Do you have a passion for arts and crafts? Do you love to create beautiful objects and spend your spare time making original gifts to wow your friends and family, or to embellish your home? Have you been inspired by a craft class, creative workshop or experience day and can’t wait to do more?
Britain has always been proud of its artisan craftsmanship heritage, and with the recent revival of all things homespun and handmade, now could be a good time to turn your hobby into a thriving business.
You may be suffering from corporate burnout, keen to find an alternative, more fulfilling occupation. Perhaps you’ve had a career break, or taken retirement, and are now looking to start your own business. Or maybe you just never really liked being on the treadmill of daily commute and employment drudgery.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. If you have a passion for pottery, knitting or jewellery making, there’s nothing to stop you turning your hobby into a proper job.
Luckily for craftsmen and women looking to go professional, hand-made chic is in high demand. From glass making to textiles, ceramics to designing silver cufflinks – choose your sector specialism and start crafting.
However, before you launch yourself headlong into your new occupation, do some essential market research to find out where exactly the demand is. Identify who your customers would be and speak to them to find out what they are looking for. Maybe do a test run in your spare time, or on a part-time basis, before committing to your chosen craft or product.
These are just a small selection of creative crafts that could be a rewarding and lucrative business opportunity:
- Candle Making
- Jewellery Making
- Handmade Christmas Decorations
- Handmade Greeting Cards
- Pottery & Ceramics
- Soap Making
Other Craft Related Activities
In conjunction with any of the above activities, you could also get involved in promoting art auctions, organising pop-up events, craft shows or regular artisan markets to provide a platform for yourself and other artisans to showcase and sell their artwork.
Finally, don’t forget that you can supplement you income by teaching your special skill to other people. Whether you give private classes and workshops, or teach at a local school or college, it’s worth investigating all opportunities.
Business Questions to Ask
Whichever route you choose, it’s important to remember that your crafting activity is now a business venture and no longer a hobby. This means that in order to be profitable in the longer term, you need to be able to expand production to meet demand – the business has to be scalable. This, in turn, may have implications for the need for production facilities, supplies and human resources, storage and distribution – the whole nine yards.
Channels to Market
You also need to be clear about your sales and marketing strategy. Initially, you may want to sell your creations locally – farmers’ markets, arts &craft fairs, local festivals, pop-up shops and so on. To take advantage of the power of social media, why not set up a Facebook page, Instagram or Pinterest account for your business and ask friends and family to help you share it.
The beauty of the internet is that there are many websites that promote start-up and home-based designers and craft businesses that could be perfect for raising your profile, in addition to being a useful selling platform. From Etsy & Folksy who specialize in original homemade, vintage and crafty items, to Notonthehighstreet & Notjustalabel who cater for up-and-coming designers, you can be a small and independent business but with a global reach. Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of eBay as a valuable additional marketing and income stream.
Last but by no means least, it is hugely important to get your business admin and finances in order from the get-go. Work out your business entity (will you be a limited company?) and name, and let HMRC (and Company’s House?) know about your plans, so your tax position is clear. Explore different sources of available business finance and start-up funding, and don’t forget to think about business insurance too.
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer who worked together with UK experience provider Into the Blue on this post.