Build Your Brand: Q&A with Margot Potter and Book Giveaway

If you’ve ever wanted to write a craft book, get your handmade work published in magazines, and make money doing what you love, read on!

Margot Potter

I’m excited to share this interview with Margot Potter, a jewelry designer and mixed-media artist who just released her seventh book, New Dimensions in Bead and Wire Jewelry: Unexpected Combinations, Unique Designs (North Light Books).

Also known as The Impatient Crafter™, Margot’s varied experiences in the craft industry as a designer, consultant, teacher, and TV personality make her the perfect person to talk about building a brand for yourself in the crafting industry.

New Dimensions in Bead and Wire Jewelry

Welcome, Margot, and congrats on your newest book. I also see that you’ve contributed to many, many jewelry books. How do you manage to come up with so many new ideas while working with the same medium?

Well to start, I don’t really work in the same medium, I’m what you might call a highly restless creative person. Jewelry making is what I call my ‘gateway craft.’ It’s how I first started as a designer in this industry, but I’ve been creating things long, long before I started making jewelry and continue to do so.

My studio is filled with inks, paints, papers, ephemera and oddities, beads, wires, die cutting machines, clays, tools from every aisle of the craft store and many culled from hardware stores and flea markets, old game pieces and playing cards, rubber stamps, fibers, you name it, I’ve got it! I will make jewelry from almost anything, but it’s not the only trick in my bag. My second and third book included a variety of non-jewelry projects, I’ve contributed to non-jewelry books and I have created non-jewelry focused projects for a wide variety of craft companies including a weekly Teen Craft column for ILovetoCreate last year before taking the full time job at Jewelry Television as their Creative and Education Coordinator.

If you poke around my blog archives, you’ll see lots and lots of non-jewelry projects. All of that being said, I never, ever run out of ideas. I’m endlessly inspired by the world around me and there is a queue of designs in my brain waiting patiently to be explored every moment!

Controlled Chaos Copyright 2011 Margot Potter for Jewel School

Controlled Chaos Copyright 2011 Margot Potter for Jewel School

What jewelry trends or techniques are you loving right now?

I love that there is a real embracing of the idea of mixed media in the mainstream craft world. I’m also loving the potential for that to blur some of the lines between art and craft. It’s really exciting stuff. Personally, I am so busy making content for my new job; there isn’t a lot of time to explore things outside of that. I am itching to study metal smithing and casting, I’d like to have more skills in my bag of tricks. Also hat making, sewing and shoe making. As for trends, I think we’re kind of stuck a little right now, though I am mad for the big black goth pieces Proenza Schouler showed on the runways this Fall and I love the bold metal jewelry trend.

Margot Potter ad As a “professional crafter/artist,” how do you maintain work/life balance?

I have a full time creative job working for someone else now, so I try to leave work at work (though it’s tough since a lot of my work takes place in my home studio). It is not always easy when there are lots of deadlines looming and my daughter really needs my attention. She trumps everything though. Family comes first. Making stuff is what I do, it isn’t all of who I am. I will never stop loving the wonder of exploring creativity. It is powerful stuff indeed.

How do you use social media or personal networking to help promote your books and blogs?

I built my entire brand on the internet. It’s free, it’s easy and it’s powerful. At the moment, I am finding Facebook to be king in terms of reaching the most people in the shortest amount of time and most effectively. It seems as if there are so many blogs with so much content, it’s becoming a lot of white noise. Twitter is so linear, and I feel like most folks that use it treat it like a monologue. I have four Facebook pages, which is at times overwhelming, but it helps to niche things. I think Google+ is on to something.

I don’t have as much time to devote to social networking now that I’m working full time for someone else, so I have to carve out time in the spaces in between. For folks who are building a brand, it is without doubt the best way to do it. The key is to know your audience and to interact with them. It’s all about dialogue on the internet, even though that presents challenges. Transparency is key.

Delicious Denim Necklace Copyright Margot Potter for Jo-Ann Fabrics

Delicious Denim Necklace Copyright Margot Potter for Jo-Ann Fabrics

Online Quilting Class

Do you have any tips for an aspiring professional crafter or craft book author?

Yes, they’re all on my blog. I have written endless posts about how to write and publish a craft book, how to get your work into magazines, how to negotiate contracts, how to do what you love and make money . . . you name it. I have freely shared it in painstaking detail! I figure if people really want to know, they’ll take the time to dig around in my archives and find the information. I get so many emails on a regular basis from folks asking for advice, it was easier to just write it all out and post it.

The biggest thing I want people to know is my three pronged approach to success: Do what you love, do something for which you have a true proclivity and be willing to do the hard work to make it real.


New Dimensions in Bead and Wire Jewelry

We’re giving away a copy of Margot’s newest book, New Dimensions in Bead and Wire Jewelry: Unexpected Combinations, Unique Designs.

Leave a comment on this post telling me something you learned from this interview. One entry per person. Giveaway open worldwide. We’ll pick one winner via on Friday, August 5th (11:59pm, EST).

Thank you Margot!

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  21 comments for “Build Your Brand: Q&A with Margot Potter and Book Giveaway

  1. July 30, 2011 at 8:32 am

    great post. learned that it is ok to be a restless crafter! But I need to find one thing to be my public focus, sigh

  2. July 30, 2011 at 8:57 am

    what an inspiring interview…it’s interesting to read & read about the real life daily work routine of an artist.

  3. Michelle S
    July 30, 2011 at 10:41 am

    I learned that Margot creates her jewelry from a wide range of supplies including old game pieces and items from a hardware store!

  4. July 30, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I have been a fan of Margot’s for quite awhile but I have to admit I am glad to have permission to have lots of interests. I have fused glass as my entrance media but I do everything. Thanks Margot

  5. Jovanna C.
    July 30, 2011 at 11:32 am

    I laughed that she was talking about her “gateway” craft. I am sort of like that. I like to dabble in different mediums, I enjoy them, but not all the time. I am glad I learned a new term, maybe I am addict. :)

  6. July 30, 2011 at 11:42 am

    I learned that Margot is into using a wide range of materials, much as I am! Love her blog!

  7. Laura
    July 30, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I learned about MARGOT’S BLOG!
    Fun spot!!
    Thanks for the chance to win this new book!!

  8. July 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    In this interview I discovered I am not the only one who thinks they have to learn it all and do it all!!! I love to dabble in EVERYTHING including decorating and refinishing furniture, sewing, painting,papercrafts of all kinds,crochet,embroidery, teaching myself to knit,gardening, landscaping, making flowers, jewelry making, etc, etc. My poor work room is overflowing into every other room in the house I love her way of thinking! Would love to win the book. Thanks for the opportunity!

  9. July 30, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I’ve learned that it is just fine to move from one creative project to another as inspiration strikes.

  10. Karyn Ashley-Smith
    July 30, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    I learned it’s OK to have more than one creative outlet (so tired of hearing “focus!”)
    Thank you. Heading to Margot’s Blog now

  11. July 31, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Very interesting interview! I learned that FB is more important than I thought to branding. Thanks for the giveaway, off to check out Margot’s blog.

  12. Beth T.
    July 31, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I learned that Margot addresses the things discussed in this article on her blog–which is a fantastic place. Thanks for the introduction to this craft artist! I know my niece Jessica would love this book.

  13. Renee G
    July 31, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    I learned that her second and third book included non-jewelry projects.

  14. July 31, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Well I learned that internet is the best way to promote stuff.

  15. Lynda Taylor
    August 1, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Thanks Margot for such a good resource in your blog. That will really help so many.

    I learned that Margot also likes to learn new things too, such as hat making.

  16. Carla G
    August 2, 2011 at 12:47 am

    I learned that Margot makes her jewelry from almost anything & she even gets supplies at the hardware store & flea markets. Thanks for an interesting interview! :)

  17. August 2, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    I really love the tips about building a brand on FB. I have been attempting slowly thru my blog but I have to admit that I have never though of FB even though I am on there daily

  18. Judy R.
    August 4, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I found it very interesting and good news when Margot said,”I built my entire brand on the internet. It’s free, it’s easy and it’s powerful.” Especially the part about FB.

  19. August 5, 2011 at 12:38 am

    I found her very last comment “three pronged approach to success: Do what you love, do something for which you have a true proclivity and be willing to do the hard work to make it real.” That is very profound and are excellent words to take and use in your life.

  20. Lee
    August 5, 2011 at 7:44 am

    I learned she built her own brand totally on the internet – I agree with her – free and easy! thanks for the interview and giveaway.

  21. Teresa Brokering
    August 7, 2011 at 4:07 am

    I like the rest finally understand it is ok to have veried intrest . Thank you for doing the interview. it was great reading! it inspired me to loosen up on
    and just be creative . Thank you Again

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