A Word of Advice for a Beginning Crafter
By Eileen Bergen
Even though my site is fairly new, I have been getting letters
from crafters looking for advice on how to get started selling
their wares. I thought that this letter and my answer would be of
interest to anyone beginning a new home business.
This is an example:
I would like to get started selling crafts to make some extra
money, but I don’t have a lot of it to spend. I can sew a little.
What is the best way I can make some money quickly?
Betsy by e-mail
I have a little bit of bad news for you. Getting started in any
business, crafting or otherwise, is not something that can be done
quickly or cheaply.
First let’s look at the product you want to make. You say you
know how to sew, but that really does not give me enough
information. But assuming you have good sewing skills, what is
it that you plan to make? Is it a hand appliquéd vest or a hand
made hot pad.
The truth is that the market for each is vastly different and that
some things are worth much more than others. If you are serious
about getting a business going, you must start with a quality
product that people will pay a nice markup for. Among other
things, this means using good quality materials and unique or
You can get many patterns for free on the Internet and in
magazines, but I believe they are only starting points. The best
patterns will not be given away for free. If you are going to
start with a free pattern, you have to do something to make it
different - to make it your own. You must have something good to
Any business is going to require time and effort to get going.
If you’re working at home and are surrounded by distractions,
this might be harder than it sounds. You must act the same as
if you were going out to an office or factory to work. Set aside
certain hours that are devoted only to your business. Set aside
space just for your business. Buy the tools you need to do quality
You need not buy new equipment. Check out what’s for sale at eBay
or at garage sales and flea markets. Buy your materials when they
are on sale or from the clearance bin. Buy online. The same
products you see in stores can cost 33% to 50% less. The important
thing is not to scrimp. Your customers will know it and your sales
will be affected.
You will have to devote some time and expense to advertising of one
sort or another. You have to find customers or you are just wasting
your time. Local craft shows are a good place to start, as are
online auctions at sites such as eBay or Yahoo.
I really can’t tell you what your budget should be. It need not be
enormous. But this is definitely not something that can be done for
free, nor will you get rich quick.
Please go to www.theartfulcrafter.com/craft-business.html. Read the
articles I wrote and check out some of the resources I recommend.
You will be starting out with a lot more ammunition than most.
Good Luck. Let me know how things work out.
Your Guide to Fun & Profits from Crafts
About the Author
Ms. Bergen has had a varied career, first as a special education teacher and than, after getting a MBA degree, as a vice president of a major insurance company. For the last eight years she has been creating and selling her crafts.
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