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Do you want to start a craft business? Congratulations! I’m excited for you!
Did you know that Bloomberg estimates that 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs that start a business fail in the first 18 months?
And, starting a craft business is like getting a new job, or having a baby. A business must be nurtured. You’ll need time to make products, create a website, maintain your online shop, photograph your products, ship your products, handle customer service inquiries, shop for supplies, maintain social media profiles, research your business, and so much more.
I promise I am not here to ‘rain on your parade’. I’ve been working with online craft business owners since 2015, so I have some experience with craft businesses.
I’ve made a list of 6 things to consider before your start a craft business.
Table of Contents
What to Ask Yourself Before You Start a Craft Business
1) Do I really know how to use my machine and troubleshoot problems that might come up?
Unfortunately, I see this all the time. A new Silhouette or Cricut owner gets their machine, makes a thing or two and a friend asks them to make a product for them – and they will pay for it! Suddenly, the new machine owner is ready to set up shop. Then, the new machine owner runs into a problem with their machine that they don’t know how to fix – or commits to create an item for a customer that they don’t have the experience to make. The problems and frustrations just start snowballing from there, and the business never gets going. So, please, get to know your machine well before going into business.
2) Do I have enough money to pay for start up costs?
Starting a business costs money. Make sure you have ample funding for items you’ll need including: Supplies, advertising materials, packaging materials, website registration, logo design, and website hosting. Here’s a list of common start up expenses.
3) Do I have the time to invest in a business?
Have you considered when you will create items? Ask yourself these questions: Are you available during the day to make items? Will you be working a part time or full time job and creating in your free time? Do you have small children and will be creating items when they are sleeping? Do you usually spend time with a significant other in the time that you will now be creating products? How will your significant other feel about you using this time for something else? Don’t forget, in addition to creating items – you’ll also need time to advertise yourself, complete paperwork, answer customer questions, photograph and list items (if selling online), and ship the finished items.
4) Do I have space to store my supplies and work?
Where will you create? Is there space in your garage, basement, office, kitchen table? Where will you keep your supplies? Need some creative storage solutions? Check our these tips.
5) Is there a demand for the types of products I want to sell?
Let’s take an example: I’m starting a new business and I mainly make personalized tumbler cups and cutting boards. I’ve made several personalized tumbler cups locally and landed a large order with a local cheer team. But, I also plan to sell online through Etsy. After researching online, I’ve found that there are eight other local cheer teams that I plan to contact about personalized tumbler team orders. When I typed “personalized tumbler” and “vinyl cutting board” into Etsy, I found over 14,000 personalized tumblers already listed, but only about 1000 personalized cutting boards and many were a style that I don’t create. Based on my quick research, I’m likely to get more sales if I promote personalized tumbler cups locally and focus on personalized cutting board designs on Etsy.
6) Do I enjoy working with people?
In my opinion, customer service is what keeps small businesses running. Customers expect prompt, courteous communication on everything from getting details for a custom order to handling a lost package. Expect to dedicate time each day to handling customer inquiries and problems that arise.
What if You Can’t Answer These Questions with a “Yes”?
Honestly, this article isn’t an end all for your dreams if you can’t answer the above questions with a “yes”. However, you need to put some thought into why you can’t answer each question with a “Yes”. What changes can you make in your lifestyle to fit in a craft business? What other things haven’t you thought of? My goal is just to get you thinking about if now is a good time to take on the responsibility of a new craft business. I’d hate for you to get down the proverbial road in three months – and be unhappy.
What to Do Next?
If you think you are ready, get some tips on naming your business: 8 Tips for Naming Your Craft Business.
Since 2015, Christine Schinagl has been helping crafters start and run craft businesses through her blog, Cutting for Business. As a Silhouette and Cricut crafter herself, she has a unique take on what works and what doesn’t work in the craft business world. She also teaches a course on creating digital SVG designs, available at How to Design SVGs.