How to NOT Start a Small Handmade Business. / by Lauren DeMarco

Dear Maker,

You don’t have to start a business.

You can just make things because you are interested in making them and then enjoy the things you make.

You can enjoy them in your home or wear them on your body or do whatever you need to do to help them serve you and your happiness.

If some of them don’t make you feel good, you can get rid of them. Do not keep them in a box, out of sight, unless you are convinced that the next time you open that box you will magically like them.

You can make more.

You can replace some old ones with some new ones, because the new ones are likely better; you have been practicing.

If you want to, you can give some away as gifts.

And then you can try to make something else.

Or you can keep going with your first thing, whatever makes you feel good.


Oh, and if you want to, you can take pictures of what you are making and show them to strangers on the internet; a few strangers might be pleased to see what you have made.

You do not have to care if any strangers on the internet are pleased. Cool, if they are.

You do not have to make more things exactly like the ones you’ve shared, unless a stranger asks you to, and you feel like saying “Yes!”


You do not have to create an online shop or choose 5 brand colors.

You do not have to create a website, a bold logo, or labels for “what” you are.

You can if you want to, and if you want to, that’s amazing. But you don’t have to.

You can just keep making things.


You do not have to get a tax I.D. number or create line sheets or stay up until midnight with a hot laptop on your thighs pinning pictures of the hors d'oeuvres you will serve on the day you open your flagship store.

You can if you want to, but only if you really want to. Think about it first. Think about what you want, not what other people are doing. Think about it a lot. You can write it down too.


Because you can just make things. Whenever you want.

You are an artist if you make art. You do not need a business card.

If a business is your dream, work like hell and be nice to all the people. You will have to make sacrifices, but you will get there.

But if a business is not your dream, you can make things because it makes you feel proud or productive.

You can make things because the process is your therapy.

You can make things because you feel like you are the only one who can bring these things into the world.

You can make them before you get dressed for your day job or after you put your kids to bed. You can make things on the weekends or with your kids.

You are legit.

You can make things because you have something to say and this art is your language

You can look around and see other makers selling their art and say, in the words of Amy Poehler, “good for you, not for me”.

It’s okay. The pressure if off. If you are waiting for someone to give you permission to NOT start a small handmade business, here is your permission.

You are welcome.


Happy making.

Love, Lauren DeMarco

PS. If tomorrow you change your mind, that's okay too. Do what makes you feel good.