Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Books, Books, and More Books

So this blog entry is about the books that I read getting ready for this leap into the wearable art business. Now before you start saying that all the current information is actually on the internet, I have to say that I tried to find this stuff and couldn’t. Maybe I’m a little “search-engine-disabled”, but wading through all the irrelevant crap to find what I really wanted was tiresome. I’d rather pop out to Borders or jump over to Amazon and find exactly what I need right away. And my guilty pleasure–the magazine racks–simply kept calling my name anyway… Now I know you can spend just as much on periodicals as you do on books… hehe… ouch. My partner, Jonathan, was a bit worried by how much I was spending on these resources… But they were worth it. And considering I don’t own a laptop and I like to read when and where I like, the expenditure was well spent.

Anyway, below is a list of the books that I dived into because I found them incredibly interesting. I have a slew of books that I want to read in the future, but now I’m not at all sure when/if I’ll ever be able to actually get back to cracking a good book…

Art and Fear–Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland really was the best book to start with. It was a fantastic ego boost and dunk in cold water at the same time. Highly recommended for artists that are loosing faith in what they’re doing. This book helped me start to accept the idea that I could indeed call myself an artist and actually believe it.

Start Your Own Arts and Crafts Business by Entrepreneur Press and J.S. McDougallwas the next book I grabbed. I had quite a selection of books to choose from on the Borders Books shelves, but this seemed to be the most practical and the most up to date. Of course, finding books written after the advent of this horrible economic recession/depression/whatever has been hard. Many of the books were written in the “great oblivious bubble” of soaring expectations and unfeasible profit margins. Regardless, this book worked for me.

Design and Launch an Online Boutique in a Week by Entrepreneur Press and Melissa Campanelli was a bit outdated… A lot of the information was, as previously mentioned, written in a time when things were a bit different… Nowadays, it’s common knowledge that simply having an online presence and setting up a store isn’t enough to be a success, but most of the examples they use were about entrepreneurs that got in at the right time and grew with the internet’s growth. So I’m not sure if they were actually “successful” on their own terms or not. Still an interesting read, and I am indeed still “internet business inept”, so it was very useful information.

Fashion for Profit by Frances Harder is still way over my head. Sorry, I guess I’m too “artistic” to figure out all the business mumbo jumbo that’s in this book (and the other materials that are available with it on Amazon), but I’m not going into this to mass produce a line of clothing… I have no interest in the legitimate methodology of contemporary fashion business… Not for me. I want to create things that are a little more individual, a lot more artistically hands-on, and definitely not uber-mass produced. That takes the sparkle out of it for me. And I’m not in the position to do it the “right way” anyway. So. I’ve put this one on my shelf to peruse in the future.

The Fashion Designer Survival Guide by Mary Gehlhar was much more useful, but still oriented toward those interested in mainstream clothing production in the traditional scope set out by the fashion industry. And their first piece of advice is to work for someone else in the industry for 10 years… Eminently down-to-earth and real, this book simply solidified for me why I don’t wanna do “fashion apparel”. Money, experience, and a strong business plan is what they suggest—none of which I had when I read this book. But it was very useful, still. This book convinced me to create an LLC insted of a sole proprietorship, which is the norm in the art field. Not that I’m gonna need to worry about it.

Art/Work: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career by Heather Darcy Bhandari and Jonathan Melber was a GREAT book. Not really applicable to me (yet again), but still useful. Primarily focused on graphic designers, there was still info that I found helpful philosophically. I’m glad I read it. And it read quick.

The Creative Entrepreneur–A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real by Lisa Sonora Beam seemed to speak my language. It made a big big deal of helping artists develop a “business mentality” to help us understand why business does what it does and some of the language it uses. It was a relief to find this book. I only made it through the first couple of chapters, because shortly after getting into it it seemed to change into an art project book and an excuse for the author to show off neat art journaling ideas. Still, even though I’m not done with it, I can tell it will be invaluable for me. Highly recommended.

Creating a Successful Craft Business by Rogene A. Robbins and Robert O. Robbinsis another very very useful book. A bit older (2003), it speaks to a world of potential crafters that were part of a different economic era. So I’ve been taking everything it says with a grain of salt, as one can’t count on their examples to be relevant anymore. Call me biased, I think the economics of 2009 are much different than they used to be, and people are much different as well.

And finally, Form Your Own Limited Liability Company from Nolo helped me immeasurably in setting up my business. I simply followed their step by step plans. And hopefully, they worked. We’ll find out soon when/if I find out if my Articles of Organization are accepted by the Secretary of State of California…

Okay, this posting is a book in itself… Next time I’m gonna talk about some of the periodicals that I’ve collected that made a big difference to me.

Until then–live life with relish!

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