Craft your own business @ Kathleen Syme


  • Set retail prices including G.S.T. when you start out, and work out a wholesale price based on this.
  • There is no free lunch anymore. Marketing is a no brainer and Facebook et al are pay to play.
  • Reject offers of exposure unless it leads to tangible results. Specify your terms and conditions or don’t donate.
  • Local libraries offer more than books #3Dprinting #businessadvice #freestuff

The What

There are days when I’m spoiled for choice in terms of what’s going on in Melbourne. Tonight is no exception. I have two events to choose from, and it’s six of one half a dozen of the other which one it will be.

  1. Breaking down the Business model canvas at Academy Xi Exhibition Street at 6PM
  2. Craft Your Own Business: Panel Conversation about what defines success in craft ‘How we built our craft based businesses’ with:
  • Elle-May Michael (incube8r),
  • illustrator and crafter Hanna Mancini (aka Hannakin) and
  • artist and jewellery designer Tasha J Miller (Jubly-Umph).

The map suggests the panel discussion is nearer, so it wins out. I even remember to take back my library book. Win!

I arrive on time and ask for directions which the very nice librarian is happy to give.

A guy who looks exactly like Tom Ballard is one of two men in the audience of twenty people, but his pronounced American accent suggests he is not from round these parts.

In front of me sits what I think may be a Unicorn. I make a mental note to Google Unicorn specifics, on someone else’s pc, at some future date. In any event, it is balyage hair day at the library.

The key messages:

  • When you decide who you are, and who your market is, things start falling into place.
  • Marketing is a must.
  • If you want to boost online traffic, it’s pay to play.
  • Time is valuable and business is business;
  • Play to strengths;
  • Don’t work for exposure, unless it is going to lead to sales and customers and you discuss specifically, how that’s going to happen and agree to terms;
  • Set retail prices that include G.S.T. and base your wholesale price on that.
  • Handmade is not enough of an angle to attract a market. There must be more to what you do.
  • Quirkyness can work against you. If you only do one thing, you can be hot one day and out of business the next. Can your product be easily copied, or will it be exhausted after one season?
  • Online shops are great for mass produced items, but not one offs. Listing and selling of one offs comes at a high cost, if you’re not great at copy writing, photography and/or the web and /or you’re a maker and busy making product it may not pay off.

The Where

The City of Melbourne’s library branches are one of the reasons Tech and the City exists.

Having travelled the world for a year and a half, thinking it was just my imagination,  I’ve come home to find that, no, it’s real, Melbourne really does have a lot more to offer in terms of interesting free stuff to do of an evening than a lot of other places.

Amongst other things, my local library has reinvented itself. It’s now a community hub, which sounds like something Leslie Knope would say but check this out:

The ‘Makerspace’ on level two of Kathleen Syme (Carlton), contains a range of 3D and laser printers that you can just go and play with, once you’ve been inducted and passed on online safety quiz. This takes me by surprise. So much so, that I have no idea what it is that I would like to print, and have to go away and have a think about it.

(In case it’s of interest, I’m thinking something alone these lines.)

There’s even a recording studio at Docklands branch, if you fancy playing rock star for a day; art shows and writing groups. Today though, it’s a three person panel discussion and Q&A about starting your own craft business.







Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.