There is a large market for craft items in the UK, especially as people are increasingly looking for unique products, which fulfill more than simply functional needs. Craft items are often perceived as being more authentic and ethical than other goods available on the market, which appeals strongly to buyers. Research by the Craft Council has shown that over forty percent of the UK adult population has purchased a craft item, and a further twenty three per cent of adults would be interested in purchasing a craft item. This means people who set up a craft business have a potential market in the UK alone of over twenty five million customers. Craft is increasingly being sold online as makers do not have to set up their own website to begin selling as they can use pre-existing sites such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy to sell their goods, as well as selling through traditional outlets such as craft fairs. The research from the Craft Council found that over thirty percent of current craft buyers would look online for information about craft goods and that figure rose to over forty percent for potential purchasers of craft items.
Setting up a craft business from home appeals to a great many people as it allows people to work flexibly fitting their business around their other lifestyle commitments such as childcare, looking after other family members or other employment. Crafting from home is also popular as it allows people the opportunity to develop their creative side and means they avoid many of the less pleasant parts of working for a company such as long and expensive commutes and other costs associated with working. Of course, if you are setting up a craft based business, you will need to invest in the resources required to make your items and have an area where you can carry out the work. Many people find it useful to have a dedicated area of their home to create their craft in as it allows them to focus on the task in hand without becoming distracted. You may need to remind friends and family that you are indeed working from home and in the same way as traditional work this means you will not always be available for them when you are working. Something as simple as a 'do not disturb' sign on a bedroom door can help get this message across.
Buyers of craft items are usually looking to spend less than fifty pounds on their purchases and most say they would be unlikely to spend more than a hundred pounds on a single craft item. Research by Etsy, the website which focuses on selling handmade and craft items alongside vintage goods, shows that the most popular sellers in the UK are people selling jewellery, art and accessories. Most of the most popular sellers have plenty of items for sale in this lower price range, allowing customers to buy items easily. Successful sellers also have good clear photographs of the products they are selling. This helps create an immediate visual connection with the prospective customers. Popular sellers also have good feedback demonstrating they have shipped items to customers promptly and have dealt with any complaints in a way that the customer has been left satisfied. To get a clear idea of what type of craft sells well and what makes a successful trader, Craftcount shows the best sellers on Etsy by country and category, allowing people to get a good idea of what works and the type of competition they are likely to face, before setting up their own craft selling site.
Tax and National Insurance is payable for self employed people in the UK once they have earned a certain amount. The amount you can earn will depend upon your personal tax code and is usually in the region of around seven to nine thousand pounds. Tax will only be charged on your profit, so you will be able to deduct the cost of your materials from your income to calculate what you pay tax on. The amount of tax you pay is twenty percent of the taxable income and many people find it helpful to put away twenty percent of sales they make through the year, so they have the income available when the tax is due. To register for self assessment you should contact HMRC, either online or by telephone, and they will send you the appropriate forms. Tax is due by the thirty first of January after the previous tax year. So for money earned up to the fifth of April 2011, the tax must be paid by the end of January 2012. If you submit your tax return on paper rather than online, then the deadline is slightly earlier.