10 Tips for Launching Your Handmade Business

kari chapin handmade business
Photo courtesy Chany Crystal on Flickr.

You know your handmade products are great, and you’re pretty sure you’d like to share them with the world — but how?

In Start a Handmade Business, I help walk you through the various online sales venues (like Etsy) that you can use, as well as how to set up your own independently-operated website, and develop a marketing strategy for sharing your products with the world, from social media to blogging to branding and packaging.

Here are my top 10 tips for launching your business:

1. Define your intention and write out your goals. What are you trying to create with your handmade business? What is your ultimate goal? Once you know, write it down and refer to it often.

2. Create a daily task list. These tasks should help you accomplish your goals. Organization is key.

to do list

3. Know your fears and knock them down. Simple as that.

4. Build your brand story. How did your company start? Can you tell someone your story in a sentence or two? If not, write it down and practice telling your story in a compelling way.

5. Determine your customer. Who are you making your products for? Who will buy them, wear them, love them? More importantly, once they do buy, how can you make sure they become repeat customers for your business? Spend some time thinking about your customer and create a brand that she will love.

6. Take great photos. You’ve worked hard on your products, so it’s worthwhile to spend the time and resources you can on capturing them in their best light.

7. Create a marketing plan! You have your goals, your brand, you know your customer — now think about how and where you will reach them.

Vendors at Pike Place Market

8. Make friends. Network, but do it in an authentic way. You are part of a community so show up for events, craft fairs, conferences, book signings. Support your fellow crafters and you’ll get that love back. (Pictured, right: Craft vendors in Pike Place Market, circa 1975 — photo via Seattle Municipal Archives).

9. Test markets. Sell your products in a variety of places and find out where you get the most traction. It’s important to validate your business and make sure you know the best destination to start selling your products once they’re made. That could be online, at craft fairs, in stores, or elsewhere. You won’t know what works, or where your potential buyers are until you get your products out in the world!

10. Spread the word! You have your products, now tell the world about them. Decide where you want coverage of your products and create a strong pitch to approach them with. Don’t shy away from talking about your business and products in person and on social media too. You never know who might be listening!

Want more tips and actionable advice to start driving results in your business? Join my CreativeLive class, Start a Handmade Business, and I’ll teach you how to get up and running on Etsy, as well as show you how to develop a marketing strategy that gets you noticed.

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Kari Chapin is a best-selling author, teacher, mentor and consultant. Her books, The Handmade Marketplace and Grow Your Handmade Business help people around the world make get closer to making their creative business dreams come true.