It seems to me that “now” may be the best time to start planning and developing your own “Arts and Crafts Business”. A lot of people are searching for ways to supplement their income. Selling your own handmade products may be a great way of “earning an income” and “working for yourself”.There are many factors to consider when planning your new Arts & Crafts Business:Do you have the time to run your own arts and crafts business? Remember, you may need to make a hundred pieces of your specific craft to display at Arts & Craft Shows. If it takes 3 hours to build each craft then you need to set aside 300 hours to prepare for the show. Also, keep in mind that many of the shows are on weekends and you may have to work many weekends to sell your products.What is the material going to cost to produce the crafts I need for a show? If it costs $3 in material for each craft you make and you need 100 pieces to display in the show then your investment is going to be $300 in materials or possibly more if you consider extra material for mistakes in assembly or faulty materials.The cost of the Arts & Craft show must also be considered. If the show costs you $100 to exhibit, then you must take these costs into account.Other costs to consider Many people forget to consider the “other costs” which may be necessary to take part in a Arts & Craft Show. Other costs may be: Advertising or Marketing costs. The cost for a “helper” to assist you in your business. The cost to move your products to and from the show.Where can I store my merchandise when not being displayed at a show? For smaller crafts this may not be an issue but with larger crafts you may have to rent a storage room or storage locker.
What happens if my work doesn’t sell at the show? Everyone wants to sell there products they worked so hard to make in quantity for the long awaited “Arts & Crafts” Show but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I personally would not plan on selling anything for sure, in other words don’t count on it paying your rent. I will give you a few examples: When I was 12 years old my brother and I built about 100 A-frame birdhouses and took part in a craft show. We spent several days building the “Birdhouses” and spent the entire day at the craft show and did not sell “one” Birdhouse. My father took part in a craft show a few years ago and had sold all his product and was unable to continue the show because he did not have any other product left to sell.Where is the best place to get the supplies for the crafts? It all depends on what crafts you are making. It make be that you can go to “Hobby Lobby” or “Micheals” to get what you need at an affordable price. I believe checking around for the best price for the supplies you need. You can check online and do “Google” searches for the items you are looking for for your project. Otherwise, consider eBay or Craigslist for a inexpensive source for your supplies. Also, I like the idea of paying “Nothing” for your supplies. If you deal with fabric you be able to get free fabric samples from fabric stores or online. If you deal with wood crafts you can call local cabinet shops and ask if they have any scraps. Lastly, if you make products out of twigs or logs you may be able to harvest your own products right off your own property. In fact, I manufacturer my own rustic furniture and baskets. I get all my supplies from my property and this sure helps to keep the costs down.What items are the most popular to sell at the Arts & Crafts Shows? I can’t tell you what the “hottest” crafts are selling at the shows and it depends on your location. The best way to find out is to visit the shows, talk to the exhibitors, and keep a eye on what items are moving.What items will give you the best return on your investment? The best way to research the return on investment is to keep accurate records of the time it takes for making each of your crafts. For example. my mother made several “Angels” for a show and she made three sizes(small, medium, and large). It took her 30 minutes to make the small ones, an hour for the medium angels, and three hours for the large. At the show she sold 15 small at $10, five medium for $20 and zero large angels. The cost of materials was $2, $4, and $6 respectfully. She made a gross return on her small angels of $150 and a net of $120. So she made 120 for 7.5 hours which translates to 16 per hour. But keep in mind she did not take in to consideration her time at the show or any additional expenses she incurred for being at the show. The medium angels grossed her $100 and netted her $80. So she made $80 for 5 hours or $16 per hour. She did not make any money on the large angels. You may want to talk to piers or online forums to get more information on what products you can make for the best profitability.The business plan! The business plan is an important aspect of starting any new business. Many times there are limited funds when trying to start a business so consider the following recommendations: Rather than purchasing a “Business Plan” software at your local computer outlet go to the library and many of them have kits on “How to start your own business” for many popular business types including the “Art & Craft Business”. The kits have a great resource of information including: The initial cash outlay, the legal ramifications, the pros and cons of starting this kind of business, the average income a Arts and Crafts person can expect to earn, and additional information. Also they should have information on business plans and how to write one. Lastly, you can look online and there is wealth of information online. You can Google “Business Plan” and probably find some good information. Otherwise, try “About.com” and they may have helpful information too.
If you are looking for art and crafts show then try artsandcraftshows.net they have thousands of shows throughout the country to help get you started. Also, check with your local “Chamber of Commerce”.Lastly, before diving into the “Arts & Crafts” business take some time to consider all the parameters required for running a “Small Business”. There are even online questionnaires that you can fill out to see if you have the mind set for running your own business. Some of the important traits to have include but are not limited to the following: determination, hard working, dedication, responsibility.I started out my business doing “Arts an Crafts” Shows and now run a multimillion dollar business. So there is good hope for your future. My best words of wisdom would be “never give up” and “learn from your mistakes”.