Starting a craft business can be as simple as setting up a small table at local show, or as sophisticated as a developing a full scale business plan with long term financial forecasting, marketing plans and growth strategies. Or it can fall somewhere in between.
I was fortunate to be able to participate in a small business training program when I started my company.
I dove into my jewelry business well prepared with a business plan, good bookkeeping tools, an idea of how I would structure my time, and access to mentors to help me along the way.
But don't let the thought of all that planning overwhelm you.
You don't have to have all of those things in place when starting a craft business. In fact, that's what's great about starting a home craft business. You can commit as much or as little time as you like depending on what you want from your business and how you plan to prioritize your business with your other commitments.
However, the more time and effort you put into planning your business, the more ready you'll be to recognize and grab great opportunities, avoid mistakes and grow your business in a direction that makes sense for you and works with your values, goals and priorities.
Here's What You'll Find on This Page
Here are some of the things I've learned about starting a craft business:
This lesson is probably the first and most important lesson people learn when they begin working out of the home. It is very difficult to succeed at working from home if you don't have a dedicated place to work.
Yes, it is a diningroom.
The table provides a great, huge space to work. It's already banged up, (we call that character in my home) so I don't care if it gets more marks. And it has survived a fairly large jewelry resin spill.
The light is great, there is plenty of storage, and I can move family meals into the kitchen if I occasionally need to leave a project out for a few days.
I have both a home office and a studio work space.
I do not have a large home, in fact my home is smaller than most (less space to clean!), but I've been able to carve out a home office in a spare bedroom, and my craft room is in the diningroom (which has much better light and more work space than my office). I've figured out how to store my supplies and work so the diningroom can still function as a diningroom most of the time.
You don't need a huge, fancy space. But you do need a dedicated spot where you can store your supplies, work undisturbed and leave your work spread out if necessary.
I don't always work in my office or craft room. I'm just as likely to have the laptop out on the kitchen counter, or be working in the living room, but I do have a dedicated place where I can close the door and think, store all of my supplies, and spread out projects when I need to. It would be very difficult to run my business without that space.
Craft Room Tips
Six things to take into account when you plan your craft room.
Craft Room Design
How to design a highly functional craft room.
Of course storage is always an issue. Here are several craft storage tips.
These little craft storage boxes hold a shocking amount of stuff
There are all kinds of practical things to take into account when starting a craft business.
If you intend to grow your business beyond a table at the local school or church bazaar, you'll need to think about planning ahead for juried art shows, creating a large volume of inventory, financing your business and forecasting income and expenses, and a lot of other practicalities that can quickly become important when you start a home craft business.
When you're ready to take that next step, the small business management tips will help you.
Starting a craft business can provide a lot of options. In fact, the number of forms a craft business can take might be surprising. Every decision from what craft media you work with, what style you adopt, and how you reach your customers will come together to form the unique structure of your craft business.
When starting a craft business, it is important to think through things like:
in order to develop the type of business that is satisfying to you.
Best Selling Crafts
Some statistics on the types of crafts that sell well and the types of crafts that are most profitable (they are not always the same thing).
Craft and Home Business Ideas
A guide to help you think through your craft business options.
Jewelry Making Business
Here's how I started my jewelry making business.
Candle Making Business
Thoughts on building a candle making business.
Soap Making Business
Some ideas for creating a soap making business
Wool Crafting for Profit
Creative ways to think about wool crafting for profit from guest author Jill Wright.
The Lost Art of Clothespin Dolls
Debbie Ritter shares her story about how she started making and selling her unique clothespin dolls and provides insight into what she has learned about selling crafts online at Etsy.
Cigar Box Purses by Ori-Janel Creations
Guest author, Janel Connell, describes her business making hand-crafted cigar box purses.
My Suggestions for Starting a Craft Business
A reader asked for some general tips about getting started with her craft business. Here is her question and my response to her.
List of Craft Forums
Craft forums can be an excellent resource, particularly when you are expanding you skills with a specific type of craft, learning to work as efficiently as possible or looking for great sources of inexpensive supplies.