I was once given a wonderful nugget of advice from the author of one of my favourite business books. He said “when starting a business it’s best to start small and make money organically i.e. make money from the money that you earn, and if you can, avoid bank loans”. Debt is the number 1 reason that start-ups fail. I have followed this advice, and I’m very glad that I did. Starting small enabled me to keep things under control, and any mistakes that I have made along the way haven’t been crippling. This begs the question: how do I find out if my handicraft will sell before I take the plunge? The answer: ‘as cheaply as possible!’.
Research is the key.
Ask friends and co-workers (and anyone else who you feel will give you an honest answer) for their opinions about your handicraft. Ask them questions like what they like, and don’t like about your handicraft. What would they wiling to pay for it? Do they have any suggestions for improvement? Ask as many people as you can and jot down the answers in a big note pad. I still have mine from when I started my business. It’s filled with precious info such as market research, suppliers lists, and wish lists of things that I wanted to sell, etc. all in one note pad . It not only has great sentimental value, it’s of great business value too.
Another wonderful source of (free) research is the internet. Have a look at the many internet craft forums, Etsy, and Craftster for example. Get involved by becoming a forum member and ask other members questions about your work. You’d be surprised at just how helpful other crafters are. For me, one of the nicest things about working in the craft industry is the crafting community, they really are a warm and friendly bunch :0) Internet forums are also great to learn about craft trends. It’s always a good idea to be in the know about what’s hot, and what’s not!
Here are some great internet resources that I use regularly to keep abreast of craft trends:
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