From craft addiction to craft business, part 1

Posted: Thursday, February 18, 2010

Are you addicted to craft? Do you love it so much you share your needles (knitting, that is)? Are your projects endlessly taking over the living room, bedroom, even bathroom? Then you may be the perfect candidate to turn your addiction from a hobby into a business.

There are a lot of important questions to ask when diving into any business, and selling craft is no exception. In this three part series we'll take a look at some of these questions to help decide if you are ready to embark on a path of selling your craft in our local market.

Why do you want a craftbusiness?

Looking at the goal of your craft business will help you shape its inception. Many crafters ease into selling their products as a way to pay for their craft habit (all the supplies and space for crafting cost big bucks). Think about what "success" means for you. For some making a little extra cash on the side will suffice, while others seek more lucrative gains. Ask yourself if you will be satisfied creating the same product over and over again. Will it be up to other's standards? A lot of these questions come down to your personality. A person with creative ideas and commitment to quality will thrive while a less inventive person who imitates others will never quite catch up.

What are you selling?

This, of course, is the pivotal question when creating a craft company. Your product is all about you, your experience as a crafter, and what you like to create. In the Juneau market we are saturated with jewelry and trinkets targeted at tourism, but that doesn't mean you can't find your niche there. Think about what makes your product unique in our locale. Do you use local resources? Take a stroll through town and check out the competition. One local jeweler uses sea glass gathered here in Alaska, another creates wallets out of salmon skin. Both are extremely exclusive local materials.

Also, note if the quality of your craft stacks up to the competition. You may want or need to reduce steps to simplify your processes and create the volume necessary for selling. Can you do this without losing quality?

Who are you selling to?

What you're selling is directly affected by whom you're selling to, also known as your target audience. If you plan on selling products in town, then your audience may be tourists as opposed to locals. Those two groups have extremely different wants and needs. Make sure your crocheted beanies with racing stripes, which sell swimmingly with local skiers and skaters, don't fizzle with the elderly tourist crowd. And Juneau locales are extremely diverse, so keep that in mind.

When are you selling?

Every business in Juneau is affected in some way by the tourist economy. If you don't plan to sell to the summer market, it may still affect when you sell, and when you create. Make sure you will have time to craft the back stock of product required. Selling at winter fairs may be a great place to start your business, but that means you'll need to get busy this summer in preparation.

These first "who, what, when, why" questions should get your mind churning about the bucks to be made by your crafty addiction. Get some of these answers down now, and stay tuned for the upcoming "where and how" when we will explore some thriving local crafters recipes for success.

• Tanna Peters is a local crafter, illustrator and designer. Craft with her online at www.alaskacrafter.com, join the Craft Addicts, a local crafting collective, at www.craftaddicts.blogspot.com. Contact her at alaskacrafter@gmail.com"



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