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Craft, Inc.: Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Business

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"Craft, Inc." is the ultimate guide to turning what you do for fun into what you do for money. Ready to start a craft business, but you'd rather wield a crochet hook than a calculator? Let crafter-turned-entrepreneur Meg Mateo Ilasco teach you the basics of starting your own company, from developing products and securing a business license to selling your wares and getting "Craft, Inc." is the ultimate guide to turning what you do for fun into what you do for money. Ready to start a craft business, but you'd rather wield a crochet hook than a calculator? Let crafter-turned-entrepreneur Meg Mateo Ilasco teach you the basics of starting your own company, from developing products and securing a business license to selling your wares and getting publicity. Plus, get inspired by--and learn from the mistakes of--artists/business owners such as Jonathan Adler, Lotta Jansdotter, Denyse Schmidt, Jill Bliss, and many more.


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"Craft, Inc." is the ultimate guide to turning what you do for fun into what you do for money. Ready to start a craft business, but you'd rather wield a crochet hook than a calculator? Let crafter-turned-entrepreneur Meg Mateo Ilasco teach you the basics of starting your own company, from developing products and securing a business license to selling your wares and getting "Craft, Inc." is the ultimate guide to turning what you do for fun into what you do for money. Ready to start a craft business, but you'd rather wield a crochet hook than a calculator? Let crafter-turned-entrepreneur Meg Mateo Ilasco teach you the basics of starting your own company, from developing products and securing a business license to selling your wares and getting publicity. Plus, get inspired by--and learn from the mistakes of--artists/business owners such as Jonathan Adler, Lotta Jansdotter, Denyse Schmidt, Jill Bliss, and many more.

30 review for Craft, Inc.: Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Business

  1. 5 out of 5

    Joi

    I found Craft Inc. to be the *almost* perfect business guide for the Etsy set. It is imperfect only because it is not the complete package. Craft Inc. gives the reader a starting place in just about every imaginable part of a craft business... unfortunately, that is all it gives the reader. If you are observant enough to notice where you need more information, and proactive enough to go and obtain it, Craft Inc will guide you in the right direction. And, truly, I suppose the people who are not o I found Craft Inc. to be the *almost* perfect business guide for the Etsy set. It is imperfect only because it is not the complete package. Craft Inc. gives the reader a starting place in just about every imaginable part of a craft business... unfortunately, that is all it gives the reader. If you are observant enough to notice where you need more information, and proactive enough to go and obtain it, Craft Inc will guide you in the right direction. And, truly, I suppose the people who are not observant and proactive will not have successful businesses, independent of the quality of this book. The good: This book is a really enjoyable read - very clear and written in an accessible tone. The interviews with crafters that have "made it" (including Jonathan Adler and other indie superstars) are also eyeopening and encouraging. Additionally, the resources at the end are very useful. It is quite short, which works both to its advantage and disadvantage. The less good: There were several areas I would have liked to see fleshed out more, including the section on corporate forms. I also thought that the book tried to be too much to too many, by including information that was applicable both to the person who had yet to learn their craft, and to the person who is participating in international trade shows. I would think that each of these crafters would deserve their own book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Schreier Kennard

    Hmmm... what I learned? Outsourcing is the only way. I have to say, there is a lot of information in this book, and maybe it's just that I'm not ready to dedicate my entire existence to my craft business, but really, the advice in here is delivered in a way that is really inaccessible for many folks. Ilasco seldom refers to folks who may only have part-time availability or limited funds to get their business going. Instead she provides you with a laundry list of regulations and associations you Hmmm... what I learned? Outsourcing is the only way. I have to say, there is a lot of information in this book, and maybe it's just that I'm not ready to dedicate my entire existence to my craft business, but really, the advice in here is delivered in a way that is really inaccessible for many folks. Ilasco seldom refers to folks who may only have part-time availability or limited funds to get their business going. Instead she provides you with a laundry list of regulations and associations you need to comply with and apply to in order to start your business. What about those of us who are only bringing in a couple grand a year to start? Do we really need to apply for a business license? I think not... yet. Hiring a publicist? Let me think- supplies or publicist, supplies or publicist. You've got to be kidding me. And then, the outsourcing hang up... Really? What's the point of turning your crafty passion into a business if someone else is doing all the craft while you're only doing business... in another country. Yay globalization- you make all my dreams come true, for someone else. Yeesh. The one part I really liked? The Port2Port story. That girl is keepin' real and realistic. I dunno, maybe I'll come back to this in a couple years and change my tune. It just wasn't what I need to hear right now. I'm gonna try reading Crafty Superstar, maybe that's what I should have read first.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I originally picked Craft, Inc. up to help me decide if I really wanted to take the leap of turning my craft obsession from a hobby into my own business. By the time I got around to reading it, I had definitely decided to start pursuing the dream. With that being said, I think this book is a great tool for anyone that is dreaming of or actually pursuing the idea of a creative business. It's an easy read, but still filled with just enough information to be a very helpful tool to keep by your side I originally picked Craft, Inc. up to help me decide if I really wanted to take the leap of turning my craft obsession from a hobby into my own business. By the time I got around to reading it, I had definitely decided to start pursuing the dream. With that being said, I think this book is a great tool for anyone that is dreaming of or actually pursuing the idea of a creative business. It's an easy read, but still filled with just enough information to be a very helpful tool to keep by your side during the entire process. There is a good balance of inspiration & truth about what it's like to have your own creative business. The only thing I would've like a bit more information on was actually starting up the business (the paperwork process). I would recommend this book to anyone (with or without a business degree) that is even considering the idea of beginning a creative business. It's the best book I've come across to this date that covers creative business.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Vandana

    Doesn't say anything that won't be found for free on the internet.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jaymi

    (Adapted from www.diyplanner.com) The ultimate dream for any artist and crafter is to be able to open up a shop where they can sell their creations and make a living from their passion. Thanks to sites like Ebay and Etsy, crafters can do just this. For those of you who think you might want to eventually swap out your 9-5 job to pursue a business based off your creative designs, then Craft, Inc.: Turn your creative hobby into a business, by Meg Mateo Ilasco, is your guide into getting your busines (Adapted from www.diyplanner.com) The ultimate dream for any artist and crafter is to be able to open up a shop where they can sell their creations and make a living from their passion. Thanks to sites like Ebay and Etsy, crafters can do just this. For those of you who think you might want to eventually swap out your 9-5 job to pursue a business based off your creative designs, then Craft, Inc.: Turn your creative hobby into a business, by Meg Mateo Ilasco, is your guide into getting your business started Mateo Ilasco uses Craft, Inc. to hit all the major points of starting your own crafty company. Her writing is crisp and tailored perfectly to today's crafting audience. The chapters are loosely organized around topics such as: starting a new business; overview of business topics; making your product identity; marketing (with heavy emphasis on internet and trade show techniques); production and pricing; and how to live beyond the dream. She teaches you how to make business and marketing plans and how to act when you're invited to trade shows. The book also contains many internet resources to help you along the way to turning your crafting hobby into a profitable business. Craft, Inc. contains a lot of good information over a very broad scope. Mateo Ilasco covers a lot of ground in 160 pages. I'd almost recommend that you read this book twice. Once to see the variety of information in the book and a second time to really understand what to do with the information. There are lots of check lists to make sure that you have what it takes to open shop or successfully attend a trade show. She also includes some very good questions to ask yourself about why you are doing what you are doing with your craft and business. The book includes many positive success-story interviews, illustrating that craft businesses can and do make it in the real world. I personally loved the final chapter, "Ups, Downs, and Next Steps". While knowing business plans and marketing styles is important, this chapter goes into the specifics of what to do if your design gets plagiarized, or if you burn out quickly, or want to end your business because it's not doing as well as expected. These are important things that happen to new entrepreneurs and usually get glanced over or forgotten from most business-oriented books. On the flipside, while the book contains a lot of information, the information it does contain tends to be broad and generalized. This is a book that caters to craft-people but it should be read in conjunction with other business books out there. For example, the book talks a lot about marketing and where to go to market your wares. But it doesn't really tell you the specifics of making a great marketing plan that grows with your business over the years. I also would have liked to see more interviews with crafters; especially one or two where turning their hobby into a full-time business didn't live up to their expectations. Adding a touch of realism to all the bright and shiny success stories would ground this cheery, "can do" book back into reality. Craft, Inc. also focuses mostly on US markets and techniques, so I'm not sure how useful this book would be on a global scale; even though Mateo Ilasco does mention outsourcing globally. The bottom line is that Craft, Inc. is a good, solid book to introduce basic business principles to crafters who think they want to open shop and sell their items. It gives you a complete view of the business process from creation to ending your business gracefully. Like most craft books on the market, this one has a nice graphic design and color scheme that seems to cater to woman crafters over men. But don't let that fool you as Mateo Ilasco does illustrate that the book works for anyone.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Just wasn't my cup of tea. I knew this book was focused on building a BIG craft business going into it, but I figured it would at least focus a little bit on keeping your business online or at least keeping your business in your home. But really, this is just a guide of how to make stuff so that big box stores want it with a little bit of how to outsource your production.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Whitaker

    A really great book shows us how everything is great and worth to die for

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    This book was an amazing help in starting a craft based business! Starting up a Creative business, or any business for that matter, is not the easiest thing in the world, to say the least! But it is the American dream, no? Reading this book has helped me enormously in figuring out how to do all the basic functions to start my business. You can tell the author has gone through the same things 1 or 2 times, because everything she's figured out and written down I struggled through myself. But with This book was an amazing help in starting a craft based business! Starting up a Creative business, or any business for that matter, is not the easiest thing in the world, to say the least! But it is the American dream, no? Reading this book has helped me enormously in figuring out how to do all the basic functions to start my business. You can tell the author has gone through the same things 1 or 2 times, because everything she's figured out and written down I struggled through myself. But with the help of the book I was able to better figure out things like how to run a business while still having a full time job and household to take care of, to product pricing, to dealing with clients and partners and even family and friends for that matter! Although it does not give in depth details in certain areas it has helped me to see those areas where I need to obtain more information, where before I would not have even known the questions to ask.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor

    This book is clearly written and well tailored to its specific audience - those who want to grow their creative, crafting hobby into a business. I appreciated the nice design (it's from Chronicle books, so of course) and how the chapter intros/summaries each had their own page - it was clear what you would get from each section of the book. I appreciated their emphasis on mission statement and that it's important for you, your ideas and your business to have one, as well as the section on when y This book is clearly written and well tailored to its specific audience - those who want to grow their creative, crafting hobby into a business. I appreciated the nice design (it's from Chronicle books, so of course) and how the chapter intros/summaries each had their own page - it was clear what you would get from each section of the book. I appreciated their emphasis on mission statement and that it's important for you, your ideas and your business to have one, as well as the section on when you know it's time to call it quits with your craft business. I appreciated the frank discussion of pricing your work (very hard for creative people, but skimmed the sections about selling on consignment, order fulfillment and trade shows, which are very good for crafters to know, but not my specific interest. I like that the tone is realistic, yet positive and upbeat - a major take away for me was the idea you can grown your business consistently at a pace you can handle.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    Good cursory overview, and made me think about a lot of details that wouldn't have occurred to me otherwise. That said, I don't think it's honestly that great for someone just starting to think about this and just starting out - it nearly sent me into a state of paralysis. For someone who already overthinks things already, sometimes you need to just DO, and this book doesn't really encourage that. I was also hoping for more detail on taxes and other actual requirements than was provided anywhere Good cursory overview, and made me think about a lot of details that wouldn't have occurred to me otherwise. That said, I don't think it's honestly that great for someone just starting to think about this and just starting out - it nearly sent me into a state of paralysis. For someone who already overthinks things already, sometimes you need to just DO, and this book doesn't really encourage that. I was also hoping for more detail on taxes and other actual requirements than was provided anywhere (this is covered incredibly briefly in a short paragraph). I was going to say that all the interviews with artists were unnecessary page-fillers, but they were the only things that balanced out the rising fear from the overly "you have to do this, and this, and this..." nature of the rest of the pages. They made me rest easier, because these artists hadn't done it that way, they did, and learned as they went along too.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    One of the best books I have read about making your creative business dreams into a reality. Meg's book covers every topic imaginable; taking the reader through the ins and outs of being a creative force in business. From finding your creative muse, to designing your products and finding your niche audience; you'll also find chapters that explain topics in great detail, such as: production, pricing, marketing, everything you ever wanted to know about your on-line presence, social media, photograph One of the best books I have read about making your creative business dreams into a reality. Meg's book covers every topic imaginable; taking the reader through the ins and outs of being a creative force in business. From finding your creative muse, to designing your products and finding your niche audience; you'll also find chapters that explain topics in great detail, such as: production, pricing, marketing, everything you ever wanted to know about your on-line presence, social media, photography, retail shows, consignment, wholesaling, and much more. Throughout the book you will also find interviews with several small business owners, who themselves, offer great tips and insights into about owning and running your own business. Overall, a Wow read!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Justyna

    This book is for those who are craft and looking to start their own business--as is pretty obvious by the title. I myself have attempted to sell my various wares (to minor success), and I read this book in the hope that it would give me some good tips on how to increase my business potential. While it gives you the basics on being a legitimate business (writing a business plan, getting your business license, filing taxes for your business, etc), I felt that it was actually "too professional" com This book is for those who are craft and looking to start their own business--as is pretty obvious by the title. I myself have attempted to sell my various wares (to minor success), and I read this book in the hope that it would give me some good tips on how to increase my business potential. While it gives you the basics on being a legitimate business (writing a business plan, getting your business license, filing taxes for your business, etc), I felt that it was actually "too professional" compared to the little side business I am actually going for. For a beginner, it may actually be too much information that isn't exactly necessary.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lydia Rhyne

    If you're thinking about starting a creative business, this book can be a great jumping off point. I agree with other reviews that the author gets pretty high level at times (overseas production, selling to large chain retailers, etc.) and while I am obviously VERY far from that point, I think it was still interesting to read about/imagine. She covers a lot of great basics regarding business licenses, insurance, and other logistics which offered a great reminder that starting a business is far f If you're thinking about starting a creative business, this book can be a great jumping off point. I agree with other reviews that the author gets pretty high level at times (overseas production, selling to large chain retailers, etc.) and while I am obviously VERY far from that point, I think it was still interesting to read about/imagine. She covers a lot of great basics regarding business licenses, insurance, and other logistics which offered a great reminder that starting a business is far from easy. I really enjoyed the array of interviews with different designers/creators. They all had very different takes on their creative processes and goals as producers.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    great book for the crafter turning pro. covers the business end when starting a craft biz like the difference between and llc and an s corp, when to charge sales tax, and other important legal stuff. also excellent financial advice for transitioning out your day job. great reference book. also, good success stories/interviews from our favorite crafty ladies like denyse schmidt, jill bliss and lotta jansdottir. great book for the crafter turning pro. covers the business end when starting a craft biz like the difference between and llc and an s corp, when to charge sales tax, and other important legal stuff. also excellent financial advice for transitioning out your day job. great reference book. also, good success stories/interviews from our favorite crafty ladies like denyse schmidt, jill bliss and lotta jansdottir.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jillian

    Really great for how short it is, but you'll also need a good business plan book and probably a legal guide as well. I suggest The Successful Business Plan by Rhonda Abrams, and The Craft Artist's Legal Guide by NOLO to complete your crafty biz. planning. The Craft Inc. Business Planner makes a cute gift set for your entrepreneurial friends, but it isn't necessary. I'm still glad I bought the planner though. It's small, cute, and inspiring. For whatever reason, it adds a little fun to the initia Really great for how short it is, but you'll also need a good business plan book and probably a legal guide as well. I suggest The Successful Business Plan by Rhonda Abrams, and The Craft Artist's Legal Guide by NOLO to complete your crafty biz. planning. The Craft Inc. Business Planner makes a cute gift set for your entrepreneurial friends, but it isn't necessary. I'm still glad I bought the planner though. It's small, cute, and inspiring. For whatever reason, it adds a little fun to the initial (un-fun) things about creating a business.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I think this book is probably excellent if you're at a serious, let's do this thing point in your crafting. Me? I'm just exploring the idea of having a creative hobby, so reading this book wasn't really all that useful, and perhaps that's why I had a hard time engaging with it. If you're more ready to go, though, then I'd recommend it, because it's heavy on the 'business' and less on the [say it in a weird voice, like you're talking about unicorns:] 'follow your dreams' language.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    I haven't read any other books like this to compare, but I found it very helpful, and gave an introduction a great many aspects of starting a business, specifically a craft business. Some sections were overly brief, but it was helpful to at least have a "tab" in place for further study. The book was very well organized, and I liked the idea of having interviews with people in the business. I see myself consulting this book again to benefit from the organized, checklist-like advice.

  18. 5 out of 5

    W.B. Abdullah

    Great book, read it in two days in under 3 hours while my daughter napped...motivational and inspirational for any creative minded person. The author answered a lot of my questions and gave me a sort of pep talk through this work that I can use both in my crafting and literary endeavors--a highly recommended read. Oh, and yes, this book does cover the business aspects that I felt were lacking in Crafty Superstar :).

  19. 5 out of 5

    Leiah Jansen

    This book is a great intro to starting your own business in the craft world. Actually, it has good advice for starting your own business, period. I like that the author didn't sugar-coat anything, and she was honest in talking about how difficult it could be and you might just crash & burn. This book also helped me decide that I probably never want to be in that Craft as business world; it sounds like too much work and not my style. This book is a great intro to starting your own business in the craft world. Actually, it has good advice for starting your own business, period. I like that the author didn't sugar-coat anything, and she was honest in talking about how difficult it could be and you might just crash & burn. This book also helped me decide that I probably never want to be in that Craft as business world; it sounds like too much work and not my style.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Maloney

    Not very interesting or helpful. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but this book wasn't it. It spent a lot of time trying to give you ideas on WHAT to craft (which I already have figured out) and the rest of the time laying out Business 101 (which didn't seem particularly tailored to an at-home, Etsy-style business like the title would lead you to believe). I'm sorry that I wasted my money on this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    I am reading this book right now. In a crass ad-world overly-simplistic summary, this book is a no nonsense guide to turning your creativity into cash. I've read a lot of "start your own business" books - this one is about the most straightforward in terms of the how to, intermixed with good inspirational tales of how someone else already did.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Rothschild

    A must-have for an would-be successful Etsian or crafter thinking of selling in local boutiques. One drawback is that our author, Ilasco (who is just adorable in person) sells graphic design, which isn't quite the same as a tangible product. An update that includes some crafter's issues (space for creating, more time management) would be awesome. Thanks for the book, Yvonne!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    Ok, serious crafters listen up. If you really (and I mean really) are serious about turning your cottage crafts into a cottage industry this is the guide to help you along the way. From chosing names to figuring out how to handle your profits... and if you're dedicated they will come - talent is not necessary if you're industrious. Good luck!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    A good resource with a lot of practical advice for both the business and design elements of running a creative business. Had a lot of information concerning outsourcing and mass producing (which seems to contradict the idea of a handmade craft business, to me) which I didn't really need but may be useful to others.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    This is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to make a business out of their creative hobby. Along with great questions asked of success stories to see how they handled the process, it covers all aspects of making your dream a reality--including an initial questionnaire to see if you have the mindset for doing so. Lots of great insights.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    The chosen interviews were the highlight although, as I live in San Francisco like the author, I knew half the folks interviewed already. The business info I personally had already gathered from running my own business for the past near decade, and probably from books by Tad Crawford or Carroll Michels, so there wasn't much new there.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    This is a good resource book, but I think it's too much information that really isn't necessary for someone with a part-time craft business/hobby. This book is geared more for the person that's been selling and crafting for quite awhile and is looking to make the leap to a full time business. It does give some really good advice though.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lora

    I didn't find Craft, Inc. to be earth-shatteringly inspiring, but it's a good basic guide for someone who is considering a craft-based business. I'd highly recommend it to friends who haven't been involved in business as a great place to start. I suspect those with some business basic under their belt will want to look elsewhere.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sandy Kemp

    I really wanted to read this, but found it very difficult to actually read. The terrible design (blue letters on a blue background, for example) make reading it next to impossible unless the light is perfect. I read in all kinds of places, many with fairly rotten lighting, so this is just a no-go. Cannot comment on actual content.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    I've been selling online for years as a hobby and only in the last year have I begun to make the leap into "actual business." I jotted down a lot of helpful tips and inspiring passages from this book while reading and would recommend it to anyone looking to get more serious in a craft based business.

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