These days there are more people than ever trying to make their living as crafters. Whereas a few years ago, there might have been one or two people selling polymer jewelry at a local craft show, now there are probably at least five or six or even more than that.
With so many people producing the same kinds of crafts it is often difficult to make your products stand out. The best way to distinguish your self as a crafter is to specialize in a unique craft item.
Already you’re thinking; how I can specialize in a unique craft item when I can’t even think of one unique craft item! It can be daunting at first to try and come up with an original idea. It is a process that takes some time, a bit of research, lots of experimentation and a little bit of luck.
First of all, give yourself time. Don’t expect that original idea to come to you right off the bat. If you expect immediate success, you’ll probably end up very disappointed. You should begin to brainstorm ideas, but it might take you a bit of time to hit on just the right one. Just don’t get discouraged – a good idea is worth waiting for.
To help in this process, do a bit of market research. Attend local stores and browse in local gift stores. You will be able to see what kinds of products are out there and what sort of things are selling. You don’t want to copy though – remember that you are trying to come up with a unique product that will appeal to the same kinds of buyers. Copying another crafter will not set you apart as an individual and will do nothing to help establish your reputation.
Another way of researching your market is to talk to family and friends. They can give you a good idea of the kinds of crafts they are currently buying and what area they think is lacking.
Next comes the fun part!
Once you know what field you want to work in you can start experimenting with different materials and techniques. You don’t need to invent an entirely new craft field; you just need to find a unique product within a field that is already popular and selling well. Consider the polymer clay example we discussed above. The majority of people started off making and selling jewelry.
Then came little animal figurines and magnets and now there are all sorts of different things done with polymer clay including lampshades and mosaic tiles. How did that come about? People started experimenting with the clay and new techniques like stamping and painting and the result was the creation of a really diverse range of products. It just took someone to try stamping the clay or transferring pictures to re-invent that particular type of crafting. Figure out what category of craft you want to work in and then try making it new!
Take any sort of craft product out there, there is an element of chance in terms of its popularity. Whether you want to consider it luck or savvy marketing, sometimes a new product will just take off. Often success comes with marketing or selling your craft in the right place and reaching the right customers, but sometimes it is hard to explain why something sells and why something doesn’t.
If you do enough market research and price your craft within a reasonable cost range, you should have no problem selling your new product. It may not be an overnight success, but you should be able to make back your investment with a bit of persistence. The most important thing is to establish yourself as someone who does something a bit different than all of the other crafters in your area. Your reputation will stick and people will begin coming to you when looking for something a little out of the ordinary.
Find your Niche – Specialize in Unique Craft Items If you do come up with a truly original idea, you may want to consider copyrighting your idea. You may not have heard this, but craft designs do fall under copyright protection. All you need to do is register your copyright after your work is created. It’s as simple as that!