Our tips for starting a craft business; Easy Peasy or Lemon Squeezy

So, with no business experience (apart from GCSE Business Studies which feels like ages ago) we decided earlier this year to set up a craft business thinking it would be easy-peasy! The creative side has been easy; designing our sewing kits, choosing pretty fabrics and all the trimmings, and putting them all together. The actual business side… well thats not been so easy!

Here are a few tips we’ve come up with that might help you if you’re at the beginning of your journey into setting up a craft business. You might also like to see our previous post with more tips and resources that we collected online. We’ve rated our personal experience of each point as ‘Easy Peasy ‘ if we had no problems with it; and ‘Lemon Squeezy’ if it took a little bit more thought!

  • When stating a craft business make sure that you enjoy making what you plan on selling and that you are good at it! Sounds obvious but if your business does well like you want it to, then you don’t want to end up dreading making up your orders, and you want people to fall completely in love with your gorgeous creations. Luckily we both love anything which involves playing with pretty fabrics! Our experience: Easy Peasy
  • Decide early on how you want to sell your creations; will you use Etsy or Folksy, use an Ebay shop, set up your own website or sell at craft fairs? We finally settled on opening an Etsy shop but this was after we paid for two months subscription to a website builder site that we just could not get on with; we also thought about selling via a Facebook page but realised this would make payment complicated! Craft fairs are a great way to interact face-to-face with customers and get feedback on your items but you have to pay for a table and with so many people choosing to shop online these days; it really is a cost-effective way to reach a wider audience.  Our experience: Lemon Squeezy
  • Put some thought into your packaging. Again this sounds so obvious, and we did put thought into ours but we hadn’t really researched things thoroughly. We only got as far as ‘must be pretty’ and ‘must be cost effective’. While both of these points are important, we hadn’t looked into what specific packaging we wanted, or where to find the best suppliers. We bought some lovely brown paper bags originally with the intention of our packaging looking a little like this; 

or this:

but then realised they would crumple in the post! Pretty; yes, but practical; no, so that was a waste of our money. We then gave some careful consideration to what size package we needed for the kits and what size package would fit safely                                          through a letter box and decided on some DVD sized brown cardboard boxes that we could decorate with a sticker with details and photos of the finished product on. The obvious choice for postage was a plastic postage bag, all we had to do there was          choose a colour and size! I’m sure there are other places to find suitable suppliers offering wholesale prices but as had taken so long deciding what to use, we opted for the old trusted Ebay. Our experience: Lemon Squeezy.

  • For UK sellers, make sure you register with HMRC as soon as you get started with your business to avoid any fines. You won’t have to pay tax if you don’t make a profit to start with but you still need to fill out a self-assessment form for tax purposes. Follow this link for all the up to date information you need. Our experience: Easy Peasy
  • Carefully consider your pricing strategy. This was a tricky one for us as we didn’t want to over price our kits and put people off, but under pricing can actually have the same effect because customers might associate low price with low quality. When selling handmade items people usually expect to pay a little more as they appreciate the time the seller puts into making it. We looked at a few pricing strategies but finally opted for this simple one:

                Cost Price (labour + price of materials) x 2 = Wholesale

Wholesale x 2 = Retail

Etsy have a useful page here with more details on pricing. Our experience: Easy Peasy

There are probably lots more useful tips we could pass on but these are the ones that are jumping out at me this evening as I was thinking back through our fledgling business’ journey. We are almost ready to launch Home Stitched Home; Saturday 22nd September is when it will all be happening so stay posted here, follow us on Twitter @home_stitched or like us on Facebook for all the up-to-date information. Good luck if you are starting out on a new business venture of your own.

Louise x