Crafting the Small Business series meets every Thursday night, starting June 7- August 2. Each event session tackles a different topic and hosts a variety of panelists and hands-on workshops. The sessions also enable the attendee to have their specific questions answered in a small group setting, and informally network before, during and after the sessions with the panelists and other attendees. The attendee builds onto their knowledge and implements this knowledge into their marketing plan, portfolio and marketplace exposure over the course of the 9 weeks. You do not need to register for the entire series.
Register for any session by calling 734-222-4911. We can answer any questions that you may have. Or email email@example.com for further details.
June 7: You have made handmade items for friends and family for years. You love the process and the emotion. Some of your friends already sell online. And the road from giving to selling seems chock full of hard work. Where do you begin? How do you create a personal business plan and strategy? Consider a few questions: How many items do you want to sell? Where do you see yourself 1, 2 or even 5 years from now? What is your main motivation behind selling your items rather than giving them away? This hands-on workshop will help you sort through the menagerie of challenges that the handmade marketplace presents. It will help you recognize that business desires are different for everyone, and will help you discover a personal path to success. $35 Panelists: Toni Morell
June 14: You have transitioned from giving your items away to selling them. How do you know how much to charge for them? How do you keep track of material costs, shipping costs, traveling to events, and other added costs? Is there an easy process for determining this and if so, what does it look like? And if you haven’t thought of it, what would you like to pay yourself for your labor of love? And how can you incorporate LEAN principles into your making to maximize your production? This hands-on workshop will show you how to itemize your products, break down their costs and perhaps give yourself a raise! $35 Panelists: Tom Root
June 21: You have your physical toolbox that is full of pins and thread, pens and pencils. But what about your marketing toolbox? How do you get not only your products but your name and personality to stand out? What can you do to boost your products so that customers and creative networks find you instead of you finding them? What are some strategies for using social media such as twitter, blogspot, facebook, flickr, or pinterest? What are the advantages of getting featured on mainstream websites such as CraftZine, Sew Mama Sew, Decor8, Design Sponge or frequenting national conferences and workshops? And how do you not get exhausted from your own marketing strategy? This workshop features a panel presentation, group Q&A session and then a small group breakout session. Panelists include crafters, bloggers and online selling professionals who have built a national and international network of customers, blog followers, and dedicated co-conspirators. $40 Panelists: Brenda Ratliff, Rae Hoekstra, Karen LePage, and Peter Baker.
June 28: The customer is always right, so they say. Is the customer always right? Why does it matter in today’s impersonal world to give great customer service? And how do you determine whether you have given it or not? How can great customer service boost your sales and network? What does this look like if you frequent Craft Fairs? Or sell through consignment? And what about online customer service? How do you exceed your buyer’s expectations? This hands-on workshop teaches real world scenarios and features Zingerman’s great Customer Service work ethic. It also features Elevated Press’s Michelle Baker who interacts with clients (including brides!) on a day-to-day basis. $35 Panelists: Tom Root, Toni Morell and Michelle Baker
July 5: You are ready to plunge into the vast arena of local and national DIY craft fairs and markets. How do you find them? What are the challenges of local seasonal craft fairs and/or traveling the country for non-local shows? How do you determine the numbers of items to make for a 1-day show or a weekend show? And what about that application and registration fee? What are some Southeast Michigan and mid-west craft fairs and networks? This session highlights those who organize the amazing regional craft fairs and the crafters who travel the country selling. It features a panel presentation, group Q & A, and then small group break-out session with the panelists. $40 Panelists: Nicole Ray, Crystal Pepperdine, Lish Dorset and Kate Kehoe.
July 12: Styling and photography are critical and can lead to either a high or low profit margin. It is easy to feel like you don't possess a keen eye for photography: This hands-on workshop will help break it down into manageable bites! Have you considered the type of emotion your products will convey? The type of lighting you will use? Will you use the same photographs for your Etsy page as you use on your blog, your facebook and your application to the local craft fair? What software can you use to edit your photos for consistency that won’t empty your wallet? How can you revamp your products and sales by critically assessing your photographic style? The key concepts behind this workshop are props and styling, photographic terminology and using your camera, constructing a lightbox, post-processing techniques, and the overarching theme of lighting, lighting lighthing! $45 Panelists: Monet Tiedemann, Jude Walton, and Anne Hayman
July 19: There is a vast network of online websites that cater to the handmade market. How do you know which ones offer the best audience for your products? What are the current challenges of Etsy, and are there other online market possibilities? How can you keep track of shipping and packaging and not incur unintended costs? What are the challenges in managing your own website and how do you find assistance if you don't know website design? This panel discussion features Southeast Michigan crafters and online sellers who have ‘made it’ and are thriving based on the tactics they have used. It features a panel presentation, group Q & A and then small group breakout session. $40 Panelists: Mo Frechette, Christina Jacobs, Bethany Nixon and Brenda Ratliff
July 26: The revitalization of brick and mortar stores and boutiques as mainstream places of commerce is exciting and also presents new challenges for crafters. What are the advantages of selling your products in a local store, boutique and through consignment? What do you need to consider in terms of pricing and revenue, marketing and packaging? What are some strategies for tackling these things? How do you find a store outside your local area and how do you submit a portfolio that is professional and honest? How can you encourage others to buy at these stores, especially when the store sells your products? This panel discussion features owners of Southeast Michigan stores and boutiques. $40 Panelists: Chris and Tiffany Best, Amy Farnum, Crystal Pepperdine and April McCrumb
August 2: Do you cringe during tax season? Do you cringe even more when contemplating all the paperwork your small business taxes will heap upon your regular taxes? Never fear, this workshop will help assuage your anxiety, bring clarity and give you new knowledge about the small business tax system in Michigan. It will also touch upon the ethics of the handmade marketplace such as copyright, design patents and why it may not be ok to sell items you created using another crafter's patterns. And have you considered purchasing insurance in case of emergencies such as apartment or home fires or water damage? How can you protect your new crafting business from unwanted invasions from the tax man, natural disasters and crafting espionage? This workshop comprises professionals in the business field. $40 Panelists: Vincent Re and to be announced.