Author Kari Chapin

Author Kari Chapin was the guest on this Happy Tuesday episode of Yarn Thing podcast with Marly Bird. Marly had seen her book ‘Handmade Marketplace in the bookstore and feel in love with it, wrote her herself to be on the program.

Kari Chapin told us in her background story that she lived in Denver, Marly’s neck of the woods, and remembers a bookstore she loved and being especially excited to go back and see her book in it’s shelves. Growing up, Kari actually split her time between two sets of parents, her one set who were very entrepreneurial and bohemian and the other traditional. She realizes she identifies with the one side more. She learned a few stitches of crochet in grade school to make Easter Baskets and that began her knowing that creating things by hand became her passion. She still crochets, embroidery, pottery, needle felting and of course writing.  When she fell in love with needle felting, she was inspired to write Feltlicious with Kerri Wessel, published in 2013. She has also worked with creating collages and work with her art background. She admits she wanted to be involved in the arts by way of promoting them, but not by being in the limelite. She says it was more important to her that artists be properly supported (or paid) and in promoting them.

Kari met a woman who recycled wool sweaters and create stuffed animals beginning in the late 1970’s, Crispina, author of the Sweater Chop Shop, and learned about her creatures called ragamuffins. Kari actually was asked to write an ariticle about her. Kari spent at a lot of time with the local retail store manager and at one point that person offered Kari her own job which also required that she be the buyer for the store, which Kari did, leaving her career as publicist and marketing.  Etsy became popular at about that time and she looked there for products for the store, also traveling to New York and other places to search for items at craft fairs. This was difficult work because the she and the goods producers didn’t seem to be communicating the same language, so Kari began coaching them with printed materials that educated the producers about how to sell their items by wholesale, and she began to be approached by those needing advice about how to work with other markets.

The owner of the store (who wasn’t Crispina) decided she was done with homegoods, so Kari was about to be out of a job. During the closing out of the store, she met an editor from Story Publishing and she approached with an idea. That began her writing career with ‘Handmade Marketplace‘ using those materials she’d been sending to those she’d been doing business with.

The book is divided into three sections (Getting to Know Yourself and Your Business, Spreading the Word — and Images (Marketing), Getting Down to Selling) and includes the experiences and advice from those that have forged their way, in her Creative Collective.  Not just in fiber crafts, either, which is important to remember.  Sara Delaney is her cousin and is featured in Kari’s Creative Collective. among many others of many different crafts.

Kari also hosts a podcast! AIM, which stands for Action, Inspiration and Mindset, is Kari’s way of gathering information from successful handcraft businesses for herself and sharing that with the rest of us. This is a new project, just begun in November, so it will be easy for us to catch up.

Follow Kari’s website, you’ll find her books in your local bookstores like Marly did or at your library like Tammy did.


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  1. Greg says:

    I absolutely loved this interview! Again, the behind-the-scenes industry podcast episodes are my favorites. Kari’s book is definitely going on my wishlist. It would make a good Father’s Day present, right? Y’all came so close to making it to the end of the episode without any technical issues, too! I’m also totally digging hearing Tammy on the show more often. Y’all make a great team. 🙂

  2. Renee' C. says:

    Very interesting podcast, Marly! Sounds like Kari’s business information will be so helpful for many of us starting out! At least the tech issues were at the very end and didn’t disrupt the information we received. Take care and keep goin’, girl!

  3. Wendy says:

    What a great interview. Kari is so inspiring! I would love a copy of her book. I put them all in my wishlist on Amazon 🙂

  4. Kim Wilkinson says:

    Such a neat lady and a great podcast. Thank you for your perseverance and tenacity. Love to hear your voice on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

  5. Suzanne says:

    I really enjoyed this podcast and though I listened to it live, I’m going to give a second listen because there was so much meaty conversation in it. Kari has a lot of insight into the ideas of small business but more than that, she helped me give some thought to the difference between crafting for fun versus crafting as a business. This podcast and her book would be valuable to anyone who is looking to discern his or her calling in the creative world.

  6. Amy says:

    Really interesting podcast. So sorry you had technical issues, but I’m glad it gives me a chance to win a copy of Kari’s book. Since there was no special word or phrase this week for entering the contest, I’m making up my own. It’s “soul sucking job.” I knew when I heard Kari mention that as a reason for starting a craft business that I had to get her book. Guess why!

  7. Vicki Lynch says:

    I loved this interview. I sent a link to a friend who’s looking at starting a hand made business. This book is just what she needs. I loved hearing the back story of Kari. On a side note, The Tattered Cover is an awesome bookstore! I’ve had the good fortune to visit the downtown Denver location on three occasions, even if it did mean a major detour on the trip-totally worth it!

  8. kathy says:

    Great interview, Marly, with Kari Chapin. The technical difficulties at the end did not interfere with the substantive quality of the show!

  9. Carol says:

    Thank you for a great podcast, Marly and Kari. The book that Kari was talking about sounds really great. I would love to get a copy and maybe be inspired to grow in that direction. Too bad that you lost connection with Kari at the end of the podcast. But still a great podcast!

  10. Yvonne says:

    Marly and Kari, thanks for a very informative podcast. I am a budding designer and tech editor and have been trying to take in as much information as I can. Having Kari’s background and experience come together in a book is fabulous. I thank her for sharing with us. Marly, I am fairly new to your podcasts, and I am hooked. A future podcast request — would you consider having a tech editor come on your show to talk about how they got into tech editing? I have heard many designers on the show talk about their tech editors and how they work with them. I think it would be great to hear a tech editor’s perspective in the design process. Thank you!

    GamerBabeKnitter on Ravelry

  11. Lorraine S. says:

    Another great podcast! I love learning about the various aspects of turning your hobby into a business. It was very informative and encouraging. I would love to get the Handmade Marketplace book. It sounds like it is full of many helpful tips. Thank you for always starting my day with a smile.

Marly Bird

The One and Only, Marly

Marly is a knitwear and crochet designer (and yarn addict) that is here to help you learn how to knit and crochet in a way that's fun and approachable.

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