Is art and craft still profitable as a business?
Craftspeople and artists together feel the impact that mechanisation and mass production has had on their work, affecting the demand for their creation and the sales there-off . For many budding artisans and artists as well as amateur ones, it is a matter of serious contemplation whether to consider and art and craft business as a viable means of earning a livelihood.
Using business strategies
It's true that in order to do so requires one to do things intelligently. “Just build it and they will come” might not be true anymore in this scenario. For example, apart from creating your crafts you will also have to focus on processes like building a strong brand image and targeting the right people with your product. If this sounds difficult and you really just want to build without any distractions, the good news is that it's simpler than it sounds.
Branding is very important to stand out and stand for something. Both the things are very useful in demanding the right price for your work. Branding makes your work look professional. The right branding gives out an appealing message of what your craft is all about. A brand name can be the name of the business of the name of the artist or artisan. What ever you are making, pay attention to building a brand around it. Instil a message that makes the product stand out.
There are already a few very good systems in place online that will help you locate the right people. The well-known online craft market places like Etsy where you can bring your craft in front of thousands of people, as well as services like Facebook ads which allows you to make targeted promotions, are two such very efficient tools to spread the word about your work.
In fact if marketing and promotions do not interest you it is probably best to stay away from any kind of a business idea. No business can run successfully without getting an impetus which is what promotional methods provide.
Besides, branding can be a lot of fun. Market research can make things quite interesting by helping you discover lesser known moneymaking niches not yet discovered.
Handicrafts Vs Mass manufactured crafts
Right. So is handicraft still a popular and profitable business idea? Yes, because not every individual counts money as the only factor while purchasing.
The factory made and mass manufactured crafts maybe able to beat the pricing by an enviable margin but they don't have the novelty of being handmade, which is to say crafted by a real skilled artisans. Many also don't have the aesthetics as well.
Since our sensibilities do not just consider the monetary value of an object, handicrafts hold special regard and appreciation. This is one of the reasons that the arts and crafts are experiencing a resurgence of sorts and are very popular currently. I constantly notice people flocking to craft shows more than ever before.
With an increase in the mechanization of this industry, like many others, the novelty of handmade items has in fact increased. However, it is up to you to let me do to leverage this potential for novelty in your creations and the best way to do is to probably learn a little more about branding.
Leveraging branding, niches and promotional campaigns
The other practice that you should delve into as much as possible is targeting and working in a niche. A niche can be defined as something specific and targeted. Therefore, a niche audience is a specific set of people that share similarities in terms of tastes, lifestyle etc. and are probably looking to buy the same kind of things. A niche craft will be a specific craft that is special in a manner that it is in demand by a specific set of people.
Niches are amazing. It's like discovering hidden troves of income. The more specialized your niche, the better, as long as there is demand for it. You see, a niche might be a small market. But it is a targeted market. There are usually not many other people selling to these people. You eliminate the competition by working and selling in a niche. Discovering new niches within your general category of art is a lot of fun, and exciting because you are actually discovering new and better ways to maximize your income. So go ahead. Start with that market research. Happy hunting!
A niche is a smaller category within a larger general one. For example: knitting is a category. Handwoven clubs is a targeted niche. Two thumbs hand gloves is a super targeted niche or a micro niche.
Another thing working in your favor is the very large number of online resources available to you literally for free or at minimal cost. For example, online marketplaces like Etsy will make it possible for you to reach millions of customers all over the world. As long as you are able to ship it you can list it. Then there is the advent of social media presence and influence in peoples lives. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook are just some of the ways to reach thousands of interested people. Sponsored placements on these very platform make it even more possible to reach the right people.
The artist vs the crafts-person
Since very early times there has been a distinction drawn between and artist and a crafts-person, with the artist enjoying a more privileged position. This is still true to a certain degree in current day and age, however, this delineating distinction is diminishing, which is good news for everyone. It means that crafts people can demand the premium price for the craft when the workmanship deserves it. People as buyers are also ready to pay for it. For example, a glass blower, a potter or embroider of wall hangings can expect due recognition for the craft and be valued for the skill that was required to create it.
Different kinds of crafts
There are literally thousands of different kinds of handicrafts. Listed below are just some of the broad categories.
Textiles Appliqué, Crocheting, Embroidery, Felt-making, Knitting, Lace-making, Macramé, Quilting, Tapestry art, Weaving.
Woodcraft Wood-carving, Wood-turning, Cabinet making, Furniture making, lacquer ware.
Paper craft Paper Modelling, Collage, Decoupage, Origami paper folding, Pa pier-mâché.
Pottery and Glass Crafts Ceramics (earthenware, stoneware, porcelain), Mosaic Art, Glass Bead making, Glass Blowing, Glass Etching.
Jewellery Includes metalwork involving processes like embossing, repoussé work, engraving, enameling (types include champlevé, basse taille, cloisonné, plique-à-jour), granulation and filigree decoration. For more, see: Jewellery: History, Techniques.
Other Examples of Craftwork
Basket weaving, Beer-making, Book-binding, Doll-making, Enameling, Floral Design, Ikebana, Jewellery-making, Knife-making (cutler), Leather work, Metalwork, Model-making, Tattoo Designing, Toy-making.
Educate yourself and learn business acumen
In conclusion, the art and craft industry is still a viable business idea especially if this is something that you have a passion for. Just remember to combine your talent and skill with some smart business acumen. I encourage you to learn as much as you can about small business processes like branding, online marketing, online selling, niche marketing as well as market research.
Apart from this, also educate yourself about business laws and rules applicable to your craft, the area that you reside in as well as the places that you intend to sell your craft. Having a sound basic business knowledge will take you a very long way to ensuring business and financial success.
Devote time to learning about selling online. This is something that has a huge potential.
Paid advertising is something that, if you get right, can start delivering customers to your product instantly and repeatedly. There are many blogs that will educate you on creating ad campaigns with Google ads and social media ads. Learn how to do this. It is a bit of a learning curve but every bit worth it in the long run.We wish you all the best and do write your queries and comments below if you have any. We look forward to hearing from you, as always.