Monday, July 19, 2010

Starting an Arts & Crafts Business

Starting a small business to sell your arts and crafts can become a reality. You don't have spend a lot if you start small and work out of your home. Whether you paint, bead, sew, knit, make soap, work with clay, photograph or even scrapbook, business is booming for unique crafts. But you do need to have a plan if you want to succeed.

How to Begin
Choose your craft. Most artists are talented in many areas but by focusing on a targeted craft, you will have an easier time creating and marketing your wares.
My eldest daughter, Asia, sells her personally designed, and upcycled clothing & jewelry at local fairs.
2. Create an inventory that includes all variations of your product. Get a feel for the actual time and costs that go into each piece. Meticulously write down all of your expenditures as you buy your supplies.

3. Set your price by determining the cost of materials and the minimum hourly rate you want to make. Adjust your price by factoring in the demand for your craft and other competing products.
4. Write a business plan that outlines production, storage, distribution and marketing. Include sales and profit objectives so you can accurately measure your success.
Based on each show, she will make changes for the following event. If something doesn't sell well, she won't use it again, or will wait until a later event to try it again. Items that don't sell can always be used for gifts to loved ones.
5. Market your products through arts and craft shows, on a website (, at online auction sites (, at gift stores or at home parties. The craft shows do lend to greater opportunity. Since Asia has the courage to present her items at local shows, three clothing shops have purchased certain items of her upcycled clothing and jewelry line to feature in their store.

6. Lower your costs by purchasing supplies wholesale. Find wholesalers by researching products online. You will need a tax ID license in order to buy from wholesalers.

7. Reevaluate what is working, what isn't and how you can fine tune your business plan. Are there additional crafts you can add to your lineup? Is there a marketing avenue you haven't considered?
  How you present your merchandise may help bring people into your booth. There should be a display toward the front of your booth to entice your customer to enter the booth. It can make the difference in the success of your line.
The Craft Show
Here are a few tactics to stand out in the crowd at craft shows.
• Location is essential. Book your booth early so you can be by the entrance of the craft show.
• Try to make eye contact with the shoppers and greet them. Never just stand behind the table and hope to get a lot of traffic.
• Use lights, colors, and a unique way to display your items to create a visual appeal. Show how to use or where to place your craft item.

Once you become established, you can take commissioned items into your line. 
Asia sold a few of these retro aprons on commission for a friend.
Before attempting a craft show, you may want to attend one. You can observe which style of tent worked best for each vendor, what they use for displaying their items, how they present their merchandise, and which style of contact you liked when approached by each vendor. You can then get more ideas from this experience and adopt your own style from what you learned.
As Asia grows her Pulp Designs business, she will be able to stay-at-home when she starts her family.

Sources [1] [2]

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