And what is one anyway? Have you heard of people talking about how important a niche is and you’re wondering if this can effect your chances of being a successful craft business? If so, then my overwhelmingly strong response to you is this:
Oh my goodness – YES!
Having a niche is incredibly important to anyone regardless of where their business lies. Let’s take a look at niches in more detail:
What is a niche?
Quite simply a niche is the area that you’ll be carving out for yourself and your business. When someone asks about your business this is where you plant your flag and stake a claim in the world. Perhaps this will be better explained in an example.
When asked what your business is you wouldn’t say ‘I make and sell things’. That is way too broad! How will anyone know if your business is for them or not? No, you’d say: ‘I create handmade, knitted bags where each and everyone is unique. I design funky and cool items that are loved by trendy teenagers’
Can you see that in the example I clarified exactly what was sold and who to? That’s important. You need to know who your items are for and who the customers are that are in your niche.
How do I know what my niche is?
Well, first lets start with really defining what you do, what you create and what you’re selling. With the above example this was hand knitted bags. We could go even more niche by saying that the bags are made with vegan approved yarn or maybe handspun yarn. By thinking about these details you’re also narrowing down who your ideal customer is. If you are always going to use vegan yarns then your ideal customer is likely to be vegan!
Naming your ideal customer
Once you start narrowing down your niche and thinking about the area of the market you want to absolutely own and be yours, you can start to think about the person who is your absolute ideal customer. Now this person is likely to be made up, don’t worry about that, but you can give this person so many qualities and characteristics that they will begin to feel very real. So when you imagine who will buy from you think about – how old they are, (how old exactly, not a range!), gender, career, kids, living at home or with a partner. Those kinds of things.
Now when you create your items for your business you should ALWAYS be creating for this one ideal customer. You will know this one person so well that your designs and creations will scream ‘buy me’ to your ideal customer when she/he comes along.
But won’t I be restricting my sales? I need as many people to buy as I can.
This is a common worry. By deciding on who you want to buy and only producing for that one kind of person will you be restricting who buys from you? I say no. And here’s my reasons why:
If you try to appeal to everyone you just don’t stand out. You blend in with the crowd and you’re ‘just another craft business’. You’ll struggle to get people to remember and pass on your details as you’re just too similar to everyone else. There is no reason to pass on your info.
If you decide to target the vegan who loves handmade bags, then when someone comes across the shop who fits your ideal customer scenario they will absolutely LOVE you! They will know that what you sell aligns so well with them that they will be clambering for your creations. Better still, they’ll share this wonderful find of theirs with their friends. Your shop will have an identity and you’ll start to gather raving fans. You’ll begin to own your space and when people think about vegan bags, you’ll be first in their minds! By owning the niche you’ll then stop having to win customers with price and you’ll win them with your fantastic offerings instead.
But what about if someone comes along who isn’t a vegan – will they not buy? Who knows! You’re not actively saying people aren’t welcome by targeting certain people, you’re just focusing. You’ll likely get people who aren’t completely your target coming along and buying as well so don’t worry about that.
And after all, would you rather attract 100% of a small section of people easily or maybe only 5% of a bigger proportion but with a huge struggle?
Niches are the way to go to get a successful craft business. Be sure to keep narrowing down, thinking about that ideal customer and make a name for yourself!