Little Squish has been in business for about 18 months now. I am absolutely not a business expert, but I’ve been asked lots of business-related questions via social media recently, so I thought it may be useful for me to share some tips and things I’ve learned along my journey. This is a four part weekly series, starting with…
Setting up your craft business
The chances are that, if you make something by hand, someone will say to you “You should sell that”. Yay, someone likes what you do! If you think that selling your handmade wares is appealing, what you need to do really is find out if there’s a market for it. Ask friends and family (but bear in mind that they’re likely to be positive because they want to be supportive), post photos on Facebook and generally shove your product (or photos of it) under people’s noses to gauge opinion. If you decide that creating your own crafty business is for you, then read on my friend…
What’s in a name?
Well, quite a bit really. You need to think creatively and come up with a name for your business that is memorable, maybe describes what you do (although if you do a variety of things, maybe this isn’t so wise) and isn’t too long. I came up with Little Squish because after my second daughter was born we were referring to her as our little squish for a while, and I thought it sounded pretty good! Also, I think it conjures up a business that has something to do with small children. Once you’ve thought of a name, it’s worth checking out whether your desired web domain is available.
So you have a name for your business. You love it, everyone loves it and the web domain is available, hurrah! The next I would do, is get yourself a logo. It doesn’t have to be fancy and expensive – have a go yourself if you’re confident enough, see if any of your friends are good at this kind of thing (I have to say a MASSIVE thank you at this point to my friend Louise; she designed my logo for me and I always get lovely comments about it!), or why not contact a local college and see if any design students will do one for you; it may be the sort of thing they need for their portfolios.
When thinking about your logo, try to pick out some colours that will not only be in the logo, but also incorporated across your entire brand: social media pages, printed literature, packaging, you get the idea.
Bit of advice…
Now you have a name and a pretty logo, you’re going to get tempted by all the pages you see on Facebook that will put your logo on business cards, stickers, order books, compliment slips, pens, notebooks, mugs… the list is endless. Stop! Yes it all looks lovely, but do you really NEED it? Would your money be better spent, at this point, on materials etc.?
I only bought myself some business cards about 9 months in because I was going to an event where some networking would be happening; if I’d bought them at the beginning they’d have gathered dust! Similarly, I commissioned a hand-carved stamp of my logo early on this year because I needed it for branding and it’s also great for stamping inside garments. Just buy stuff when you need it – you’re not missing out by not buying a mug with your logo on, honestly. Also, when you do decide that you want to get business cards etc. PROOF-READ EVERYTHING. Sorry for shouting, but it’s important! I’ve seen some unfortunate typos on otherwise lovely looking literature and you don’t want to give a bad first impression.
We’ll talk more about social media another time, but for now it’s a good idea to register your web domain (and get an email address associated with it, it looks more professional than a Google email address or whatever). Even if you don’t intend to use it for hosting a shop or blog or anything, you can at least have it re-directing to where you are selling from. Just in case you’re interested, my website is a custom installation of WordPress (for which I should thank my husband; it’s great to have a geek in the house!).
You know I was a teacher before right? Well to stay true to my roots, here’s some homework! Check out Craft a Creative Business and Mollie Makes: Making It!; both are fab books and not at all dull! If you’re serious about making a decent income from your new business, I’d wholeheartedly recommend checking out the Business Bakery. The full course may not be for you just yet, but sign up for Julia’s emails, they’re full of advice and interesting links. (I’m currently part-way through the course and it’s been so useful and I absolutely credit it with Little Squish’s recent change on direction).
I hope that was useful! See you next week for part two 🙂
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