Those of us who know a craft generally enjoy it as a leisurely hobby. But what if you could make money from that craft by turning it into a business? This could be anything from handcrafted jewelry to a homemade sauce to personally arranged flower bouquets. Such a bold move takes commitment – you’ll have to work to deadlines and make sure the admin is all handled. However, you could end up getting paid for doing what you love. Here are some of the steps you need to take when turning such a passion into a business.
Calculate the costs
Your craft has to be profitable for it to be business-worthy. You need to work out how much you’d have to sell to sustain a living, whether you can supply the demand and whether you can get the clientele in the first place. In the beginning, you may want to take up another job on the side so that you have some stable income. It’s worth getting a financial advisor to help you come up with a plan. Remember that you will also have to keep records of any business-related income and expenses in order to do a self-assessment tax return.
Create a brand
Unless you’re happy selling at a craft fair or on a market stall, you’ll want to come up with a brand for your handcrafted product. This might be important for packaging. You may want to consider getting in touch with a cardboard packaging company or plastic bottle wholesalers. On top of this, you’ll need a logo. From here you can choose to possibly expand your brand with a website, business cards, branded t-shirts and whatever else you fancy.
Sell your product online
The easiest way to start generating some sales is to sell your product online. There are sites for selling unbranded homemade items like Etsy and local selling sites like Gumtree. However, if you’re taking the step to sell your product as a branded item, you’ll want to start selling through your own site and possibly using sites like Amazon.
Getting your product noticed further may involve some serious advertising. PPC (Pay Per Click) ads are just one form of advertising online that can get your product noticed. You may also want to start a Facebook and Twitter page and market through these mediums. There are no bounds to marketing so get creative as you can. Get support from other businesses, come up with promotional deals and start adding to your range of products.
Many people buying products online now base their purchases on reviews. Having a strong online reputation is therefore important. If you’re selling through the likes of Amazon, you can get people to rate you and leave user feedback here. You may even to get private feedback from buyers which you can ask to then use as a public testimonial on your site.
Pitch to retailers
Once you’ve got a strong reputation, you’ve got as strong basis to start pitching to retailers. This could include online sellers or physical stores. You ideally want retailers to see that your product already sells and then make an order. Decide whether you will be supplying them with a single batch or on an ongoing basis. If it’s the former, you may be better off pitching to small independent wholesalers. If it’s the latter, you may want to focus on big chain stores.
Decide whether to go mass produced
There are advantages to keeping your product handmade – there may be marketable appeal in the fact that it’s handcrafted such as being able to go bespoke or being able to put your own personal spin on each product. However, there are also advantages in going mass-produced – you can create your product at a faster rate and therefore sell more. Mass production may involve employing extra staff or it could mean getting machinery to do the bulk of the job. This could mean spending more primarily, although you’re likely to make a quick return. Using mass production methods may also make it easier to deadlines. It all depends on your goals as a business and how far you hope to take your product.