Handicrafts Business Idea

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Business Summary:

If you find great pleasure in making one-of-a-kind craft items that you can give to friends and relatives, you may decide that you have the potential for a great business start-up. The handcrafts business has taken off to the tune of $10 billion in annual sales. If you’d like to be part of the excitement, start with some serious research into your craft of choice. Search the Internet, the latest craft magazines, and any craft fairs that are coming to your neighborhood. Pricing handcrafts is never easy. You must consider all your expenses – supplies, travel, booth or table rental at craft fairs – and determine what constitutes a fair profit over and above your costs.

Depending upon your particular craft, you may be able to sell your items at boutiques, larger retail stores, or art and craft fairs. The important thing is to start small. For example, you might try offering your items at one or two holiday craft fairs at holiday time. These fairs are an inexpensive and easy way to break into selling to the public. Judge the responses to your items as objectively as possible. This means checking your artistic efforts against your competition, while assessing the response of customers to your display. By starting off slowly and carefully, keeping detailed records of your sales and expenses, you’ll be able to develop a pricing system that works for you. In addition, you can alter your products to conform to the desires of your customers. As you increase the number of fairs you attend, you can decide whether you want to try additional methods of marketing.

Keep a guestbook out so that customers can sign for mailings, announcements and emails concerning your future exhibits. Remember, unless you sell through the Internet or a gallery, you’ll need to develop your skills at interacting with your customers, no matter how many hours you’ve been on your feet or how hot it is in your booth.

People who are gifted with artistic talent find making and selling their crafts to an appreciative public to be a very rewarding enterprise. You have the freedom to create beautiful things at your own pace, and your potential is limited only by your imagination.

Start Up Cost: $500 – $2,000

Can Be Home Based?: Yes

Can Be Operated Part Time?: Yes

Skills Required:

You’ll need sufficient creativity and imagination to produce handmade items that customers want to buy. You’ll also need patience and perseverance, because both are necessary to grow this type of business. Customers prefer craftspeople who are personable and engaging – and it’s a given that you’ll need a certain level of business acumen, so that you can buy new materials and pay the grocery bill, too. Most important of all, you’ll need time to create, to develop new items, and to keep abreast of new trends.

How Much Can You Earn:

The handmade crafts available on the market range from, for example, small pottery pieces to elaborate gold and gemstone jewelry. Accordingly, the amount of profit one can make per year varies widely. Most craft dealers try to keep their items at a number of different price points. While it’s great to sell a $5,000 sculpture, an artisan may find that he makes most of his profits from small lawn ornaments. The important thing is to keep track of sales and expenses, so that you can calculate of your net profits at the end of the day.

Understanding Customers:

Your customers will appreciate artistic talent, but they may express the feeling that most craft items are overpriced. Again, it’s important to have a number of price points so that all of your products are not in the high end category. If you keep in touch with your customers by postcard or email, letting them know where you will be, you’ll find a certain loyal contingent watching for you at each event.

Marketing Strategy: [CDATA[

Put your best retailer personality forward at craft fairs, and talk to passersby. Hand out cards that illustrate your work and provide your contact information. Offer friends and family free items to display -- ask them to help you spread the word concerning your new business. If you can persuade a boutique or small retailer to offer a few of your items for sale, you might be surprised at the response. Check out a superb website called Etsy. It’s an outlet for handmade items only, and they’re beautifully presented. You may decide that this is a distribution channel you want to utilize. Always be vigilant concerning new opportunities to display your crafts.

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Requirements:

As with any business, you’ll need to register an Assumed Name or DBA with your County Clerk’s office. To keep your business running smoothly, you’ll need the following:

  • Computer with Quickbooks or other business bookkeeping software
  • Fax machine
  • Sufficient materials to keep your inventory well stocked
  • Uniquely designed postcards, business cards, brochures, stationery and other PR materials
  • Digital camera, to provide images of your latest work
  • Shipping supplies
  • A large vehicle for carrying inventory, tables, even a canvas booth (if not provided).
  • A credit card machine and company hook-up
  • A calculator (for use at craft fairs)

Resource Urls

  • Festival Network Online  Provides a database of 17,000-plus festivals, art fairs, and craft shows, together with many other resources
  • The Crafts Fair Online  Thousands of websites for makers of crafts, along with other useful information
  • National Craft Association  Trade organization for the craft industry. This site offers the ability to accept major credit and debit cards.

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