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Thinking of giving up...

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  • Thinking of giving up...

    Hello all, I have been a crafter since forever and have been selling my things for years, but I'm feeling really despondent. It seems no matter how hard I try or what type of gifts I produce I just don't seem to be able to grow my business into something substantial. Has anyone else been in this place? I really don't like it at all, the thought of giving it all up, clearing out my craft cupboard and closing the website. It feels such a waste when I think of all the hours spent on creating new things and building and maintaining a website. Any suggestions, experiences or advice would be greatly received.

  • #2
    I think we have all been in this position. Funny as last year and this I have been doing so much better, both UK and the USA. I no longer do craft fairs but vintage fairs as this suits my type of work.

    Only you can decide but for me after 30 odd years is a passion and way of life. Do you depend on the income from crafting ? A lot of crafters have a part time job as we'll to supplement your income, very few of us are wealthy from crafting but we get by.


    • #3
      Hi, sorry you feel so despondent but I suspect every crafter feels like this at sometime, I know I do.

      Are you trying to make a living from your work ? What is it you make ? I only really know a handful of crafts people who make a full time living from what they produce and unfortunately it takes so much more than having and maintaining a website and making nice things. Every branch of the crafting community is massively oversubscribed coupled with the vast imported competition which usually undercuts you on price every time. It may not be better but it is cheaper and not everyone appreciates handmade in the true sense of the word. Your product needs to be as unique as possible with a definite USP that you can promote.

      In the main if you want to make a business out of it, you have to spend probably 25% of your time producing and 75% promoting and selling. Sitting behind a web site no matter how wonderful it is won't cut it. Saying all of this I have no idea what you have done to sell and promote your products in the past or what has changed now to make you feel like this.

      Perhaps if you tell us a bit more about what you make and how you have attempted to sell it, some of the people who are making a living out of it could better help you.

      Don't give up just yet................

      Mo. Bodrighy Wood.
      Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage..Lao Tzu.!/AuntieMornie


      • #4
        You have my sympathy. A couple of years after the bank crash my previously booming businesses took a nose dive. Fortunately I got old enough to draw my pension, which took the pressure off. Friends tried to persuade me to stop making and trading and start to enjoy my other hobbies. I sort of listened to them and have ditched 2/3rds of what I used to do. Once I told people of my plans crazy things popped up and people offered to buy my van and stock off me. They virtually became what I had been. I can't stop crafting/making though. I go stir crazy. I'm reinventing myself. I don't know if it'll work but I still seem to be in demand. My most depressing friend was particularly uplifting today (I was mulling over bad news about my sister). You have to have hope, he said. Take each day as it comes and enjoy whatever good things it brings.


        • #5
          I can relate! I think as a creative person as well as small business- we all go through these feelings. I can only share with you my experiences. I have good days, great days and days that I decide I'm going to quit. It's hard! Especially when you work for yourself. There is something that always sticks in my head that Tony Robbins said. "People are rewarded in public for what they practice in private". It's so true. The best thing I ever did for myself was to hire a business coach who specialized in the craft business. And forums like this are great to get feedback and know that you are not alone! Hugs to you!


          • #6
            sorry to hear youre feeling so low about things. majority of us have been in the same position. like others have said, we all go through good and bad patches, but the best thing you can do is just push through the bad! were all here for you


            • #7
              Such as shame, I share your frustration, why do people prefer mass produced. I hope you are still giving it a go. Maybe part time for a while is the way to go?


              • #8
                O.K. - it's a bit difficult to give an exact advice, as I'm not sure what sort of creative business you have, but if I was you this is what I would do:

                First of all take a little break from what you are doing - for a day or a weekend or whatever you can fit in. You will clear your head a bit and it will be easier to focus on the next task.

                After that you need to look at your creative business objectively (from the outside) and review everything. The easier thing to do is to start with the numbers. What's your biggest seller? What takes the less time and actually sells? What doesn't?
                Can you make more of what actually sells?

                Then look at what you actually sell - are you just making things and selling those or can you start selling your expertise? A lot of craft people do both - create, design and make, but also run creative workshops to compliment their offerings.

                There is tons more that can done - look at the design (is it on trend, can you change it a bit if not...), materials you are using, type of product & the finish.

                Who is your ideal customer? What do they actually buy and have you attracted the right customer so far? (Lots of people find that having very specific niche attract more people and the right people too)

                And finally, as few people already pointed out, marketing and good PR is often more important then the product itself. Sad, but unfortunately true. Again, review what you currently do and add to that. Keep your current and previous customer happy and stay in touch (newsletters, social media, blog etc.) - it's much easier (and cheaper) then always trying to get new customers.

                If it looks like too much to take in, all I'm trying to say is 'Don't give up, but be prepared to look at your creative business with open eyes'.

                Hope this gives you something to start with and I'd love to know how you get on.

                Best of luck
                Passionate about all things handmade...

                Proud owner of WowThankYou - stylish and affordable way of selling your crafts and makes

                Friendly advice and coaching for small businesses

                Cocoa & Heart Website


                • #9
                  You most likely need to find your market price.

                  If I had to pick on one thing that has kept my business alive during this recession it has to be being broad based. Everything from birthday parties, tutorials and corporate events on the bookings side. Both handmade jewellery and jewellery repairs on the other hand. Loose beads, strands and bulk selling to groups, along with loose beads in store for people to just drop in and create, it has all paid the bills at one time or another.

                  People are always suggesting I shoudl create statement pieces for sale, but the truth is that my high street is £9.99, for a gift, for a night out with an outfit, for a feel good - it is all £9.99. So I could create my cherub on the back of a dragonfly and pop it in the window, it would have taen me 4 hours to mould, strand and design and the materials would be high end, so I should be asking c.£50.00, but instead I will put it in for £30.00. Will people admire it? Certainly. Will they come in to tell me how fantastic they think my work is? Indeed, often happens. Will they buy it ... NO. I will sell one a year if I am lucky and even then I will have to drop the price to £25.00 (so not really worth making - but it does draw people to the shop window and whilst they are there they will most likely buy one of the sets ... for £9.99.

                  Find your market price and then create around that. Carry on create your other pieces but make sure you have a cash cow to keep brining in the pennies, then every high end piece you sell is a bonus.


                  • #10
                    Most of us have been in the same position. Like others have said, we all go through good and bad patches, but the best thing you can do is just push through bad


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