SNAP – Creating Chaos – Handmade Business

These are notes from the classes I took at SNAP and are obviously the things that stood out to me, things I want to implement, etc – check out their blog for more info on the sessions, better pictures, fun times, etc.

I wanted to go to this class, not for the topic (handmade business – my etsy shop hasn’t been open in months!), but because I loved several of the speakers and wanted to hear their thoughts.  They were:
Lindsay – The Pleated Poppy
Ashley – Lil Blue Boo
Elizabeth – Dear Lizzie
Jessica – Alora Handmade

So, even thought I thought I wasn’t interested in the topic, it turned out to be really inspiring.  It gave me a push to want to focus again on making things.  It was a great class.  It was packed pass capacity – they had to turn people away – glad we got a seat!

Anyways, on to my notes for those who are interested (warning, it was at this point in SNAP that I realized I should take notes so I could bring the information back to you, the blog readers – so this post is really long because I didn’t want you to miss anything):

–treat your PASSION as a BUSINESS!! set goals, etc
–Gain confidence in yourself and your product
–Make connections and be open
–Pay yourself – treat it as a business (ex: pull out $ on the 1st and 15th) – ACCOUNTING!!
–if you are excited about your product, others will be too
–have GREAT product photos – very important!  show your products in use.
–Focus on YOUR STRENGTHS and find experts for the other areas (example, if you love to sew, do that, then hire out photographing your product or shipping or whatever)
–make your customers loyal
–How you is your product DIFFERENT (among millions on etsy, etc)?  don’t get discouraged about the crowd
–look into the future and try to predict trends – get comfortable with taking risks
–get inspiration from RANDOM things and places, not from other sellers of the same product.
–Ready to ship is easier to stock and less stressful than made to order
–Avoid burnout – just keep going! – take breaks
–if you don’t post a tutorial on products you sell, someone else might – with the tutorial, you can capture that traffic

–consider your materials, then double it.  Then considered time and labor (pay yourself per hour).  Add those together.  Keep in mind time includes ordering, marketing, shop updating, shipping, etc.
–trial and error on price points – just keep adjusting
–if nothing is selling it’s either a market problem or a price point problem
–when you price your product too low, it DE-VALUES your product (people might think it’s cheap because it’s priced cheap) and it de-values the whole handmade community

–if you have a blog you can promote yourself and your product – people feel like they know you better and that they’re buying from a friend – it’s the handmade community
–there’s an extra personal touch if you “know” who made it

–BE HAPPY! – when you’re in love with life and others, you can create better
–you need a cheerleader, someone to encourage and uplift you and your business
–find a mentor, someone slightly ahead of the business than you
–stay encouraged in a saturated market – don’t compare yourself – focus on you – remain engaged

–hire out what you don’t like to do
–hiring – – word of mouth, friends of friends – – start with a trial period – – find trustworthy people that care about your product
–pay assistants either by the piece or by the hour – independent contractors –
–local highschool career fairs – possible interns

–marketing budget
–collaborate with other sellers – make connections, promote each other, group sales and events, etc
–monthly ads and giveaway budget – giveaways more valuable than a sidebar ad
–give product to bloggers for a review – more effective than giveaways – tell your story
–news stories about you – send press releases to the local paper

–do the official things (set up a business license, etc)
–make a schedule
–plan when you will work – it gives you the freedom to be a mom
–separate bank account – DBA “doing business as”

Start on Etsy, then move off
–etsy fees can add up
–on etsy, it’s hard to stand out – lots of the same thing
–if you can drive your own traffic, then get your own site
–use both your own site and etsy together – capture both crowds
–off etsy you can show your own personality (backgrounds, etc)
–big cartel, store envy, olive manna - amazing tips for customizing Big Cartel (follow that link to check it out)

Method of payment – paypal, batches at,, inventory tracking

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  1. says

    Thanks for sharing all your notes with us, Mandy! I wish I had the chance to attend SNAP, so it’s nice to be able to sort of experience it through your posts. It looks like you had loads of fun and learned a lot!

  2. says

    I’ve really appreciated reading all the notes you took from SNAP, thanks for thinking of us :)

    This particular post is perfect for me, I’ve just opened an etsy shop (literally yesterday!) and managed to sell my first few items to retailers this week so I’m completely new at all this stuff.

    It’s really exciting but also quite scary so this helped a lot – thank you!!

    My etsy shop if anyone is interested is:

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