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 ?
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.
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 .
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".
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 .
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
© 1999, 2000
"Professional Crafters" all rights reserved
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