Tuesday Review – The Craft Seller

Posted on 31/05/2011

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A Cluttered Cover for a cluttered mag.

It was with great anticipation that I bought the first copy of craft seller. When I saw it sat on the shelves, my first thought was, what a brilliant idea! The magazine is the first British magazine I have seen dedicated to the handmade market and how to sell. Or so I thought.  Unfortunately while the idea is very good, I’m afraid my first impressions haven’t been.

A Cluttered Cover for a cluttered mag.

To begin, as this is my first review I would like the fair reader to know I’m not into bashing, for bashings sake and I want to be fair here, especially as this is the magazines first issue but I also want to be honest. I perhaps should have guessed when I looked at the cover that it would not necessarily contain my expectations. As you can see from the picture it is much cluttered and inside was even more crowded. Essentially I felt this magazine was jumping on a bandwagon rather than offering an illuminating look into the current handmade market or concise advice on what you as a seller might want or need to know.

The basic format seems to be a large number of quick cheap projects that anyone could make following their basic instructions to shoot onto Etsy. The projects were varied, I will give them that, and if you are looking for a craft magazine aiming at beginners and perhaps something interesting for the kids to do on a rainy weekend it might be worth a browse. I think this is perhaps my biggest problem with the publication – its tone was ‘hey make this felt doodad for £2.00 and go off and sell it by looking at our basic instructions for joining Etsy or attending the local village fete’

Where was the recognition that hey, this is not a make a bit of money get rich quick scheme? Most crafters I know – and I know plenty – the blogs I read, the wonderful artists I have bought from know their crafts, have a passion for it and produce beautiful work. They study trends, look at colour and structure and texture and are incredibly knowledgeable about what they sell. They don’t produce something in a material they’ve never used before in ten minutes and stick it front and centre into their shops. They work hard both
in their projects and marketing their wares. Frankly if I wanted another craft magazine I would buy a craft magazine, not one that purports to be a guide to British craft selling.

And there’s another thing – Don’t get me wrong Etsy is a wonderful site and resource for crafters all over the world, but this magazine,
British magazine, mentioned nothing about any of the other sites, particularly our very own Folksy.com which specialises in providing a platform for British Handmade artists. In fact  Etsy appeared on such a regular basis, including the main ‘article’ (sigh) that I actually
began to wonder if it’s a British magazine at all and if perhaps the powers that be were not in fact some of our beloved American cousins. No bad thing, but it would be helpful to know if the magazine were a vehicle for one particular site or if it offered unbiased advice.

What I want in a magazine called Craft Seller – is less ‘craft’ and more advice – where were the experts, crafters that were making a living from their craft? Where was the accountant explaining what the Tax Man wants? The cover of craft fairs? The list of upcoming fairs? The industry fairs like The Bead Show where you can get new contacts and supplies and meet SRA’s (Self Representing Artists) who offered their art for sale as a supplier. Overall I was disappointed I suppose I was expecting something a little more sophisticated and in depth. Unfortunately any ‘advice’ included was shallow and frankly uninspiring, the projects were basic (but probably lovely in the hands of someone experienced in that area with an eye for design and colour) and the feel of the magazine was cluttered and thrown together. The free gift – handmade tags – was nice.

I would be really interested to know if anyone else has read the magazine. What did you think? Was your impression the same as mine or have I been too harsh?

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Posted in: Tuesday Review