AAS Launches New CraftToolkit to Support Makers

A new free online CraftToolkit developed by Applied Arts Scotland as part of the British Council Crafting Futures programme has been launched to support makers to identify, understand and advance the creative and professional development of their craft businesses.

Carol Sinclair, AAS chair, said “We are very excited to launch this new resource for makers which can support them to rethink their rhythms and review and develop how they sell their work and sustain their businesses during these challenging times.”

The toolkit was created while working with Thai makers on behalf of British Council Thailand and it includes a series of short films featuring makers from Scotland and Thailand to inspire makers by what others are doing and is available in Thai and English.

It can be used to simply explore one business issue, such as cashflow or identifying new routes to markets, or to examine multiple issues.  It is suitable for individuals and businesses at any stage in their development or by groups.

The content covers goal setting, product and service development, creative inspiration, creating customers, telling a story, ways of selling, costing and pricing and cashflow.

There are exercises interconnected between modules so it can ultimately evolve into a simple business plan supported by a to-do list. At the end of each module, there are prompts with further questions about how to address development within their business. Further resources are provided for each sections, enabling makers to access further support to address their business issues and develop an action plan.

It has been developed in four sections; the first involves setting goals so makers can sit back and think about what they want to do before getting caught up with all sorts of practicalities. If a maker knows what they want to do, and is very clear about the goal, then it is much easier to get there.

The second section deals with developing products.  There is a fun tool called a product randomiser which will throw out conditions randomly like place, colour, or occasion to loosen up ways of thinking. It introduces a game style to invigorate thinking, instead of dry business subjects.

The third section is about makers telling a story, understanding who their customers are. There is an exercise on attracting customers to help makers identify customers, not just existing ones but to go out there and find new customers and connect with people who really understand their passion.

The final section is about money and making a profit.

The CraftToolkit can be accessed free of charge on a smartphone, tablet or laptop desktop computer and is licensed under Creative Commons.

The flexibility and easy accessibility of the toolkit makes it ideal for supporting a range of creative and professional development, and we are currently speaking to a range of partners about using it to support both in person and online workshop activity. Please get in touch if you would like to find out more about working with us to use the toolkit.

The CraftToolkit was developed by Applied Arts Scotland for the British Council Thailand as part of the wider Crafting Futures Programme 2018/2019. The Crafting Futures programme supports the future of craft around the globe.

Fundamental to AAS’s creation of the toolkit was the cross-cultural exchange of expertise, experience, knowledge and skills between makers living and working in the UK and Thailand; a collaborative approach AAS adopts and continues to develop in our role to provide support ‘by makers, for makers’.

It also aligns with our Making Sustainable Livelihoods strategy, specifically: sustainable practice, capacity building, training and education, digital delivery and building community.

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