Things to Consider Before You Start Your Craft Biz & New Biz Classes!

Today is a double whammy post. I am sharing an article I wrote called “Before You Start Your Craft Business”. Hopefully you will find some nuggets of wisdom. Also in the near future I am teaching some new business classes and I will also be part of the Indie Biz Chicks Summer Business Series later this month. Read on for all the details…..

After Craft-o-Rama closed not only was I saddened, I was without a place to teach! Starting this August I will be teaching jewelry and business classes again at an all new venue, The Stitch Lab! I have been a fan of Stitch Lab for forever and am super excited to join their team of awesome teachers. I’ll be hosting an all day crafty business seminar and 3 jewelry classes. Spots are limited so sign up now if you are interested, read on for more details and don’t worry I’ll remind you again as we get closer to the date.

Crafty Business Seminar
Sunday August 2, 12pm – 4pm or
Sunday September 20, 12pm – 4pm

The Crafty Business Seminar is divided into three sections: Start Up, Marketing and Taking It to the Next Level.

Starting Your Crafty Business Did you know you could have your own craft business up and running in under an hour? Signing up for Etsy is that easy. Or do you think a traditional website is the right angle for you? May take a little longer, but it is not a whole lot trickier. Once you have your business all set up the next steps are letting the world know, networking and making some sales. This class will you give the run down on getting started!

Marketing Your Crafty Business The success of your business is 40% what you make and 60% how you market it. Not yet signed up for Twitter? Don’t have a blog? Not swapping swag with other crafters? You could be missing out on easy, crucial and often free ways to promote your crafty business. Whether you knit booties or solder jewelry this class will help you understand the best avenues to market your small business.

Taking Your Crafty Business to the Next Level Things are running along smoothly with your small crafty business, but you want to know what else the world has to offer. How do people get product lines, book deals and TV shows? There is no secret formula, but Jennifer Perkins has experience in all three areas and will tell you what she knows.

10 students per class, one 4-hour class
$125 per student

Ok on with the article. This was written for another website, but I thought what the heck I’ll post the article here too. The whole thing is about what to consider before starting your craft business. Some of the issues we will be chatting about in the Crafty Business Seminar. If you have any other suggestions of things people might consider before jumping into the craft market, please feel free to post away in the comments.

So you wanna turn your craft into a business? Well lucky you, despite the recession it has never been easier. Back in the “olden days” you had to have a website which meant knowing HTML. You needed an online shopping cart to take orders. And, if you were not as good at marketing as you were at crafting, you were never going to quit your day job. Well those days are over thanks to the likes of Etsy, Pay Pal and Twitter. In an afternoon you can officially start your own online crafts business, market it and make your first sale. However, before starting your crafting business, you should consider these basic points.

Be Prepared
Boy Scouts are not the only ones who should “be prepared”. You shouldn’t jump into any venture, business or otherwise, without prep work and research. I know, I know, as a crafter all you want to do is sprinkle glitter and peruse the latest sock yarn, but if you are going to take your hobby to the next level you must do a little research first. Lucky for you there are tons of available resources for running a craft business.

Online Craft Business Resources

The Boss of Me

The Switchboards

Craft Business Books
Craft Inc. by: Meg Mateo Ilasco

The Boss of You: Everything A Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run, and Maintain Her Own Business by: by Emira Mears and Lauren Bacon

The Savvy Crafters Guide to Success by: Sandra McCall

Business Related Magazines


Fortune Small Business

Love Your Craft
Next you need to ask yourself a very important question: do you love your craft? I don’t mean like it, I mean love it. If your craft business takes off you are going to eat, sleep and breathe it. If making candles is only a passing phase for you then you might want to think twice before investing a lot of time and energy into that craft business. No matter what your craft is, once you start a business you run the risk of eventually getting a little burned out. Just make sure that your crafty passion is something you are going to want to stick with, cultivate and grow for a long time.

Web Store vs. Etsy
Make a life choice about whether you are going to have a traditional site or an Etsy store. There are pluses and minuses to both. Spend some time perusing the Internet looking at your favorite Etsy stores and websites and then make an educated decision about what will suit you best. There is no right or a wrong answer. Many crafters make a living selling their wares on both types of sites.

If you are looking for something super easy that you can set up in an afternoon then you are an Etsy type of crafter. It is inexpensive and easy to set up. There is a formulaic template for you to follow and minimal charges are incurred when you list items for sale.

Traditional Web Store
A website requires a fairly high level of expertise but if you are looking for a site that you can customize then a website is for you. Just remember, having a website will involve either knowing HTML or hiring someone who does. There are also more costs involved for things such as hosting services and shopping cart fees.

Saturated Markets
What is the market like for your craft? Have you noticed you can’t throw a rock on Etsy without hitting someone making revamped vintage jewelry? I speak from personal experience. The search term “revamped vintage” on Etsy returned over 800 results. Make sure your potential crafting business is not an area that is completely saturated. Even if revamped vintage jewelry is your true calling, all is not lost. The key is to make sure your concept is fresh and will set you apart from the masses.

Know Your Customers
Know your market before you start your craft business. I don’t mean be on a first name basis with the people who might want your pottery; just know where those people are, what they are buying and how you plan to reach them. Your market is who is going to buy your craft. If you think your work will appeal to teen girls then it would behoove you to read a few teen mags and surf the teen web to see what is hip with the kids these days. Is Hello Kitty still all the rage? Do teen girls shop on Etsy? Where do teen girls get their information from?

Know Your Competition
Scope out your competition. I’m not suggesting you can copy them or anything slimy like that. You just want to know what the other successful knitters are up to. What kinds of press are they getting? On Etsy you can look at their sales and clearly see that scarves sell way more than sweaters. What stores are carrying their lines? All of these bits of useful information will help you in one way or another.

Your Business Name
Like a good man, a good name is hard to find. It is especially hard to find one that is not already taken. You want to choose a name for you business that you can register in your city as your DBA (Doing Business As) and a name that is not already taken on the Internet.

Spreading Your Name Around
When starting a craft business from scratch you want to snag the URL (.com and .net preferably), the ETSY store, My Space, Twitter and Face Book accounts and a Blogger Profile. I know that sounds like a lot, but if you are going to be a full fledged marketing machine you are going to need all those avenues. Besides, only registering your domain names will cost you money, the rest are free.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the planning process. Some people get so consumed with planning their craft business that they never sell a thing. If you are just getting started you don’t need to worry about things like whether or not to get incorporated or hire a bookkeeper. Baby steps people. As your business grows you can make decisions about these issues. In the beginning, the important thing is to just do it. Don’t just think about it, talk about it and make notes – actually start your craft company. Open your Etsy store or hire a designer to build you a web page or start a blog to promote your online store.

Jump in and get started.

If you don’t live in Austin and can’t make one of my crafty business seminars, tune in to the Indie Biz Chicks Summer Biz Sessions July 28th for a 1 hour chat with yours truly about running a crafty biz. Once you register for the call you will be on the phone with me live for tips and tricks and to ask me your hot burning questions!

More Crafty Business Tips
Look Books – Your Best Bet for Getting Editorial Coverage
Brand New Website, but No Sales
15 Tips for Maximum Newsletter Effectiveness

4 Responses to “Things to Consider Before You Start Your Craft Biz & New Biz Classes!”

  1. Anne-Marie

    Great blog post. I love your feedback about just starting – quit talking and just start – even if it's a small start. I totally agree.

  2. Jennifer Perkins - Naughty Secretary Club

    Anne Marie I find that to be the biggest issue with start up crafters. They obsess a bit too much about the minutae rather than just jumping in head first. I didn't even have a business plan of any kind when I started I just let Naughty Secretary Club form organicaly over time.

  3. Anonymous

    It's hard to come by experienced people on this subject, but it seems like you know what you're talking about. Thank you.
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