How to Start a Craft Business: Turn Your Crafts Into a Moneymaker

You can start and run a profitable craft business by following these steps.

| March/April 1978

We know that there are a lot of talented craftsmen and craftswomen out there, but how many of you are as good at selling your designs as you are at creating them? Archie and Myrna Ossin — craftspeople themselves — have published a book intended to help all you artists and hobbyists go into business for yourselves ... and succeed! 

The Ossins have used the principles set down in their book for four years, and during that period, they've turned a nominal investment into a profitable craft business. That's why we've chosen to reprint the following excerpts — which are representative of the kind of levelheaded counsel you'll find in the guide — from Archie and Myrna's book. 

To start and run a profitable craft business, you must — of course — have a specific product which can be made and sold. THE IMPORTANT THING IS THAT THERE SHOULD BE A DEMAND FOR THE THINGS THAT YOU CAN MAKE AT THE PRICES FOR WHICH YOU WANT THEM TO SELL. If you enjoy doing something for which you know there is little demand or if your product cannot be priced profitably, keep it as a hobby and start a business with some other item.

Ideas for Products

There are three general areas from which you can develop ideas for your products:

  • The craft hobbies that you now do
  • New products which fill a public need
  • Products currently being made that you can improve in appearance, performance, or marketability.

Marketing Themes You Can Use

Successfully sold handcrafted items are those which can be associated with marketing themes. These themes include such things as:

  • Baby items
  • Office accessories
  • Gift items
  • Jewelry
  • Home decoration items
  • Houseplants
  • Gardening
  • Signs
  • Furniture
  • Automotive accessories
  • Wedding accessories
  • Decorations

IT IS THE COMPATIBLE COMBINATION OF YOUR PRODUCT IDEAS WITH ONE OF THESE MARKETING THEMES WHICH WILL YIELD A SUCCESSFUL PRODUCT LINE. This marketing psychology will work for you because retail outlets, gift shops and other establishments, which will sell your product to the consumer, are organized by marketing themes.

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