This page is part of our Cultural Product Development learning module.
Expand your knowledge
Whether you are an individual craft person or part of a craft group you can use the lessons we learned in your work. You can start by expanding your knowledge of tourism and crafts:
- Be a tourist in your own province – visit tourist attractions and historic sites. See what other crafts are being make. Ask about how the crafts connect to the site
- Talk to retailers in your area – find out what visitors are looking for. Find out what isn’t in the shop that visitors might like. Find out what prices visitors are paying for the type of crafts that you make.
- Learn about wholesale and retail pricing.
- Learn from others. Talk to craft makers who are already making and selling cultural crafts to visitors. Not everyone wants to share their business secrets, but a lot of people out there are willing to give others advice to get started.
- Craft materials are expensive and as craft makers, we don’t like to waste them. Find a way to experiment. Try new crafts in cheaper materials and then when you have a design that you like, make it in the material you would use if you were selling the item.
- Make samples and show them to your friends and family. When you have something you like, try showing it to a gift shop. They may suggest changes or ask to see more items.
- If it doesn’t work the first time, try again.
- Don’t take criticism personally; take it as a suggestion for improvement to help you create a craft item that visitors will want to buy.
We had funding for our workshops. If you don’t have funding what could you do?
We can learn a lot from other regions of Labrador. In Labrador West, the Indigenous Service Centre hosted a craft workshop where participants shared expenses. You can learn about their process here.
If your local craft group would like to try what we’ve done, but it looks too complicated, you could try one craft idea at a time, and work within one community – so you don’t have to include travel.
If some members of your group want to learn to sell crafts, and try this process, you could:
- Visit your local tourist site as a group. Learn what visitors find there and what they like most.
- Discuss craft ideas with site staff and gift shop staff
- Brainstorm ideas as a group and take notes.
- Take one of the ideas that uses materials that your group already has, and on your next craft night, bring your own material, and experiment with that craft idea.
- Remember that quality is important when selling to visitors.
- Take the finished crafts back to the tourist site and gift shop and discuss with the staff there whether this would be a craft that would sell and what kind of price it would fetch. Try selling the craft.
- Try again – whether the first craft was successful or not. If it sold, ask the gift shop staff why people bought it. If it didn’t sell, ask why not. Use that information to make the next craft item.
- If your craft group makes duffel products and the gift shop has visitors looking for Christmas decorations, could you make duffel Christmas Decorations?
- Why do visitors come here? What are the themes or images that they see? If Labrador and the natural environment is the main theme, you might use images of Labrador animals on your decorations.
- To keep your costs low, and improve your profits, look for ways to save on the cost of supplies, or to make the production go faster. Could you use leftover fabrics from another project? Could you use wool felt instead of duffel? If you make several items at the same time, does it speed up your process?
Where can we can learn more about cultural crafts:
- Staff at visitor sites in our local area
- Gift shops and craft fairs
- Other parts of the province: We can learn a lot from visiting other regions of the province and going to the attractions that tourists visit.
- Provincial craft specialists
We can learn from other cultural craft projects such as the Traditional Skills Network. See our interview with Serena Etheridge.