Another lovely business installment from Amy Kalinchuk of Craft e-Revolution! See her first post here on starting your own craft business. Thanks for the tips, Amy!
Choosing Your Niche -- Will People Really Buy This Stuff, Anyway?
It is exciting to think that others are willing to pay you for the fun you have. Crafting is fun, right? And all of your friends are constantly telling you that you should sell this. People would buy this. You could make this a business!
If you have made the decision to sell your crafts, but don’t know who will buy them, it’s probably a good time to choose your niche. You must realize, from the start, that you are not selling to everybody. Not everybody likes what you make. This is not an insult--it’s a good thing. Knowing this can help you make more money from the beginning.
It’s better to design your products so that they appeal to an audience that is large enough to sustain your business, but small enough that not everybody will want it. Since you are a crafter, that fact has narrowed things down considerably. You already have eliminated those who prefer ultra-well-known-brand-name products. Let’s narrow it some more. Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Are my products particular to a social group? Parents, women, single men, college students, children, the elderly, people with disabilities?
2. Are my products particular to a lifestyle? Vegans, green living, homesteading, urban dwelling, hipsters?
3. Do my products have a particular aesthetic? Vintage, mod, art deco, rockabilly?
4. Do my customers have a lot of money? Just a little bit of money? Do they save up money to purchase collectible items?
Answer these questions, one by one, and you may come up with a statement that looks something like this:
My products (high-quality, handmade soaps and other skin products) have a rustic quality, and appeal to customers who value practicality over looks and function over style. Vegans, vegetarians, and those who value “green living” and “all natural” items will enjoy knowing they purchased the products locally, and for a reasonable price (just a bit higher than the average price in Whole Foods).
That niche is the target for my soap company. Those are the people who enjoy my products and come back for more. I focus on selling locally at farmer’s markets, as well as online. My packaging is minimalistic, and my soaps are rustic looking, but are large and perform very well.
It is unrealistic to think that my soaps will appeal to everyone. Those who like artificial fragrances like Lilac or Strawberry, are not going to be attracted to my soaps from the start. People who like fancy soaps made in shaped molds are not going to be drawn to the plain rectangles of my soap. That’s okay! There are plenty of other soap makers in the world who can meet that customer’s need. There is enough money to go around. Go through the list, answer the questions, and target your niche. You will be rewarded with a loyal customer base and hopefully, increased sales because of your focus.
Amy Kalinchuk is the publisher at Craft e-Revolution. Her soap website is the #1 result in Google for the search, “handmade soap Denver.” Unsurprisingly, she lives in Denver, Colorado with her family.