craft business

Guest series 2012: I asked fellow bloggers, makers and creators to write on their creativity and focus their essay on one of four topics: creativity and health, creativity and business, creativity and parenting or creativity and process. I am very excited to have a wonderful lot of fellow creative folk guest posting here at over the next couple of months. Please welcome…

Destri is the founder of The Mother Huddle, a mother of two, and a wife of one. With her pattern company set to launch this fall, a book in the creation process, and a boy playing T-ball, she considers herself very busy – but very happy.

Kathreen gave us several subjects to write on, and I had the hardest time deciding on just one. I’m pretty passionate about all of them, but the subject of women using their talents to earn an honest and healthy living is near and dear to my heart. But upon choosing to share with you how I turned my hobby and passion into a business, I realized the process was a little backwards for me. I first wanted to start a business, the business became my hobby, and I discovered along the way that it was only when I was passionate about that hobby could it become a successful business.  

A little over three years ago my husband gave me a computer for Christmas. At the time I thought it was one of those “we need one so I’ll just buy it for you as a gift” kind of things. Outside of an email account I had little experience with them. Eventually I made my way on to the internet following a news article to a blog. Over time I realized that some were making an income from their blog. As a stay at home mom, I was always interested in ways that I could make money working from home. So I became one of millions that set out to make a living blogging. There began my interest.

Without even knowing how to attach a file to an email, I started a website. I spent 11 months developing the concept, deciding on themes, and working with friends to contribute. We all took a different subject and since I had a sewing machine, I decided to write the Sew Be It segment. I have to smile at that now, because that was quite literally the only reason – because I had one. I barely knew how to thread it.

In that 11 months I then became one of millions that learned running a website was actually very hard, and was burned out before the blog had even launched. If I was going to do this I knew I had to find a healthy work-life balance and decided to take a break working on the website. In the six weeks I took off my sister signed me up for a sewing class at her brick and mortar quilt shop. There began my hobby.

I finally did find a healthy balance. I realized that having an ambition all my own was a large part of that balance. The Mother Huddle launched in October of 2009. There began my passion – not my business.

There is something about taking an idea in your head, sketching it onto paper, and then making it with your own two hands that is powerful. To willingly stay up until 3am sewing because something that took 3 weeks to draft is almost finished and you can’t wait to share it with like minds who want to be a part of what you are doing. It changed my life. The passion went beyond sewing too, I loved every part of it; the photography, writing, crafting – so much so that I held off starting a business for fear it would take the fun away and I would lose the passion for it.

When my kids were old enough that I considered going back to work, it hit me. The thought of doing any number of jobs I had done in the past, well –  just didn’t excite me. I had an opportunity to make a living doing something I love, and in the best kind of way for me. If I sewed clothing for a living, I know I would tire from it. If I had to work behind a computer screen all day, I’m certain I’d lose my mind or at least the creative side. But this unique position of writing a blog allowed me to tap into every area of creativity that I loved, and then share it with others – which I have learned is where my ultimate passion lies. There began my business. 

It took over two years to get there, but for me it had to happen that way. Had it been a business first, I would have never found the passion for creating that fuels it. I would have lacked the knowledge that numbers go up and down, and though at times you feel uninspired – if you persevere your blog does indeed grow. I needed that confidence to make it through my moments of doubt or ultimately I would have given up.

I am relieved to find that I really enjoy the business side of blogging. Just as ideas of new projects keep me up at night, so do ideas of how to grow my business. It’s exciting to know that just when it seems everything that could have ever been done has been done, I can think of new ways to make a unique mark in the industry, and I can’t wait to put them into action. I am still learning, and usually the hard way, but little by little I’m figuring it out.

As for resources, there is a video by Danielle LaPorte in the sidebar of her website that has become a daily reminder for me. I have a little book that I take with me everywhere; it holds ideas, dreams, and words of encouragement. I fear if I ever lost it I’d be heartbroken. Everyone should have a book like that. Last but not least friends; very patient friends who lift me up.

Thanks so much for having me Kathreen. It’s an honor to be a part of such an amazing line-up.


Two wonderful books have recently come my way that I just had to share with you. Are you a freelancer, a home business craft-preneur, a sole trader diyer or trying to make it as an artist? Well you need these two books.

Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business by Joy Deangdeelert Cho + Meg Mateo Ilasco. Chronicle Books; 1 edition (July 28, 2010).

The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and On-Line by Kari Chapin. Storey Publishing, LLC (February 27, 2010).

Creative inc is an interesting informative read for those in the illustration freelance business – whether just starting up or at a stage where you are thinking of expanding and growing – this book is a practical and down to earth handbook for those in this industry. Very useful chapter on getting an agent is worth getting the book just for this alone. Most of the business nitty gritty is pretty universal although the tax stuff is for a US audience – I still think that those in other countries will benefit from reading this book too. With interviews from those working in this industry – there are some real insights into what its really like to be a freelancer.

The Handmade marketplace – apart from being a super cute book filled with wonderful illustrations – this book is also super informative and helpful. Crammed full of advice from selling your wares online to how to take photos and market your products to branding, blogging and building community. Also filled with snippets of ‘true stories’ from real life bloggers and creative types – this book is a must have.