Getting into retail, whether as a producer or as an online shop owner, will take time. It may be slow to start, especially if you’re a niche marketer. Part of selling is managing trends, and once a trend hits the news, you’re too late. Focus on your passion to keep your energy up.
Your Hourly Rate Won’t Be Great
If you love to sew, knit, or crochet and your work is coveted by friends and family, you may be tempted to sell. You know how much time it takes to make a baby quilt, so if you can sell it for $100, your hourly rate is 100 divided by the time it took to source the fabric, cut, piece, and stitch or tie the quilt.
The Market May Be Small
Handcrafted items look great on the shelf, but shoppers are more often lookers than buyers. Your adorable handmade crochet bags might be a great accessory, but you also need to demonstrate that they’re useful over time.
It May Take Time to Find Your Niche
Going back to the baby quilt project, you may get a request for a king or queen-sized quilt. This expansion of the project will likely be much more involved than a baby quilt, which you can work on a small frame on your lap. Large quilts can be awkward and take a lot of maneuvering. Even if you make more, you may not enjoy the effort.
You’ll Need a Workspace
Crocheting in your living room may be relaxing, but you’ll need a spot to store yarn; perhaps a lot of yarn. Do your best to keep your business from taking over your life. Crafters can quickly drown in supplies, and the finished product will also need space.
Keep things simple. Buy your raw goods or items for resale with one credit card or from one account, and don’t buy anything personal with that card or account. If you choose to move forward, you’ll need to set up a business entity and a bank account, but don’t let that stop you from getting started.
Get an EIN
Applying for an EIN isn’t hard, but you’ll need one to get your business bank account set up. The system is automated but easily overloaded, so try calling very early in the morning so you can get through easily.
Supply Chain Management Matters
Many people who make handmade objects use second-hand items or found objects. While there’s nothing whatsoever wrong with this, you do want to be sure and manage the expectations of your clients. For example, if you made a baby quilt with a delicate yellow calico fabric and post that photo in your online store and it sells, you may get a client who wants that fabric, you may be out of luck. Let shoppers know that your products are one of a kind and that you use second-hand fabrics because they will stand up to washing.
It’s Totally Worth It
Turning your passion into someone else’s joy is one of the most exciting ways to spend your time. Once you find your niche and have potential clients excited and waiting for your products, you can really dig into your passion. Set aside time every day to building up stock for your business in the early stages so your on-line “store” cupboards aren’t bare. Keep going.
Getting into your own retail business can be remarkably rewarding. Offering a great product at a fair price and putting together an effective compensation structure can take time. Whether you’re selling online or have a physical shop, make sure to honor your energy and efforts. Take care of yourself, then take care of business.