[161] The number 1 reason handmade businesses fail (and 3 strategies to overcome it)


I have seen so many handmade business owners flounder and give up, and there is one thing so many of them have in common.

I call it the ‘what, how, when’ problem.

This happens when makers don’t know what to do, how to do it, or when to do it in regards to their business.

You can know the what… but not the how or when. Or maybe you know the when, but not the how… you get the picture!

When you start out, especially if you have zero business experience, there is a HUGE learning curve.

But… how do you know what you don’t know? How do you make sure you’re doing the right things, at the right time, in the right way?

There are 3 strategies you can use to climb the mountain and craft a successful business, and I share them with you – in detail – in this episode.

I also share the BIG special I’m offering on my Set Up Shop course, and why!


Focus on the Small Steps [160 – Members-Only Episode]


Do you ever feel frustrated and overwhelmed because you don’t feel like you’re moving forward with your handmade business?

Sometimes we can get so focussed on the big picture that we forget how far we’ve actually come via the small steps we’ve taken.

In this episode, I talk about the power of focussing on small steps.







[159] Top Tips for Selling your Handmade Goods Wholesale with Melanie Augustin

What if you could sell 95% of your handmade creations via wholesale?

My guest today has done just that. She quickly grew her business – and her income! – by focussing on selling via wholesale, rather than online or at markets.

But where do you start? How do you know if you’re pricing correctly? And what’s the best way to approach stores? How to you show them what you’ve got to offer?

There’s a lot to know, and it’s important to keep your relationships with current and potential retailers secure.

Figuring out your pricing to include all those elusive overheads is truly one of the major pieces of the puzzle; along with having a stellar catalogue and knowing how to get your name and products ‘out there’.

In this episode Melanie Augustin sits down with me to talk about how she jumped into wholesaling headfirst and the lessons she has learnt along the way.

Mel is my good friend, and also my co-teacher in the upcoming Wholesale Know-How course, that starts this coming Monday, September 10th!

Click or tap here to find out exactly how our course will show you the steps you need to take to successfully sell your handmade creations to brick & mortar retail stores.

NB: The body of this episode is a replay of Episode 5 of the podcast – I’m bringing it back today because that was 3(!) years ago, and I know many of you would have never listened to it – Mel has some brilliant insights to share, so don’t miss it.




Quotes and highlights from this episode:

  • “Some days it’s almost like the business part and the creative part of me are pulling against each other, and you really have to accept that.” {Melanie}
  • A lot of crafters who craft for fun often think they can turn things into a business but it’s really a different mindset and a different way to think about things.
  • Make sure you know how much you can make in a specific time frame to figure out if you need to factor in staff or other help to get your orders filled.
  • Find a business partner or think about hiring help if you find the accounting side of your business too scary.
  • Trade fairs can be great places to pick up new business but they aren’t essential for you to step into wholesale.
  • Trade fairs are completely different to a retail craft market as people are less likely to want to chat and are there for business.
  • Make sure you have a catalogue which makes it easy for buyers to choose and order efficiently.
  • “I wish I could just create all day and I think that’s what people think but there’s a lot just sitting there and marketing and online business.” {Melanie}
  • “We all make mistakes with our pricing in the beginning. When you have a lot of orders, you can sit there and think, I’m not earning enough money for this!” {Jess}
  • Make sure you maintain a good relationship with your buyers as it’s easier to sell to the same customer rather than get a new customer.
  • Don’t be so worried about work/life balance on a daily basis as you will find that it evens out over the course of the year.
  • “I’m now strict about not working weekends except in those last three months of the year” {Melanie}
  • “Before my daughter was in school, I would go into studio lock-down for days on end and that worked really well because then I could take the time I wanted. Now I have my daughter’s schedule with school hours, I have to adjust.” {Mel}
  • BookThe Divided Heart: Art and Motherhood by Rachel Power
  • Instagram is a great tool for marketing an online business along with Twitter if you’re a bit of a wordsmith
  • Mel’s Top 3 things to get right for wholesaling
    1. Pricing
    2. Catalogue
    3. Marketing
  • “If you don’t build your dream, somebody will hire you to build theirs.” {Tony Gaskins}


Love the show? You can show your support by:

  • Leaving a review on the C&T FB page.
  • Leaving a review on iTunes.
  • Donating a few dollars towards the costs of producing the pod.
  • Joining the Thriver Circle – without the members of the Circle, this podcast would not be possible. 



[158] 10 Steps to Put Boundaries Around your Work


Do you struggle with putting boundaries around your work – especially if you work from home?

Maybe you have trouble setting working hours and sticking to them… or getting friends and family to respect them.

Do you find yourself checking your email at 11pm and then having to go into work mode because you’ve read an email you feel like you need to answer right now?!

Do you find it hard to get stuff done because people are always interrupting your work time?

Do you get started… then suddenly remember the washing that needs to go on?

There are a lot of things that can get in the way of getting our work done – some of them are in our own minds, and some of them are external… but no matter what, you are the one with the power and responsibility to set boundaries that ensure you get done what you need to get done.

In this episode I outline 10 steps I recommend you follow in order to get your work done in a more calm, productive way!




[157] Leverage your Etsy Shop with Danielle Spurge


Want to get featured in a big magazine or online publication? Making sure your Etsy shop is top-notch is a great first step.

My own jewellery has been picked up and featured on Buzzfeed, Ring to Perfection, and in many other places, but that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t put in the work to have eye-catching product photos.

Of course, that’s only part of the story – and my guest today, Danielle Spurge of the Merriweather Council has got plenty of experience and knowledge to share with you on this topic.

She’s been featured in stacks of places, and in this episode she’s sharing her advice on how to leverage your Etsy shop OFF Etsy to get seen and grow your business.



Love the show? You can show your support by:

  • Leaving a review on the C&T FB page.
  • Leaving a review on Apple Podcasts.
  • Donating a few dollars towards the costs of producing the pod.
  • Joining the Thriver Circle, which gives you access to exclusive members-only episodes (and SO much more). Without the members of the Circle, this podcast would not be possible.



Quotes and highlights from this episode:

  • The traffic you generate on Etsy is not just buyers.
  • “Influencers, big names, media outlets and buyers don’t search google, they go straight to Etsy. If you’re not on Etsy you’re missing out” {Jess}
  • Danielle worked hard to optimise her store for influencers, big store buyers and media as well as buyers.
  • “News outlets need content to share and Etsy is a hot bed of cool and interesting things” {Danielle}
  • A media opportunity can change the game for a small business.
  • Danielle shares a story about the Gilmore Girls and how this increased exposure of a product.
  • Jess shares a story about the longevity of sales from a media feature.
  • “You’ve got to have it sorted – have your products looking great and ready to pick up” {Jess}
  • Use your shop like a portfolio and have images and content ready to share by influencers and media outlets.
  • “No one is going to want to feature a shop that is half-empty or incomplete” {Danielle}
  • If you are interested in collaborations be aware these take longer to arrange and you will need to have a body of work that works as a showcase of your work.
  • Turn around for items needed for a photo shoot is often short. If an opportunity comes up you will need to turn production and shipping around very quickly.
  • “You want to take advantage of an opportunity if it comes up. You don’t want to have to turn it down because you didn’t know or don’t have what they need” {Danielle}
  • “If you want to make a long reaching wide PR strategy you do have to work for it but sometimes they come to you” {Jess}


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