Starting a craft business can be an amazing thing, but daunting if you let it! There’s so much to think about from product development, registering as a business, to social media and eventually selling your products!
Starting a craft business – what you need to do first
If you’re wondering how to start a craft business venture then my advice to you is to first think about the following:
- what craft are you good at and enjoy
- is there a market for what you want to sell
- is there a profit to be made after material costs and time
- where will you sell your items
- are they seasonal
- are there any regulations you’ll need to adhere to
What craft are you good at and enjoy?
First of all you want to think about the craft that you have in mind to sell. Normally when you are in the research stages of setting up a craft business you’ll have something in mind, perhaps you have always loved knitting or maybe you love creating with wood.
Think about whether you would like to do more than just hobby making of these items. Would you like to spend hours each day making?
If the answer is yes and you’re still enthusiastic then you can move on to the next step.
Is there a market for what you want to sell?
There’s no point moving along further in your home craft business idea if what you want to make won’t sell. Before you go buying materials and spending a huge amount of time getting your products ready I really would encourage you to do some research in to the market.
Just type what you are planning to make in to google and see what comes up. Are there stores selling something that you are planning? What about on Etsy? Are there many people selling similar items? Check to see their sold items too – do people buy them? What are their prices like? You’ll need that info for the next stage.
Now don’t be disheartened if there are people on the internet already way ahead of you and selling what you have planned – this is actually good as it means there’s probably a demand for this kind of product.
Research at this stage is so valuable – don’t skip it!
Is there a profit to be made after material costs and time?
Once you know that there is a market for your items, it’s time to think about the potential profit that can be made. After all, there’s no point slaving away for 4 hours on an item that will make you £1 profit.
Price up the materials that you’ll need for one item and then consider the time that you’ll take to make one item as well.
You’ll need to decide a price that you’ll be happy to sell at. Too cheap and people might think it’s not made well and might pass on by, too expensive and you’ll put people off. Pricing is quite difficult, but I always say that it’s not set in stone, you can change as your business develops.
So is it worth it? Can you charge enough to make your effort worthwhile?
Keep in mind that buying materials in bulk or making more than one item at a time can cut your time and costs down.
Where will you sell your items?
Once you know what you’re selling and have an idea that is potentially profitable, then you’ll need to decide where to start selling them.
Will you want to sell them online? Perhaps on Etsy, Folksy or maybe just a Facebook page?
Will you want to sell them at craft fairs or markets?
Will you want to have your own shop or sell in a local shop?
All of these are valid ways to sell and perhaps you’ll even try all of them over the course of your business. Each one has it’s merits – now is a good time to check out the pros and cons of them all including potential costs as of course this will eat in to your profits that you calculated in the last stage.
Are they seasonal?
This one is something to bear in mind if you’re thinking about giving up a regular job to work for yourself and have grand ideas about what income you can expect. All crafts have busy periods – Christmas is notoriously a busy time so that will mean that there might be times when your crafts aren’t in demand. If you sell wedding accessories then leading up to summer might be a busy time and the rest of the year very quiet. will you be able to cope with a downturn in demand? Just something to think about.
Are there any regulations you’ll need to adhere to?
If you plan to make anything food related or anything that is considered a toy then you’ll need to investigate and learn about CE testing (for toys) and food hygiene certificates. They aren’t insurmountable problems, so don’t let the initial investment of time and money put you off, but they are important to have looked into and be aware of.
If you want to learn more, you’ll also find a wealth of information on this site about many helpful craft business topics – here’s a quick list of posts you might like to check out:
Help for How to Start a Craft business
Social Media for your craft business
More advanced Craft business help