Starting a Craft Business – Selling Your Product

Homepreneurs recently discussed creating a home business from Arts and Crafts.  We believe this market is growing, cost-effective, and a business option for many.  Arts and Crafts can be done part-time, full-time, by the employed, retired or semi-retired.  Linda Strickland – recently featured as a Homepreneurs success story – supplements her income with her photography business.

Linda is a typical artist/crafter.  She enjoys her photography hobby and is able to turn it into a money-making side business.  Linda uses craft shows, a website, and Flickr to sell her product.

In part three of our craft business series, we’ll take a look at various ways of selling and marketing your craft or art product.

The first – and traditional way – is to set up a booth at a local arts and crafts show and bring a selection of products to sell.  If a two day weekend show, see what sells well, get customer feedback, and bring more of the same product for the second day.  Also be prepared to offer deals on multiple purchases or have a closeout sale for those items that aren’t selling.  Just don’t change prices during a show; many customers attend the same shows and you don’t want them waiting for a price break.

Offering deals

–        Be consistent with your offers.  The local craft show market is small and many of the same customers will attend multiple local shows and return next year.  They won’t be happy if the price changes each time they stop by your booth.

–        Multiple item purchase discount.  Consistency is important here too.  If you give one person a free 3×5 picture when a 16×20 is purchased, do the same for all buyers.  People will talk and ruin your reputation.

–        Closeout or limited quantity offers.  Discontinuing a product line and offering a discount is fine.  But don’t bring back the product after it is gone, no matter how well it does.  Ditto for limited quantity issues.  If you are only offering 50 prints, have them numbered (1 of 50, 23 of 50, etc) and once sold out, be done with the product.

Alternatives to Craft Shows

–        Etsy.  Etsy is a venue, not a retailer; Etsy’s role is to connect the buyer and the seller.  Etsy charges $.20 per item listed and transaction fee of 3.5% when the item is sold.

–        eBay.  eBay charges two fees, an insertion (listing) fee and a value (sales) fee.  A complete fee table is found here for eBay.  Tips for setting up an eBay page are found here.

–        Facebook.  Facebook is more than simple a social media site.  It has evolved into a major sales and marketing channel.  At 800 million active users, Facebook should be embraced as a real sales tool.  Hints on how to set up a Facebook  page are written up here.

–        Personal websites.  Linda has a website – naturerestoresme.com – and sells directly from her site in addition to craft shows.  Advantages to a website include: a much larger selection, a broader audience, and 24×7 access.  Sell while you sleep.

Other craft and art websites are available – covered in this article – as well as Craigslist, local resale shops, and local garage or neighborhood sales.  You may be able to sell a product in quantity to small or large retail chains too.  This often requires knowing the buyer and the markets targeted.  If Costco or Sam’s club knocks on your door, be prepared to produce large quantities and deal on price.

By Dion D Shaw

Dion D Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunity.

Disclaimer

Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed.  Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions.  Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.

© Homepreneurs 2010 – 2012

Starting a Craft Business – Research the Market

Homepreneurs recently discussed creating a home business from Arts and Crafts.  We believe this market is growing, cost-effective, and a business option for many.  Arts and Crafts can be done part-time, full-time, by the employed, retired or semi-retired.  Liam Hughes Shard Jewelry – recently featured as a Homepreneurs success story – is a full-time artisan.  Liam created a market niche in unique fashion accessories with shards of broken pottery.

Liam is one of many artisans that turn a hobby into a full-time business.  The steps needed to do this are not difficult, but require time and effort.  The process below is a typical research model for any interested in making a business of a craft or art.

1)     Self–appraisal:  what are your skills, interests, and motivation?  Can you carve, weave, paint or reshape existing materials into a saleable product?  Think green and recycling for the last point.

2)     Marketability:  simply, will people want to buy your creation?  Is the market saturated with similar items or do you have something unique or uncommon?

3)     Research:  surf the Internet for similar products.  eBay, Etsy, and assorted craft websites are good places to look.  Check out local craft shows and see if your product is shown.

4)     Pricing:  can you expect to cover your costs and earn a profit with your intended price point?  We will cover price setting in detail in part 4 of this series.

5)     Time:  how much time are you willing to put into this effort?  Consider all time spent: making the product, marketing, attending craft shows, updating websites, packing and shipping the product, buying or obtaining materials to make your product.

6)     Solo or partnership:  are you assuming all the responsibility for this endeavor?  Often, a partner is helpful for dividing the responsibilities.  The profit is halved of course, but you should be able to produce double the amount or spend half the time.

Creating a new product is exciting and personally rewarding.  Crafts allow individuals to express their ideas in visible form and may be a wonderful relief to the 9-5 rigors of daily work schedules.

By Dion D. Shaw

Dion D Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunity.

Disclaimer

Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed.  Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions.  Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.

© Homepreneurs 2010 – 2012

What is a Craft Business?

Homepreneurs recently discussed creating a home business with Arts and Crafts.  We believe this market is growing, cost-effective, and a business option for many.  Arts and Crafts can be done part-time, full-time, by the employed, retired or semi-retired.  G&D Products – featured as a Homepreneurs success story – is a retired couple that enjoys creating hand-made good while traveling to craft shows in the Midwest.

In this series of articles, we will define crafts, market research, sales and marketing, and setting prices.

The most commonly asked question when considering Art and Crafts are: what can I make to sell?

Answering the first requires a little inventory of skills and interests.  Do you like to paint, knit, embroider or use metal to make funny figures?  Perhaps you enjoy photography on the side and have an interesting inventory of unique photos.  We can’t answer this question for you, but can offer some suggestions.

Ultimately, crafts fall into 5 major categories:

–        Textile – any type of craft that starts with fabric.  Examples here include knitting, crochet, quilting, embroidery or appliqué.

–        Paper – a craft involving paper or its source: wood.  Examples here include: cards, calligraphy, papier-mâché, wood engraving or block print.

–        Fashion – this craft involves anything that dresses the human body.  Examples include: hats, clothes, jewelry or handbags.  Many materials are used from leather to silver and precious stones.

–        Decorative – this craft covers a wide range including: furniture making, metalwork, stained glass, dried flowers or basketry.

–        Functional – this craft may combine other types of craft design.  A piece of furniture may be both decorative and serve a function.  Ditto for a ceramic dish set.  It looks good on display, but one might eat from it too.

As noted above, many options are available for the interested crafter.  In the next article, we’ll discuss how to research the market for your craft.

By Dion D Shaw

Dion D Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs

Disclaimer

Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed.  Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions.  Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.

© Homepreneurs 2010 – 2013

Homepreneurs Interview with Karyn Pettigrew of Beyond Blind Spots

Homepreneurs was very fortunate to be interviewed on Unity FM radio today by Karyn Pettigrew for her program, Beyond Blind Spots.  The program’s topic: The Joys and Pitfalls of Homepreneurship is one very familiar to Homepreneurs and its readers.  Briefly, we discussed the trend toward home business, options for entrepreneurs, and the relatively low-cost of starting a basic home business.  We also covered some tips that I feel every small or home business owner should know before starting.  The audio interview is available for download to iTunes or in Interview – MP3 Format.  A summary of the tips discussed is below.

1) Emphasis on Planning

– Research the product.  The basic premise of a business: does the business idea solve an existing problem or provide additional value to an existing solution?

– The market niche.  Is the product or service viable in your geographic area?  If a service, do you have enough potential clients to turn a profit?

– Competition.  Who and where is your competition?  What can your offering provide that is better than your competitors?  How will you provide value that someone else isn’t?

Start up Cost.  A home business can be started with a cell phone, email address, and home computer.  Even a home computer is not absolutely necessary; use the local library or community college computers if needed.  Business cards are free through Vista Print.  Social networking – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter – are wonderful public relation tools.  All are free.

– Simple Business Plan.  A one page document for a basic home business is probably enough for starters.  A business plan will keep you focused  on the product or service you are selling.  Remember, that a plan is a living, breathing document that should change if conditions warrant.  If you intend to take a loan out, the lender will likely want a formalized document.

2) Professional Business Team.  Every good business needs a team to be successful.  Some of the team members may include:

– Lawyer to help with contracts, business structure, legal agreements, litigation

– Accountant to provide tips on taxes, deductions, IRS issues

– Mentors to answer questions, provide guidance, and give feedback. Good sources are SCORE, SBA, and industry peers.

– Clients!  Your customers are often the best resources available. Their buying habits, verbal feedback, and requests for product options will tell you more than any questionnaire or survey.

3) Consider starting a business part-time first.

– Is running a business the best idea for you?  Do you have the interest and aptitude?

– Test market your product and/or service and find out if people want to buy it!

– Determine income potential at this time.  Full-time business probably won’t turn a profit for 7-12 months.  Do you have the savings needed to cover expenses for this time?

– Work a part time job with benefits while working on your business part-time. Best of both worlds: chase your dream but still have health insurance and retirement benefits.

– By Dion D Shaw

Dion D Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs

Homepreneurs. New Day.  New Opportunity.

Seven Steps to Starting Your own Business

You’ve decided – or are compelled – to start your own business. You have talent, experience, a good idea, and a desire to leave the corporate world behind. But a nagging question exists: How to start?  Overcoming this mental block is the first obstacle in the path to success.  This blog and many others dedicated to starting a home business are good places to start.  Research your idea, the market niche, competition and compare your strategy.  As a primer, I ran across this article that provides seven steps from idea to implementation. It is a basic guide, written in plain language, and contains common-sense steps.

Still interested in starting a business?  Read and follow these steps.  It provides wonderful information for start ups.

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Seven Steps to Starting Your own Business

By Palo Alto Software

Question
I’d like a basic outline for the fundamentals of how to start my own business. Please include some insight on financial management, legalities, literature that may come in handy, etc. Thanks!

Answer
What is interesting about this question is that, while many businesses are indeed created after much thought and planning, probably just as many are started on the fly; the guy who has had the itch to go solo but gets fired from his day job before actually doing so is apt to just wing it and hope for the best.

By the same token, there are many companies that start out planning to be one thing and end up doing something quite different. This is not to say that forethought and planning are a waste of time when starting a business; that’s certainly not true. Rather, it points out one of the fundamental laws of successful entrepreneurship: be flexible. For example, a 15 years ago Microsoft had no Internet strategy at all. Seeing the folly of that, they shifted much of their focus almost overnight. That’s a good lesson for all of us.

That said, here are the seven steps to starting your own business:

Step 1: Personal evaluation.

Begin by taking stock of yourself and your situation. Why do you want to start a business? Is it money, freedom, creativity, or some other reason? What skills do you have? What industries do you know about? Would you want to provide a service or a product? What do you like to do? How much capital do you have to risk? Will it be a full-time or a part-time venture? Your answers to these types of questions will help you narrow your focus and pick a business.

Maybe you don’t know what kind of business fits your goals. If that’s the case, there are many places to get business ideas. Do some online research. Look through the Yellow Pages. Go to trade shows. Buy industry magazines. Check in with the Small Business Association. Read the business section of the newspaper.

Step 2: Analyze the industry.

Once you decide on a business that fits your goals and lifestyle, you need to evaluate your idea. Who will buy your product or service? Who would be your competitors? You also need to figure out at this stage how much money you will need to get started.

Step 3: Make it legal.

There are several ways to form your business ––  it could be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation. As I have discussed several times previously, although incorporating can be expensive, it is well worth the money. A corporation becomes a separate entity that is legally responsible for the business. If something goes wrong, you cannot be held personally liable.

You also need to get the proper business licenses and permits. Depending upon the business, there may be city, county, or state regulations as well as permits and licenses to deal with. This is also the time to check into any insurance you may need for the business and to find a good accountant.

Step 4: Draft a business plan.

If you will be seeking outside financing, a business plan is a necessity. But even if you are going to finance the venture yourself, a business plan will help you figure out how much money you will need to get started, what needs to get done when, and where you are headed.

Step 5: Get financed.

Depending on the size of your venture, you may need to seek financing from an “angel” or from a venture capital firm. Most small businesses begin with private financing from credit cards, personal loans, help from the family, etc. As a rule of thumb, besides your start-up costs, you should also have at least three months’ worth of your family’s budget in the bank.

Step 6: Set up shop.

Find a location. Negotiate leases. Buy inventory. Get the phones installed. Have stationery printed. Hire staff. Set your prices. Throw a “Grand Opening” party.

Step 7: Trial and error.

It will take awhile to figure out what works and what does not. Follow your business plan, but be open and creative. Advertise! Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. And above all, have a ball! Running your own business is one of the great joys in life!

Article Source:

http://help.bplans.com/seven-steps-to-starting-your-own-business/554/

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunity.