Tuesday, October 25, 2011

5 Tips to Success in the Craft Market

1.  It is important to maintain a physical separation between your work and your personal life.  This often difficult when you are trying to launch a small craft business.  While an off-site space to work would be optimal, many crafters must work in their homes.  In these circumstances, business is on your mind from the minute you get up in the morning until you go to bed at night, unless you're really disciplined and can get up & walk away from it.  A dedicated work area will be the best option for most people starting out and when you leave that space, you must be able to leave 'work' behind.  You need your personal time & space to help you gain some perspective, relax your mind & body and to renew your creative energy.

2.  Take advantage of the opportunities to learn from fellow crafters.  Attend as many craft shows as you can, either as a vendor or a 'buyer', and talk to the other crafters there.  You will find that people are more than willing to share what they know with you...where the good shows are, where to find supplies and give you plenty of ideas on how to market your business.  Plug yourself into the craft networks available through social media outlets, Facebook, LinkedIn, Etsy, etc., and start building your fan base.

3.  Don't be afraid to change your direction.  If what you are making doesn't sell, revamp your product line or change mediums altogether.  Explore all your options, leave no stone unturned.  You are not a complete failure if your first idea does not turn out as you hoped or expected.  You've just found one way that doesn't work.  You've gained new knowledge & vital lessons to apply to your next venture.

4.  Experiment with techniques that are popular with other crafts.  Don't get 'boxed in' to a specific way of doing things.  Keep your mind & your eyes open.  Look at mixed media techniques to find new methods or supplies.  Your evolution as an artist is a never-ending journey.  Take classes with teachers that you admire and use their techniques, not their finished products, to keep your line fresh.  Look for books & magazines to inspire you.

5.  Adjust your business model to conform to economic realities & changing trends.  Success at craft shows can lead to selling your product lines wholesale to retail outlets.  You may eventually find that you do not need to do craft shows anymore, or that sales in those venues have dwindled off to the point that you need to look for other avenues.  Some crafters run very successful online businesses, either from their own website or sites like Etsy which is an online market for handcrafters.  If you have a website, make sure it is current & updated frequently.  Look for every opportunity to gain exposure for your work and make sure you have a bit of fun along the way!

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