Do you have a craft hobby that you want to turn in to a business? Making money out of a past time you love is the ideal way of earning a living if you can make it work. Read on to learn the four things you need to know before setting up a craft business.
Is there a Market?
There has been a real explosion in the numbers of crafters selling their wares online, at craft fairs and shows. A groundswell of support for artisan makers and those who create items with their own hands, has led to real growth in interest in the area of craft. The Crafts Council states that there are over eleven thousand craft businesses in the United Kingdom, many of whom make good returns selling their wares on craft websites such as Etsy and Folksy.
Market research is your friend in the early stages of your business plan. Visit as many craft shows as possible to check out the competition and see where your products fit in to the market place. Niche products thrive in smaller marketplaces such as the craft arena, so if you can develop a product with niche appeal, you could be onto a good thing. Observe the items that sell well at craft fairs as well as those that hang around unloved and ignored. The more craft events you attend, the greater your understanding will become of what will and won’t fly in terms of a product.
Research online to see what is available. Compare prices, materials and styles and see what your closest competition is doing. Being well informed of the marketplace allows you to decide how you position yourself within it to your best advantage.
Building a Head Office
Setting up a business from home, whether it’s working from the kitchen table or the garage, you need to make sure you have enough room. You need somewhere to store all your art and craft supplies , but you also need adequate space in which to work. Before setting up a home based business, be realistic about the available space you have to work in, and if it is insufficient, consider changes or alternatives.
Many home based businesses require relevant permissions in order to comply with EU regulations – it depends on your product. If you are creating cosmetics or food, certain stricter regulations apply and you need to be fully aware of these, so do the relevant research beforehand. New EU VAT rules introduced recently have impacted on some craft businesses, and if you really don’t know where to start, the best place to approach is the Citizens Advice Bureau. The CAB can point you in the direction of the right agencies, depending on your chosen business and product.
Time is Money
Turning a relaxing and well loved hobby into a money making business may come as a bit of a shock at first. You will be investing money in art and craft supplies and paying out on other things such as marketing, websites, pitch rentals at shows etc. – so you need to make certain that you maximise your productivity in order to meet these expenses. You no longer have the luxury of spending endless, un-metered hours on crafts – you need to measure time and charge accordingly. Working out how much to cost products is quite a complicated process and may take a while to define accurately. After a while, once you have a method and a regular and consistent supplier of art and craft supplies, the answer will become clear.
Spread the Word
Small businesses rarely have extra cash left over for marketing, but by using social media and the internet, you can target a massive audience with little or no financial outlay. Setting up Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ accounts promoting your craft business will create a buzz around your products that you can build upon. Direct engagement with your target market is possible through social media and there are many dedicated forums, communities and sites out there celebrating all things crafty. Take a look at how other craft businesses create interest in their products either through give-aways, money off codes, instructional videos or regular blog content. Spending time on your online presence helps you to grow brand awareness and results in greater visibility and ultimately, higher sales.
If you have a burning desire to hit the craft scene with your bespoke creations, don’t let anyone stop you. With energy, application, luck and a great product, the chances of success have never been better!