If you've decided to make and sell craft work

Starting Out

For people who have decided to embark on a career, either full or part time, selling craft work, there are a number of points to consider, which if well thought out can help you achieve success in your venture. The very first step will usually be deciding what craft work you are going to sell as craft covers a wide variety of items from wood carvings to crocheted clothes.

For many people, the decision on what craft to sell is dictated by their interests and expertise as well made items are obviously going to be more popular than less well made ones. Research by the Craft Council in the UK suggests that over half of the population are interested in buying beautiful objects, with almost a third choosing to purchase as they admire the human skill involved. However, this should not be your only guiding factor when deciding what to sell. Some types of craft will sell better than others and carrying out market research will help identify what will prove most popular.

Sewing tools

Market Research

There are a number of ways to carry out market research. Some can be as straight forward and informal as talking to friends and family. However, the downside to this is that people you know well are often inclined to be slightly biased towards your work and therefore may not provide you with the most impartial of answers.

Another, more solid way of carrying out market research is by taking a number of different items to a craft fair and seeing what sells well. You may also be able to interview customers about why they chose the product they did. Another advantage of visiting a craft fair is that you will be able to identify accurately the prices people are prepared to pay for certain items, as setting too high a price point can be fatal for your sales success.

Alternatively, you can carry out market research online through a site such as Etsy which primarily sells arts and crafts products. This research is simple to carry out as Etsy display their most popular sellers on the webpage, so you can get an idea of what is well liked straight away.

Somewhere to Work

It is generally considered a good idea to have a dedicated space to work on your crafts, whether that be a room in your home that is set aside or a studio that you rent. The benefits of having a home office are several, and they include demonstrating to others that you are committed to this as a project and being in a different physical space allows others to recognise when you are working. This means people are less likely to make the mistake of believing that because you are at home you are available for other things.

A good office is also important as people work best when they are in the right physical environment and, for crafts, you need somewhere that you have the space to work easily and where you can store all your equipment. Having an office also allows you to have the rest of your home as personal space when you are not working, meaning you can have a clear break at the end of the day. Lastly, if you have an office in your home, you will be able to claim some of the costs such as electricity and heating on your tax return.

Craft women

Where to Sell your Crafts

There are a large number of ways you can sell your crafts, but to be successful you may have to use a combination of methods. The Craft Council's research has shown that purchasing at craft fairs or in shops remains the most popular way for consumers to purchase craft items, so these should form part of your sales plan. However, online sales are becoming increasingly accepted as a way to buy crafts and this market segment is likely to grow considerably in the coming years.

To sell your goods online, you can either set up your own website, or you can use a pre-existing site such as Etsy or Amazon. If you use a pre-existing site, you will be charged a fee on the sales that you make. However, this is likely to be offset by the size of the market you are able to access straight away. If you choose to set up your own site, then you will have to set up a merchant account with a bank if you are planning to take payments by debit or credit card. Also, for your site to be successful, you will need a strategy to market it and raise awareness of your work.

Tax Considerations

If you are selling craft items, you will be required to declare this income to the Inland Revenue. Many people will not be required to pay tax on their earnings as the profits they make won't exceed their personal allowance. However, even if you will not have to pay any tax, you will have to pay National Insurance contributions and you must still register with HMRC for self assessment. The process of registering is simple and can be done online or over the phone. Indeed, the HMRC website has a lot of useful information for people who have just set up in business about what they need to do, and what items they can claim as business expenses to be offset against profits. In some circumstances, you may be required or wish to register for VAT. Again, full details about this can be found on HMRC's website.

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