Saturday, July 31, 2010

Book Report: The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin

My sister (an art teacher) loaned me The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin recently. It's a handy little guide that covers all the finer points of selling handmade goods online, at craft fairs, and to shops. It also expounds upon marketing tools like social networking and practical, must-know information such as state sales tax laws. Although I already knew most of this stuff, I found the book to be compulsively readable. It reminded me why I got all excited about marketing my work in the first place. I'd recommend it to anyone just setting up shop, especially people who don't have a support network (such as the illustrious and ever-helpful EtsyNJ street team, to whom I direct all my burning questions).
I think my favorite part of the book was the section on blogging. Chapin sites blogs as the most potentially powerful marketing tool at a crafter's disposal. She also wrote that no matter how professional a crafter intends for his or her blog to be, personal elements will inevitably creep in. Both tidbits warmed my heart, as I've long considered this blog to be the glue that holds The Tote Trove together. Sure, Facebook, Twitter, and Etsy are great. But you just can't beat a format that allows you to write about your creative process, inspiration, triumphs and setbacks, and, yes, your favorite ice cream flavor or that weird thing that happened to you on the subway. It's all this stuff that makes our art special, and documenting it all is an art in and of itself.

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