Friday, April 8, 2016

Starting Out - Setting up a new Craft Micro-Business

Yesterday I decided to start my craft micro-business, Crafty Bug Lady.  And because I can, I thought I would write down my process.  Blogging is a great way to write what ever the heck is on your mind and because it is immediate, and modular and accessible it seems the right way to capture the words about starting this micro-business and if I capture all the processes from the very start it may be a good learning exercise for me and possibly other people as well. The blog will evolve over time but just now this is the start...

So why did I start Crafty Bug Lady yesterday?  The short answer was it seemed the right moment.

The long answer is a bit more complicated. On Wednesday afternoon I got an email from one of my editors to say she had been made redundant after eight years and that she was unsure of what the future is for the craft magazine she was editor for. For me as a craft pattern designer and writer this was not an unexpected event.  I kind of knew it was a matter of time.  The print media in Australia and indeed the world is hemorrhaging sales and as a result talent, content, diversity is all suffering.  Having this particular craft magazine disappearing does not mean I cannot create more craft articles, but this event has been a catalyst for me creatively.

Although I started this craft micro-business yesterday, I am not coming to micro-business without any history.  Apart from writing craft patterns for craft magazines (I have had around 100 articles published since around 2011) I have had a micro-business called Sharlzndollz. This crafty business had an Etsy and a Madeit shop for quite a number of years selling finished products firstly based on appliqued cute soft toys and bags, then jointed paper dolls, then wallets with a funky twist (science fiction pattern fabrics, fantasy pattern fabrics, and other weird fabrics). I also have developed fabric designs on Spoonflower and print designs on Redbubble. I even published a book of paper dolls on Lulu. All of this experience has been wonderful but I felt that I had lost my vision and direction in this craft business.  The thing that I was missing in Sharlzndollz was a focus of what I wanted to create. I had let a lot of the business slowly drop off as I got sick of some things I was doing like process-work type making of wallets.  I was hating many of the parts of creating that should be fun, and I was drifting along and not committing to creative development.

But yesterday a lot of thing come together and it seemed right to start Crafty Bug Lady.

There is lots of information out there about parts of starting up a business but the big part of a business is ultimately a good idea. My idea at this point is to create around my passions of insects, amphibians, fossils, succulents and ferns.  The type of creating is a bit fluid right now (well its early days) but I have really enjoyed two projects I have made this year: a praying Mantis and an ant.

This is me with my two creations.

I have made this items using very basic materials and techniques.  They came together a treat and I have felt better about the finished project more than anything else I have made in a while.

So yesterday I started Crafty Bug Lady around the concept of these insects. I am not sure about what the journey will be and I will post (irregularly knowing me) about the process.  I will start by talking about what I did first - the idea, the name, the technology around the name and what I will make. I will talk about more details of my experiences, about working through processes of setting up the micro-business as the pop up and about where to get help.

But not today, because I figure I've done enough with just starting (yay) and than saying why I've started the business.

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