Crafty business: How to market what you make

A selection of reading resource suggestions for increasing sales of handmade wares hobbyists and pros alike seeking to ramp up sales of their handmade wares

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Craft fair season is upon us. Maker businesses are booming and with platforms like Etsy.com becoming ubiquitous, there’s never been a better time to move from moonlighting project or side hustle to mainstream enterprise. Check out these selected titles to help perfect your crafting business (for free) at the Vancouver Public Library. If you would like a personalized list of small-business resource recommendations, visit vpl.ca/businesshelp.

Handmade Business

Handmade Business is an excellent industry magazine. It highlights tips for craft-business entrepreneurs including industry trends, marketing techniques, small-business building strategies and methods for understanding clientele. 

Access it in print at the library or check out a few articles electronically at handmade-business.com.

How to Show & Sell your Crafts by Torie Jayne

Want to convert your favourite hobby into a paying job? Check out Torie Jayne’s beautiful guide, filled with colour photographs of crafting spaces, branding ideas and merchandising tips. You’ll get a peek at the workspaces of some of the most successful craft entrepreneurs, too .

The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin

This is author and crafter Kari Chapin’s latest advice on how to turn your hobby into a successful craft business. It is packed full of strategies from selling to stores to using online resources productively. This updated edition from the 2012 Grow Your Handmade Business includes tips on using social media like Pinterest and Instagram.

How to Make It by Erin Austen Abbott

Read about how 25 entrepreneurs turned their speciality craft into successful businesses. Author Erin Austen Abbott documents each artist at work and gives insider tips. From printmakers to skilled jewelry designers, these stories show the ups and downs of giving up the 9 to 5. This book is great for beginners and anyone who is interested in the maker business.

How to Sell What You Make by Paul Gerhards

Get market-ready with this handbook full of all kinds of tips for setting up your craft business. A large portion of this book is devoted to trade shows, which writer Paul Gerhards sees as an overlooked but profitable market. A great resource for all artisans wishing to plan and promote their products in the world of craft fairs, galleries and shows. 

Business Plans Handbook edited by Sonya D. Hill, Vol. 26.

Business Plans Handbook provides real-life sample business plans – even ones as specific as an arts and crafts show organizing business. This plan offers current information on the arts and crafts show industry, financial requirements and growth strategy. Access electronically via Gale Virtual Reference Library at vpl.ca/digital-library/gale-virtual-reference-library.

Free everywhere for VPL cardholders.