Friday, April 02, 2010

Etsy Virtual Labs

I tuned in tonight for a panel discussion in the Etsy Virtual Labs that featured Kari Chapin, author of the new book "The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and Online." The other panelists were Jen Judd-McGee of Swallowfield, Betsy from BetsyAndIya, Liz Smith of MadeInLowell, and the eponymous Kim Werker.

The panelists raised a ton of good points over the course of the 1.5-hour session. I was frantically trying to soak it all in, which wasn't easy since the audio was a bit flaky at times. My notes say things like:

+ be authentic
+ don't underprice
+ value your time
+ have clear policies
+ give a glimpse into your process

I've heard a number of these ideas before from craft business blogs like CraftyPod. But I have to say that hearing these dynamic women deliver the message firsthand somehow made a much deeper impression on me. I loved hearing them tell their personal stories of mistakes made along to way because it made me feel like maybe I'm not doing so bad after all.

And can I just say how awesome they all were? I want them all to be my new crafty BFFs! I was particularly in love with Kim, who urged us to stop beating ourselves up over our unfinished projects, something that I know I do all the damn time. And Kari was so amazingly put together and really seemed to understand the ideas and best practices behind crafting as a business. I wish I had as much strength of conviction as she does! Interestingly, I found out she's from Northampton, MA, and am now wondering if she might have also gone to Smith. I might have to do some sleuthing.

At any rate, don't forget to check out the upcoming sessions in the Etsy Virtual Labs. They're offering a "Quit Your Day Job" segment, a shop critique, and even a session for newbies!

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