Starting a craft business can be hugely fun and a great way to give your creative muscles a flex. However, craft business aren’t always the most successful of businesses and these are the main reasons why. Are you guilty of these?
Trying to please everyone and make everything
When deciding what to make many craft businesses go far too wide. They make everything and anything and they cater for kids, to adults of all ages, to dogs and cats! By trying to please everyone with all of their wide range of products, they actually don’t attract enough of the right customers – you know, the ones that will come back for more and more because you just ‘get’ them.
Not investing your capital wisely
I see this one time and time again. One of the best things about having a craft business? An excuse to buy pretty items and that wonderful fabric you had your eye on in that shop that one time. It’s for the business remember? So it’s OK! Well, only if it will be invested as a product that will pay for itself! Of course you need some good quality materials for your business, but do make sure you are buying it for the right reason and not letting your heart rule your head! Buy that pretty item with your profits instead and then you get to keep it all to your self.
Regardless of whether your business is run full time or when your kids just take a nap, you should set yourself real standards of how you expect to behave. Answering emails promptly, not taking on too many bespoke items and delivering promptly and efficiently all seem like common sense principles don’t they? You’d be surprised how many people don’t!
Not rating quality high enough
There is so much competition nowadays in the craft sector, regardless of your specific niche, that if your work isn’t up to scratch it will quickly be passed over for the person with neater stitches that looks like it will last much better. Unfortunately it’s a fact of life and business. If you’re not working to the best of your abilities, take a good analytical look at your products and see where you can improve. Always strive to be the best you can be as if something lacks the quality someone has paid for, then you can be sure the whole world will know about it soon! Of course, the opposite is also true and so this is what you should be aiming for!
Setting up shop solely on social media
Facebook is great way to try out a business. Set up a page, for free. Post all your lovely pics, for free. And hopefully gain lots of excited customers, for free. This does happen and I do see lots and lots of success on Facebook, so please don’t think I don’t recommend it. What I don’t recommend is to only be there. You should at least have your own web page, that you own, so that if the unthinkable happens, and Facebook is down then your potential customers can still get in contact. You will never own your Facebook page and the rules may well change in the future, as they have in the past. 10,000 likes on your page really mean nothing if they decide to never show your fans any of your posts unless you pay for it.
Expecting customers to find them
As stated before, there is such a huge network of crafters selling their wares that competition is fierce. You can’t just build your shop, put photos of your lovely items you’ve expertly made and sit back and wait for the money to come in. It doesn’t work like that! You need to be out there, courting your potential buyers, and getting your name known. Now this can be by commenting on blogs of people who are your ideal customer (now can you see why you shouldn’t aim to have ‘everyone’ as your ideal customer!), posting on social media that they hang out on and making your website attractive to that big search engine monster – Google!
Making a rubbish rate per hour
This is the biggie. The real reason why many craft businesses don’t become as successful as they could be. If an item takes you hours to make and you only make a profit of a couple of pounds then you’re never going to get yourself earning more than minimum wage. If your core product range are items that fit into this category then you need to rethink, and quickly! This doesn’t necessarily mean that you give up the product altogether – maybe cheaper materials will make a difference. Perhaps changing the way you work and setting up a production line to make more than one at a time is the way to go? Maybe increasing your prices is the way to go? Cheaper isn’t always better.
Always take into account postage costs, online transaction fees (such as Etsy or Paypal) when calculating what each item costs too.
So now that you know the biggest mistakes that are made when starting a craft business you’ll be well placed to make sure YOU don’t fall into the same traps.
If you’re wondering how to start a craft business and have any questions, do be sure to leave me a comment or contact me. You can always sign up to my email list by signing up for the Facebook planner below and you’ll be sent some very useful craft business tips.