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Set up a Craft Business

First Draw Up a Business Plan

Selling craft work is no different from selling anything else. Whether you are buying in or making them, you are running a business. If you wish to have a successful business then you must approach the whole set up in a business like manner.

All businesses need a plan. This will crucially include:

  •                         A marketing plan
  •                         A financial plan
  •                         A mission statement

The mission statement is probably the most important part even though usually this involves just a few lines. It is this that encapsulates exactly what your company is all about. It will help you to understand what you are doing and why. This is by no means a static declaration. You should return to it over and over again to remind you where you are going and also to tweak it when you feel that it is not quite right for the stage you have reached. In other words, this is a constantly evolving statement.

The marketing and financial plans will reflect the amount of your investment and the environment in which you are attempting to sell your products.

Do What You Are Good At

Why do you want a business selling your crochet or knitting or weaving or whatever it is you make? Because you are good at it and you love doing it. Well this is not enough for building a business. You have to be good at other things too – or know somebody who is and will do it for you.

The point here is that a business covers many facets: accounting, administration, marketing, paying taxes, obtaining licenses, understanding the law. I could go on and on. Do you have the ability, or the desire to undertake all these tasks? Well someone must if you are to run a successful business.

Now at this point most business advisers will tell you to hire an accountant, a lawyer, a marketing consultant and so on. However, you will quite rightly say “but I don’t have the money”. Your craft work is not going to pay large amounts to cover all this, especially not at the start. So what I will advise is that you ask around your family and friends for offers of help in these aspects. I am sure you can return the favours with something that you do not mind doing.

Market Research

This is a biggie! Have a good look into what is happening both locally and online. What are other crafts people offering? What are they pricing their goods at? How good are their products?

This doesn’t mean that you must follow the herd. It will, though give you a thoroughly good base on which to work out where you should slot in your own individual business.

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Let’s take an example. Say your passion is headwear. If you look in the shops in town you will see that you can pick up a woolly hat really quite cheap. It is mass produced, probably inChinaand OK, it’s a hat but pretty non-descript. Now your woolly hats come in a variety of startling colours, beautifully made and meticulously finished. How are you going to work out the price? Well for a start you are not really comparing like with like. Yes they are both woolly hats. One type covers the head and keeps it warm. Your’s on the other hand are individual and make the wearer feel great. Don’t try to compete with the cheap, mass produced items. Many people will, of course, go for these. Don’t worry about it, they were never going to be you customers anyway. To my mind you must always make it understood that your products are well made and assembled AND they are individual to you. Your customers are buying something special.

You need to match your goods more with designer wear. You will find to start that you must understand trends and get into them. When you are well known that is the time to start your own trends.

That leads into . . .

Your Brand

Give your business a memorable name or use your own. Keep this name at the forefront with all your designs and products. Let people get to know you and what you represent. Whether local or online you need people to recognise you and your work.

Think about brands such as McDonald’s. Now you, I am sure, have a picture in mind of a burger in a bun.Lot’s of businesses produce just the same but McDonald’s is the one to create the picture and so they get the business. Same with Coke. If you ask for one you will get a cola. There are many brand names out there that have come to mean a particular item.

You need to talk up your brand so that in your market it comes to mean a particular type of product.

What To Do First

Visit Business Link.

These people will help you with everything that you need to know in order to start your business. They will also help you to find any courses, seminars or workshops that are going on in your area.

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