craft business tips

Craft Business Ideas


Craft Marketer Newsletter
Arts & Crafts Business Help  
Issue Number 24, February 14, 2003


I recently received the question below and felt like it covers a lot of the concerns of the craftsperson starting off. Here's what Ann asked:

(Question: ) I am recently out of work as of December. I am getting a little tired dealing with all the politics and guff of working for others. I am rather "craftsy" and can do almost anything by watching someone else do it. What can you tell me about what projects could be best sellers. reasonable in materials and easy to make. I can paint very well with acrylics, sculpt,stained glass and sew. I just seem to be a little afraid the stuff won't sell. Are there items that people can't seem to get enough of??? Companies that I could do piecework for? I live in Michigan and the winters are long and dismal, I might as well keep busy doing something constructive! I'm not looking to make a fortune, just supplement our income, I can always make more as I learn. Thanks

(Answer:) I understand your situation. Making and selling handmade crafts is a great alternative if you have the characteristics of an entrepreneur -- belief in yourself, persistence, patience, commitment, ability to communicate, love of people.

As for best sellers -- there's no one answer that's going to give you the formula. If there was, everyone would simply start making those items. My experience was that when I produced pieces that I put my heart into, they seemed to jump into customers hands. I also incorporated colors that were predicted to be 'in' within my own designs and they sold well too.

In general, people don't buy arts and crafts to get trendy products. They are looking for unique, original, quality handmades. If you attempt to get ahead of the curve by selling what's trendy, you will experience challenges. The first is how much inventory do you produce to capture the market for an item that is trendy? How long will the trend last? What do you do with the leftover inventory when the trend is over?

Having said all that, you can read what 'experts' say about trends in the craft world in The Crafts Report ( and Craftrends Magazine (

The only way you will know if a craft item will sell, is to make it and test the waters. You can limit your investment by doing a 'trunk show' or 'home party', where you have a friend invite neighbors and friends to an evening get-together, serve refreshments and show your stuff. Bring several types of craft items and see what sells. Trunk shows are a fun way to get your feet wet before diving into commitments like a large crafts show.

If you are interested in doing piecework, you could run a classified ad and put up notices on bulletin boards at craft supply stores, in The Crafts Report and Sunshine Artist magazines and let other craft artists know you are available to work. You probably won't make big money but you might enjoy and learn from the experience.

P.S. offers a super opportunity to sell your crafts online. Their site is ecommerce ready and handles all the transactions. I recommend them highly.

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