Arts & Crafts
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:
) 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
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 (www.craftsreport.com) and Craftrends Magazine (www.craftrends.com)
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.
offers a super opportunity to sell your crafts online. Their site is ecommerce
ready and handles all the transactions. I recommend them highly.