Product development is the foundation of your business as a professional craftsperson. You have to interpret the demands of the market and match it with your creative vision. The two basic elements of a successful crafts business are the correct matching of the product and the buyer. You muat create a desirable craft item based on your interests, experience, and skills. Identifying your customer is another essential component.
Your craft product line has a natural relationship to your love of making things. The way to create a successful product line is to examine the designs you are currently making and consider how they will sell in the market. One of the biggest mistakes beginning professional craftspeople make is to start out in too many directions with too many products. Design is a strategic activity even when applied to crafts products. Even after you have created your basic line it’s important to reserve time to experiment and develop new products.
If you think you are at a disadvantage compared to large manufacturers you are wrong. What you must do is distinguish yourself from large-scale competitors.
Your Craft is Your Business
An important difference between having a hobby and being a crafts professional is in the way you choose and design the products you make. For example, as a hobby working with clay, you can make your work as elaborate as you want. If you plan to sell your clay work; however, you have to be aware of what is selling in the market. You won’t make any money producing large-scale sculpture if everyone is looking for smaller, less expensive items such as mugs or vases.
You are a product designer as a craftsperson. Your product is uniquely yours. It may be created and manufactured by you alone, but it is related to products that are sold in department stores and boutiques. You have to find your own particular niche. Concentrate on products that are in demand, and offer a better design, quality, and competitive price.
You have to do research on what is selling now and what is starting to sell. It’s helpful to understand why people buy. Some of the variables that motivate buyers include time, convenience, context, and price. These translate into impulse buying vs considered thinking, transportability, location (i.e., tourist market vs gallery). People have complex buying motivations. The more accurately you know your market, the more successful you will be at attracting buyers for your work.
Your success in a crafts business also depends on finding the right arena for your work and determining what sets you apart from your craft competitors. In some cases, it may be necessary to make a radical change in the products you make or the way you make them if you want to be successful in the market. Some ways that you can make your work stand o