The uniqueness of the crafting business is reflected in the fact that people get into it mostly as a result of a passion for crafting. The common misconception that there isn’t much money to be made in this line of work is ridiculous; this is, in fact, a billion dollar industry! No matter which branch of crafting retail you get into – selling crafts or crafting supplies, there is a world of opportunity in front of you.
1. Come up with a business plan
Make no mistake – you are looking to start a business, no matter how lost or intimidated you might feel. The bad news is that it’s going to grow increasingly intimidating for quite some time. The good news is that a business plan can provide you with focus and relief, something invaluable in your business’s inception. A clear business plan can help you determine what you want to sell, the amounts you’ll need, how niche your target is, where you’re going to get the supplies and, most importantly, it will help you determine the cost and the appropriate marketing methods.
2. Do the research
Market research is perhaps the most important aspect of the initial stages of your business. What retail method will you choose: opening a physical store, opting for eCommerce, or both? A physical store depends hugely on location – it needs to be close to a busy area, but distant enough from the competition. Why? Well, people tend to ‘stumble upon’ craft stores, rather than ‘intentionally look for them’. On the other hand, if you want to start an online-only business, you need to start thinking about social media advertising – this is perhaps the best form of marketing for craft businesses.
3. Always think about branching out
The stores that keep offering the same thing to their customers and succeed are very rare and usually aren’t in the business of crafts. This is why you should always leave some space for getting into new, related fields. Collaborate with similar businesses, in fact, collaborate with everyone! If you’re an eCommerce store, then you may want to take a look at the TradeBeyond website to learn how to get your product into stores. Another example of collaboration would be to try pitching your product to a local indie musician – make a custom version of your product for them and ask them if they’d like to try pitching your craft with their brand new album to their fans.
Branding is extremely important when it comes to the crafts business – you are pitching (hopefully) something that is unique and special, and this is exactly what is going to bring you success. You need to think broader than in terms of printed or engraved logos on your products – think shape and size depending on the function of your items. When it comes to crafts, people should be able to identify your handiwork from a distance. However, some crafts simply have to succumb to a specific mold, and in these cases, engravings and prints are perfectly acceptable. Nonetheless, regardless of your product’s type, always think in terms of unique shape and size, if possible! Even the boxes you use for shipping/packing your product(s) are perfectly suitable for a unique sticker or customized label. Convenient Dymo Labels, for example, are durable and offer a variety of options.
5. Have a grand opening
You’d be amazed at what you can do using social media. Everyone who has liked or follows your business page is likely looking forward to the grand opening, especially if you offer enticing discounts. Most people love trying out new things and being the first to buy something that isn’t incredibly expensive. Make the grand opening an interesting event – keep in mind that “hey, do you want to learn more about how I make the stuff that you’re slowly falling in love with” beats “hey, how about you buy my stuff” any day of the week. Offer classes in a variety of crafts that you do and do this only during your grand opening for now – this will allow you to suss out whether this is a viable future option, as well as get people coming in through your door (virtual or physical).
These basics of starting a craft store business will hopefully help you get on the road of uniqueness and collaboration that leads to success. Coming up with a business plan and market research are essential in the business world, and crafting is no exception. Always think in terms of branching out, extending your reach and establishing new partnerships, consider branding your bread and butter, and do everything in your power to make sure that your grand opening goes smoothly!