CraftSanity Podcast Episode 157: So what does it take to run a handmade business? Stuffed animal pattern designer Abby Glassenberg offers expert advice

Abby and Kids With Toys

So how do you do it? How do you take your love of sewing or knitting or some other skill and turn it into a sustainable and profitable business?

If you try to guess and fumble your way through, it can take years to figure it all out. If you do your research and learn from the people who started before you, you can learn a lot and minimize your fumbling time. Enter Abby Glassenberg, a mother, author, soft toy maker, pattern designer and no-nonsense creator of the While She Naps blog. She is back on the podcast for her third visit to talk about how her blog and handmade business have changed and evolved through the years.

On this episode Abby shares her thoughts about blogging, launching her podcast, the future of publishing and her experience with self-publishing ebooks and patterns on her website. She is  the author of “The Artful Bird: Feathered Friends To Make and Sew” and a soft toy design book titled, “Stuffed Animals: From Concept to Construction“. She now publishes her pattern PDFs online, contributes projects to craft magazines and books and licenses her toy designs to Simplicity.

EmailNewsletter_CoverMockupIn addition to her design work, Abby has written ebooks detailing how to start an online sewing pattern business and create a powerful email newsletter. She has also written curriculum for people who want to teach others how to sew, but want to skip all the time-consuming class designing.

In addition to podcasting, Abby has been dedicating space on her blog to explaining newsworthy events in the handmade world. She has explored how much fabric designers get paid and the impact of Etsy changing its sellers’ policy to allow the sale of mass produced items alongside goods made one at a time by handmade business owners.

Aside from her impressive design and research skills, one of the most informative things I’ve witnessed Abby do is open her books to the world. She publicly documented her revenue and expenses in 2014 and led an honest dialog about what it takes to build a successful handmade business. Everyone who wants to create a serious craft business should read Abby’s posts about her experience in this area.

Check this out! Abby regularly asks her podcast guests to recommend something they’re enjoying to listeners, so we chatted about some sites and apps we find informative and useful.

I recommended these two iPhone apps:

Manual is a $2 app that allows users to adjust speed, focus, ISO, white balance, zoom and more while shooting photos on an iPhone. This is an easy way to maximize the capabilities of the camera you always have with you.

Lose It! Is an effective free app that I use to track calories and exercise and set fitness goals using my iPhone. While it’s kind of a pain to stop and log every meal, it’s proven to be an effective way to move toward my current health and fitness goals.

Abby recommended Work Even a blog written by an American knitter living in Bulgaria and the Nuzzle app that digests articles your friends recommend on Twitter and Facebook.

Thanks sponsors: Thanks to my Patreon sponsors and ACS Home and Work for sponsoring this podcast.

acshomeandwork-300x124I discovered ACS when I was looking for a local source for flour sack tea towels to use for my printmaking and embroidery projects. I’m happy to be supporting a West Michigan-based company with my business and ACS is graciously sponsoring the CraftSanity Podcast.

Local West Michigan listeners can shop ACS products at the Red Door, 6837 Lake Michigan Dr, in Allendale Charter Township. It’s the ACS outlet and also a pickup location for locals who want to order flour sack tea towels and other goods and skip the shipping costs. Visit Red door for a variety of tea towels and other home goods.

If you enjoy the podcast and want to help keep it afloat, consider making a $1 per month donation via my Patreon page. Doing so gets you access to sneak peeks to CraftSanity happenings and projects and automatic entry to all CraftSanity giveaways.

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