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The 12 Secrets to Starting a Home-based Craft Business

By Karen Booy, as excerpted from  
Crafting the American Dream
and the CRAFTLINK Newsletter Newsletter

In order to do well in your craft business you need to develop your own personal style. Now, don't get worried, you do have what it takes. Let me explain.....When you first start your craft business you will probably buy commercially produced patterns or look in books and magazines for product ideas. For most people, that is as far as they go...purchase the pattern, search out the exact fabric and make it to the letter like the photo on front. WRONG!!! If several other crafters have bought the same pattern and you all show up at your local craft fair, you will all be fighting to sell virtually the same product. Customers will compare the price, the quality of workmanship and supplies and decide where their hard earned dollar will be spent. Who needs the competition???

Here's what you do. Buy the pattern. Then incorporate your own sense of style. Change the fabric, turn the pattern from a country bunny to a Victorian. Take the arms of one bear pattern and modify to another. You want to use the pattern as a starting point but try to "make it yours".

Once you get in the habit of trying to identify and use your sense of style you will find that soon you will not need to purchase the commercial patterns you will be creating your own designs. Believe me, creativity is a skill, not a gift. Creativity is like a muscle the more you use it the more it grows.

If you have taught any craft classes with very young children you will have proof that everyone is inherently creative. Children just need the supplies, they don't even need a project they just love to create. It is only when children learn at school to "stay in the lines" and that there is a right and wrong way to do things, that they begin to feel that they can or can't craft! So cut loose, and just enjoy the process. You will surprise yourself.

All the craft designers that I have met over the years have confirmed the fact that they all started copying someone else until they realized there was a lot more money in being creative.

If you operate your business as a COPY CAT business of someone else, you will always be one step behind. It takes a little effort and ingenuity to come up with new products but it pays off in the long run.

To increase your creativity, take classes, take notes, look in craft books such as Country Sampler, Folk Art Treasures. Look not to copy but for stimulation, to get new ideas. I have found that teaching craft classes is one of the best ways to get new ideas as your students have such varied skills they are bound to teach you something new if you are open to learn.

Then before you know it, people will be copying you! And believe me at first it is very annoying, after all you went to a lot of trouble to come up with this idea and here they are two, weeks later at the same show as you -- and undercutting your price!!! This is the time you sit back and smile......because you now have confirmation that you are becoming a success. Remember "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." You have arrived when people begin to copy. Always remember that your competition that copies you is always one step behind. The competition that you really have to worry about is those that are unique and innovative!!! That's your real competition.

When you have your first creative product you feel very protective and the mere thought that someone might copy and sell it is enough to almost hide the product in your craft room. You must realize that if you had one good idea, there are plenty more where that came from!!! So get busy, be creative and put your personal touch on everything you create and don't be to worried about all those copy cats!

All the 12 Secrets are available on audio cassette in the Crafting the American Dream business opportunity kit.

The 12 Secrets to Starting a Home-based Craft Business Part I

The 12 Secrets to Starting a Home-based Craft Business Part II

The 12 Secrets to Starting a Home-based Craft Business, Part III

The 12 Secrets to Starting a Home-based Craft Business, Part IV

The 12 Secrets to Starting a Home-based Craft Business, Part V

 More information on Crafting the American Dream

Back to CRAFTLINK Taking Care of Business

Back to CRAFTLINK Professional Panel

Back to Meet the Get Creative! Experts

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