Tips on Teaching a Craft Class that Sells Out

Windy Chien has made an indelible mark in the craft market, primarily with her line of Fat Bottomed Girls spoons. These hand-carved, wooden beauties are created using special hand tools that Chien has mastered over the years while working in her backyard studio. In addition to selling her wares, she is a craft teacher who teaches the art of spoon carving workshops at Handcraft Studio School in Emeryville, Calif.

“I love teaching — it’s super satisfying to help people gain the skills to express their own aesthetic,” she says. “Some people have been concerned that I should keep my skills to myself so no one rips me off. Thankfully this hasn’t happened, and I feel that there is a big difference between giving people skills, and teaching your aesthetic so they can copy it.”

This niche category, has surprisingly broad appeal in the hand-crafting community. Her workshops, which are limited to ten people, often sell out. “Spoons are having a bit of a moment. They are beautiful, functional objects, and if you use a sweet one you made yourself, you’re elevating the experience,” she notes. Read rest here.

IMG_1679
photo by: Caroline Matthes

Windy Chien on Pricing and Selling Handmade Goods

Artist and maker Windy Chien has never been one to follow a typical life path. She happily admits that she’s probably had three or four lives before going out on her own to start her handmade business, where she’s best known for her eclectic, hand-carved wooden spoons.

She spent 14 years running and owning San Francisco’s oldest record shop, Aquarius Records, where she only sold music she loved — from Norwegian black metal to Brazilian Tropicalia, Ethiopian jazz to Jamaican rock steady, and noise, indie, punk, krautrock and more.

Then, she spent eight years with iTunes and Apple’s App Store, picking the best songs for iTunes’ mixtape series and the best apps to be featured on the front page of the App Store. “The thread that ties those careers together is that I was evangelizing and presenting the artists I love to the world. And that was great for my 20s and 30s, but when I hit my late 40s, it wasn’t satisfying anymore. I realized I was spending my days sitting at a desk and looking at great work roll across my computer screen,” Chien explains. “I decided it was time to nurture my own creativity. I spent so many years promoting other artists, musicians, and creatives, I like to think I’ve earned my ‘me’ time.” Read the rest here.

windy-15