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21 January 2022

Starving Artist Triples Margins During Pandemic

Written by Sarah-Maree

That’s right! Keep reading for the key, secret trick, for making this ‘starving’ artist (I’m always hungry) turn a profit with her book making hobby!

Ok, ok. Getting serious though. I could NOT resist the clickbait title or that first line. And it is true. I did have the highest profits in 2021 than I’ve had pre-pandemic.

Well, it has been an interesting time since I last posted. I’ve made it through editing Part 1 (of 3) on Sir Ryac and The Dark Mage. I’ve worked on a short story, and I’ve written a few chapters of a new story. And I had a chance to look at my book crafting. Of all of these things, only one keeps popping up in my mind, and for reasons I think many crafters and artists can relate to.

A Bit of History

So, crafters. You know how you see those big shiny sales at craft stores? You know how you just have to have those certain items every single time you enter one of those stores? For me it’s fabrics and buttons and leather and paper. I’m a book crafter after all, it makes sense.

My point is, with the pandemic, I haven’t been going inside stores very much, if at all. My usual hour-long (or you, know, however long they were) hunts for a new fabric, paper, or leather that will adorn the cover of a book just haven’t been happening. Now, I bring this up because of that thing I mentioned that won’t leave me alone. You ready for this?

How I Did It

My 2021 book crafting sales year has been the MOST profitable. I was excited! Thrilled even! For a bit. Turns out, it isn’t my MOST productive year in quantity of sales or even in terms of profit, despite me raising prices. So, what gives? Why is this year better than a year that sold way more books even if those books were at lower prices? I mean, the prices didn’t change that much, did they? First of all, no, the pricing didn’t go up that drastically. Now I’ll tell you the real reason why. It’s because I spent less than $100 on crafting materials this year.

That’s right. If I hadn’t spent so much each year on crafting, I would have WAY better margins. But no, those bright colors, soft textures, and dazzling patterns get me every single time I enter a craft store like Michaels or JoAnne Fabrics or United Art Supply Co. It’s a miracle I don’t shop online and wrack up the bills that way. Well…I do prefer seeing and feeling the fabric and paper quality before I buy, so I suppose that’s the reason online specials and shopping aren’t a real pull for me.

So, my fellow crafters and artists, have you noticed any changes in productivity thanks to this pandemic? I know my crafting motivation has gone down, but apparently my profit went up thanks to it. Because if I’m being perfectly honest. Avoiding those stores is the reason why I not only avoided spending money, but it’s also probably why I haven’t been as motivated. How can an artist go into a craft store and not become inspired? Or buy things…

The Takeaway

In the end, my best tip or trick to turning a profit with crafting, particularly as a hobby crafter, is to one, have sales, and two, don’t buy anything. You may be asking, “How can you make things without buying material first?” Simple, if you’re a crafter like me, you already bought a crazy amount of material! And it’s just sitting there! I mean, if you look at my closet, you’ll see the enormous amount of material that’s taking up space. “And at the top of that closet,” you ask? Just three small tubs full of actual, completed product. Full closet. Three small bins…If I play my cards right, next year will be even better! And I’ll have even fewer materials clogging up my closet!!!

Whaaaaaaat?! Mind blown, right? Right?! Now you know my ‘secret’ recipe for success.


Photo credit: Jadson Thomas

May your adventures be many and your inspiration be endless!