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Diversification

Crafting has a way of consuming your time and imagination, not to mention all of your storage space. It tends to almost take on a life of it's own, expanding into your entire house, including all solid surfaces such as the dining room table and kitchen countertop. Others will nod their heads in sympathetic understanding when your significant other mentions that you *craft*.

The craft business as a whole has expanded too.
Multi-billions of dollars per year are now spent on craft products, wholesale supplies, and finished crafts.There are more hobby crafters and professional crafters than ever before. Handmade and imported craft items are sold almost everywhere - Shops, shows,TV, print ...
Crafts figure prominently on the retail landscape.

HAVE WE REACHED THE SATURATION POINT ?

Some Professional Crafters say yes, the market is overflowing with low priced, low-end crafts and mass produced imports, and the entire business is heading downhill in a hurry.

Yes, the market is filled with imports. In many cases they are pretty cute - Of course they are, or they wouldn't be selling. Some PCs and craft shop owners supplement their lines with imports. The market is loaded with handmade craft items of every type, and the popularity of hobby crafting is still on the rise with no end in sight.

But, there is still room for the Professional Crafter.

DO YOU DIVERSIFY ?

If your items are proving to be a tough sell, and shoppers are choosing the low priced / lower quality items, what is your customer ( I mean their customer ) telling you ? They had money to spend, and they chose cute and cheap ... Perhaps a little diversification is in order. Learn a new craft, develop a new line, create what the shoppers in your area are interested in, branch out and try new things, or introduce the public to something completely new and different.

If you are not up to designing a new line, there are countless patterns and instructional packets available for purchase - many of these designs can then be manufactured and sold through a shop or show, but in general not mass-produced. Check the fine print first .

Diversifying can also take the form of sales venues. New areas, new shops and shows, selling online, catalog sales, wholesaling, home shows ... There are many areas to explore. As we have covered in previous articles - The small independent business has a big advantage, if you choose to use it. A one-person operation can practically spin on a dime . Changes can be made almost overnight. As I have often written ... "If something isn't working, change it".

By diversifying new ideas may emerge.
For instance :
What if you were to take an item that you manufacture and turn it into pins, ornaments, or plant pokes. Or make it larger and turn it into a yard signs, door signs, plaques, or stepping stones. You would now have a line of coordinating items .

Diversification is an ongoing process - What works now, may not work in the future. There are no guarantees , and the only constant is change. Pay attention, observe the signs, and don't hesitate to try a fresh approach.

Carol / PCML

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