I have owned an online business for almost 2 years and have done many craft shows. I have also rubbed elbows with those who have been in this line of business for a lot longer than I have. Here are some of the things I have done and those more experienced than me suggest to do to have a successful craft business.
- Join Craft and Hobby Association. It has a sliding scale of fees in relation to how much income your business brings in. It has a wealth of resources and inside trade secrets not accessible to anyone else on the web. You can access insurance, discounts on rental cars, craft supplies, and shipping discounts. Check them out!
- Give to charity. As they say, you can't get what you don't give. By being a part of your community, you learn a lot about your community and those who live in it, but you learn about it's economy. You see what is needed, what others have, and be more appreciative to what you have been blessed with.Maybe a business in town or other business owners will take notice of your work and business opportunities open up!
- Take a detailed inventory of everything you have in starting your business. Do you have office machinery? (I do!) Do you have a lot of fabric (I have too much)? What about a business degree (wish I had gotten one)? Assess exactly how much money and inventory and value of your supplies that you have. This will help you know what you can make now and need to save money for later when profit allows you to spend more on your business.
- Go to craft shows and make a detailed list of who will be making contact with...get to know all about that craft fair and who exactly will be there. Plan how you will execute your public relations, marketing, and walk that floor at least twice!
- Never, ever, ever miss a deadline. Build trust with your customers. Without trust in any relationship, there can't be success.
- This leads to asking for help. If you are suddenly having a lot of business (congrats!), ask for help to fill those orders and rebuild inventory. Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness. Not meeting deadlines is a sign of imminent failure and loss of future business.
- Always be professional and treat your craft business like any other job, even if it is from your home and you wear pajamas behind that computer screen (you know who you are). If you don't see this is a serious business, your customers won't see you as a serious business owner either.
- Constantly read up on trends, color, fabric, fashion, etc. Watch the Oscars. Watch fashion shows. Read everything you can about your craft. Glean info from like businesses and see what they are doing. Don't copy others work.Be original! But, inspiration can come from anywhere. I get a lot of inspiration from my very preppy, yuppie sister-in-law who has a lot of class and fashionable style. Would I wear the stuff she wears? No. But I can see myself making a lot of her outfits and home decor and making good money from it!
I will be sharing more information on following trendsand knowing where to find them before it's too late to capitalize on them in my next blog post.