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Starting Your Craft Business: 10 Tips

Written by Sophie.

 

 

Have you recently started your own small craft or design business? Or do you want to get your creative business off the ground but don’t know where to start?

The journey to a successful business can seem daunting so we’ve put together 10 simple tips to help you on your way. This list is by no means exhaustive but it’s a good place to start.

1. Streamline your branding. It’s important to identify colours, fonts and patterns that you feel represent your brand vision early on and stick to them. This can then be used throughout your business cards, social media, signage and website to give your craft business a professional and recognisable quality. There are lots of free design tools and resources out there. Canva is a good one.

2. Only use the best images. When photographing your work, only use images that are of a high quality and show your products to their highest potential. Try photographing against a crisp, white background using bright, natural lighting or including elements specific to your brand (a particular patterned, textured, or coloured background). Etsy has a really informative guide to product photography (useful for non-Etsy sellers too!)

 

 

3. Identify a Target Market. No business can be aimed at everyone. Having a target market in mind while making your work can be a good way to make sure it is effective in its purpose and sells. It is also a good idea to only pick one and these are often based on age, gender, geographical location and consumer interests. Try answering the questions in this blog post by Handmadeology to help identify your target market.

4. Don’t be afraid to use social media. This is the best way keep customers up to date with your latest work and new releases. Sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are perfect for stamping a visual presence online and scheduling tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer can cut down the time you spend sharing content.

5. Interact with your customers. This way you will not only get returning buyers but these customers will spread the word about your products themselves – creating a sort of wave effect. In addition to social media, email lists would be another effective way to do this. Try Mailchimp to help build your list and put together great looking emails – it’s free up to a certain number of subscribers.

 

 

6. Get your pricing right. It’s always difficult to establish an effective system for pricing but understanding your target market and how much they would be willing to spend is a good place to start. Make sure you keep track of the cost of your materials and the labour time for each item before building a profit onto this. This should then give you a fairly accurate retail price. Follow The Design Trust’s 7 easy steps for calculating how much your product will cost.

7. Only make what you are truly passionate about. It will be obvious if you are not passionate about what you are creating, so there is little point in making things you would never buy yourself. If you love your work – so will your customers.

 

 

8. Build a strong maker network. It is always a good idea to build strong connections with other makers. These relationships can be invaluable not only to expand your business, but also as a way to offer general support and avoid you feeling as if you are constanting working on your own. The Manchester Craft and Design Network is one of the many online forums that allows you to feel apart of a bigger community of makers and creatives.

9. Be aware of your competition. Its essential to be aware of products that could be similar to yours that are already on the market. Find ways to give your work an edge – what is your unique selling point?

10. Plan and be realistic. Plan what products you will be produce and in what time scale – try and take into account current trends and seasons. But most importantly be realistic with the time scale you give yourself and set targets that are achievable.

Whats your biggest tip for someone wanting to start a craft business? Head over to our MCAD Network Facebook page and join the conversation!