Chap. 1 : Getting Started

This page is part of our Starting a Craft Business learning module.

Some business ideas are easier to plan than others. Someone who is making crafts and selling a few things might just want to carry on doing the same thing but on a bigger scale. Someone else might want to take on something completely new – opening a craft shop, or an online store, or both. That sort of business idea will involve a lot more work at the planning stage. Whether your business idea is big or small, here are some questions to ask yourself as you get started.

Have you seen an opportunity to sell more crafts?

  • Do you have more requests for more items than you are making at the present time?
  • Do you see people looking for the type of crafts you know how to make?
  • Do you see an opportunity to make something new that customers will want to buy?
  • Is there a tourism attraction that is looking for the type of crafts you make?
  • Do you see an opportunity to open a retail business?
  • Do you have an idea for something completely different that no one else is doing?

With a little inspiration to go along with your hard work, you could have an idea that will become a business success story.

Craft Production or Retail Business?

There are different types of craft businesses and different considerations for each. A craft production business could be done from home or a studio. You might sell your products wholesale or retail, in person or online. A retail business with a shopfront requires a location that suits the customer as well as the business. An online retail business requires planning, an understanding of how online shopping works and a system for shipping products. Permits and licences may be different for different types of businesses.

What are the benefits of setting up as a business?

  • You are doing something you love to do
  • You are your own boss
  • Your business can be as big or small as you need it to be
  • You are already selling crafts and want to earn more and/or save more
  • You want to be able to deduct your expenses at tax time.

What are you selling – what are your products or services?

  • Are you planning to set up a retail craft business – a craft or gift shop?
  • Are you planning to produce crafts to sell wholesale?
  • Are you planning to set up a production line where you make a lot of one thing, or are you planning to make one-of-a-kind items? Do you have a variety of types of items you plan to make?
  • If you are making a craft item to sell, you are making a product. Are there services you could sell as well? A service might be a craft demonstration or lesson. This type of service could be offered as a tourist experience. Do you have a studio and equipment that you could rent out to other craft makers? That could be another type of service a craft business could offer.
  • Do you plan to sell raw materials to other producers?
  • In order to make your craft business successful over time, you may have to consider a variety of products and services you could offer.

Where do you plan to operate your business?

  • If you are planning a craft production business, you might already have a place that you work from in your home. Will that space be big enough, or private enough for you once you are using it for your business? Will you need extra storage space for supplies? Will you be shipping items in the mail? Will you need an area for packing, or for storing packaging supplies?
  • If you plan to rent, build or purchase a separate space to work from, there are many considerations. Will you be able to afford the extra expense? Will you operate year round? How much will your utilities be? Can you get financing if you plan to build or purchase a building?
  • If you are planning a retail business, the question of location is an important one. Is it a location where there is customer traffic? Does the space work for the type of products/services you are offering? Is the cost within your budget? Can you get financing?