How To Start a Craft Business

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We get quite a few letters at Creative Income that read like this:

Dear Maria,

How do I get started in the craft show biz? What should I make? What is selling? How to I sell my crafts? How many do I make to sell? How can you make a profit? How can I buy wholesale? Appreciate the advice and help.

Many thanks,


Well, that’s a lot of questions and I’ve got about 600 words I can put into each article! However, my best advice to anyone who writes in with this many questions is to slow down and breathe!

There are dozens of books on the market that answer these common questions. And it would take a book to answer each question thoroughly. I believe that one must follow their heart and know what passion lies within that heart. The Creative Income newsletter and my articles are written for the crafter who may end up building a big company (magic happens), but for the time being would just love to sell some of the crafts they make to earn some income.

You start by sitting down at your computer or with a notebook and pencil. List what you make and exactly how much each item costs to make. List how long it takes you to make each item. List all your available marketplaces (local craft shows, start an online store, sell on auction websites, place in a local retail shop). List the hours you plan to work. Take an inventory of all your raw goods. Write down your goals (to make $500 a month extra household income; to be in juried art shows; to win honors and ribbons). To all those questions I match a long list of lists to me, but it’s by writing all your information down that a business plan can emerge.

As to what sells, if I had an answer to that I’d be a very rich woman! It varies from community to community, season to season, and sometimes what movies are popular and what Lady GaGa is wearing! You need to do your research and find out what your potential customers are looking to buy. In the long run, you might end up writing a book of projects or creating downloadable how-to videos. The business of creativity is diverse and limited only by one’s imagination. Bottom line is you need to find out what your customers need and fill that need with your talents.

Interested in learning more about running your craft business? Make sure you’re subscribed to our free weekly newsletter – Creative Income.


By: Maria Nerius, Resident Craft Expert

What crafts would you sell if you owned your own crafting business?

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  1. Mitchell coon says

    I sell my knecklasses and wrists bracelets by word of mouth through my friends spreading the word, they mention it to there friends next thing you know it’s kicken off.Mitchell

  2. says

    I have a website but nothing sells. I make handmade baby quilts. I thought there would be interest in this product, but all I do is give them away for shower gifts. I’ve been to craft shows and the people tell me how beautiful they are, but they don’t buy one. It’s my passion and it’s what I love to do.

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