Etsy, ArtFire, and Folksy are the behemoths in e-commerce of handmade products.
A few years ago, the world’s largest revenue making Internet giant also jumped in this category.
Yes, you heard that right. Amazon now has an entire Category dedicated to Handmade products. Earlier made by hand products were mere meta tags of their other categories. But now the company works with independent artisans to promote their craft.
The craze of handcrafted items is trending. Thus, it makes sense to start a handmade business.
If you ended up reading this article through a search engine. Then, I am sure your mind must be brimming with handmade products business ideas.
If that is the case, then you must read further.
Know How to Start a Handmade Business Anywhere in the World
For craftsmen, the concept of doing a digital business is nerve-wracking. The idea of putting a handmade shop online overwhelms them.
So, to make the process simple. I have listed the 3 step process in starting a handmade business.
Decide on your craft
Much like starting any business. You must know what is it that you are going to sell.
Since a handmade business involves making crafts. So, you must be capable of creating those crafts. Because unlike other businesses. In a handmade business, you cannot drop ship or outsource your manufacturing.
Deciding what to craft should be an easy question to answer. You must be either making those crafts or have a passion to learn to make them.
If you are into multiple crafts. Then, instead of getting into all of them at once. You can niche down to those which are high in demand.
Till you do not get to this part. You cannot move ahead and start your handmade products business.
It is the individual craftsman’s skills that set them and their business apart.
If you want inspiration to pick up a craft. Or if you wish to improve your skills in your chosen craft making. Then, I can help you with a list of popular things to make and sell. The list also has the respective resources to learn about them.
Prepare a Business Plan
Creating a business plan is a mandatory prerequisite for starting a handmade business. Many artists selling crafts from home ignore this one.
Irrespective of the type and size of the business, a business plan is a must.
I also shied away from making one when I started my business. Though today, I do not even dream about starting one without a business plan.
Most of the business plan formats available online for free appear complicated. That is why I have devised one myself that is super simple to begin.
It has 7 components. By the time you fill them all up. You will end up more confident about starting a handmade business.
As you can see, there are a mere 7 parts to fill in this handmade business plan.
Once you have zeroed in on your chosen craft and the name of your business. Then, you can move on to the other details step-by-step.
Summarize Your Business
You must try to fill this information as precise as you can. That is why I insist on 7 words or less. So, if you intend to have a woodworking craft business. Then, few options can be –
- Handcrafted wooden furniture from Ohio
- Quirky wooden Signs by a former Journalist
- Wine Barrel reclaimed furniture from California
The better you get in your business. The easier it will be to sum up your handmade business description.
List Your Handmade Items
Most of the handmade artists do not have a big list of products to start with. Moreover, the list may have a mere 1-2 products if you are into custom handmade items.
Whatever be the number of distinct products you create. Fill this portion with the general category of those products. So, for instance, instead of mentioning each personalized mug you create. You must only mention “customized ceramic mugs”.
Define Your Would-be Customer
Many novice businesses get into the trap of including everyone as their customer.
If that logic had been true, the marketing disciplines would never exist.
As a helpful tip, the precise you get in defining your prospects. The sooner and better you will end up making sales.
To get a laser focus on this one. I insist on defining them in 5 words or less.
So, for this website, my customer definition is – “Handmade Fanatics”.
List 3 of Your Competitors
The existence of competition is a sign that there is a demand for what you sell.
The presence of competition keeps you on your toes. Also, the competitors’ businesses let you know what complementary products you can offer.
Likewise, if you do not find a single competitor. Then, it is probable that your handmade business might not take off.
So, you must identify 3 of your business competitors to fill up this space.
List Your Financial Goals
A successful business requires a thorough understanding of financials. Therefore, you must fill up this one with the utmost accuracy.
As a newbie handmade business. It is prudent to prepare your financials for 6 months. That period is good enough to change your strategy in case the current one does not work.
You must sum up all your possible expenses in this one. So, you can include –
- Price of raw materials
- Listing fee of an online marketplace for handmade items
- Expenses of showcasing at a craft fair
- Expenses of your own website/ store
- Operational, marketing and logistics costs
2. Expected Revenue
The amount you think you will be able to earn in the next 6 months.
3. Time to break-even
The time frame you think it will take your revenue to cover up your expenses.
4. Your Average Product Price
This is an important element of financials. Getting this one correct is crucial to turn your handmade venture into a successful one.
Checking out your competitor’s business is a good place to get this one right.
Visualize Your Time Spent in Creation/ Marketing
The sweat equity is the major expense of a handmade business. That shows up in the time spent in creating the individual items.
Until you create a handmade item, you cannot sell it. Furthermore, until you do not market your creations. You will struggle to make an earning.
Hence, it is essential to fill up your time spent on various aspects of your business.
I like to batch up my time in hours per week. Thus, the following is how I fill up my sheet for this header.
- 20 hours/ week to create Blog Posts
- 01 hours/week to create Facebook Content
- 01 hours/week to create Pinterest Pins
- 02 hours/week to create Website Updates
Identify Your Sales and Marketing Channels
Your handmade business must have sales and marketing funnels in place.
For sales, you have the following options:
- Selling through your home/ brick-and-mortar store
- Displaying at a Craft fair
- Your own e-commerce store – Shopify, Ecwid, BigCartel
- Prominent e-commerce Retails stores – Amazon Handmade and Etsy
For Marketing, the few options are:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Online Display Ads
- Ads in Print Media
- Social Media Marketing
Create a Marketing Plan for Handmade Products
Irrespective of the size, location and the niche of your handmade business. You got to market it to bring in an audience to view your products. Because marketing converts those audiences into prospects. Those prospects then turn into customers.
There are many marketing ideas for craft business. But if you wish to stick to a simple schedule. Then, you can do the following:
Blog With a Purpose
Blogs are the important tools to connect the buyers with the sellers and vice-versa. That is why every handmade business must have its own self-hosted website with a blog.
Many artists procrastinate to start a blog. Or some of those take the wrong step by blogging on free platforms. It is frustrating to know that both these situations will not help much.
The technical aspect of starting a handmade business blog is not complicated. Nor does it cost a lot. In fact, you can start one for less than 50$ a year and that too in the next 15 minutes.
Once you get into the groove of blogging with a purpose to expand your business. Then, it will put you and your business to places far and wide. It will attract buyers as well as give you a chance to get featured in some handmade business magazine too.
Distribute Your Handmade Business Cards
Along with taking your handmade business digital. You also have to capture the offline market.
To achieve that purpose, you can enable your marketing material with a QR code. That way your physical promotional material can also direct people to your website.
As a business practice, you can print your QR code on your business cards and packaging materials.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
This is a vast topic that deserves an entire post by itself. In today’s age, each social media has its own unique algorithm. That means what works well on one may not work on others and vice-versa.
So, instead of going nuts to master each of them. You can do your business a favor by sticking to at most 2 of them.
Since a handmade business has a visual appeal. Therefore, Pinterest and Instagram are viable options.
Starting a handmade business with a concrete plan is different from starting one on a whim.
The former has a greater chance to do well.
If you have prior experience of operating a small business. Then, you know the pains and frustrations it involves at each of its growing stages.
That is why it is wise to stay calm and take a step back before you jump into one.
If you could visualize how you would carry out your business tasks in the near future. Then, you would be better off dealing with unforeseen situations.
A handmade business plan template helps in doing that job. I provide a simple one in my Shop. You can make use of it to imagine what your business would be in a few months from now.
Do You Plan Your Business? What tools work best for You? Let me know in the comments below so that it adds to everyone’s skill sets.
Image Courtesy: Pixabay
Gloria M Barrera says
This was so very helpful!!
Thanks so much, Gloria. Do let me know if you need any help regarding your handmade business.