Things to Consider When Choosing a Creative Business Niche
Many people would love to have their own successful creative business, and choosing a creative business niche is the most important thing to consider.
Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’? I am a big believer of this. I am also guilty of this sometimes when it comes to learning. I have spent the past 3 years educating myself in all aspects needed to build a successful creative business, both on and offline. At first, I spent a lot of time learning a little about a lot of different things, and basically got nowhere fast. Once I focused on the one subject and learnt about that as much as I could, only then would I then move on to a new topic.
Whether you currently practise 7 different crafts, or you are a complete beginner at any type of craft, focusing your mind on the one niche will be the best thing for you.
My first creative business niche when I started out was jewellery making. After 4 years, life took me in a different direction and I started making dog accessories as well. I decided to take both my jewellery and dog accessories to events, thinking this would open me up to more potential customers. In reality it had the opposite effect. I was sending out a confusing message as to what it was I was actually selling, and if anything, it affected my sales. Needless to say, I put a stop to that very quickly and decided to focus on the niche that I felt I could be more successful with. You can read a bit more about how I started off HERE.
I have put together a little list of things to consider when deciding on which creative business niche to focus on.
Do you already have an interest or hobby?
Obviously, if you are already an avid knitter or love making cupcakes, you have a head start on the rest of us! If you don’t, what takes your fancy? Have you always wanted to learn how to use a sewing machine, or are you obsessed with candles and would love to learn more about how to make them yourself? If you already have an interest in something, have a look at my list and see what type of creative niche can be linked to it. If you do not have an interest in anything yet, my list could be a source of inspiration for you.
How about something you would buy yourself?
I saved a small fortune when I was making jewellery. If I wanted a bracelet or a necklace in a specific colour, I made it myself! If you have children, there could be something you spend a lot of money on, for example hair bows (if you have young daughters), that could be the focus of your creative niche. It also puts you at an advantage as you know what colours and styles will be popular, based on what you currently buy yourself.
To bake or not to bake?
I have attended many craft events and markets over the years, and the cakes and cookie stalls always do well if the event is well attended. If you are considering a perishable niche, there are extra things to think about. There are specific checks and certificates you need to be able to sell food at events, as well as following the correct procedures for storing and displaying food items at the event. On top of all that, you need to make sure your stock levels are correct. This could be a case of trial and error. Having spoken to some food sellers at various events, they will always tell you it is better to sell out than have stock left over that has to be thrown away.
Cost of materials.
This is another important thing to consider. I would suggest an hour or two at your computer looking for wholesalers for what you need. I used Chinese wholesalers for my beads as they are cheap and only took a week to arrive. It may take a few attempts before you find your ideal wholesaler. A good idea is to look at DHGate and Aliexpress which are the most popular Chinese market places.
I’m going to put the next sentence in nice big pink letters so it doesn’t get missed…
DON’T GO TO EBAY AND BUY YOUR MATERIALS FROM THERE!
It is a waste of money. The people who sell beads on Ebay have done exactly what I’ve just told you to do and have bought them from a Chinese wholesaler. Just do it yourself and pay the cheaper price. The only downside to ordering from abroad are the shipping times. They can be quite quick though. The average time I wait for my orders to arrive from China is 5 working days if I pay for shipping via courier. If i use the normal mail service it takes between 1-2 weeks.
There are some very good UK wholesale companies out there as well, although not for items such as beads, which are predominately made in China anyway. I use UK wholesalers for most of my fabrics, webbing, buttons etc, for my dog accessories business.
How much storage and work space do you have?
This is an important consideration as there is no point in up-cycling wooden benches if you only have half a table’s worth of space to work at! My first creative business niche was jewellery making, and, when I first started, I had the dining room table to work at, and an empty chest of drawers for my ‘stuff’. Even if you don’t think you have any storage space now, I’m sure a quick de-clutter and eBay day will free some room up for you, as well as giving you a few pounds towards your start up costs.
Does your niche need specialist equipment?
Some crafts need machinery, like a sewing machine, while others may just need a bog standard pair of knitting needles.
There are, however, other crafts that you need quite a bit of equipment first-pottery and printing are 2 examples I can think of where specific equipment is needed. You can always start with a cheap version of what you need and upgrade as you go along. I would exercise caution here though as you need to have something that will last you a while and will do a professional job for you. Buy shit and you buy twice.
One other thing to consider with expensive equipment is ‘down time’ if there is ever a problem with it, and how that could affect your business. This risk can be reduced if not everything you make will be made using the equipment, so, if it does break down, you still have other stock you can make and sell.
So, there you have some considerations for when deciding on what creative business niche to focus on. Are there any other considerations that need to be mentioned? Comment below if you have any suggestions!