Handicrafts Business

Crafts Business

If you're creative and enjoy working with your hands, a crafts business could be your path to financial independence. With a minimal investment, you can start grossing up to $100,000 a year doing something you love. This guide starts with an overview of the industry, looks at some specific crafts businesses, and then through the step-by-step process of setting up and running your new venture. You’ll learn about basic requirements and start-up costs, daily operations, and what to do when things don’t go according to plan. You’ll gain a solid understanding of the sales and marketing process, as well as how to track and manage the financial side of your business. Throughout the guide, you’ll hear from crafters who have built successful operations and are eager to share what they learned in the process. This guide from Entrepreneur.com is necessary before diving into this home business venture.

Assembly lines around the world are churning out mass-produced items that are purchased almost as fast as they can be made. But consumer acceptance of low-cost look-alike goods hasn’t eliminated the demand for handcrafted items—although those items are likely to have a much different function today than in the past.

Many handcrafted items are now valued as works of art, but historically their value was primarily utilitarian. For example, baskets and pottery were essential for transporting food, water and other items. And weaving produced fabrics that could be made into clothing and blankets.

Because of the industrial revolution, the need for functional handcrafted items is not as extensive as it once was. But Americans who want quality artistic and decorative items turn to modern-day craftspeople who produce a variety of items such as jewellery, ceramics, wood carvings, furniture, crocheted and knitted goods, decorated clothing, toys and much more.

What Is A Craft?

In this book, craft refers to any handmade item that can be given as a gift or sold—and if you’ve attended a crafts fair, you may have been surprised by what craftspeople sell and what people are willing to buy. The unpredictability of the crafts market is one of the intriguing and challenging aspects of the business.

In Craft Today: Poetry of the Physical, Paul J. Smith writes, “In its broadest sense craft refers to the creation of original objects through an artist’s disciplined manipulation of material. Historically craft was identified with producing objects that were necessary to life. Modern industrialized society eliminates the need to make by hand essentials for living. The term craft now must be defined in the context of a society that focuses on greater efficiency by technological achievement.”

The question of whether crafts are art or a separate medium may never be definitively answered. In The Crafts of the Modern World, Rose Slivka writes, “Throughout their long history, crafts have produced useful objects which are later considered fine art. Time has a way of overwhelming the functional value of an object that outlives the men who made and used it, with the power of its own objective presence—that life-invest quality of being that transcends and energizes. When this happens, such objects are forever honored for their own sakes—they are art.”

Of course, for someone wanting to start a crafts business, the question of whether the products are art may not be particularly important. A more critical question is whether you can make money.

The nature of the crafts industry makes it difficult to define and quantify, but industry experts estimate that sales revenues exceed $10 billion annually, and hundreds of thousands of working artisans earn their entire income from the crafts they produce. Most professional craftspeople start making their handcrafted goods as a hobby, and begin selling items to friends and family. From there, they typically expand to selling in crafts shows and fairs several times a year. Sometimes they’re content to keep this as something they do on the side; others are eager to move from part-time to full-time status. Still other artisans tackle their work as a full-time career from the beginning, often renting studio or retail space, or both.

Start-up costs for a crafts business range from literally a few dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on what you are making, what type of equipment and raw materials you need, and whether you already own equipment when you start. Crafters earn as little as a few dollars an hour (for part-time crafters who are not particularly interested in profits) to as much as $20 or $30 an hour and sometimes more if they learn how to market and manage their businesses efficiently.