Many professional crafters have thought about outsourcing their production at one time or another. But if you’re a “solopreneur”, you probably don’t have the time or money to visit factories or cooperatives overseas. So how can you tell which manufacturers are responsible companies, and not toxic sweatshops employing underpaid toddlers? One way to start narrowing down the list is to look at international manufacturing certifications. These certifications are awarded by independent, international, non-profit auditors, who inspect manufacturers’ operations so you don’t have to.
There are … Read more »
Got an idea for the next hot toy? Put it to the test over at Patch Together.
Here’s how it works: you submit an image of your awesome resin or plush toy design and Patch Together members vote on which designs are worth prototyping. If your toy gets chosen, it will go up for pre-order in the Patch Together store. Once it has enough pre-orders (20), your toy will be produced as a limited edition and you share the profits with Patch … Read more »
over at Envelop. The Belgian-based company digitally prints your designs onto fabric. They make aprons and pillows (and other things) out of it. They set up the eCommerce web site and do all the selling. You upload your designs and reap the profits. Becoming a member is free, but not all designs make the cut. For tips, see their submission guidelines.
**Note: though this is a very respectfully worded request (note how she doesn’t ask specifically for my sources), it is considered good etiquette to ask advice like this from someone with a related but non-competing business, like someone who’s in fashion, or who makes baby products. That said, when I had this exact question starting out, I asked the plush toy makers down the block from me. They were more than gracious and generous in their help, so I’m paying it forward to all of you. For more on the subject of crafty business etiquette, please see … Read more »
I’ve been hearing a lot about crowdsourcing lately. In general it’s a good idea, tapping the collective brainpower of your fans or customer base to generate ideas you might normally have to rely on hired professionals for. It’s been around for a long time, (think Betty Crocker recipe contests, American Idol or the 2002 vote for the new M&Ms color), but the Internet has made crowdsourcing infinitely easier and the scale infinitely larger. The … Read more »