A bit about deciding what you could make for market.The Curated Shop is stocked full of unique, one-of-a-kind handcrafted products. Ever wonder where all these makers get their ideas from and how they come to a decision on what they should create to sell? Have you ever wondered what it takes to make a living creating handcrafted goods? Maybe you are wondering if you have what it takes to come up with a one-of-a-kind idea yourself that people will be lined up to purchase?!! I am not claiming to be an expert in the maker world, but I have been able to observe and discover, over the years, the local maker scene as my mom, (hi Mom!) started turning our house into an work studio as she began her own maker business. I began to discover, through working at markets, such as The Curated Market, meeting other makers, and living in a “makers house” what it takes to come up with a new and exciting ideas and the work involved in running a handcrafted business. I eventually tested the waters discovering my own maker business, Blue Leaf Crochet. Here are a couple tips and ideas I have gleaned from observing local makers (and from becoming one myself) on how to find something worth making + selling:
1. If you’re already good at something, why not run with that, and if not are you willing to put in the time to become a self-taught artist?Members of my own family have all created businesses from skills they were both taught and other skills that they learned themselves. They spent time learning, then practicing how to perfect that skill, and then went and turned that information into creative businesses. It can make for an easier start-up to your business if you don’t have to teach yourself a brand new skill. For example, if you remember woodworking back in high-school and also remember enjoying it, maybe you want to revive those skills and make a list of what you could create from wood that people could use in their homes, or if you know hot to bake, and you brownies are the first to disappear when you bring dessert to your friends BBQ, it is possible you could take those skills you already have and turn them into a thriving business.
Chances are if you’re good at something, and you like doing it, with a bit of hard work, you can craft something from those learned skills that people will love. If you have not been taught a craft of any kind, no worries! Lots of makers learn along the way, are self-taught, and become simply awesome at what they make. If you think you would like to tach yourself a craft, and are willing to put some time aside to do just that, look for tutorials online, or local art/craft classes. You really wont know what you like to make until you actually try making it!
2. Selling products that have a special meaning to you is another way to discover what you could create.Think about what you love, what motivates you or what your personal interests are. Selling something you already love makes it much easier for you to enjoy it and stay motivated putting in the effort to create it for others. Whether it’s children’s clothing, because you love your kids and want them to have handcrafted unique items to wear, or jewelry because you love wearing it and want to develop one-of-a-kind earrings you have pictured in your mind but have never found on a store shelf. Having something that is meaningful to you that you can connect to your product will give you extra motivation to create. For me, I started crocheting ear warmers because my grandma had taught me hot to crochet when I was little, and I love hair styling and hair related things. I combined those two meaningful and familiar things and started crocheting ear warmers that were multi-functional as hair bands. A cute way of not messing up your hairstyle, but keeping your ears warm in the process!
Image By: Blue Leaf Crochet
3. How much space/time and motivation do you have to dedicate to learning and perfecting a craft?Becoming a maker takes a lot of personal dedication and self-motivation. You have to wake up and get yourself motivated to work on your own. You get to be your own boss when you are a maker, and along with that perk comes the responsibility of having determination and self-discipline to actually put in the time to not only create, but keep proper paperwork, market, price your work, etc. (that’s a whole other blog for another time!!). There are endless possibilities to the things you can create, but something that may end up holding you back is the space you actually have to do it in, or the amount of time you are able to dedicate to it. For example, making jewelry will not take up the same amount of area as something who wants to re-purpose furniture, or make artwork. If you are just starting out, make sure you have the right amount of space for what it is that you want to create. Different products also take different amounts of time to make. So be sure to evaluate how much time you can take out of your day to create, promote, and sell your products. Ask yourself, do you want to five in and do this full time? More than likely you will need to work at it diligently during your free hours. Most makers start out with having a second job until they get their maker business up and running, others take the leap and go full out with their business plan.
What does it come down to?!If you think you would like to start your own maker business, and possibly develop a product that you could see on the shelves of The Curated Shop, start by making a list of any skills you already have, crafts you would be willing to take time to teach yourself or trades that you would be willing to invest in some time and classes to learn. Then, add to this list things that you feel passionate about such as green living, products for animals, natural body products, etc. The ask yourself, am I willing to create the space and give the time and commitment needed to make this happen. If the answer is yes, there is no stopping those who are willing to work hard to learn and grow and not stop until they see their vision come to life! Learn more about the hard-working makers in our store next time you stop in!!
Written By Arika – Assistant Manager – The Curated Shop Southcentre Mall