Is it the Best Business to Start?
A home based craft business is a way to start earning money at home. If you enjoy sewing, you can start in business quickly and see a profit within a short time.
Your financial investment is small, and if you already enjoy sewing, you won’t have to spend a lot of time learning the sewing skills needed for your new business.
The Home Craft Business: How to Make it Survive and Thrive Written by a crafter with over 16 years of experience in running a home craft business.
Crafts to Make and SellGuidance on a selling a wide variety of crafts written by a crafter with over 30 years of experience.
The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and On-LineLearn how to start and run a successful machine quilting business.
How to Sell Your Crafts Online: A Step-by-Step Guide to Successful Sales on Etsy and BeyondProven online sales and marketing knowledge for selling your crafts, based on practical experience.
Handmade to Sell: Hello Craft’s Guide to Owning, Running, and Growing Your Crafty BizWritten by crafty entrepreneurs, with great business tips by some of the most successful crafters.
Grow Your Handmade Business: How to Envision, Develop, and Sustain a Successful Creative BusinessSound, practical advice for those who want to turn their hobby into a business.
You may be wondering if you have to be exceptionally creative and artsy to start a home based craft business. That depends. You can choose to make one-of-a-kind items that you design, or you can simply use traditional designs and items that have been around for years.
There is a demand for both. One-of-a-kind items sell for more money of course, but you won’t sell nearly as many as the more traditional, less expensive products.
Quality hand-crafted products of all kinds are always in demand. It is important, however, to research your market to see what people are most likely to buy.
you make for your home based craft business.
Selling crafts that you make, is near and dear to my heart. Years ago, I started a sewing home based craft business when my children were young, and it allowed me to stay home with them until they were all in school.
I sold my craft products through a number of different outlets: home parties, craft shows, consignment shops and trade shows. Each outlet had its pros and cons.
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Retailing Your Home Based Craft Business Products
When you retail your work, you charge the full retail price. How much of that you keep, depends on HOW you retail your products.
- A shop in your home – If your home has zoning that permits a retail shop, you can use a space in your home as a studio or show room.Your family will have more privacy if there is a door that leads directly into the showroom. And, if you decide to do this, you will need to keep regular hours and post them on the door so that your customers will know when you are open.The retail outlet works best if your home is on a busy road where people are used to shopping or in a tourist area.Additionally, if you sell to other shops in the area, you shouldn’t undercut their prices. Shop owners are very aware of competition, and they don’t want to compete with the craftsman that sold them their products.
- Craft shows – You will get full retail at a craft show, but you will also pay a fee for your booth space. Depending on the show, you might pay as little as $25-50 or a higher number, reaching into the hundreds.Juried craft shows, where a judge or panel picks the best craftsmen to participate in the show, generally charge more money to participants for their booths. In addition, if the show is a big one (large and successful), you may have to travel a distance and stay overnight, adding to your expenses.
- Farmers’ Markets – You rent a booth and attend regularly (usually weekly). You may be able to charge full retail, and you benefit from the advertising of the market itself. Farmers’ markets often have regular customers, and this is a way for your home based craft business to have repeat customers who bring you regular business.
- Flea markets – Just as with Farmers’ markets, you rent a booth and attend regularly. People who attend flea markets expect a discount, and higher priced items don’t usually sell. If you decide to do this, take a lot of lower priced items that are quick to make and charge an attractive price for them.
- Online – No business in this day and age is complete without a website or a way to sell things online. Your home based craft business will need to have an online presence. Don’t forget this important outlet.
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Selling Your Products Wholesale
Sometimes it’s just easier to take orders and deliver your products to a retailer, instead of trying to sell each item yourself. Most crafters use a combination of outlets, both retail and wholesale, for their finished pieces.
- Consignment shops – The advantage to a home based craft business is that you can usually get a shop owner to take your products on consignment (You don’t get paid unless they sell.), before they will purchase them outright from you.When an item sells, you will receive 60-70% of the price paid by the customer. My experience was that 60% is the more likely amount. Shop owners like this system, because they don’t have to pay you any money up front, and they have no risk.On the other hand, you do have some risk. If your items are damaged or stolen, it is your loss. Some shop owners will tell you what they want to place in their shops, so you need to comply if you want them to take your products.During the 1980s I had an interesting experience. I had a number of items in a local consignment shop, and the shop caught fire and burned to the ground. The insurance did pay the consignees something, but you had to have good records to prove your loss, as the shop owner’s records were in the shop when it burned down.
- Home parties – I sold many of my home based craft business items through home parties. My system was simple. I patterned my party system after a familiar one that sold unrelated items. With home parties, you sell at retail, but you also need to make sure that your hostess is suitably rewarded for her sales, new party bookings and for hosting the party. You can also run specials to help boost her sales.Home parties can be run a couple of different ways. You can do the traditional party, where you entertain the group with some party plan games and tell them about the items for sale. This method has the advantage of group psychology, where people encourage others to buy.Or you can do a walk-in home party, where you set up a display and leave it for 2-3 days. The hostess invites her friends and they come to visit when it is convenient for them. The hostess has coffee and a snack and visits individually with each guest.
- Trade shows – These are selling shows where gift shop owners come to buy products for their shops. They expect to pay 50% of retail for items that they purchase, and they won’t buy from you if your products are priced too high.You can make large sales at trade shows, and I found that the competition has mostly mass manufactured products, not hand-made or hand-sewn ones. One advantage to doing a trade show is that you don’t have to take a truck load of inventory. You just take a nice display with samples of what you will deliver later (2-6 weeks).Shop owners expect delivery of seasonal items (e.g. Christmas décor) 6 months ahead of the holiday. So you should prepare your samples and products accordingly.
- Fundraisers – If you decide to go this route, choose uncomplicated items that can be produced quickly. Your orders could be quite large, and you will have a limited amount of time to get everything done.Fundraiser items are usually priced a little higher than normal retail; however, you need to consider incentives for the high sellers. This is a highly competitive area, and some fund raising companies provide expensive gifts to high sellers and a party for everyone at the end.
If you need a job quickly or you want to make extra money, starting a home based craft business to sell your own fabric crafts is a good way to get started.
With a home based craft business, you won’t have to invest in expensive equipment, nor will you have to rent expensive floor space in a retail store. You can be up and running quickly and making money within a few weeks.
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