I've known Fiona Pullen for a while now, firstly on social media and checking into her Sewing Directory website. Then I won a competition at Sewing Directory. I met Fiona in person at the first Fat Quarterly retreat and then we met in person again as she has family in my area. Now Fiona lives in Devon and she has written the book that she was born to write, Craft a Creative Business.
Fiona is a dynamic hardworking woman with incredible business skills and a love of crafting, especially sewing. She can problem solve all day long and is funny and positive even during hard times. If I want anyone to tell me about business, I want it to be her! Fiona writes with a friendly, clear voice. She covers a wide range of issues and topics relevant to a creative business (and many other small businesses) with no flannel, making complex subjects simple and easy to understand and absorb. You can work your way through from beginning to end or, more likely, dip into the chapters that you either need to work on for your business or are naturally drawn to. It's an interactive read; Fiona suggests at the beginning that you start the book with a notebook at your side and complete the activities as you go (these are the ring bound notebook boxes on the page). At the end of the book you will then have a notebook full of good ideas and plans for your enterprise.
This book is a joy to read and that in itself is an achievement in a book about business. It is well laid out, with each chapter having a different background colour and information is presented in a mix of styles so you eye and brain is kept stimulated. Its a neat size 6 ¾" x 8 ¼" too, easy to carry round and read on the go.
The coverage is vast, from tweaking your merchandise photographs to insurance, to google analytics.
Its no surprise to me that the chapters that are particularly helpful are those on legal matters and the online themes of Social media and Online Market place; Fiona trained as a lawyer. Legalities are not the most interesting to think about but they do have to be understood and mastering an online presence is an essential part of any business today. Much of the success of Fiona's own business, Sewing Directory, has come from her knowledge of law and her social media skills. Her etiquette guides to Twitter, Facebook and her Do's and Don'ts of Social Media are must read sections if you are new to any aspect of social media.
I am self employed small business woman in my non sewing life- that sounds so fancy but really it means I run music classes for babies and toddlers as part of a supportive and friendly franchise. Like many small businesses, I chose it because I love teaching (I used to be a primary teacher) and I wanted a job to fit round my daughter who was just starting school at the time. Much of the online sections could be applied to this business, a non craft endeavour, and I worked my way throughout the section on Search Engine Optimisation (I think this could be Fi's specialist subject if she ever decides to go on Mastermind!). The way Fiona explained it was easy to understand and my meta
tags descriptions, which were a bit vague and wishy washy, are now focused, up to date and ready for google searches.
Well done Fiona, I await your next book- there is so obviously going to be another!