Articles

Be Social & Grow at Craft Fairs & Festivals

January 2013
5 Actions and a challenge that should be 2013 Craft Business Trends

Starting any business alone can be daunting; starting a craft business alone is downright terrifying at times. Searching for business advice and guidance is scattered and in some cases outdated. Very few large resources cater solely to the craft business owner. Not knowing any better it’s easy to get suckered into paying hundreds of dollars for information you can get for free if you use the right keyword search. It’s for the most part, a drawn out system of hits and misses that help you figure out what works best for you and your product. Here are 5 simple craft business social trends for 2013 that begin to change all that.

1. Capitalize on it.

A trend I’ve noticed over the last few years has been, for crafters to morph into craft supply suppliers. Ordering wholesale and having excess, it’s a natural and smart trend. This year take it a step further, offer a class where you teach a beginner level lesson. Charge for the supplies and the lesson what you charge for a completed product. You reduce the excess and you allow your patrons a glimpse at the hard work it takes to create what you offer while freeing your own hands. Don’t have a place to host more than 2 people? Google Hangouts, Skype and various other video chatting services offer you the opportunity to teach in the comfort of your own home. List your class with sites like, Skillshare and you’re off to a great start to taking your business opportunities to the next level.

2. Give back.

My understanding is that when one business in a genre does well most others in the same genre also experience more success, “When you do good I do good”. Pick a fellow craft business in your local area and help promote them however you can, without expecting anything in return. Search for and purchase from reputable local suppliers products made in the USA. Take a class being taught by a fellow craft business. Volunteer at craft events you cannot afford to show in (This one is usually worth way more than the time you put into it.) Organize a crafty mingle with other craft business entrepreneurs to have a great time while sharing resources and experiences. Get involved in the community you serve as a whole.

3. Bring back the FUN.

Having a great time is an excellent way to attract patrons. Whether you’re shy, tired, or nervous you have to be your own barker! Be audacious. At your next event, provide a “make and take” for the kids, buy candy to give the kids who can count how many of your products are pink or green, etc. Grabbing a child’s attention usually draws moms and dads too. Take pictures to post on your website; showing online that you have fun while representing your products is also very important. At the very least, smile and say “Hello”. A confident and joyful “Hello” will bring me over faster than avoiding all eye contact. If you are anything like me, you put your heart and soul into the products you’ve made. Show potential patrons that you are happy with the outcome and that they are worth a closer look. We expect it.

4. Be Social.

No matter your age or internet-knowledge level, all the major social media sites are free for everyone, even you and your craft business. There are a large number of free videos online to help walk you through starting your first business social media account. You don’t have to join every social media network, simply start with one. It’s free, it helps patrons find you and the events you attend (if you share them) and did I mention it’s free advertising?! Gone are the days of having to spend thousands much less hundreds monthly to attract your market. As the vendor it’s your job to remind me that you’re out there and that I should buy from you. Since it’s easiest to communicate with my friends and family through social media that is where I am, chances are that’s also where I’ll search for you. The best thing you can do is be there when I go looking. Yes, even if you don’t have much to say. Post pictures of your products, it’ll say plenty.

5. Repurpose and Function.

I agree with the heavy hitters calling the 2013 craft trends on this last one. Repurpose and Function. I decided for 2013 I’d try to purchase more local handmade goods throughout the year, not just as occasional gifts. Speaking to you as a patron, in order to do that, there have to be more vendors that make functional products with that one of a kind flare. So that I’m not tempted to pick up that big box store product and make it work. It seems this year brings thinking even further outside of the box to the fore front of the future of craft business.

A 2013 Craft Business Challenge

There are many incentives for businesses to reward their employee’s with gifts. Let’s work together to convince bigger small businesses (at least) that purchasing their employee gifts and bonuses from small craft businesses is great for everyone. As a small craft business, a large standing order can be just what you need to fund your craft event participation. And as a larger small business they have the opportunity to help a fellow small business while affordably providing their employees with thoughtfully custom gifts.

So while the cottage look will always be a big seller, little girls will never tire of tutus, and the Pantone color has already been unveiled, what social action will you take that becomes a 2013 craft business trend. Hopefully, it’ll be one that helps bring patrons back to buying from local small craft businesses throughout the year.

Elizabeth "El Crafty" Martinez-Faz is a small indie-business owner, event organizer, Crafty Houston blogger, and relentless crafting attempter. She owns a Houston based blog dedicated to sharing with crafters who turn their hobby into a business with resources, reviews, and a bit of patronage.

Comments

I agree totally with you. Support of the local handmade artist. I also might add that networking with fellow artists is important for personal support as well as financial success. I belong to a local Guild of artists/crafters, which I am one of the founders of, Creative Crafts Guild Florida.

Thank you for a well written article.

By Dee on January 30, 2013

This article was indeed very helpful. To those crafty business owners that have wonderful ideas and suggestions for venues and shows but it never leaves the comfort of your brain and legal pad!!! This has inspired me to move those items and ideas from the legal pad to reality…thanks again for the well written article.

By Alicia Woods on February 3, 2013

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