CraftyPod #95: Crafting for Money vs. Passion, with Paul Overton

04 Jul 2009

 
Sorry, this podcast is no longer available. You can still listen to some other free shows, or browse additional shows for sale.

In this show:

- An interview with Paul Overton, author of the Dudecraft blog. This conversation was inspired by this post.

- Some thoughts on the difference between crafting for money and crafting for passion.

- How does handmade work change when it's made solely for profit?

- What happens when independent craft businesses start flooding the online community with marketing messages?

- What does it mean when a handmade item has "mojo?"

Links:

- Dudecraft is well worth reading - be sure and check it out!

- Paul recommended Hammermarks as an example of a blog that offers both value and commerce.

- We also talked a bit about Gary Vaynerchuk, who absolutely nails the idea of offering value to your audience. I recommend this short interview as a quick way to get familiar with his philosophies.

- Paul is also a big fan of Meet Me At Mikes.

- Another blog Paul mentioned: Aprons and Hammers. (Man! Those really ARE amazing shoes!)

- ...And we also went a little fangirl (and boy) on Jeff Rudell .

Categories: 

Comments

This was a great episode, I really enjoyed it. Thanks. :-)


Thank You for such a great topic. It really made me think about how I craft


I always listen to craftypod when I am tidying up my sewing room. This weeks episode touched on the battle that I have for finding that balance between blogging about my process and trying to protect what I am making as I too have an etsy shop. What I sell through etsy and markets pays for my crafty endeavours! ... taking inspiration from Future Craft Collective and other crafty groups, a few of my friends (and I) are starting a crafty club to share and socialise. We are hoping that this will be a good opportunity to share as a "we have done this" rather than a "I have done this" (I am not too good at blowing my own trumpet!). thanks again for your crafty podcast and I can't wait to see your book!


Okay, I fell so in love with my own train of thought, I forgot to mention to Paul, if he's listening, how MUCH I love his site, and how I found this interview delightful!


I love DudeCraft-there's so much variety on that blog. These podcasts with bloggers are fantastic. It's really interesting to hear their voices and learn more about them. I totally agree that if you like a person and enjoy their blog, you'll be more inclined to buy their items. This last Christmas all my purchased handmade gifts came from bloggers I really liked. I also tried to buy things from bloggers who made tutorials that I used personally.


Diane! Paul! You guys are the best! I loved this podcast. If it had been 4 hours, I would have listened to every word!

(insert 30 minutes of writing a comment that was almost as long as your podcast ...)

Clearly, this is a topic that is very important to me ... I'm going to put it in a post instead of putting it here in your comments. :)


I had a conversation this weekend with a good friend of mine who is a journal maker. We talked about crafty products on sale in etsy shops, which look to have come from an originator other than the shop owner themselves. I felt this was wrong. I felt the shop owner should make clear to the purchaser that the product was made from a template or technique devised by another artist, and that the shopper is then free to decide whether to make the purchase. (My guess is that they would in any case.)

My friend said, if a person is going to write a book about a technique, and share a detailed process with thousands of strangers, that person is going to have to expect that other crafters, who practice the technique and excel in the technique, will be producing the object and selling the product in their shop.

I do understand where she's coming from. But I find it vital that, in order to have a healthy exchange of information and technique, we each have to have a firm grasp on our intention. If I were to profit from a technique learned from someone else, I would want to at the very least, ask permission of the original artist, and give them lavish credit and promotion for having taught me such technique. It's true that a very small percentage of readers will then create something from the book and then sell it in a shop. But the existence of even one of these 'flattering copies?' casts a bit of shadow on the community as a whole.

Something I imagine and bring to fruition is not something someone else might imagine and perfect. And while I don't want to be stingy about sharing that technique, I do feel that it's only respectful, if my friend is going to profit monetarily from my idea, that I get the credit that is due me.

I suppose, ultimately, I want to strive to offer something that originates with me--originates in my vision and is brought to fruition through original technique. And I think there are still unique ideas out there, in 'the universe', and that I am working toward making my own way, if I wish to market my work, or even if I simply wish to continue to create and have fun! However, while I am crafting on the shoulders of other artists, they will receive my heartfelt thanks and lavish praise, for sharing with me the results of all of their hard work.


And can I also say that I TOTALLY agree with what you're saying!!


This was a great interview. It actually made me a little paranoid, thinking am I always saying "buy this" but after reviewing my blog, I felt I do try just to be me. It's hard to keep the balance, when you want to make a go of your crafty passions and there is a validity in selling. Thank you for the reality check. Now I see I need to "give" a bit more. And I'm working on that as I type. I love the blog and the last two posts especially. Thank you.


What a wonderful interview, I really love Paul's attitude! Thanks for sharing, like always. :)


I loved this show, the funny thing is it actually inspired me to start a blog. Seriously, I started it yesterday. Anyway, thanks so much and keep it up.


I listened to this episode the other day and really enjoyed it. I also had this post come thru my google reader recently-- http://zenhabits.net/2009/07/how-giving-changes... and thought it gelled well with the things you and Paul discussed. I really like and agree with the idea that items made with passion and enthusiasm by the maker are just... better. I'm really just starting out with etsy and trying to improve my blog and this episode has been great food for thought. I feel so much better about making things that I am excited about (whether for sale or not) than I do about trying to think of something quick and easy that I think will probably sell.


hi - thanks for a great interview. lots to digest... so am still chomping through it in my head.. definitely raised some thought provoking points.. yes we do love Pip too!


such an inspiring episode! i really try to keep my blog to a small percentage of shop-related stuff, or when i do talk about stuff i'm selling, i try to include some process-y stuff to make it more interesting; now this talk has totally made me want to try harder, give more away, make my blog less salesy feeling. yeah!!

i loved all the talk about mojo and how the best crafted items for sale are the ones that the maker was passionate about! i try to only make things i love making, but (especially when craft shows are coming up around holiday season) i often fall into the trap of thinking "this is the thing that sells best, i need to make more of these whether i want to or not." i'm going to try to avoid that; even if one thing sold well in the past, if i make more because i feel i have to, then those new ones won't have the mojo, so what's the point?

i also really liked the part when Paul was talking about how he could never sell stuff because his passions are constantly changing and branding would be a nightmare - i'm a totally schizophrenic crafter too and my shop has terrible branding for just that reason! i say, if you want to sell stuff, just do it, don't worry if it's all over the place! hah!


Thanks for the mention! Gary Vaynerchuk is indeed an inspiration - if you are passionate about your creation and want to share it with the world, persistence and passion pay off!

Thanks, Joanna


Thanks for all the comments, everyone. I loved doing this interview. We could have, and I think Diane will agree, made this a four-hour show if common sense had not prevailed. What a blast!


Thank you so much for your podcast in general, and especially this one. For me it comes at a time when I am starting to bring some of my own work into fruition for others to enjoy - actually, I'm talking about chamber music and not crafts, but I feel that musicians can use some of the principles you talk about to get information about concerts out there. What you and Paul say about getting to know the crafter whose crafts you would like to own applies to musicians and audiences, and I am excited about the inter-connectivity (is that a word?) that could potentially be brought about by blogging and other forms of outreach. So, thanks for the inspiration you have given me to form some concrete ideas out of my pie-in-the-sky ones!

P.S. LOVE your podcast music - it's so groovy. :)


You're so right, Meg - I see lots of examples of musicians
participating in the online community and making devoted fans one at a
time. I think these ideas have applications across a lot of creative
fields.

Good luck with your efforts!


Hearing from a man that crafts was rather interesting. I liked the conversation centerpiece (business vs. passion) because it's a good choice to help keep people grounded and focused on the skill and fun.

Regarding your podcast, who made the music? Btw, I like how you intersperse the tunes with your conversation.


Thanks for the link to my blog! I was planning on checking out the interview, and was surprised that I was mentioned! It really made interesting points and offers great advice about showing your personality and building trust with your readers.


As usual, you've given me a lot to think about. I do feel that once a crafter crosses the line to craft just for the sake of making money and not for primarily the creative process involved (or the love the of the craft), something is lost. You can see it in their work. I've done this myself, so I think it's a lesson that hopefully some people learn from. Those who don't, well, probably won't last long because you really have to love what you do.


Thank you for this terrific podcast! I'm a crafts magpie - always distracted by the next new shiny thing. I've been told that I could really accomplish something if I'd just choose my niche and narrow my focus, but it's not in me to do that. I'm glad I'm in good company.


Esquivel! Great choice for music...


Thanks, Tim! That music is by a bandleader named Esquivel. He was popular during the lounge music era of the 50's and 60's. A total genius. Check out his Wikipedia article for a photo of him wearing the most amazing pair of glasses you've ever seen.


haven't listened to the episode yet (though I listened to CraftyPod podcasts all the way home from my Whidbey Island writing retreat) but I do appreciate you turning me on to Dudecraft - I really appreciate how you are such a connecting point in the crafting/making world.


what a great and fun interview! I feel better, because I've been blogging for years and not really have found my niche, I just love crafts and cooking and I seem like I'm flip flopping all over the place, but that's me! If I can focus on one thing I might be able to sell on etsy, but it's not going to happen. I just love crafting when I have the time, in the mood, and whatever craft turns me on at the time. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one. I've been thinking about giving back through a tutorial or something - that's something I'm working on. Thank you! Paul is great, I'm heading over to his blog right now!


I totally agree with this podcast!! I´ve been wanting to make a post about this in my blog for a long time, but I haven’t found the right way yet.
I have been crafting for a few years now and I started my blog 10 months ago. In the beginning was just another blog trying to sell my stuff like any other. Bit very rapidly a realized it didn’t make any sense to me. To be there, every day talking about being a crafter and only care about selling my products (any the sales weren’t never that great), and not sharing anything with the community, instead to be mad if anyone copied my designs, it just didn’t make sense to me. So I decided to stop doing that. I just stopped selling stuff on my blog. I have a dawanda store (a european Etsy) I have a link to it on the blog but I don’t make posts saying “please go to my store and buy my stuff”. Right now in my blog I’m more interested in talking about my craft passion and sharing what little experience I have. I share link to other interesting sites/blogs and talk about techniques that I’ve learning and this is much more exciting to me than just try to sell my creations. Right now I really don’t care if I sell or not, I love crafting and I’ll keep doing it just because I love it!


Thanks for sharing your story, Catarina. It sounds like you're enjoying blogging a lot more with this approach, too!


Yes I am. I'me finding a new pleasure in crafts, and I'm loving to meet interesting people like you and Paul from Dude Craft :D


I enjoyed this podcast so much! I found myself falling into this same 'e commerce' thing and then started asking myself 'what am i doing? i realized that the people i follow are the ones that talk about other things besides their own shop items. so, i decided to start blogging myself because i think that i have a lot of good stories to tell! thanks again,
marsha spaniel
www.spinalfusion.etsy.com
http://spinalfusion-marshaspaniel.blogspot.com/


Great podcast! I was also getting caught up in the selling end of my craft and upset with myself if I didn't feel like making jewelry on a given day. It has started to turn into a job and I find I just don't enjoy it this way! So, now I feel like I can go back to just making jewelry when an idea hits me or I feel like playing and not feel guilty! And yes, I would like to be able to make money off of my craft, since I am layed off, but I don't feel the same sense of urgency about it. Thanks so much! Now I can defend myself with all my crafty friends who are telling me I need to make more jewelry and sell it! LOL! Honestly I through I was one of the few in the world who felt like this! :D


It was time for me to catch up on the craftypod! I loved this episode, it put in to words what I have been feeling lately. I have been struggling with this for awhile. I just felt bombarded with people pushing their shops and it turned me off twitter and other social sites. Also, I didn't want to be that person and I was afraid that was where I was heading. I took a little break and am now working on little mini challenges that I set myself. It gives me something to blog about and something to push me creatively. And since they aren't things I plan on selling I don't have the pressure of it being perfect. I had to remember that it was okay to make mistakes. For so long I was just doing production work I lost sight of that fact that I once did this for fun.

Thanks!


Ah... I was wondering where you went. I'm so glad you shared your
experiences here. And I love your approach of setting creative
challenges for yourself. What a great way to re-connect with your love
of making!


Great podcast! I was also getting caught up in the selling end of my craft and upset with myself if I didn't feel like making jewelry on a given day. It has started to turn into a job and I find I just don't enjoy it this way! So, now I feel like I can go back to just making jewelry when an idea hits me or I feel like playing and not feel guilty! And yes, I would like to be able to make money off of my craft, since I am layed off, but I don't feel the same sense of urgency about it. Thanks so much! Now I can defend myself with all my crafty friends who are telling me I need to make more jewelry and sell it! LOL! Honestly I through I was one of the few in the world who felt like this! :D


I just discovered your podcast and this is the first one I listened to. I agree 100% about getting turned off on Twitter by constant advertising tweets, most of the time now I just skip over those. And, most of my own followers are other sellers, so tweeting about my own items generally results in views but not purchases.

I recently started a blog, and have been following Tara @ Scoutie Girl's model of blog posts, which is the same idea of blogging about your process, your goals, other people that inspire you, etc. I'm not getting a ton of views yet, so it was great to hear affirmation that this is a good blogging route to go.

I look forward to listening to a lot more podcasts!


Hi there - thanks for commenting! Over time, that approach absolutely
will get you noticed. Keep it up!


Thanks for the mention! Gary Vaynerchuk is indeed an inspiration - if you are passionate about your creation and want to share it with the world, persistence and passion pay off!

Thanks, Joanna


Thanks for the link to my blog! I was planning on checking out the interview, and was surprised that I was mentioned! It really made interesting points and offers great advice about showing your personality and building trust with your readers.


What a wonderful interview, I really love Paul's attitude! Thanks for sharing, like always. :)


As usual, you've given me a lot to think about. I do feel that once a crafter crosses the line to craft just for the sake of making money and not for primarily the creative process involved (or the love the of the craft), something is lost. You can see it in their work. I've done this myself, so I think it's a lesson that hopefully some people learn from. Those who don't, well, probably won't last long because you really have to love what you do.


I love DudeCraft-there's so much variety on that blog. These podcasts with bloggers are fantastic. It's really interesting to hear their voices and learn more about them. I totally agree that if you like a person and enjoy their blog, you'll be more inclined to buy their items. This last Christmas all my purchased handmade gifts came from bloggers I really liked. I also tried to buy things from bloggers who made tutorials that I used personally.


I had a conversation this weekend with a good friend of mine who is a journal maker. We talked about crafty products on sale in etsy shops, which look to have come from an originator other than the shop owner themselves. I felt this was wrong. I felt the shop owner should make clear to the purchaser that the product was made from a template or technique devised by another artist, and that the shopper is then free to decide whether to make the purchase. (My guess is that they would in any case.)

My friend said, if a person is going to write a book about a technique, and share a detailed process with thousands of strangers, that person is going to have to expect that other crafters, who practice the technique and excel in the technique, will be producing the object and selling the product in their shop.

I do understand where she's coming from. But I find it vital that, in order to have a healthy exchange of information and technique, we each have to have a firm grasp on our intention. If I were to profit from a technique learned from someone else, I would want to at the very least, ask permission of the original artist, and give them lavish credit and promotion for having taught me such technique. It's true that a very small percentage of readers will then create something from the book and then sell it in a shop. But the existence of even one of these 'flattering copies?' casts a bit of shadow on the community as a whole.

Something I imagine and bring to fruition is not something someone else might imagine and perfect. And while I don't want to be stingy about sharing that technique, I do feel that it's only respectful, if my friend is going to profit monetarily from my idea, that I get the credit that is due me.

I suppose, ultimately, I want to strive to offer something that originates with me--originates in my vision and is brought to fruition through original technique. And I think there are still unique ideas out there, in 'the universe', and that I am working toward making my own way, if I wish to market my work, or even if I simply wish to continue to create and have fun! However, while I am crafting on the shoulders of other artists, they will receive my heartfelt thanks and lavish praise, for sharing with me the results of all of their hard work.


Okay, I fell so in love with my own train of thought, I forgot to mention to Paul, if he's listening, how MUCH I love his site, and how I found this interview delightful!


Thanks for all the comments, everyone. I loved doing this interview. We could have, and I think Diane will agree, made this a four-hour show if common sense had not prevailed. What a blast!


such an inspiring episode! i really try to keep my blog to a small percentage of shop-related stuff, or when i do talk about stuff i'm selling, i try to include some process-y stuff to make it more interesting; now this talk has totally made me want to try harder, give more away, make my blog less salesy feeling. yeah!!

i loved all the talk about mojo and how the best crafted items for sale are the ones that the maker was passionate about! i try to only make things i love making, but (especially when craft shows are coming up around holiday season) i often fall into the trap of thinking "this is the thing that sells best, i need to make more of these whether i want to or not." i'm going to try to avoid that; even if one thing sold well in the past, if i make more because i feel i have to, then those new ones won't have the mojo, so what's the point?

i also really liked the part when Paul was talking about how he could never sell stuff because his passions are constantly changing and branding would be a nightmare - i'm a totally schizophrenic crafter too and my shop has terrible branding for just that reason! i say, if you want to sell stuff, just do it, don't worry if it's all over the place! hah!


This was a great interview. It actually made me a little paranoid, thinking am I always saying "buy this" but after reviewing my blog, I felt I do try just to be me. It's hard to keep the balance, when you want to make a go of your crafty passions and there is a validity in selling. Thank you for the reality check. Now I see I need to "give" a bit more. And I'm working on that as I type. I love the blog and the last two posts especially. Thank you.


hi - thanks for a great interview. lots to digest... so am still chomping through it in my head.. definitely raised some thought provoking points.. yes we do love Pip too!


haven't listened to the episode yet (though I listened to CraftyPod podcasts all the way home from my Whidbey Island writing retreat) but I do appreciate you turning me on to Dudecraft - I really appreciate how you are such a connecting point in the crafting/making world.


This was a great episode, I really enjoyed it. Thanks. :-)


And can I also say that I TOTALLY agree with what you're saying!!


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