If you love getting creative and have a passion for homemade gifts, have you ever thought about opening an arts and crafts shop? It might be something that you’ve always wanted to do, but life’s commitments got in the way. Maybe now’s the perfect opportunity to look into how to start an arts and crafts shop in retirement.

Lots of craft hobbies can be turned into small business ideas, such as handmade soaps, pottery or stationery. They’re one of the many ways to make money in retirement if you’re looking to supplement your retirement income. Sometimes, even the most effective money management doesn’t bring in quite enough to cover everything we want to enjoy in retirement. While there are other options, if you’re already a talented knitter, potter or painter, it’s worth thinking about how to make money with crafts to top up your pension.

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Tips on how to make money with crafts while enjoying your retirement

From start-up costs to sourcing supplies, making a to-do list is a great way to start thinking about what you’ll need to get your craft business up and running.

Here are some things to consider before getting started:

1. Think about where to sell your crafts

Choosing a location to sell your products – whether it’s online or in person, at a flea market or in someone else’s shop – is important for knowing what kind of customers you’re trying to reach.

2. Identify your target customers

Think about your audience and consider how you can best market your products to them. Knowing what they want is key to making money with crafts. For example, if you know they love earrings it makes sense to focus on those over bracelets, which might not be selling as well.

3. Find the differences in your product

There may be others who have a similar idea to you, so it’s worth asking – what makes my product unique? This will let you fine-tune your crafts to be even more distinctive. When figuring out how to make money with crafts, creating a product that stands out from the crowd is really important.

A good way to do this is by going to your local flea market or arts and crafts fair and looking at what items other people are selling. This might also give you an idea of your own product’s demand, and what price you could sell yours for.

4. Think about your branding

Branding includes your business name, logo, colour scheme and font. A memorable brand can define your business, so picking the right colours and imagery for your arts and crafts shop is really important. You can employ a professional to design your logo or you could try your hand at creating your own with a range of online software.

5. Source quality materials

Wherever you source your materials, your customers will appreciate quality; it’s always worth paying that little bit extra.

Where to sell handmade items locally

It can be a little daunting starting out and not knowing where to sell your crafts. Depending on where you live, there will probably be a number of places right for you.

Here are some ideas for where to sell handmade items locally:

  • Arts and crafts markets and fairs - Setting up a stall might be ideal for meeting new people and finding the right customers
  • Get stocked in shops – Reaching out to shops that sell similar items to yours is a great way to sell your products without the cost of setting up your own shop
  • Pop-up stores - This is a good way to showcase your crafts to new customers and a chance to hand out business cards or get people on your mailing list
  • Festivals - Having a stall at a festival could give you even greater exposure to new potential customers and fellow crafters

Tips for selling handmade items locally

 

  1. Find the perfect space for your arts and crafts shop
    If you’re wondering where to sell handmade items locally, it’s all about making sure your customers can easily find you and will enjoy browsing your creative wares. Some tips for what to think about include:
    • A manageable stall size
    • High foot traffic
    • A regular stall location, like the local Sunday market
    • Somewhere popular with your perfect customer
  2. Create a business card 
    Pop a card in the bag with your customer’s purchase and they’ll have a reminder of your business’s name when they get home – or they can share it with their friends. You can also hand them out at craft fairs or when enquiring about stalls at potential selling spots. The ideal business card should include: 
    • Your logo
    • Your name or company name
    • Your business tagline
    • Your phone number or email address
  3. Attend local markets, fairs and festivals
    Shopping at markets and fairs first is a great way to make sure they’re the right fit for you. You can also use the time to speak to other sellers and get an idea of how long they’ve been selling at the markets for, and spread the word about your business. Local fairs and markets are ideal for chatting to customers in a laidback setting, as well as meeting other small business owners. They also typically attract a lot of visitors.
  4. Promote your store on social media
    Setting up a page on social media is a simple way to promote your arts and crafts shop. You can share photos of your products, and let your followers know about promotions and sales. It’s also an easy way to chat to them about what they love about your products, and get to know your customers a bit better.

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How do I start a business online for arts and crafts?

For some, the online world is a more appealing way to sell their crafty creations. Once you’ve found your place on the internet, and got to grips with selling and sending out your products, it can be ideal for fitting around spending time with family and other retirement commitments.

1. Find the right platform

There are lots of different websites, like Etsy, eBay and Folksy, that make it really easy to set up your own online arts and crafts shop. It’s worth doing some research to decide which one is right for you.

2. Create business profiles

Setting up an online business profile can build your brand’s identity and help people find out more about you. It’s also a great place to collect reviews from customers. You can find out more about Google Business Profile in this handy guide.

3. Snap some photos

Catch your customers eye with product photographs that will really sell your arts and crafts. You can hire a professional to photograph the products for your online shop, or why not practise your own product photography?

4. Arrange postage

From choosing the packaging to printing address labels and deciding on postage, there’s plenty to think about when it comes to sending off your sold items. You might want to take your parcels to the post office to start with, but as you grow in popularity some courier services let you buy postage online so you can print your label at home and drop it off at your local parcel points. See the Royal Mail’s guide.

5. Set up a mailing list

Creating a mailing list is a personal way to reach your customers on a regular basis with updates about what you’ve been working on and new products that are available on your online shop. There are platforms you can use for scheduling emails in advance so you can send it at just the right time, and create mailing lists for specific groups of people that you might want to send special offers to.

6. Create a blog

Writing regular blog posts lets you talk to customers about what interests them – as well as your business. It can also increase the chances of them returning to your website and making a purchase. Here are some tips on how to start a blog.

7. Customer reviews

Seeing five-star reviews from happy customers is always reassuring when you’re spending money. Encouraging reviews on your social media pages is a good place to start.

And finally, start crafting!

Doing something you love while making a bit of extra money is a great way to top up your pension. There’s plenty to think about when prepping and planning, but it’s all part of the fun – and don’t forget to leave time to enjoy your favourite hobby! If you’ve always wanted to open an online arts and crafts shop, or sell your creative creations at a market or fair, what better time to start than now?