What inspired you to write this book? Is it based on personal experience?
I was working as a buyer in a small home goods boutique and I was adding a lot more eco-friendly and handmade goods to our stock. Etsy was new on the scene and I was using it as a resource for finding product. I would send requests to artists and crafters I found via Etsy and I soon found that they had lots and lots of questions about selling their work to me as a shop keeper. People wanted to know why I wanted to see an example of their work before I ordered it, they wanted to know how to price for wholesale, they wanted to know why I would need different photos... soon I found myself writing long and lengthy emails, explain these things and more, and after awhile the idea of the book came to me. It wasn't until much later, after I was laid off and the owner closed my store and I found myself unemployed that I thought about writing a book.
I wanted to write a book that addressed all of the kinds of questions sellers had been asking me when I worked in that shop. I wanted to help and inspire people at the same time. I have a pretty strong background in marketing and public relations and I've read lots of books on those topics. While I always learned something, reading them always felt a bit like a chore. I really wanted someone like my sister to understand and relate to what I had to say, as well as my grandmother or the creative teenager next door. I wanted boys and girls to find value in the book and I tried really hard to write to all of those people.
I really believe that anyone can do anything if only they have the right tools. I'm not saying that The Handmade Marketplace has all of the answers, but I hope that is it approachable and understandable to people no matter where they are in their selling journeys. I wanted a book that helped people learn and make them feel good at the same time. My greatest wish for The Handmade Marketplace is that it not only provides useful business advice, but also courage, inspiration and community.
Do you have plans for another book?
Yes I do! I have a little something in the works, but it's still to new to mention publicly. I have received lots and lots of emails from people since The Handmade Marketplace came out, and I use the feedback from these emails to inspire my future projects. I would encourage anyone to write to me at hitherekari at gmail.com and send questions or topics they'd like to see addressed. If I can help, I will.
How did you get involved with UCU?
Last year or maybe even the year before, Kristen Rask put out a call of Twitter, asking if any craft book writers wanted to come to UCU to sign books. I had just signed my deal at the time, and my book wasn't even written, but I contacted her anyhow. One thing led to another and this is the first UCU since the book came out - and now I'll be there signing copies! I'm really excited to be there. Also, I love Twitter and all of the connections I've made there.
Your blog details your travels as you promote your book. What are you looking forward to on your trip to Seattle?
So much! I'm really mostly excited to attend UCU of course, and if time allows I'd like to go to Groundspeak (the geocaching headquarters) and I'd love to take my camera to Pikes Place Market and maybe find a yummy cupcake or two. I'd love to go to CakeSpy Shop and meet Jesse Oleson - we've met before, years ago, but I doubt she'd remember. Also I'd love to eat dinner at Delancey! However, I'm only there for two days really, and I'll be working for most of that time, so I'll be happy with a good cup of coffee and a nice walk around the city and having a blast signing books at UCU.
Leave your nice words in comment form below for your chance to win Kari's book, The Handmade Marketplace. We will get you a copy after the show!