Since early October, I’ve been teaching an e-course on sewing with knit fabrics. It’s my first time teaching in this format, and it’s been exciting and challenging and tons of work and super exciting to meet all the folks involved. I loved the format and the interaction, and am already thinking of ways to improve the whole experience and make it even more robust and fulfilling and inspiring–there is so much more to explore on the topic, but only so much time to fit it all in! That course comes to an end this week, which means that as I take a break from online teaching, I’m already gearing up to teach my next virtual class: Crafty Business Basics.
This one is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. When I began my design business in 2006, I had no business background and no business degree and no business experience beyond the basic retail experience that so many of us share. I was, if only I’d known it then, vastly underqualified to own a company and run a business. I have been extraordinarily fortunate over these past five years, though, to have worked in some intense environments, with some amazing individuals, to have been mentored and supported and encouraged and coached, to have had some dismal, flaming failures and some blistering successes, and to have learned so, so much along the way. It’s been painful and humiliating and exhilarating and hysterical all in turns, and it’s been the most fun I have ever had. Making money with my own talent and ideas and sweat has been the most rewarding work I have ever done, and seeing others find work they love makes me feel joyful every single time.
I get questions from nearly half of my students in my sewing classes about how to start their own business. Some of them seem almost apologetic about their desire to be cottage industries, and I tell them that there is room out there for everyone, and for all of our creative ideas. It’s a big pie, and we each can have a piece and there will still be plenty left for others, even in this tough economy. But knowing what your goals are, knowing what it is you hope to achieve and how to best go about getting that, knowing where to start and when to stop, who to ask and what to avoid, those are all pitfalls that have derailed many a super talented individual. My step-father, an artist who works with steel, once said that he loves the work he does but hates the business. My mother, herself a small business owner for nearly 15 years, replied to him that of course! It’s always the business part that we hate–everyone loves the work, but it’s the business part of the business that takes it from hobby to career.
I want to help you decide if you are ready to make that move: from hobby to career. This class is put together as an overview and a review–like most of the projects I do, I tend to look at things as useful whether you’re a beginner or someone with more experience, so I’ve written the content of the class both for folks who are considering starting an endeavor and those who are already business owners but who are looking for more support and details to help them make their business succeed.
We can all of us have a business of whatever size we choose–you can be a cottage industry working from your home while the baby naps, or you can take over the world and make your business a Fortune 500 company. The basic rules are the same, and through this class, I want to get you to a place where you feel confident and comfortable managing your business to the level that satisfies you.
I write primarily about sewing-based business, but I genuinely believe the content crosses all kinds of craft divides, and is applicable whether you sew, knit, or resell. I’m recommending it to the folks who have asked me for advice in starting their own sewing lounge or fabric shop, because the fundamentals of advertising and budgeting and licensing and the rest are universal to all of us.
Class starts November 15! Register here, and I’ll hope to “see” you there!