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What Are the Different Types of Craft Business Ideas?

By Maggie Worth
Updated: Jan 30, 2024

A wide variety of craft business ideas exist for someone looking to combine a love of arts and crafts with the desire to start a small business. In general, craft businesses can be grouped into three categories: businesses that make crafts, businesses that serve as sales outlets for the handcrafts of several individuals or companies, and businesses that sell supplies and services to crafters. Companies that sell finished crafts can create just about anything, from knitting projects to paintings to wood carvings. Those that sell crafts made by others can choose to sell online only, at brick-and-mortar locations or through a combination of methods. Suppliers can sell anything a crafter needs to make and sell his goods, including such tangibles as patterns and paints as well as such intangibles as web design and accounting services.

Someone looking to actually make handcrafted items should consider craft business ideas that play to their talents, abilities and interests. A talented painter, for instance, can create iconic paintings on canvas or glass and can hand paint and sell items such as wine glasses, jewelry, clothing, serving dishes, handbags and furniture. Likewise, someone who is clever with a needle can craft a multitude of items, including clothes, aprons, table linens, dolls, doll clothing, and pillows. A jewelry business is an option for metalworkers, beaders, woodworkers and those who work with found objects, such as bottle caps, old guitar picks or corks. Ultimately, all concepts in which the crafter can create an item people will buy are viable craft business ideas.

If an individual is not a crafter himself, or if he doesn't think he can make enough of his particular craft item to sustain a business, he can consider one of the reseller craft business ideas. This means that he will need to form a network of crafters whose products should either be closely related or widely diverse, depending on the marketplace. He must then create either a physical or online space for selling the crafts, determine how the business and individual crafters will be paid, and market or advertise to the public in order to sell the products. Executed correctly, this particular business model can allow someone with strong business skills to align with individuals with strong artistic abilities, benefiting all involved.

Other craft business ideas involve selling supplies to crafters. This can be on any scale and can involve physical supplies or needed services. For example, someone who has a large amount of property might consider planting gourds and selling them to people who paint them or turn them into birdhouses. Likewise, a woodworker who doesn't have the time or desire to make pieces for resale might be able to create and sell project patterns. Additionally, web developers can specialize in creating online sites for individuals wishing to sell their crafts.

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Discussion Comments
By pastanaga — On Feb 08, 2015

@pleonasm - I'd also like to point out that selling crafts is usually an organic process. It's probably not going to happen overnight unless you can afford a huge advertising blitz and you have the product to back it up.

One way to stay in the general industry is to sell crafting materials, but there are a lot of people doing that, so be careful about investing without a plan.

By pleonasm — On Feb 08, 2015

@croydon - Quality is important, but I would argue that marketing is almost equally important. And I'm not talking about advertising necessarily. You can have the best quality products in the world and you still won't sell them if you haven't positioned them in front of the right audience or offered them a personalized experience.

In my experience the best crafts come with a story attached, whether you get that from the craftsperson themselves as they sell it, or with the item as a card.

By croydon — On Feb 07, 2015

I think the most important thing when it comes to operating a craft business is to make sure your crafts are of very high quality. With the huge amount of competition these days, particularly online, it can be very difficult to make your wares stand out from the crowd.

But people will recognize and appreciate quality and they are far more likely to recommend you to others if they are impressed by your work.

Quality isn't only about the craftsmanship either. Using high quality materials and tracing their origins to ensure they are ethically sourced can also be important, particularly since the kinds of people who buy crafts are usually fairly discerning about that kind of thing.

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