Guest Blog Post- Maria Peagler of SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com

Maria Peagler SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com

Thank you Vanessa for hosting me on your awesome CraftyGemini blog! Vanessa’s readers: allow me to introduce myself. I’m Maria Peagler, author of Color Mastery: 10 Principles for Creating Stunning Quilts, and the founder of SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com, where Vanessa teaches the YouTube 101 course (she’s an incredible teacher!). Today I’m offering advice to those would-be craft designers out there who would love to start their own craft business but don’t know where to start.

Color Mastery by Maria Peagler

I’ve been a quilter for 20 years and never had any ambitions to write a book about it. I was a seven-time published author already, was staying home to raise my children after a high-flying career, and relishing every minute of it. I started teaching color classes at my local quilt shop, and saw an enormous need for a book that really taught quilters how to see color and use it effectively in their quilts. That’s how Color Mastery was born.

Except no one wanted to publish it. I was an unknown in the quilting community, and publishers didn’t care if I was already a successfully published author. It was too much of a risk for them. So, I self-published, and the first printing of several thousand books arrived in September 2008, when the American economy tanked. Oh, did I mention my husband is a residential homebuilder? Ouch.

I was in trouble. I had a significant investment in those books, and I had to sell them. But I had no budget for marketing or promotion, as those funds went to keep my husband’s business afloat. That’s when I got creative with social media.

The results? Color Mastery went on to Amazon’s top ten list for two years in the Quilting category, won a Benjamin Franklin award for Best Craft Book of 2010, and is on its way to a third printing.

How can you start a successful crafting business, even in a challenging economy, and earn an income? Here are my recommendations:

  1. Start with quality. The best marketing and promotion aren’t going to sell a dud of a product. Every decision about the production and content of Color Mastery was about quality and longevity: what would make this the best book on color for quilters, and how could I do that cost-effectively?
  2. Learn how to take excellent photographs. Crafting is big business, your product won’t sell unless you have an outstanding cover photo. I studied photographs on Etsy and shot dozens of my quilts and table runners until I was satisfied with my photography. Style your photos, indoors or out, and put your product in the place of most potential. Make your photos so beautiful people can’t take their eyes off of them.
  3. Get online. Start with a small website or Facebook page. People want to get to know the person behind the business. Make it easy for them to find you online. Start with a WordPress website or a Facebook page, learn how to use them, and use them to promote your products and ask your clients for feedback on new items.
  4. Find a network. As a newbie quilt designer, I turned to the Yahoo Quilt Designers’ Group when I had questions. The ladies in this group were terrific and very helpful as I prepared to go to International Quilt Market, had questions about pattern testers, and pricing.
  5. Learn everything you can about marketing your product. I taught a Quilt Marketing Boot Camp webinar earlier this year, and it answers every single question I had when I started out in this business. No matter what kind of a crafting business you want to start, you’ll learn something here. The webinar is one hour long, and has a side-by-side presentation of my slideshow and me teaching and answering questions.
  6. Use video. The power of a video to demonstrate your expertise and your product is huge. Before crafters will buy from you, they need to trust you, and video offers an excellent opportunity to reach out and connect. Vanessa’s CraftyGemini YouTube channel is the absolute best at this. Look at what she’s done and learn.


Here’s your opportunity to learn from the best: I’m giving away one YouTube 101 course to one of Vanessa’s readers. Here’s all you need to do: SHARE with your friends and colleagues about Vanessa’s new YouTube course at SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com and tell me you did it. I’ll select a winner from the comments, and you’ll all be entered to win the grand prize: the Unlimited Class Pass, one year of classes from SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com. By this time next year, YOU could have a thriving craft business!

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10 Responses to Guest Blog Post- Maria Peagler of SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com

  1. Diane September 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    Hi Maria! Congratulations on your thriving craft business. I just shared Vanessa’s link on my facebook page. I have just started my own craft business. I have 3 things for sale on Etsy and I started a blog about a month ago. I could learn a great deal from you. I would be very interested in winning You Tube 101.

  2. Amy September 20, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    Hello! 🙂 I just shared the blog with my friends on my business facebook page. (www.facebook.com/amtreaz) Thank you for the opportunity to win a class. I have been working on my business for 2 years now. It has been a slow process. I don’t have any money to put into advertising. I sell locally at the farmers market. Other than that, I usually don’t sell anything the rest of the year. I am a stay at home mom who would love to be able to bring in more money.

  3. Susan September 20, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    Hello Maria! I just shared the link on my facebook page. I have been surfing the web for different ways to get my name out there to sell my crafts. Any help I can get would be great. I am also a stay at home mom who would love to make some money and still be able to stay home. Sorry I deleted my other comment on accident!

  4. Elisa September 20, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

    Hello Maria! I´m just starting at crafts and would love to make some money with it. Its a dream com true to do what you love and even get money doing it! Anyway, I hope to win You Tube 101!

  5. Jessie September 20, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

    Congratulations on your success! Your story inspires me to keep on going. I paint furniture and have been selling it for years. Just recently I had to quit work and stay at home due to a back surgery, now I have the time to focus more attention on my craft. It would be a blessing to be able to reach my earning potential from a craft that I love. Thank you for the opportunity! I’ve shared on Facebook as well. :0)

  6. Elizabeth September 20, 2011 at 11:37 pm #

    Hi!! I just posted on my facebook page about Vanessa’s YouTube course! I am new at sewing but have such a passion for it and watch some of my friends with their little craft businesses. I am so inspired watching her and learning from her. Thank you for your guest blog!!

  7. Everyday Housewife September 21, 2011 at 12:14 am #

    I so need this. I need the basics (like how to start) a blog, Facebook etc. And everything else in between. I find myself with the ideas and designs that I think would sell, but have no idea on how to take the idea forward….maybe it is a left-right brain thing??? Computers make me feel stupid and I really don’t know why?!?!?!? I need this:)

  8. bluewrenn September 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    I shared the link to Vanessa’s class on my FB page and enjoyed Maria’s guest blog. Thanks!

  9. Susan September 21, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    This would be so helpful. I don’t have a Facebook account to share on yet so I clearly need your guidance! But I did tell my son about your classes and he says I’m not very connected at all…yet. Thanks!

  10. Crafty Gemini September 26, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    CONGRATULATIONS to AMY! You have been randomly selected as the winner for Maria’s guest post giveaway. We will be contacting you privately with information on your free course!

    Amy said…

    Hello! 🙂 I just shared the blog with my friends on my business facebook page. (www.facebook.com/amtreaz) Thank you for the opportunity to win a class. I have been working on my business for 2 years now. It has been a slow process. I don’t have any money to put into advertising. I sell locally at the farmers market. Other than that, I usually don’t sell anything the rest of the year. I am a stay at home mom who would love to be able to bring in more money.
    September 20, 2011 12:54 PM

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