Regardless of where we live and how old we are, arts and crafts represent a universal source of delight. Life sometimes gets boring, worrisome, or complicated. So we need to find outlets that help us disconnect from the difficult challenges and that allow us to recharge our batteries. We need sights and activities that give our minds much-needed breaks from the everyday hassle and which stimulate our creativity.
A pleasant life depends on how well we can discover and integrate into our daily life the elements that give us pleasure. And it is probably man’s innate pursuit of pleasure that makes the arts and crafts industry so popular across the globe. In the United States, for instance, over one-quarter of the population declares they have crafts as a hobby (Statista, 2022). And the interest in the industry has grown in the age of Covid when people looked for entertainment and relaxation while they were spending more time in their homes.
The crafts industry is attractive, it deals with pleasant products and it is a growing industry, raising as such interest from new business players. If you want to know how to start an online craft business, look no further. Here are the steps you need to take and some of the many ways in which we can help you.
Step 1: Understand the market
The first step when launching a business in any sector is to thoroughly understand the respective sector. Some notable characteristics of the crafts industry to keep in mind when starting an online crafting business include the following:
- The barriers to entry into the sector are rather limited and new businesses can enter the market quite easily
- Depending on the nature of the business conducted and the products sold, it can be cost-effective to enter the market as new businesses can start to operate with little financial investment
- The crafts industry was once a local industry that relied on local manufacturers and the support of the community to generate sales. With the increasing presence of the internet across the globe, however, running an online craft business has become an international affair.
- But the rise of the internet also translates into increased competition from crafts sellers and manufacturers that would not have otherwise even known the other existed, and now compete for the same pool of global customers who can order one product or another, from any part of the world.
- The rivalry between craft businesses is as such intense and a major part of this competition is played by global chains of craft companies, such as the Michaels Stores, Hobby Lobby Stores, Spencer Gifts, and Barnes & Noble (Statista).
Step 2: Select your niche
This step can make or break your business. The crafts business is comprised of countless niches, selling items such as jewelry, clothing, works of art (such as paintings or ceramics), soaps, candles, knit goods and embroideries, handbags, furniture, flowers or illustrations. When selecting the niche of your online craft business, make sure to consider the following:
- Find the crafts products that you love and use. You have to know your products well and be able to truly appreciate and maximize the value they bring to the customers.
- Make sure you can source the products. If you select a niche with beautiful and desired products but have no way of maintaining a constant delivery line, then you will face significant challenges.
- Last, make sure there is a constant demand for the products you will be selling. If you select beautiful products you can source, but people are not interested in them, the online crafting business is likely to fail.
The niche in which you will activate then should find itself at the intersection of quality products, available delivery systems, and customer demand.
Step 3: Select your customer base
The next step is of identifying your target market. This represents the pool of people who are most likely to buy your products. They usually share similar demographics (age, gender, level of income, etc.) and will be interested in the products you sell.
Start by talking to your acquaintances or other people whom you know to consume the crafts items you will be selling. Find out what motivates them when making a purchase and find out what are their specific needs, such as a great variety of products, pleasant interaction with the vendors, or competitive prices. When you understand their needs and characteristics, you will be able to craft a successful marketing strategy and you will also be able to create the business persona that best represents you and appeals to your customers.
Based on how well you can identify your target market, you will be able to influence other aspects of your online craft business, such as packaging, promotional strategies, or even distribution. Also, the more data you identify about your customer base, the better you will be able to develop your website so that it attracts users and retains them. Ecomitize can help you not only by creating or integrating your website but also by creating it in such a manner that it generates a positive customer experience. Through our UI/UX Design Services, we help you understand the behavior of your customer base and adjust the website to better fit their needs.
Step 4: Solving the legal aspects
The next step in learning how to start a craft business online is that of solving the administrative and legal aspects of running a business. We recommend that you employ specialized assistance as the legal aspects are intricate and grow even more complex with international operations. Regardless of whether you choose to solve the legal aspects by yourself or employ help, you should consider the following:
- Founding your company as a private company, a one-person company, or a limited liability company
- Getting all the necessary permits and licenses
- Register your trademark, patents, and copyrights if these apply to the products you sell; this step might seem like a hassle at this point, but it will help you protect your business in the future.
- Consider all legal implications of international trade, such as sourcing your products from other countries and delivering your products to customers across the world. What requirements do you have to respect? Does your country belong to a free trade international organization? What custom duty will there be for shipments to and from countries outside the free trade organization?
- Identify all the taxes you will have to pay for your business, such as income tax or salary taxes. And last,
- Identify and sign the insurance policies you need to operate your craft business online.
Step 5: Create a business plan
The most complex step in preparing to start a small craft business online is that of creating a business plan. And the complexity of this step is given by the fact that the elements that have to be covered are intertwined and each has to be considered in relation to the others. That said, make sure you create sustainable arrangements for the following:
- The funds you need to operate your business. Do you know how much money you need to start your company and do you have it, or do you need to borrow it?
- Who will run your online craft business? Will you be the only one running it or will you need to hire additional help?
- What products will you sell? Will they be unique or from a product line? Will you sell one type of product or more?
- How much time and energy will you invest in your business? Will it be created as a large business or as a small business, kind of like a hobby turned into a small craft business online?
- How will you create your website? This is a major step in ensuring the success of your online craft business. You could develop your site, or you could use a platform that is already developed by specialists, is user-friendly, and has a large customer outreach. If you’re considering option number two, check out the eCommerce platforms we have developed for online stores to see which one best suits your business.
- How will you source your products? Will you make them by yourself or will you buy them from other people and resell them?
- How will you price your products to reflect their value, and customer worth and ensure some income for you too?
- What will your marketing strategy be? You will need to have a strong presence on the internet, and the specific channels used by your target market. And you will need to tailor an online advertising campaign that reflects your product and company values, as well as the unique features of your customers. The good news is that our team of specialists has vast expertise in the area and they will learn everything they can about your business, your products, the industry in which you operate, and the customers you serve. And they will deliver an optimized marketing strategy that will reach your clients. If you want to know more about this, check out our digital marketing services.
- Will you offer promotional sales and what will be the terms of these promotional sales?
- How will you deliver your products from your store to your buyers?
- What methods of payment will you employ? What will you do when your selected methods of payment are not available in the country from where you receive orders?
Step 6: Sell, enjoy, grow
Thorough preparation is the key to any successful business and the number of aspects you have to consider might seem overwhelming at first. But you should keep in mind that the success of your business is also influenced by the passion you put into your business, your ability to enjoy it and to identify new ways to add value to it.
So while it is important to do your research and tailor your strategies, make sure you enjoy what you do. Stay in touch with your customers, get to know them, and develop pleasant, trustworthy, and durable relationships with them. This will allow you to see when their needs and behaviors change and you will be able to adjust to them.
Also, keep an eye out on how the industry evolves and what tools and strategies it develops to mitigate the changes. And ultimately, enjoy your business, and rest assured that Ecomitize is also keeping an eye out for changes in the marketplace and we adjust our eCommerce services to allow you to quickly adapt to new trends and make the most of your online craft business.