Shadow Box Frame made with Uniquely Creative July 2018 Kit (Gypsy Rose) Thank you for sneaking a peek into my creative world.  My na...

Friday, 23 November 2018

Taking the plunge... into a handmade start-up business

How I started my handmade papercraft and jewellery making business

For as long as I can remember I wanted to own my own business, as I am in property I always thought that I would do something related to that but due to the uncertainty of the market and my slight career deviation into place making instead of property management I decided to expand on my passion for papercraft and jewellery making. 

It took me a considerable amount of time to pluck up the courage to actually do it and due to my long hiatus of 15 years while raising my son I had become somewhat rusty on the techniques to do with papercraft in particular so I quickly realized that I needed to get way more involved in learning the current trends, techniques and popular companies involved in the craft.

My mother in law has been a great help with this process as she has been papercrafting for over 8 years and it is part of her job as a disability worker to teach the clients how to embellish cards and other craft activities. She is a craft shopping addict and knew most of the popular techniques and faces so I quickly got up to speed with everything.

She took me along to my first scrapbooking retreat and craft show which I thoroughly enjoyed. This is us at that camp...

As I am a self confessed shop-a-holic it wasn't too long before I had converted our 'spare room' into a crafters heaven with every crevice crammed to the brim with all kinds of embellishments, foils, dies, stamps and any other blingy shiny thing I could get my hands on, this quickly morphed into me wheeling and dealing on Facebook acquiring good quality second hand bulk lots and converting them into smaller, more detailed appealing lots which turned a small profit most of them time.

This was not enough to feed my shopping addiction and I soon bought up everything worth purchasing on Facebook marketplace so I decided to create a proper business, I registered for an ABN and registered my business name. I came up with my business name, Uniquity Designs because I always have to customize everything with my name and rarely settle for what everyone else is interested in. I searched the net to confirm whether that name had been used and lucky for me it hadn't.

I created a Facebook page @uniquitycrafts and 2 groups 'creative papercrafts australia' and 'jewellery making australia' both related to my interests, then I soon realized that there was no group for craft storage so I created 'craft storage inspiration Australia'.

I am now growing the business by getting wholesale accounts with various craft suppliers locally and internationally to stock my online store and I plan to become design team member for a couple of big name suppliers and a teacher at my local scrapbook store, to do this I am focusing on my brand and building my social media following by posting my creations on Instagram and writing these blog posts.

The NSW government has programs to assist developing start up businesses which include a free consultancy service, which you can access here: https://www.industry.nsw.gov.au/business-and-industry-in-nsw. I have found the consultant very helpful in providing tips on where to focus your marketing efforts.

The most difficult thing I have experienced so far is my impatience, wanting everything to happen in an instant. From my chats with various well established craft supply business owners it has taken them quite a few years to build up their brand and many of them are not working full time which gives them the additional time to build the business up.

I have booked in my first local market stall which is linked to a Christmas event at the shopping centre so I am preparing for that. Need to make so many more items to stock my store. Need to order tables, banner signs, tablecloths, gather all of the display props and get a gazebo.

I have also booked in to sell goods at Vicki Pye's craft retreat at Narrabeen next year, I was so lucky that I was allowed to as most organisers have their own shop so they don't usually let you set one up at their retreat, I am very grateful for this opportunity.

I highly recommend doing your research and building your network before diving into to craft business world. Also price up how much your stock and cost to make the items will be. Otherwise you might get caught out with a huge hole in your savings as it takes a while to get your name out there and you need to buy bulk to make savings.

Hope this post was helpful and informative for all of you that are considering starting your own craft business.

If anyone has any other tips for start up craft businesses, please feel free to comment on this post.

Happy crafting

Mel xo

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