that I I work for myself I work alone a lot of us dio on I dont I I like knowing if what I'm doing is working so in order for me to find that out I have to be brave and say do you like this? It was this good could you let me know if I'm on the right track and when to ask your customer for that it will give it back to you they will help you people want to help you so just ask them for those pictures there's lots of websites that have galleries, user galleries, reader galleries you know bride galleries or you can take those pictures and put them into a slide show are onto a pinterest border repent it to your own boards I mean that's interest in particular is about sharing and re pinning so it's okay to do it there we take some questions so we have another question studio what about sending samples? So how do you know that the place that's requesting a sample from you is legitimate on dh how many should you send and do they pay for it? Do they return them? How does how does that work? I did base it on one I think it it depends on the price and value of your products some people have greeting cards when I worked at hello lucky we would send cards to everyone because it was a low price point for us and it was but if it's you know I've worked with someone who does leather goods and we actually got some red book was doing a holiday story and they wanted a sample it's read books so I know they're legitimate I'm like ok, we'll send it to you and they actually didn't end up using using the product but they shipped it back so you can say you know something out to you but I'd really like it back after you shoot it I am always kind of leaned towards just have it because if they love it enough tio well that's if they actually use it and cover it but even if they've just requested it and want to see it in person than I think it's a great way tohave yourself out there and maybe they'll use it for something else and if they have it you know on their desk then maybe it'll be a reminder for them um I would say that when I had products that I sent samples out to two magazines that I waited, I did not send them without somebody asking I'm number one make sure you tag and identify your item because it can get lost in the shuffle they need to know who it belongs to and where it came from and I never and this I don't know if this is always the case, but I never paid to ship my own items, particularly because people needed them fast, I would say what's your fedex never but your account number what carrier do you want me to use, what's your preferred to use your preferred carrier and what's your number so that I could simply get their number and drop it off at ups or drop it off at fedex or whatever, whatever it was and nobody ever said like, oh no, you need to go ahead and pay for that yeah, that's true and they usually do have a fedex number I mean it's when you're when you're working with smaller boggs on sites like they might not, but I'm sure you could just work something out and I don't really know that many bloggers that actually I wanted because that want because of what they need his photos, they're not going to take the picture for you where is if you're sending something to a magazine they want to control the iowa and style it intend to picture so that's why they need the actual products, but also when you send a sample, you need to put on the package as requested or requested sample inside so that when it shows up with hundreds of other boxes that are laying around, I mean, I've been to magazine offices where the break room is basically nothing but packages that people have sent in and hopes of having their products featured in a lot of it is unopened. A lot of it is not ever going to be opened, so even you have a contacts he's addressed the package to their name, and you've written on the box clearly requested samples, so they know, oh, I definitely want that, and then they're sure to open that box and whoever's delivering the mail is sure to deliver it because it has been requested, so make sure your item is tagged. If you're sending something really small, like appear hearings that somebody wants to take a look at it, you're not sure how to attack that specifically, I would put them on a card or a piece of paper and then inside of a bag, and then on the outside of the bag I would put an address label that says earings the name of the hearings who are you? What when did you send them and what is your information so somebody can call you to send that back but that being said, if you're just sending out samples and you don't already have an agreement or an order arrangement with the editor or with that person who's requested your sample you shouldn't expect it back now and I would really just recommend against that unless it's someone I've had, you know, authors I've worked with have sent stuff to celebrities and sometimes it's worked and sometimes you know amy sedaris is has blogged about something and we've gotten really lucky so you could have that sort of reach but no, you're not going to get it back no, they might not even ever see it and it's kind of like a little bit of a crapshoot so um yeah or if there's like a blogger and editor that you read their column and you know them really well and you know their kid loves unicorns and I make a unicorn wednesay you know, that's kind of nice and thoughtful and that might be a nice thing but again, like it might not get them don't send stuff without it being requested and expect a certain result send stuff hasn't been requested with high hopes, but don't expect anything from that because you don't want to set yourself up for disappointment if you're just sending things to bloggers are magazine editors good for you for having the like enthusiasm for wanting to do that but you can't expect something if it hasn't been asked all of you so just do it with good intentions and high hopes but don't let yourself be disappointed or devastated they're not responsible to you just because they got something free in the mail to then promote it that's not how it works and that's not why they have a big following that you want to connect what they have that following because they're thoughtful about their content and because they only put up things that they personally respond tio and if you have amazing photos you don't need to send your product that's right that's right? Yeah sure talk a little bit about how to follow up after you send an email or unsolicited sample or stuff like that so I could speak to this but I usually take I usually take about a week a week and a half and I just say hey just checking it again sometimes if I'm reading their block in the meantime I'll mention something or if I'm only love instagrams from always like oh I saw you on instagram I saw you're in mexico and that's why you didn't respond or you know something personal and soft like I wouldn't be too aggressive I wouldn't be too pushy but just like a nice nudge I wouldn't recommend following up more than I would say twice, so three total reaches is what I you know, that's what I would recommend, I think that that's a good timing strategy think it's definitely okay to follow up, particularly popular bloggers get a lot a lot a lot of email. What I like to do is be very specific about when I'm going to follow up and why, so I end my e mails with I will be in touch with you next thursday afternoon to see if you have any questions about this proposal, so and then I market down in my calendar and next thursday in the afternoon, like clockwork, I show up in their in box on time, doing exactly what I said they could d'oh that way, they know that I follow up, that I do what I say, I'm going to d'oh, that I'm trustworthy and that I respect their time so and it's almost seriously almost never fails when people know to expect you, then they noto have an answer ready, and they're even if they just write that quickly, like I haven't had time to think about this, I mean, it doesn't always get me up, you know, the result I'm ultimately looking people always say did get your email it's on my calendar, I'm going to talk about it with my staff or I'm definitely considering this I'll be in touch if I want to know more I always get some sort of response from that, but I put in a clear directive of what is goingto happen next versus them thinking, oh yeah, I'll get to that when I get out I'll get to that when I get to it, I'll I'll do it when I can you know, I say what I am expecting and what I'm going to d'oh and that works and if you have a date so if it's an event or release, then it also gives him another way so you can check in a week before you know, like I said, this event is may seventeenth that's, you know, five days just checking in again and I think the goal tio at least for me is to get an answer. So whether it's a yes or no like I want to know, you know you don't want to leave it just sort of hand out there yeah and in their little kitten, yes, there's a magazine that I really wanted to get into and I was wondering if they don't respond or they don't want your first idea how many more ideas can you pitch them? I would pitch him and you like didn't care anymore to be in their magazine because then I'll just be like, ok, hee I agree like just you know make sure it's it's be really thoughtful about your pitches but um keep going yeah I mean there's no reason to and spaces you know so and you know, maybe one a month I would say don't do don't overwhelm them but keep going like keep if you have ah story and an angle on something that you think would work for them you've gotten great press I've looked at your web site we love your press page so are when you pitch a magazine and it doesn't edit to respond back to you and say not right now kathy or haven't really pitched okay yeah so you know you can try to start a conversation with them with the magazine if you're getting if you're getting nose and you want to get a yes but somebody is writing you back to say no it's okay to ask them what kind of content are you looking for? And most magazines actually happens submissions guideline on their web site that tells you what they're looking for when what the process is if they're going to pay you if you wanted to do a craft tutorial what kind of things do you need to send and you could find a lot of information including who to write tio on the mast on the masthead and most magazines and that's the section in the beginning of the magazine this is editor in chief sales director that kind of thing but if an editor writes you back to say no or not at this time, feel free to write them back and say, what are you looking for? Is there anything specific that, you know, I can make all of these things? What what would you like to hear from me? What would you like to see for me and then try to comply with that if you're interested in it? Because, again, they're looking for stories and you're helping them? And I think knowing tio what stories I always asked you, what do you have coming up? Because you can also recommend stories I've that's a great weight of established a relationship with an editor to our bloggers say, oh, I saw that you're covering this, you know, I know you don't want to cover what I'm doing right now, but this person is, you know, and I think that just builds that trust, too, yeah, people want to have conversations with you, particularly magazines, bloggers, often our work like like you do there, they're generally alone, they might have a very small support staff, but, you know, they're probably at home earn a small studio, and they're on the computer all day it's easy to get overwhelmed and for things to get lost in the shuffle. So reminding them I don't mind being reminded about things I mean I wouldn't want to be hounded I wouldn't want someone to write to me every day and say can you can you can you can you can you can you know that does not feel good it would feel good to send e mails like that and it wouldn't feel good to get e mails like that but it's okay to follow up and to ask directly what can I do for you and to say I really want to be in this magazine what do I need to do to make that happen? I really really love that point because I also believe that if you shift your mind set that you are actually helping your customers and your clients in addition to helping the people who are looking repressed people are looking for these products they're looking you're not there and if you shift if you shift that mindset yeah making using around yourself makes it so much easier on yourself you're doing actually doing them a favor you're fulfilling a need that they have or want than they have and when I realized that for myself really really shifted so it's cool to hear that it's yeah I think about it the same for the media much somebody out yeah yeah the other thing you guys you talked about that I think is really important is when you talked about expectations when you talked about putting this out there but what you're expecting to get back and when we manage our expectations expectations it makes life so much better yeah, that's important, and I think that's a really important part of the conversation too. It seems like if you were to get aa lot of big press or a lot of good press like your whole life can change, and that doesn't it doesn't always happen. I know people have gone on martha stewart and made a craft with her and then not seen an impact on their sales, you know, they got a lot of attention, people really liked what they did, but it didn't boost their bottom line, they didn't get a tv show they didn't like get the things that they thought were goingto happen once they got this really big a piece of press. So even though it's easy to focus on the bigger opportunities there outlets that are out there because that seems more prestigious to you, we can often get a much greater response by taking it to the streets. Take your media needs to your community and ask the people who already like and support you to help you out there. Media requests go to these bloggers goto where your ideal customers is hanging out, you know, big media doesn't always mean big results smaller media can really mean big results of somebody really trusted online blogger and they're constantly putting out good content and offering good products that's a lot of sales right there, but how many issues of a certain magazine do you maybe have stacked up on your you know, on your end table at home that you're going to read on a rainy day or something and maybe that day never comes, but people check in consistently online and you can get really great results also from local press e don't want tio undervalue that at all the people in your hometown love getting a pool stuff from their own home town they love saying this's made in oregon almost everything in oregon says this was made in oregon on it because there's a lot of pride there and people are really interested in supporting the hometown person so you can get a really great response from a place that feels a lot smaller and that's why that's why it's important to have a range of who you're you're pitching tio because it made you may get so much more from a smaller blawg I know stuff really shifted when I was npr and book publishing people go on big shows and not get a time we wouldn't see a ton of cells necessarily, but then we'd get some great online coverage and we would see things spike so you know, have your dream reach but then I have lots of, you know, and I think a really important piece of all of this, too, is being a part of the community. I find this craft communities so supportive and so amazing, and I think you go to conferences, you voted classes, you go places like here, and you make friends, and a lot of times you're all making and you're also bloggers, and so you can ask a friend to cover something you're doing or, you know, I feel like that happens a lot in this community and and that's press that is getting covered, I mean, that's, that could be the start of something else, definitely. And remember that most magazines also have web sites. I heard from a colleague of mine recently that they were featured in a national popular magazine that you all would know, and almost nothing happened. The magazine re ran the story, but online, about six weeks after the issue came out on their whole world was turned upside down from that online, blogged mention of that magazine because the magazine has more active participants and readers on their blog's, and they actually do from there they're printed product, and so, you know, on when you're featured on that block, people can click, and by now if somebody is reading about it in a magazine then I feel like, put that down, get out their computer. Start typing. What was that address again? And then now they're going to get another cup of coffee. So there's there's really a lot to be said for online press and media that the same outlet could have many different opportunities in ways to promote you. And I think it just speaks to how we've changed as a culture and where we look to buy. You know, we're all online and where and that's, where that press is going to be more impactful, I think.

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.