Craft as a career... Part 2

Those of you who pick up a copy of Creativity each month will have seen our fab feature on running a craft business back in the February issue (67). Industry experts Lyndsey James, Neil Leonard, Zeena Shah, Leanne Garrity, Tia Millar and Emily Barnes offered their words of wisdom on how to make it with mucky hands. If you missed this jam-packed nugget of knowledge, here’s the second installment of our stripped-back re-cap for you to feast your eyes on. Notepads at the ready!


You’ve made all your products; how to put your brand out there…

It’s not always viable to ditch the day job, but there are still ways of keeping the creative freelance dream alive despite having limited spare time to work with. Neil offers this advice: “My wife and I have only ever [created our products] for the enjoyment, so it’s always been easy to find time. We started making as a hobby, which I’m sure is the same for many people. A few people saw our work on Flickr and it got blogged about. This then turned into sales. There was never a big plan and we built the business bit by bit, responding to demand… normally I make time for creating stuff over holidays or on quiet Sunday mornings. Packaging work and preparing it for sale can be done in front of the TV.”

Key things to remember are:
• Get some money behind you – a few months’ salary.
• Register for tax and get a finance system in place before you start to sell.
• Be part of a community, online and physically. You’ll need support and help.
• Have a clear plan. Know what you are selling and to whom.
• Get a website and see which social media outlets you enjoy using.

"Planning is really important. Having a strong brand image will set you up for success as a full or part-time maker. But it takes time to create a cohesive brand, so give it your full attention in the beginning. Think carefully about ‘who’ you are then develop a logo, packaging and collection that reflects that." Emily Barnes

Top tips on running workshops: Tia Miller offers her advice

“Consider who your workshops will appeal to. Profile your type of customer – looking at age, where they live, interests and ability – as this will help you make important decisions on location, when you run your workshops, content and accessibility. For instance, in London, where I’m based, people generally use public transport and are used to travelling up to an hour to get somewhere, so good transport links are important. Depending on your customer, you may need to consider stars, parking and distance from where they live."

"When it comes to marketing your classes, in my experience, flyers and posters don’t generally result in people purchasing workshop places (and this material costs money to produce), so I would focus on using social media. Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest are fantastic for crafts people. A wonderful book to explain it all is, Online Marketing for your Craft Business by Hilary Pullen.”

Earn extra money by becoming a docrafts demonstrator

docrafts Events are held nationwide and are a great way for you to share your crafty knowledge. Each crafter gets a bumper kit when they first sign up, which is packed full of all the tools and supplies needed to get going. You also get a year’s subscription to Creativity magazine. Then, depending on the amount of bookings you have, you’re topped up with the very latest docrafts products every two months. docrafts pays £95 per demonstration or £125 for a workshop, with events taking place at various times and days in craft stores across the country. Fancy signing up? Email with a couple of work samples. You can also send a link to your gallery page or blog too.

Read the whole feature in the February issue (67) of Creativity magazine. 

You can find February's issue of Creativity magazine in our online shop. Live in the UK and want future issues of Creativity delivered to your door? Subscribe by 30th July and recieve free Tales from Willson Wood goodies worth £16.45! 

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