Here is Patti Smith (in her memoir, Just Kids), explaining how her first record got produced:

“[Fellow band member] Lenny [Kaye] and I designed the record.  We called our label Mer.  We pressed 1,500 copies at a small plant on Ridge Avenue in Philadelphia and distributed them to book and record stores, where they sold for two dollars apiece.  [Our manager] Jane Friedman could be found at the entrance to our shows, selling them from a shopping bag.”