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Start a Handmade Business

Lesson 36 of 39

Product Development

Kari Chapin

Start a Handmade Business

Kari Chapin

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Lesson Info

36. Product Development

Lesson Info

Product Development

Day three segment four starts on page one eighteen in your workbook and it starts with product development so here I've given you an exercise to list all of the things that you make and the reason that this is important because your other ideas will become clear from the map that you make of the things that you already make you'll begin to see what could might be missing in your line you'll begin to see what else you could d'oh other ways you could change or develop current products that you have turned them into something new for example if you we're a painter and you wanted to make prince than prince khun turn into cards, cards concern into postcards postcards khun turn into stickers you could begin to develop a long line of things that you make and how they can be useful to other people. So I'm so happy to see so many people writing that is great news um let's see groups so product development how can you take what you make in turn it into other revenue sources? Here's something tha...

t we all like more ways to make money that is a great thing to know how to d'oh and there's ways to do it without worrying about taking what you make in teaching people how to do it so one of the things that we've talked a lot about the past three days that I want to keep keep repeating is that there's no reason to be afraid to share your genius with the world there's no reason to be afraid to tell people about it, there's no reason to be afraid of sharing some parts of what you do with other people, and there are so many different options for you to take what you make and find spinoff ideas that can help you make money in other ways when you come to that point and you're ready to do that. For instance, if you make some item of clothing, you could make some sort of pattern for something that you didn't mind giving away or something that you didn't mind selling selling for less, or if you make something very, very, very, very complicated that people are willing to pay you a lot of money for some people might be up for that challenge and might be willing to pay a lot of money for the pattern to so they can try to do it themselves. This is another example where you need to figure out what kind of laws and restrictions you want to put on any kind of pattern that you sell. Is it going to be available for resale if you don't want somebody else to sell it for money, you know, these air kinds of things that you need to think about if you're going to make patterns that you're going to sell, you need to be clear about what the parameters of the terms of use are for those items. If you turn out to be very, very successful at having instagram sales, it's possible that you could write an e book or teaching many e course on having an instagram sale if people are coming to you repeatedly and saying, you know, heather, how do you keep having those really successful insta sales? How are you doing that? You could think about taking that information from that commonly commonly asked question and turning that into an info product that you sold tow other like minded business people who wanted to know the same information? Um, photographs not quite sure what he meant with that, but it could be maybe that you're taking beautiful lifestyle photos and you either want to sell those a stock photos you want to take your photos and turn them into cards. You want to take your photos and turn them into postcards and maybe that's the thank you card that you give with your gift. There are a lot of ways to take your there's tons of great photo projects in tutorial tutorial projects out there that are really fun to explore. Prince if you make something again that is painted or that can be turned into a print if you have a fantastic embroidery and you have a great picture of it you can turn it into a print people just don't buy prince of paintings or drawings only they by prince of all kinds of things calendars if you have a collection of images that people really respond to, you could easily turn that into a calendar where the lok we'll print sure if you wanted no cards, you can investigate license saying if you're surface a surface pattern designer or are known to come up with a really great patterns, you can try to license your designs with other companies which we can ask claudine about as one of the licensing is definitely something that she does or you can go to a website like society six and take your patterns there and then start straight off their website selling shower curtains, cell phone cases left top cases, mouse pads you know whatever it is that they sell that you can upload your designs too you can turn your patterns into fabric with great websites like spoon flower and make custom work for people ask them what they I really want you can turn that into fabric you can turn your images into fabric or a riff off of something that you're already doing and sell fabric from things that you make from your ideas e books that goes along with the courses downloadable tze people are really into scrap workers right now downloadable tze principles if you have some way that you can put a twist on something that you make, it is easy to turn it into a downloadable. People would just pay for it directly from your website. You would most likely connected through your newsletter they purchase it boom shows up in their email box a few, but of time later, depending on how you set that up and then they have a product waiting for them and you have been paid other that's for you to put in your own ideas there. Does anybody have any ideas, rosalie? Oh, uh, you could, since you're buying all of the supplies and stuff to make your item anyway, you could sell it as a d I y kid so that people who maybe can't afford your price point could purchase the kit and study for a lower price and make it themselves. Yeah that's a great idea on dh, then beyond other do you have another good idea? Because I made room for that too? This'll be making my power point so clearly I was like who's going to teach that last like that so you're good idea would go here? Does anyone else have another idea of a way to create another revenue stream? Yes, leslie, one of the ideas I had was to do like a subscription, like an hearing of the month club type things, so they be slightly less costly since you're getting, say, six months at a time or twelve months buying twelve pairs of hearings at a time I'm going to give you yeah, slightly lower price. Yeah, you're buying twelve paris parents hotels are getting a good deal that's, right? I know somebody who has an embroidery of the month club and that it's working really well for her. And then even though it's not handmade, ah, business lady that we can all learn from that I really respect and like a lot of woman named meghan hunt and you can find her online, her website is called lazer tron, and she also has a company called hello holiday. She has a fund sunglasses club of the month so you can sign up and I actually need a sun glasses of the week club, I think because I just lose mine all the time, so I'm only allowed to buy them at the gas station and under three dollars a pair because I can't camel onto them for very long, so some glasses of the month club is a great idea and that is two earrings you could get a new pair every month, great, okay? How can you expand your business? Oh, yes. Do you mind if we chime in familiar webs and share some of their thoughts? Yes. Had some good ones from wendy kay, who said gift boxed kits to make one of your items with all the necessary materials and instructions. Gray. Interesting, very good. And then sandra glover clark lengthy embroidery club of the month micro shape patterns actually sell better than micro shade items, right? So and that's on ly something that she could tell if she was really keeping track of that. Or she was, you know, the grocery items were stacking up at home, but her, you know, email was flying out the patterns, so take a look at that. If it just because you really love to do something and your first attempt, your plan a isn't very successful, oftentimes it's just what's getting you closer to plan me. And you needed tio sort of failure struggle the first time so that you could really find your way the second time. That's a wonderful, wonderful. So anybody else? What are some other ways that you think you could expand your reach? Still sell what you make and grow your business a little bit, raise the level of awareness about what you do, you could teach you could volunteer somewhere you could like connect with your local community you could team up with the charity in your town that deals with an organization that you really like and offer them items for actions that they might have. You could try to get your stuff in stores you could do what to grow your business a little bit. I need an audience response and I will start saying your names out loud but she covered it so well oh, I added everything flattery so in the work but there's a page for you plus all the ways you can think of to sell the sell, the items that you make and the bigger your list gets and the more wild you get with putting things on it, the more things you're going to find that really work for you do not limit your thinking here or ever when you are trying to figure out how to make your business better when you are trying to figure out how to reach more people, make more money, have a bigger impact, get more attention, never limit your thinking there is no reason for you to try to hold yourself or your business back ever nobody wants to have a failing business or a mediocre business and if you got into business thinking that you were going to have a failing business or a mediocre business, then you should not be in business but I know none of you are thinking that so that a little bit of wisdom doesn't apply to you, but really go crazy with your thinking put down every idea that you can think of because you have a lot of time to sort through them and figure out what's going to work best for you or to talk over some of those ideas, or see if some of them change or grow in your mind often times when I'm trying to figure out what to do next, making a big giant list of everything I can think of and then walking away from it for a little while something well, sort of rise up out of that list and be the thing that I know I need to work on, but if I hadn't have gotten it all out of my head or walked away from it for a little while given myself a break, it would have taken me a lot longer to solve whatever sorts of problems I was having. So once you think of all the different things that you could make that you think of all the different ways you can sell them, you can sell things as sets you khun market things specifically as gifts, you can sell things directly to one person in particular, somebody who needs a mother's day gift, that's going to be a child or a parent you can figure out how to zero in on your marketing like that um you can sell things as an add on product you know, maybe you're selling hearings and I know of a woman in rhode island who sells you three pairs of hearings and that's because you're most likely to lose one of them so she's like making a little bit more money all the time and really knows me her ideal client who is going to lose an earring and so she'll sell you just one hearing and that's amazing you can write to her whenever you want or by all three at once and you know save save yourself some time down the road so there's lots and lots of ways that you can sell what you make and really getting creative about all the different options you have is one way to figure out how to do that erin do you ever sell anchor chips for whole entire bridal parties all the time all the time so it was that something your customers let you know that you want that they wanted or is that like where you started thinking I'll sell twelve of these at once or the people start asking you for that no actually the the nazi wrap it craft occasion suggested that I sell um my best selling hanky is a set to brides s so what I've done is five for the price of six good. And so and that's been a good strategy for you, it's been really success? Yeah. So that's an idea that came from trying to figure out how to better sell your products, right? Right. Great. So I want to talk about selling your work in stores. I know that a lot of people want to work in stores and that that's one of the barometers they have for success. They think when I walk into a store and see my items for sale on the shelf, I will have made it. I know that as a writer and always feels good to walk into a book store and to see my books on the bookshelf like it's just never once gotten old or felt tvs or like, oh, yeah, of course it always feels like, oh, my god, somebody you know likes me so it's always always a good feeling. If you want to work with shops in your area, you can turn to page one twenty in the workbook where I put out some I created some exercises for you to figure out the right place to sell your work. So I want you to be able to list at least five stores in your town that might want to sell your work I want the's five stores to be the right fit for your ideal customer I want them to not be too close to one another if you own a small shop you do not want to be selling the same thing that your neighbor selling or the same thing that a shop a few blocks away from us selling you want whoever is coming into your neighborhood or into your cluster of commerce to know that they can get something from you and if they want to get it from somebody else in town that they would have to drive all the way across town so is the shop owner you want to make sure that you're carrying march and nice and items that are going to be a good fit for the people who are coming into your store on a regular basis and that they don't have too many choices for as of where to get that that product so if you approach a store, you can call ahead to make an appointment it's hard for shop owners if you just show up and say hey, you got twenty minutes and then you pull out your bundle of stuff they're also at work so just like you they're working they are doing their own online stuff there perhaps working on their own editorial calendar or mopping or putting tags on things they're doing whatever it is they need to do in their own shop so the very courteous and generous with their time because they are also working if you make an appointment to see them, they're more likely to be ready and engaged to see you when you come in the door with your items for sale. So when you are going tio bring your goods to a shop to try to sell them there. You need to make sure that you know their customer impress them with your knowledge of their business. I know who shops here. I know people that come in here, I shop here myself. I know my customers going to be here. I know that this type of person wants what I make because these are the online sales that I've had. And this is what I can do for you locally in our town, you need to pay attention to how they're going to want your items. Do they want to attack them themselves? Do they need you to tack them? Are they offering you consignment or are they offering you? Are they going to buy wholesale? If so, are you ready to handle that? Do you have a line cheat? Do you have a return policy? Do you have a payment policy to have a way to take their payment? Do you know what to do with their identification number? Where, you know I mean there's a lot of stuff that goes into that so sign up from economics class because that's coming soon on wholesaling your wholesaling you're good she'll be able to really explain a lot more of that in detail but if you want to sell locally you need to be prepared for all of the extra stuff that comes along with that do any of you have any experience selling things in a local shop that you don't own? Aaron where do you sell your things here in the seattle area oh there you go. I made wallets before I've made jewelry before so just pull to quite a few boutiques in denver and also in chicago are you from denver? Uh I lived there twice way already talked about that uh briefly on facebook for sure later. Um so how did you get into those stores? A. Some of the shops I they're all kind of shops that I would frequent so I would kind of mentally and I talked to them and see what's your policy on local artists and um sometimes they have the goalie it out online on their web site that will say if you're interested in selling, think about this or I would email them and set up an appointment and then bring in my stuff great rosalie is anybody ever just come in off the street up into ugly baby and larue and said, do you want to sell my stuff? They do yeah, we get a lot of unsolicited um, I'm elicited you tell us what that means to you please uh that we did not solicit them way. Would you like to sell it? Do you prefer people to make appointments to see you if they're interested or maybe just saying, hey, check my stuff out online before I come in? Yeah, definitely an email is our preferred method, so then we can look at your items first and see if they're appropriate for the store way get a lot of people who contact us. We want us to sell their artwork, but they don't realize we only sell d I y craft tits, so they haven't done their research to figure out what kind of store we are something you showed up, it would be kind of a waste of everyone's time everyone's time, right? So a selling this knowing where you're going and what kind of shop you want to sell, it is really important, and often a lot of that work can be done through email without having to go in and ask the shop owner, but respecting their time is really important. It was when I owned a shop, people would come in all the time and say I hands pete cards and they would put all of the cars they had ever painted out in front of me, and I was always so hard to say, this isn't you know what we sell in my store? Because it seemed to really hurt people's feelings, but it really wasn't my responsibility. They weren't looking around them and the structure they were in so paying attention to that is really important, and we'll get you much farther it's also important not to overlook the one resource that you have if you want to sell in stores and that's your local community and your contacts, if you love if you love catch eyes shop and you really want to sell your stuff in there that your friends no who shop there, that you would be interested and putting your your items in her store, and and see if they think that you're a good match or if you could get a referral or connection through people, you know that's a great way to get into shops. Is there a question that I have a question but it's? Not really a question I have a question. The comment is from gabrielle your landau, who said boutiques want too much of a percentage. I personally did not make good money doing that. I made custom children's justice for a boutique on long island, whatever money I wanted, they doubled, so if I wanted to much the item, what it so so is it normal for stores to mark up a hundred percent that pretty average or I think that depends on the shop but it is definitely normal for stores to want to make a profit, which is why you need to have a wholesale price you're comfortable out in a retail pressure comes trouble at stores can do things that you can't do, which is why they congest if I sort of having higher prices if you're interested in getting that exposure and reaching a new audience that historic and bring to you then going with their wholesale price might be a good move for your business if you absolutely cannot take a lower price on your product then wholesaling is not for you and it doesn't have to be for everyone if you need to make your retail price know your numbers, you'll know that and you will not be approaching the stories to begin with because it's just not going to be a good fit for you ask another quick question or under the topic from mary l day paris bonjour I'm also making you I'm also making jewelry. How many items do you actually bring along to show a retail store? I would bring along your current line and by that I mean organize your work into a collection but somebody see a broad range of what you make if you have if this season you're focusing on or this year you're really pushing, you know, twenty earings thirty necklaces ten rings whatever your current line is, I would bring I would bring that in for people. T marlowe, you've sold in shops. Have you ever gone to an appointment and said, here's, my jewelry? Like, how much? How much did you bring? Let's, get some really experience from a professional jeweler? Yeah, I've been selling my stuff for a really long time, and I managed galleries before that, so I was on the other end of the counter, where people would literally bring in their lunch box full of stuff and say, hi, slam, I'd like to sell you my stuff. So with that experience, I decided when I was launching my jewelry line, that I would take photos of my work, actual photos and write a little introduction letter and put it in a little envelope, and I would go to the stores, and I would make sure there was nobody else in the store before I approached whoever was at the counter and say, hi, I'm a local jeweler, I'm just getting started. If you could give this to the person who handles your jewelry buying, I'd like to call tomorrow to try to make an appointment and often times the person behind the counter, if they weren't the buyer, I would ask them, would you mind looking at it? Just kind of give me an idea, that's, even something that they might be interested in. And if they had time, they would on. I got my first ten accounts by doing that. That's. Great, good for you. Good advice, good advice or watch.

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.