If you want to stay competitive in any type of business, not just arts and crafts, it's important to stay on top of trends. The first page in this series of articles about 2013 arts and crafts trends discusses repurposing raw materials to both manage costs and maintain an eco-friendly business profile.
This articles discusses transitioning into operating a successful arts and crafts business by going about it part-time, seasonally while working at your day job. In the infancy stage of this type of arts and crafts business, making a name for yourself rather than making a profit is the main objective. Then, when you are able to go about it full-time, you already have an edge in the arts and crafts marketplace with name/product recognition.
Running a Crafts Business Part-Time Seasonally
The buzz with my new clients and at various craft events I attend is the escalating trend of being a part-time arts and crafts business owner. Okay - this is not exactly breaking news. I myself only work part-time in my craft business and many owners run their craft business part-time to make some spare cash creatively.
In many cases, it was also a way to ease into retirement from the 9 to 5 day job rat race. Few of my clients plan to or want to completely quick working when they reach retirement age. By running a craft business part-time for a period of time before they retire from their day job, they are able to seamlessly transition from making money from their vocation to avocation at retirement.
However, what I have started noticing is that many more people are starting part-time businesses doing what they enjoy (and, not just arts and crafts) to create a financial buffer zone in this wacky economic time. It also signals a lack of confidence in their employer to create and maintain long-term employement.
Okay, once again - not all that startling I know. But what is new to me is adding the seasonal aspect to the part-time art or crafts business.
I have clients and friends in the arts and crafts that have decided to save time, decrease stress and target resources by working seasonally. For example, specializing in bridal crafts - from what I have seen, bridal can be an extremely lucrative area of expertise - honing in on the Spring/Summer wedding season. Along the same lines - why not specialize in prom attire or jewelry (or Halloween, Christmas or New Years).
Selecting a Seasonal Specialty
Many of the artists and crafters have told me that honing in on a seasonal specialty keeps them from becoming overwhelmed. It's also a motivating factor as they know the craziness of working two jobs is limited to certain times of the year.
One of my friends specializes in knitted goods. She only attends two shows a year in the fall rather than running around weekends on the craft show circuit. She keeps on eye on emerging trends in knitted accesories and starts whipping up product in the late spring through the summer. Not a bad idea for the part-time craft business owner. It gives her a break so she is able to tackle each year's designs with a fresh enthusiasm.
If this general idea sounds good to you, I suggest picking two prestigious craft shows (the closer to your local area as possible) that are known to attract a good customer head count and hone your handcrafting skills until your products are stellar enough to get juried in. For example, if I lived in California, I'd definitely set my sights on the Los Angeles and San Francisco Renegade Craft Fairs.
The next page in this article discusses arts and crafts design work and functional crafts. As a designer, you create items for mass market rather than one-of-a-kind. Functional crafts create a need to go along with your customer's desire to purchase your items.