by Joanna BrichettoOctober 2012
The crafty entrepreneur
Anyone who has ever visited a craft fair is likely to wonder, “How do these crafty folks find the time to make all these nifty things, let alone schlep their wares from fair to fair?” In Handmade to Sell, Kelly Rand demystifies the business of crafting. As executive director of the organization Hello Craft, she has gathered advice from the best craftswomen around, providing both a philosophy for developing a livelihood from the work of your hands and a thoroughly practical course of action to get you up and running, online and in the real world. The book’s complex texture—a combination of feminist wisdom and no-nonsense tips on delivering your product to the widest possible market—feels like a literary analogue to a well-crafted object: something that is both a pleasure in itself and a vitally useful tool to enhance your life.
BUSINESS MEETS PASSION
Kari Chapin sets her sights on more ambitious goals in Grow Your Handmade Business, shifting the scene from the crafts fairground to both the real and virtual storefront. Chapin takes her role as mentor with high seriousness. Like Kelly Rand, she is also a philosopher of small businesses, but the tone of her reflections is more hard-boiled. Carefully defining such differences as “goals” versus “intentions” and “business” versus “personal,” Chapin draws the reader up through successive layers of consciousness, moving steadily toward that crucial juncture where what you do and how you think are absolutely in harmony. It is right at this point where you can “grow your business,” just as if you were tending a garden. There’s no mystery to the process, just a vigilant management of many tasks, all of which work together toward simple sustainability.
TOP PICK FOR LIFESTYLES
Wildly successful blogger Joy Deangdeelert Cho sums up the visionary scope of Blog, Inc. right off the bat, in the book’s amazing subtitle: “Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community.” This would be an ideal set of objectives for work of any kind. The notion that it might work for blogging seems at first almost too good to be true. When everybody you know plus her aunt is already posting day and night, filling the Internet with so much twaddle, how could anyone ever hope not merely to make a living out of blogging—which seems hard enough to imagine—but create for themselves an ethical way of life? Cho is as good as her far-reaching words. Enlisting the aid of 18 blogging wizards who participate in interviews interlaced throughout the text, Cho & Co. lay out what’s essential to establish oneself in the virtual marketplace. The ultimate rewards of this process are as philosophical as they can be. As a successful blogger, you realize your dreams by virtue of the symbiosis you set in motion between yourself and like-minded souls. Fair warning: Do not try this at home, unless you’re ready to go whole hog . . . well, let’s make that more kosher—unless you’re ready to go whole blog.