(First book review of the year. Enjoy!)
For those who aren’t familiarized with Mollie Makes and you’re into crafting, diy projects, photography or any creative adventure let me tell you, you’re missing out! I first came across Mollie makes two years ago when I was browsing the internet with my mom looking for sewing patterns and we came across this crochet flower coasters tutorial. Super easy instructions with helpful step by step photos, you could say that they won two fans on that day. Since then I’ve been following the magazine through their website and last year when I traveled to London one of the things I had on my “to get list” was at least one copy of their physical magazine, I didn’t even care if it was an old edition. After not being able to find not even one copy while I was there (I probably didn’t look in the right places sigh), on my way back home while I was waiting for my flight at the airport (and for my peppermint tea to cool off, seriously who drinks tea that hot!) I was passing through one of those shops that have those tiny souvenirs, chocolates, newspapers and magazines and guess what I saw?! Yes! Me, myself and my chunky hand luggage and “lava” tea rushed immediately to the magazine rack. I won’t tell the whole story otherwise this post would turn into a traveling journal but long story short, I didn’t have money with me so I had to go to an ATM first and when I got back someone had already got a hold of it. *eye twitch*
Moving along, I had Mollie Makes Making It – The Hard Facts You Need to Start Your Own Craft Business on my wish list for a while and was lucky to received it this Christmas (along with Art Inc). Right now any book that is oriented for artists that are building their career spark my attention so after reading a few reviews on it I knew there was valuable information on it that would come in hand.
First of all the cover bought me out. The illustration by Claudia Boldt looks super lovely, the tiny details on the shop windows and entrances make the cover really interesting. After going through her website I fell in love with her fun characters and illustrations. You’ve won a fan Claudia!
Regarding the content of the book, I was expecting the information of certain chapters to be more detailed but instead it’s proven to be a more light oriented guide to set people on track, from first steps like building your brand, to pros and cons of working from home or renting a studio, staying inspired to more nitty-gritty stuff like money, taxes and insurances. As I said, although it’s not packed with detailed and more in-depth information it has the essentials and a list of resources at the end of the book, but better than that, it has “expert advice” from artists and creative entrepreneurs where they share insights of how they started, how they work, how they approach certain situations, as well as, tips based on their experience.
I particularly found very useful the “costs and pricing” topic (p.59) and although is more oriented for crafters and people who produce their own products it was very insightful to understand the factors that help you set a retail price and a wholesale price. Bookmarked it because we never know what opportunities might appear. “Photographing your products” was also very interesting to read, it has some camera technical bits into it, easy to understand and follow-up and since I work on a field where the visual part weights a great deal I’m trying to also tackle on this subject as I go.
Other topics included in the book: craft fairs, online marketplaces, selling to shops, running workshops, protecting your intellectual property, using social media, and others.
In overall it was a very interesting book to read, between all the inspiration there’s “large doses of reality” and I think that’s important if we want to build a solid business from the start. It’s ok to dream but it’s also important to be prepared to deal with the less dreamy parts that come from it. There’s this excerpt, right in the beginning of the book that for me was one of my favorite messages from the book:
“There will be high and lows; there will be times when you feel completely exhausted, both physically and mentally – but there will also be times when you have the thrill of hearing complete strangers compliment you on your work or seeing someone wearing your design. Above all, you will have the satisfaction of being your own boss and making money doing something that you love.” (p.7)