Recession Proof Your Arts & Crafts Business | By David G. Robertson
We all know that the Arts and Crafts Business is not the easiest business to be successful in, even in the best of economic times. This business is fraught with ups and downs that are beyond your control.
Trends that are hot for months or years suddenly die out, and new and unexpected hot niches develop overnight. There are some things that you can do to help you Arts & Crafts business be successful over the next few years.
The good news is that money is not going to disappear. There will still be people buying gifts and decorating homes and going on holidays. All of these people will be trying to get the best value for every dollar that they spend in any circumstance.
Sell The Service Aspect
If you are selling arts and crafts your market may change a bit. People will be looking for quality, and exact fit to their needs. So in these recession economic times service becomes extremely important. If you are a producer of arts or crafts can you do custom work. Can you make a painting of the same theme but scaled to fit the customers exact measurements? Can you install that custom piece of furniture that you built. Are there colors or finishes you can offer that your competitors can’t duplicate?
Service becomes very important and people will be willing to pay a little more for a product if there is tons of high quality service to back it up. To be successful in recessionary times you will have to work harder, but your business will benefit in the long run from this.
Have Multiple Price Points
Depending on your art or craft, price point may become an issue. Take painting as an example. You may have been selling large canvasses (4 feet by 6 feet as an example) and start to see a slow down in this niche part of this market. Try making a few canvasses in the 3 feet by 4 feet and 2 feet by 3 feet size. Keep some of the larger canvasses to attract your buyers. You will find many will opt for the smaller canvasses if they have financial considerations.
Try to develop several price points, so that you are broadening the appeal to your customers. There will occasionally be sales of the high ticket items. You will find most of your sales come from the mid price products so make sure you have lots of the mid range on hand.
An old tip but still works, is to take your top end and make that your mid-range price point. Suddenly you have up scaled your business and your customers will still tend to buy what you normally produce. This is a bit tricky as you don’t want to invest heavily in your new top end products. It can make you top heavy and set you up for a financial crash.
If you are skilled in your medium or if you are a store owner and have a good relationship with your artisans, set up classes in the process. Many people can justify the expense of a course in “Learn How To Make______” (fill in the blank with your idea) before they can justify the purchase. With courses there is opportunity to sell supplies, tools, books, and secondary level courses. Done well this can be very lucrative. People develop an interest in the arts and crafts, and in their minds they are getting good value for their money. They are having fun, socializing, making something that gives them pleasure, and being entertained all at the same time.
One fee and they receive so much benefit. It just happens that you receive some financial benefit as well.
Use The Internet
The most powerful marketing tool of the modern age is the Internet. If sales of your particular arts & crafts endeavor have slipped in your area, it doesn’t mean that they have dropped in another geographic region. You need a website and should promote your business to the whole world. This broadens your potential customer base to massive proportions. It is not as hard to build a website as you might think.
If you are a potter you can promote your pottery to galleries all over the world as well as have “walk in traffic” to your own website. Consider using video of the forming process to interest customers in the hands on aspect of your art or craft.
Recessionary times need not cripple your business. Always keep you customer in mind and go that extra step to make them feel valued. You may have to work a bit harder for the next little while but that doesn’t mean you can’t survive it.
David Robertson has been an artist blacksmith for over 20 years. He has seen many cycles in the arts & craft industry and has written an ebook How to Be Successful In The Arts and Craft Business where he tries to help people develop their craft or art business with tips and techniques that have worked for him in these 20 years.
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