• Johan Booysen

Online Business Idea: Artistic Hand Crafted Products

Many people rack their brains trying to come up with small business ideas and get nowhere slowly. You may think that creating an online business is much easier than any other business, but that is not always the case. Any online business require effort, planning and the most important 2 ingredients: Determination and Grit. Yet without the original idea, you simply can't get going therefore I would like to offer a few ideas I have had over time and perhaps you can make a success of them. This This idea came to me one day while working on my own business, Noproblem Systems, it seems a modest and simple one: to sell Unique Handcrafted Products online.

Sell Unique Artistic Hand Crafted Products

Unfair, you may say, that is not a great idea, lots of people do that! Wait, read on and I will explain.

At our weekend crafts market is a man who makes knives. He simply lives for it and thrives on doing it. He is thoroughly proud to sit at a market on a weekend showing off his skills and talk about the folded Damascus steel, the patterns, the handle, the leather, sheath and so on. However he is not very tech savvy. Even though his products are beautiful he does not sell a lot of them. He has a website, it is not too engaging and requires that one email him with their requests which is not too consumer friendly at all.

For most people who purchase goods and gifts online, the above is not how they want to operate. Firstly very few people buy very expensive products at a market.

But online shopping consumers shy away from manually emailing the owner. Consumers want to simply choose the product, pick whether to include a handwritten card and gift wrap and request overnight delivery, since they have forgotten about Dad's 60th birthday....bummer.

And exactly therein lies the opportunity!

Many such crafty businesses exist, including artists. People who are very skilled at their craft, but not at the business of selling the craft. And often the effort of selling the craft is as much as it is do make the goods and that is why it never really takes off.

What is the Claim to Fame?

Each product you sell is absolutely unique. There is no other like that and never will be. As a gift is is really valuable and shows that that the person giving the gift has gone to great lengths to source an absolutely unique item. In many cases also it will create job opportunities to people in rural areas and provide an income to the artist.

How to Start

Do not be fooled. An online business is no picnic. You will work hard and many hours before the business is at the point of making money. This business is really a form of a drop shipping business with the only twist that each product is unique.

  1. Approach a number of people manufacturing unique handmade goods who do not have a strong online presence and offer to be the online presence for them.

  2. Negotiate a discount for your effort so that you can sell the product at the same price that they sell it and that will be your mark-up.

  3. Arrange that they will safely wrap the product for delivery and be available to hand the items to the courier.

  4. Use one of the standard shopping cart tools to set up an online store for yourself. This you can do yourself but there are also people that are skilled at setting one up for you and perhaps it is best to pay someone to do it.

  5. Now starts the real work. You will need to get skilled at photography, perhaps attend a course and you might also need to get some equipment. The rule of online sales is, the better the photos, the easier the goods sell. Most likely you will need to make yourself a mobile photo studio. When buying equipment never get the absolute top of the range, that is just overkill.

Day to Day Operation

Once you have everything ready, you are ready for operating. Below are the steps that you would need to take on a daily basis.

  1. Frequently visit your suppliers with your mobile studio and photograph their latest creations. This might be on a weekly or monthly basis, depending on how fast they are at creating new products.

  2. As orders appear in your inbox, forward the details including delivery address to the supplier and also call them to make sure that they would speed the processing of the parcel. Have them call you when the order is ready.

  3. On a daily basis give the courier instructions on the collections and delivery of all the parcels. Follow up with your suppliers that the goods have been collected and notify the buyers that the delivery is in progress.

  4. Pay your supplier promptly to keep them happy.

  5. Ensure that you adhere to all the legal and tax regulations as this could cause some real headaches for you.

Some Pitfalls to Watch Out For

  1. With unique hand-crafted products, each product is unique and different and therefore requires its own photos. Therefore ensure the product you choose is priced high enough that the process of the photography is not prohibitive for the product.

  2. Have a plan in place when a person orders an item online and that item is already sold by the artist. Since you do not keep stock, that is a risk you are going to have and your buyer must be aware of it. Always call with alternative proposals and if the client is not happy, give them a full refund.

  3. Remember you also need to market you site heavily. Over time you will start getting a following, but initially you will need to market. You will need time and budget for that.

Keep at it...

In conclusion I must again warn that the success of such a business is the ability to keep at it. Keep going, keep re-thinking and keep working. I hope that this has inspired someone to start this type of business. If it ever works out for you, look me up. In the meanwhile check out my business, Noproblem Systems.

May God bless your new Small Business!

Jesus Christ is my King