For many people, the idea of making an income from their hobby is a dream come true. Why work the nine to five in a dreary job, when you can earn money from selling the crafts you love to make?
If you want to turn your hobby into an enterprise, it is possible. But as with most things in life, it is wise to take things steadily and avoid rash decisions. Don’t give up your day job until you know that your crafts business has the ability to sustain you.
Research the Market
As with any business venture, market research is essential. You need to know what sells, which designs shift the most units, which styles are becoming old fashioned, are other areas saturated? Know your market inside out before putting any new product out there. The best way of doing this is by frequenting the places you intend to sell your wares. Arts and crafts can be found at craft markets and fairs, but as the handmade movement gathers momentum they can be increasingly found in a wider range of outlets such as high street stores and online.
You need to be able to rely on great suppliers to keep a steady stream of materials coming in your direction. If you are selling a lot of units, you will need to be constantly replenishing stock. Do this by finding the best supplier you can, someone like Handy Hippo Crafts make a good choice as they carry a wide range of stock in large volumes. Handy Hippo Crafts are an online store, able to take your orders at any time, making them very user friendly and convenient for the busy crafter entrepreneur.
Spread the Word
Once you have a product to sell, put the word about in your local area. Place cards in newsagent’s windows, in the local library – wherever you think there may be a potential sale. Obviously, it depends on what you’re selling, for example, if you are making bespoke hair accessories, a card in a local hair stylists or bridal suppliers is a good place to start. Professional photographs of your products are key to making a good impression, so if you can, shell out on a photographic service that will display and promote your product in the best possible way.
Engage with potential clients on social media. Pinterest is a powerful tool for those wishing to show the world their artistic potential – a picture speaks a thousand words and on Pinterest it’s possible to attract positive attention with quality images and designs.
Maintain a Twitter feed with constant updates about new products, give-aways and details of craft events you are attending. A lively and ever changing Twitter feed is a fabulous way of engaging directly with your customers and converting vague interest to hard sales.
A website that gives all the information about your products is a wonderful sales tool. A glossy, upmarket site that is easy to navigate and not too cluttered will work wonders for your brand image. Include an email subscription capability on your home page so that you can keep in touch with actively interested parties with marketing emails going forward.
As well as your own website, explore the potential of crafts sites such as Etsy who have a long reach and will place your products in front of a much wider audience.
Go to the Right Places
It is important to sell your crafts at markets that are right for your brand. Visit as many arts and crafts fairs and events as you can to get an accurate overview of the individual styles of each place. The focus of crafts fairs can vary, some will host more up-market, art makers and others will cater for more general crafters – choosing the correct venue ensures the right type of foot traffic most likely to be interested in buying your product.
In the past, turning your hobby into a successful and lucrative business was more often a happy accident than a considered plan. Now however, it is possible to progressively evolve your small craft business into something substantial, and ultimately self-sustaining. With a solid business plan and a good craft product, there’s no reason why you can’t turn your hobby into a dream job…