More and more people are beginning to appreciate the advantages of working from home. Outside of conventional work, the options are greater, and you have more flexibility to consider making income from a range of sources. If you’re an avid crafter or have already had some success selling your wares, now is a perfect time to capitalise on your talents and consider creating a home-based craft business. Here are a few things to consider if you want to set up a thriving home industry.
1- Carefully consider your business plan
Sadly, too many ambitious home-based craft business fail early on not because the product was poor, but because there wasn’t enough foresight and planning to make it all work. A craft business is still a business and will need you to wear many hats as you design a strategy that will work for your unique offering. Competition is high. Find your niche and spend some time identifying your market, understanding what they really want and how your branding and marketing can reach them.
Figure out how much you need to invest to gain a good momentum – and spare a thought to the less glamorous sides of crafting, such a legal questions or insurance. This is the groundwork that distinguishes successful enterprises from ones that never evolve beyond hobbies.
2- Create your own workspace at home
Working from home has obvious advantages, but it’s important to dedicate some space that is just for your business. While a kitchen table could work for personal projects, you’ll need something far more professional for keeping up with bigger orders. Whether you are a home-based craft business who are sewing personalised wedding veils, making leather accessories or crafting unique glass sculptures, you’ll need the right tools and the space to use them. A revamped spare room is ideal, and an empty garage can certainly be put to good use.
If you have the funds to invest, an outdoor cabin office can also be perfect. An increasingly popular option is a converted shipping container – you can customise yours with “accessories, rackings, internal linings, personnel doors, ramps and more” according to S Jones Containers, who have been supplying bespoke containers for 40 years.
3- Make sure you’ve got the details covered
The beauty of craft businesses is that no two are the same. But this means that your unique setup will have its own set of limitations, too. If you’re posting items to customers, you’ll need a rock-solid shipping strategy – or will you sell at markets or try to get your pieces into smaller boutiques and retailers? You’ll need to consider if you want to sell on an online platform like Etsy or eBay, or if you would need your own web presence.
Depending on what you make and sell, you may need to pay special attention to sourcing from the right suppliers at the right prices. Finally, you may also need special licenses (for example, if you’re selling something edible or age-restricted) and will need to understand what tax you pay and when. Another consideration is how you’ll deal with domestic issues and family while working from home!
4- Stay organised
It’s true that many successful cottage industries find success organically, one bit at a time. But at some point or other, it becomes necessary to take your art and craft seriously. Like any other business, you need to keep good records of income and outgoings – even if the amounts are small to begin with! Keeping track of things like your sales, your supply orders and so on will help you take control and make smart choices.
Keeping organised will save you many headaches. Scour IKEA for affordable storage solutions, which will also come in handy when keeping your workspace tidy and organised. You want to have fun and express your creativity, but as your business grows, you’ll need an intelligent strategy to manage the paperwork, materials and packaging.
5- Don’t do it alone!
All of this can certainly seem daunting to the person just starting out. Luckily, many crafty sellers have walked the path before and there is now a wealth of information out there on how to set up a successful craft business of any kind. It can be enormously rewarding to team up with small business owners and crafters in your area to share tips, encouragement, or simply to network with.
Being brilliant at what you do and knowing how to make a wonderful handcrafted item that people want to buy is only the first step. In building a home-based craft business, you need to rethink your home and set it up so it best supports your business goals. An appropriate, well organised and separate space at home will give your art the space it needs to reach its potential.