Have you ever wondered if there is a market for your craft? Is anyone else out there going to like the dolls you make or think your handmade candles smell as nice as you do? Well there are a few key questions you should ask yourself.
Before we get to those hot burning questions, I have a few business related reminders for you. Don’t forget to join me tonight for the Indie Biz Chicks Summer Biz Sessions. I’ll be chatting about running a crafty business and answering questions live tonight conference call style.
There are still a couple of spots left for my Crafty Business Seminar this coming Sunday at The Stitch Lab! The 4 hour long Crafty Business Seminar is divided into three sections: Start Up, Marketing and Taking It to the Next Level. It’s gonna be tons o’ fun and oh so informative.
Onto the article….
When embarking on the adventure of starting your own crafty business, everyone has to ask themselves the proverbial question: is there a market for my craft? The answer might not always be as cut and dry as “yes” or “no.” The good news is that there are a lot of different ways to get to a concrete answer.
The first thing you should do is conduct a little informal market research about your craft. What are friends for if not to quiz them about your product? Get feedback about whether or not it is something they would want to buy. I can’t tell you how many career crafters I have known who got their start by making something for a friend. And then that friend’s coworker wanted one. And then that coworker’s second cousin wanted one. Before they knew it, their craft hobby was their craft job.
Questions to ask:
-What do you think about this craft?
-Would you be willing to buy this?
-What would you be willing to pay for this?
-Where do you expect to buy this?
Remember to accept all forms of feedback, including criticism and suggestions. Just because you think that your art journals are amazing does not mean that everyone else will. Save yourself a lot of heartache and financial pain and really listen to the answers people give to your questions.
The next bit of market research you should do is to look into whether or not your craft is already widely available. Is the market for felted soap already saturated or is there a void begging to be filled? If the product isn’t available, then there very well may be a market waiting for you and your soap. Again, ask your friends. Don’t assume that just because something doesn’t exist, people want it. If the product already exists, don’t scrap your idea totally. You will just have to work that much harder to set your soap apart from the rest.
Standing Out in a Crowd
How do you make your craft stand out from the rest? This is where your marketing campaign will come in handy. As a savvy marketer, it is your job to create the illusion that people need, not want, a lampshade made of doilies. You need to convince them why your lampshade made of doilies is better than another crafter’s lampshade made of doilies. You do this by getting your product out there! Garnering press and endorsements for your products are two ways of doing this.
Standing out in a crowd also means creating a unique product. A unique product does not have to be an entirely new product. It can be an existing product with your twist. I started my jewelry business because there was nothing on the market that quite fit my taste. Sure, there were lots of crafters selling jewelry (and have been for ages), but I wanted baubles that were big, bright and attention grabbing. I had to create that for myself. And guess what? Other people also craved tack-a-liscious jewelry because my product sold I created a unique product.
Remember there is more than one way to skin a cat. For example, just because Etsy is overrun with ceramics does not mean that eBay is. Make your product available on different websites and see which ones work for you. Take a spin through your local craft bazaars and look for artisans selling like-minded ceramics. If you come up empty handed, that’s your cue to get a booth. More and more flea markets are a mix of antiques and crafts – where else can you get a sausage on a stick and make a few bucks in the same afternoon? Tupperware parties were successful for a reason; maybe you could gather friends and have a home party to sell your ceramics.
Online Craft Market Places
-Cut + Paste
Other Craft Market Places
Don’t underestimate the niche market. Maybe your craft does not have mass appeal, but sometimes that is a good thing. Niche markets can be a very lucrative group. When I got started with Naughty Secretary Club, my jewelry was very unusual and kitschy. Definitely not something that would interest your average mall shopper. Luckily, I tapped into a niche market, which in turn has helped me make a career out of jewelry making.
Room for All of Us
The truth of the matter is that crafts are a hot industry. This means that not only is the market more saturated than ever, it also means there is a larger market for these crafts. The trick will be setting yourself apart from the rest with reasonable prices, unusual spins on usual items and marketing your product like there is no tomorrow. If the ShamWow and Snuggie can find a market, there is hope for us all.