Craft, Inc. Paperback – 28 Sep 2007
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About the Author
Meg Mateo Ilasco is a designer, writer, and illustrator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She was in grad school when she started designing wedding invitations for extra money, but the demand for her distinctive designs was so great that she eventually made the business full-time. Her company then expanded into stationery and accessories, and was featured on NBC's Today and in publications such as The Knot and Islands: Weddings and Honeymoons. She has since sold that business and is launching an eponymous housewares and gift company, Mateo Ilasco (www.mateoilasco.com). Meg is the author of You Can Wear It Again and The Space Planner, both published by Chronicle Books.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is full of interviews with practising artists/makers and really breaks it down into sensible steps you need to take.
Even though it is american and I work in the UK I still found most chapters filled with really good advice.
I would recommend this to anyone starting up a business or who needs an injection of enthusiasm.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Taking advantage of the internet is a must for anyone in business these days and Craft Inc. has some wonderful gems to offer in that regard which I am putting to use as I write this. The information is laid out in a non-intimidating way that lets you decide which methods are going to be best for you.
I am inspired by the interviews with successful crafters of various mediums and how they got their start!
If you are thinking about taking your hobby to the next level, this is a good place to begin your journey and you will not be sorry you purchased this book.
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: is starting a business right for you; 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 contains 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.
My only criticism is that the Your Business Mind chapter could be a bit more in-depth, but given that the publisher probably wants to keep the book at the manageable size that it is, this chapter is still a good starting point, and it's up to the crafter to get more info from, say, the SBA.
I had borrowed this book from the library, but after reading it, I will definitely be buying my own copy.