My sister and I have successfully been running a crafting business since October 2017.
Our business is called Blossom and Oak and we design, handmake and sell baby and children’s clothing and accessories.
We make a reasonable side income from this and it’s something we very much enjoy and get a lot of satisfaction from. It’s an amazing process to design, make an sell an item, and then people often share pictures of their children in our items and it’s overwhelming!
So you have an idea for something you could make and you’d like to sell it – how do you go about this? Especially if you have no upfront capital?
Here is my start up plan to get your business going;
1. Complete costings. First and foremost can you make profit from your item? What would you need to charge to make this profit? Add up every part that needs to go into the design, and make sure it is sourced as cheaply as possibly, but ensure the quality is where you need it to be. Cheap components that are poor quality will make a poor product, customers won’t return if they aren’t happy with the quality. Is your product worth making? We like to add on a hourly rate for how long it takes to make, you may like to do this to ensure you earn a wage. What will postage look like? Do you need to factor this into the cost or will you charge for it? If selling this item will make you money, move to step two…
2. Market research. Is anyone else selling something similar? Compare sale price, you don’t necessarily have to be cheaper, bear this in mind, but if it’s exactly the same why would they pay a lot more for your product? How does the postage compare? Or do you have something that makes your item unique? Something that gives people a reason to buy yours? This doesn’t even have to be about the product. For example I see some Instagram business where the products are amazing, but they take terrible pictures on their bed, people won’t buy into it or even give it a second look! Will people be interested in buying your product? How easy will it be to market your item and sell it? If you think their is a market for your item and people will buy it, move to step 3..
3. It’s now time to make up your sample or samples. We like to purchase as little components as possible to make up the initial sample so we’re not left with excess stock. Consider where or who you can photograph this with. For example we need to put our products on babies, luckily we have a few in the family so we will make it in their size and give it to them in return for photographs and videos. It’s also good to test them, we like to get the babies to wear them, then wash them, and see how they do! Once you have done this move to stage 4.
4. Create your business name. I think too much focus can be put on this, think about other brands, Curry’s for example – sells appliances – you wouldn’t know from the name! The branding and products are more important, that said try to think carefully about the name, nothing that will offend, or isn’t easy to say or remember! Does anyone else have your name already? Your business may evolve so don’t pigeon hole yourself with your name. For example “Donna’s Dolls” – what if you move on from selling dolls?
4. It’s now time to build your marketing platforms. We are going to create the following;
- Facebook business page – go to pages within Facebook and create a page. There is an app to manage the page but it’s not very good. There is more functionality on the desktop version.
- Instagram page – try to get your name so it all matches
- Twitter page – again your name is a good idea
- Pinterest page – there’s lots of good tools that come with this and well worth it
- Website – I highly recommend One.com it should only cost around £10-12 for the first year and it includes some nifty tools and email addresses etc.
Across all of these you are going to fill them all out and start posting pictures, news and updates. A blog isn’t a bad idea either. WordPress are very good and you can link this to your One.comwebsite. The reason a blog helps is because every time you post Google will pick up the new content and sees your site as a website with fresh detail on it. Google likes this and it will push you higher up the ranking.
I’m going to do a separate write up on marketing through all the different mediums as it’s pages and pages of content just for that alone! There’s a lot to it, but for now just start posting about your business, what you are doing, your products, how you feel, people like personal detail, they connect to you, don’t be something you’re not it’s hard to stick to. Start following people, liking their posts, retweeting, repinning, comment like and comment and like some more! Interaction is key with the new algorithms in Facebook and Instagram in particular. Move to step 5.
5. How will people buy? People do not like a barrier to the purchase. I wouldn’t recommend having them contact you to purchase. I invested in the webshop on One.com. This gives a direct and professional way for people to purchase. We also have an Etsy Shop. This picks up it’s own sales through Etsy, but is another way to do it. You can direct people from your website to shop here. You can also have a store in Facebook. You technically don’t need a website with these other resources, but I like to have our own individual shop front which pulls our brand together. One.com is also useful as it has a feature in the webshop to manage the orders which I like.
We offer a 3 week turnaround which gives time for the payment to come in, buy what’s needed and make the item, this means you don’t need up front capital to get going.
You are now up and running! Well done! The key now is to market market market. Look at running competitions, grow your following. Don’t directly sell, but show people your products, offer them a reason to buy, whether that is simply showing them a gorgeous picture that makes them want to buy a product or it’s a giveaway. Interact where ever you can, you need to be active on social media every day, and I plan to go into how to do this.
For now here are some links you may find useful;