Tips for Starting Your Own Handmade Business

Tips for Starting Your Own Handmade Business

Kathryn Wright
Sep 17, 2010

For Handmade Home Month, we thought we'd look at the business of handmade. We're living in an era where almost anyone can start their own successful handmade, design or craft business easily and inexpensively from home. We asked a few Etsy sellers their advice for those just starting out and would love to hear what you have to add.

1. Karl Topee, Half Pint Salvage: "Just keep making stuff. The mistake I made was waiting for confidence to magically appear. But my confidence ultimately came from creating (and failing) over and over again. Eventually, you figure out what you're good at--then your confidence starts to follow your every move."

2. Yevgenia: "My first bit of advice – don't be scared! We can all analyze the pros and cons and be really intimidated to start doing anything. Just do it! Especially when you hit a wall and nothing seems to be selling, just keep on creating and posting new items in your Etsy store. Second - get social! Join a couple of Etsy teams that share your interests or have a common location. That's what will get your store to be seen. Third – keep a good track of your inventory, sales, shipping cost and profit. You need to have a clear picture of what's going on."

3. Jennifer Chandler, Sewn Natural: "Most important is to do what you honestly love, feel passionate about and do well, trying not to be discouraged by ideas that don't necessarily translate into success. It's helpful to spend some time figuring out what works and what doesn't because you don't need (nor do you want) everyone in the world to like your work and pieces. You just want your specific small target audience to connect with your work and not just like, but love it enough to bring it home. From the very start, it's also integral to give genuinely kind, prompt and generous customer service, which helps to build loyal customers and a great reputation."

4. Cammie Cole, The Craft Pantry: "As an Artist, Graphic Designer or Crafter Extraordinaire, starting a business of your own handmade wares can be exhilarating as well as overwhelming. To those who are just starting out, keep in mind, the amount of time you invest is directly related to the amount of progress you will make and the degree of success you will see. The caveat is, your progress and success are not always immediate. More often, it takes many months, even a year or two, to see the fruits of your labor. Go at it with long-term commitment and passion and when you feel weary, press on!"

5. Tuija Lommi, Tuuni: "Starting your own handmade business could be a big leap of faith. You need a lot of hard work, passion and maybe few extra hours to your day! Also, it helps a lot if you have an original product that stands out from the crowd. If you believe in yourself and love what you do it reflects to your work. Taking small steps and slowly building customer relationships has brought me where I am now. I love custom requests, they could be very inspiring and it gives me a chance to naturally evolve my work. Heartwarming feedback from my lovely customers is the best thing in this work! It keeps me going."

(Image: Shauna & Stephen's Lively Loft House Tour from Apartment Therapy)

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