Have you always dreamed of setting up a small craft business? Is your New Year’s resolution to finally take the plunge? Do you really love baking and you’re good enough to sell it? Perhaps you’re Macrame Master or a Croquet Queen? Are you constantly doodling and think they’d make great greetings cards or prints?
We offer our members a whole host of benefits, including being part of a creative community, peer support, small business inspiration and tips, help with raising your visibility and more. Click here to see what we offer.
The first step is always the hardest, but here are our top tips if you’re thinking of setting up a creative business:
- Write an action plan
First thing’s first, put your ideas down. Whether it’s a brainstorm, a spider diagram, a wall covered in sticky notes or a complete business plan, get your thoughts down on paper. You don’t always need to have a thoroughly thought-out business plan, as sometimes curveballs are thrown your way that you can’t do anything about (hello, Covid), but adaptability and passion are key.
Write down a list of where you want to go and how you want to go about it. Do you want to sell at markets? Do you want to be featured in magazines? Do you want to sell wholesale?
Having a clear focus on your business goals, motivations, skills and what you’re about, will help you decide what products to sell, what skills you need to learn and how to brand yourself.
- Decide on your USP (Unique Selling Point).
Why should people buy your products? What is your business about? What are your special skills? What is your core ethos?
Decide what sets you apart from the competition and stick with it. Think about this when making your products and deciding on your branding too.
- Consider up-front costs
How are you going to get started? Make a list of the materials you need to buy, how to get your products printed and research suppliers.
Consider the cost of a market stall – you may want to do some further research around this (but you should recuperate these costs at market).
- Sort the legal stuff
Do you need to register as Self-Employed with HMRC? Are you a Sole Trader or a Limited Company?
Do you need Public Liability Insurance for selling at markets? Do you need stock insurance in case any of your products get damaged, lost or stolen?
Check out the legalities here, or contact an accountant or professional.
- Find your suppliers
A quick Google search can be your best friend, but sites such as Etsy is also a goldmine of resources. Always try and shop small and independent if you can!
It is ok to ask for ideas from other makers too, but do bear in mind that they may not want to give away their trade secrets, and sometimes it’s a case of trial and error.
Artists like Emily Harvey Art have some fab blogs with tips like this.
- Name your price
Decide on your product pricing and how much you need to sell to make a living. Check out more tips on pricing here.
- Be market ready
There are dozens of amazing markets you can sell at, as found on Pedddle!
Think about the stock you’d need, how you might present a stall, write a budget for the things you’d need to buy and definitely do some research as a customer too – pop to the market yourself to see the vibe and find out what it’s like to be a customer there, so you know how better to appeal to them.
8. Get used to working from home
Going solo with your business is a big challenge already, but many are unprepared for how lonely working from home can sometimes be, and getting that old work/life balance right. In the wake of Covid, evidently a lot of us are used to spending time at home, but it can be tough making business decisions solo and spending much of your time at home or in a home studio.
Lots of makers do a ‘morning commute’ where they take a walk in their local area or grab a coffee out to prepare for the day. Starting your day like this can be a good way to get some headspace and get into the right mindset.
The creative community is incredibly supportive and we all pull together in times of trouble. There’s always someone to talk to and if you’re stuck, contact us at Pedddle! Our DMs on Instagram are always open.
9. You don’t need a website
Having your own website is brilliant, and we have some top tips on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). This is a great step for your business, and an important resource to have eventually.
However, Pedddle is here to offer you a wonderful stall page and great SEO, so that you can easily be found online and at markets! Click on our ‘Become a Member’ tab to see what we offer.
Although a website is great, it doesn’t have to be the top of your priority list at first, you can use other online marketplaces and build from there to save initial expense.
10. Choose your platform
Ebay is great for finding one-off goods, vintage products and re-selling. Etsy is American and Folksy is UK-based, but both offer crafts and limited-edition pieces from artisan sellers. And So To Shop is also a fab marketplace – there are so many to choose from. However, do be mindful of seller fees. Selling through your own website means that the ball is always in your court, but it can be harder to get discovered this way at first, and you will need to work on your SEO.
11. Promote yourself
Social media is king in the modern age. Be active on social media.
Pinterest is a great way to get noticed and although Facebook doesn’t have the engagement rates it once did, Instagram is perfect for visual content and getting your products noticed, and the Depop app could be one to investigate too, especially for clothing or vintage sellers and perhaps even jewellery makers. Social media is the first place people turn to when looking up a business.
Make sure your images are great and on brand. You can find tips on great product photography here.
12. Copyright your products
Surprise – you don’t need to! In the UK, if you create or design something then you have the automatic copyright to it for 20 years after creation. See our blog on copyrighting products for full details.
Positivity is the key for being a small business owner. Check out our blog on keeping a positive mindset for inspiration.
Want further information? Check out our resources for where to turn to get your small business questions answered.
And most of all – good luck! You’ve got this. You won’t know just how successful you can be until you try.