If you’re a crafter, you must have wondered at one point or another whether this is something you could turn into a business. The answer to that question is yes, it is! In fact, it’s a lot simpler than you may imagine.
Getting your own craft business started can be a great way to turn your hobby into an income stream, and it doesn’t have to be difficult, either. You may need to spend some time on research and make sure to take a few things into consideration before getting started, though.
Over the course of this article, I’ll explain some of the things you need to think about before taking your crafting hobby to the next level. As a small business owner myself, I'll tell you everything you need to know about the business side of things, while the ins and outs of your craft are something only you know best.
8 Steps to Start a Craft Business
Before you get your feet off the ground with your crafting business, here are a few things worth spending some time thinking about. These steps will help you give your idea the best chance of being successful.
1. Find Your Market Niche
The first thing you want to think about on this journey toward starting your craft business is deciding which of your crafts you want to focus on. Your first step will be to determine how these crafts fit into the market, what niche they belong to, and what trends are common in that niche.
You may already have an answer to this question in mind if you’ve been crafting for some time and want to stick to what you’re good at. This is not a bad idea – if you’re able to build a recognizable style, customers will be more likely to remember your crafts as yours. However, you should remain mindful of what other, similar businesses are doing, and how their work compares to yours. It’s always a good idea to check out your competition.
There can be many smaller niches your work can fall into – for example, if you’re a crocheter, you may specialize in crocheting clothing or may lean toward stuffed toys. Choosing your niche will help you build up your whole brand around the products that you’re most likely to be selling.
Once you’ve settled on a focal point to build your business around, think about what’s already out there within your chosen niche. What are similar craft businesses doing? Are there plenty of online stores that sell similar crafts?
If the market for your product is already quite saturated, you’ll need to find a way to make your crafts stand out from the pack.
2. Visualize Your Customers
Now that you know what you want to sell, it’s time to think who wants to buy it. Who are your typical customers and what do they look for? While many people might enjoy your crafts, there will often be a pattern that will help you make some important decisions going forward.
There are plenty of crafts available for sale at any given time, but if you’re able to imagine what your customers might want the most, you’ll be able to decide how to market your products, where to sell them, how to price them, and most of all, what to make for your next collection.
All of these factors will count toward getting your products sold and eventually increasing your sales.
Doing a little research will go a long way here. Check out similar businesses and see how they market their crafts – you can often gauge the customer base just from that. For example, a store that sells toys for children will have a much different way of marketing its products compared to one that targets hip, trendy people in their 20s.
3. Choose a Name for Your Business
While picking out a name for your business may seem like just one tiny detail, it can be the tiny detail that helps your business succeed.
Pick a name that’s catchy and simple, but still communicates what you’re selling. You don’t want to get too fancy with a name that could go over people’s heads, or worse, a name that is easily forgotten.
Just picking a name that speaks to you isn’t always enough – you’ll also need to make sure that other people haven’t come up with the same idea first. If you’re looking to sell your crafts online, check whether all the important social media handles and your perfect website address are available.
If not, you might have to go back to the start and think of something else, because building your online presence will help you sell more of your creations.
4. Create a Business Plan
Having spent some time envisioning what you’re going to be selling and who you’re going to be selling to, it’s time to put some of this to paper and start producing your business plan.
The idea may sound intimidating, but don’t worry – you don’t need to get into the business side of things too much. For a small business that sells crafts, your business plan will serve as a quick reminder of the path ahead and a checklist that tells you what you still need to do.
Think of the following and put it in writing:
- What you plan to sell
- How much time you want to devote to your craft business
- How much money you’re willing to invest upfront (unless you’ll start by selling things you’ve already made, which is fine too!)
- Possible places where you want to sell your crafts, and how to make that happen
- Where do you want to go in the future? Is this going to be a part-time thing or a full-time job one day? Try to imagine where your business might go and what it will take to get there.
One day, if you choose to expand your business, you might want to write up a more detailed business plan for the purpose of showing it to potential banks and investors. For the time being, if you don’t need loans or additional investments, focus on forging your own path.
5. Set Up Your Licensing and Insurance
One key part of starting your craft business is making sure that you’re good to go from a legal and licensing point of view. Unfortunately, registering your business is a process you’re going to have to go through even if you’re just operating out of your own home as a sole proprietor.
The types of licensing you need will vary based on where in the country you’re located, your business structure, and the type of business you plan on running. You might need multiple licenses for the same thing too: one each for local, state, and federal levels. If you’re planning on running your business from home, look into home business licensing and online seller licensing for selling your products online.
Another key consideration is insurance. Be prepared to consider business, general liability, and commercial property insurance, all of which are especially important if you have employees other than yourself.
6. Pick the Right Place(s) to Sell Your Crafts
Now, it’s time to think about where you want to sell your crafts. If you want to test the waters before launching your own brick-and-mortar or online store, there are more ways than ever to do so today.
Here are a few ways you can start selling your products without making the commitment of running your own store:
- Running a pop-up at a local arts and crafts fair
- Selling your products at local boutique shops
- Listing your products on a digital marketplace like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, or Walmart
These options are all solid ways to get started selling your crafts and get your products some initial exposure. However, boutique stores and digital platforms will all take fees for using their platforms – and these fees can add up to a lot in the long run.
Starting your own website and online store is a good way to avoid the extra fees that are tied with some of the most popular digital marketplaces. Marketing your website will take time and work, but this is a long-term investment that will pay off over time.
Once you have your own website you can put your creativity to work! You can build up your own style and brand, communicate with your customers in a simple and personal way, and even customize your own checkout page.
7. Set Up Your Payment Framework
If you choose to open your own online store and set your crafts independently, you’ll need a payment service provider.
Pay.com is a quick and easy way to start accepting a wide variety of payment methods. It’s easy to get started for you, and once it’s all set up, it’ll be equally easy to use for your customers. You don't need to be an expert to try it out, and no business is too small to sign up.
Other than accepting payments on your website, Pay.com also lets you accept card payments over the phone, and gives you the option of creating Pay Links to send to customers through email or text message.
Once you’re all set, Pay.com can help you keep an eye on all your payments in a straightforward way. It’s easy to follow and secure, so you can sit back and focus on your crafts while we handle the payment side of things.
8. Market Your Business
Marketing can mean a lot of things, from simple word of mouth to a full-on marketing campaign, but when you run a small crafts business, it all comes down to knowing your audience and putting your best foot forward.
You don’t need to spend money on marketing, at least not at first. Let your crafts do the talking and make sure to post them on social media. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and even TikTok are all good places where you can market your crafts for free.
Try to get involved in groups and forums that focus on the type of crafting you’re doing. Share your creations with the world. You don’t always have to advertise them in a sales-like manner, either. Just showing off your crafts in the right places is bound to get you some people asking where they can see more of them, and providing helpful advice for other crafters can score you some serious points with potential buyers. That’s the right time to direct them to your website!
Remember that if you want to show your crafts, taking the right picture and writing the right description can make or break a potential sale. Lighting and background are both very important. Take photos in good light, with no distracting backgrounds, and put your crafts front and center. Helping them shine can help you make a sale.
The Pros and Cons of Starting Your Own Craft Business
Starting your own craft business can be a great way to earn an income doing something you love and already spend time doing, however, it doesn’t come without drawbacks.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of starting your own craft business.
- You can make money from a hobby you love
- You can usually work from home
- You're your own boss and set your own hours
- Running a business helps you improve your marketing skills
- You can invest as much or as little time as you want into your business
- It can take a while for a new business to be profitable
- Your hobby may start to feel like a job and a source of stress
- As your business grows you will have to devote more time and attention to expanding it
The Bottom Line: Is Starting a Craft Business Right for You?
Having read through this article, you now have a much better idea about some of the practical steps you’ll have to take to set up your own craft business. We hope that you now realize that getting your craft business going doesn’t have to be as complicated as you may have thought.
Whether it’s a crafting hobby that you’ve already spent a lot of time on, or something you’re just starting to get into and want to turn into something more structured, making a business out of it can be a great way to make some extra income from it – even if you start out small.
Once you learn the ropes a little better and gain a better understanding of your market and the business side of things, going from there and expanding will come a lot easier.
With plenty of great sales and ecommerce tools out there, as well as Pay.com to rely on for the payment side of things, setting up your own online or physical store has never been easier. Consider taking the plunge and trying it out!