Things NOT to do when running a Craft Business.

by - Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I have a craft business but I also work in a professional environment and perhaps this has influenced me with regard to standards in my own venture but I’ve noticed a couple of things recently with regards to small craft businesses.


So, without wanting to offend, here are my thoughts on things you definitely shouldn’t be doing or omitting if you are trying to build a business.

First up – I saw an item I liked on a Facebook page recently but I was scrolling through a lot of photos and when I went back later, couldn’t immediately find the one I had liked so I messaged the seller with description to see if it was still available. The seller was friendly but asked me to find and comment on the original picture. Now, that might seem like a reasonable request but it’s putting the onus on me to chase up the sale. And quite frankly, if I’m willing to spend money (which is rare cos I don’t have any to spare!), I don’t want to be doing the work, I expect the seller to do it for me.
If you are working through your Facebook page mostly, it should be clear and photos divided into Albums with prices and how to purchase details.  If you have a ‘shop now’ button, it should lead to somewhere customers can actually see a range of products and make a purchase. It’s absolutely pointless having a shop button that doesn’t really lead to a proper shopping experience; it’s just frustrating for buyers.

The second situation involved an actual purchase at a craft fair. I thought I might buy again as I really liked the item and it would have been a perfect present. I couldn’t remember exact name of the company and checked to see if there was a label attached but there was none at all. If people are walking away with your product, make sure that it promotes you in some way – with a tag attached or a fabric label with your details. It’s pretty rare that someone will embark on a lot of work to find your product, the easier you make it, the better.

Another bugbear of mine – you have to have some kind of online presence. The first thing I do in any situation is head to Google. The companies I am most likely to buy from are companies (big or small) who have an online accessible picture of their brand. If I see that a Facebook page has about 4 updates a year I’m immediately put off.
Now you might think there’s not enough time, I don’t have enough of a variety of products, why should I bother? Well, for me, the reason for bothering is that if you don’t put the effort into updating Facebook or Twitter (or whatever your preferred medium is) it just seems unlikely to me that you are professional and trustworthy. And perhaps that is harsh but there are a million other people making a product just like yours and they are working their asses off to get it out there.

ANSWER YOUR EMAILS!!

Sorry for shouting but this is probably the worst offence in my book J  Ignoring emails is incredibly unprofessional – I had an experience last year where I wanted to enquire of a fellow crafter if they could supply me with their product on a wholesale basis. Sent off the email, waited, waited, waited….
Eventually realised that they weren’t going to respond so obviously they were crossed off my list – if someone can’t take a few minutes to answer an email, they are not going to be a good person to do business with.

If you are unable to supply something, or don’t have a product or can’t do a craft fair, have the courtesy to respond to the sender of the email. It’s only polite after all!

The only emails I ignore are spammy generic emails which I know aren’t particularly addressed to me, just to a series of people. I always try to respond in a timely manner to real people and real queries.

If you have a beautiful product that you have spent hours on, don't devalue it by using crappy photos. Most decent phones now have a good camera and all you need is some good lighting and a good background. There are loads of tips online for taking photos and it's so easy to upload to Social Media from your phone, there's no excuse really, for poor, badly focused photos.

Well that's my list for now - feel free to disagree or let me know if you have had a bad experience with a small craft business!

You might also like - How to Sell your Craft Product to Stores.
                                   How to Correctly Price your Crafts.



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10 comments

  1. All of this sounds like absolute common sense and really good advice. I hope people are listening!

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  2. To me these sound like such simple things to do and common sense, surprising it isn't obvious to some people. I'd love to have a craft/creative business one day!

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  3. Great advice. I hate it when you email someone and don't get a reply, also when you phone someone!. I went for a job interview with a well known supermarket and didn't get the job. I was told to ring the store if I wanted feedback. 3 times I have rang, 3 times they passed a message onto the man who interviewed me. 3 times he has completely ignored me. It is annoying. I only wanted a little feedback so I could take it to my next job interview and improve :(

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  4. Emails are a tricky one. I know my own business emails sometimes end up in spam folders, so it might be worth chasing up if there hasn't been a response.

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  5. This all sounds so easy and simple to stick to, and yet I have been in similar situations when I have struggled to buy / find something. It puts me off as well. Good advice here for those building up a business x

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  6. You are so right, smaller crafts businesses can lose custom due to bad photos, tardy responses to emails. Great advise for the budding crafts professional.

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  7. Some great tips. I don't run a craft business but 100% agree with you on all your points- in fact they make for good operations across internet interactions in general!

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  8. What a great tips, I enjoyed reading this and this is perfect for me I will share this to my friends. Glad you share this helpful tips.

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  9. So e very good advice. As a customer, I want buying things to be easy. If it isn't easy, I go elsewhere.

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  10. I think there are some great tips here, and I love your honesty. I think these would help lots of small businesses not just those focused on crafts

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