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Self-employment Opportunities & Skills Development



The more mass production overwhelms us, the more we need the deep satisfaction of creating things ourselves or owning something that is handmade. If you can produce a unique item by hand, you might consider turning your hobby into a more lucrative business. One big attraction for consumers who buy and collect handmade arts and crafts is the originality of such work. For a one-person craft business, it’s reasonable to concentrate on one or two markets and a focused line of craft products aimed at particular buyers. If you try to make too many different items, or try to sell to those who don’t want your products, you dissipate your momentum and waste time and money. The question you should be asking is “How can I make my crafts stand out from the crowded crafts business marketplace? Who buys handicrafts? Why do handicrafts appeal to people? When do people want and need handicrafts? The answers to these questions may be quite obvious, but they show how important it is to know your market. It is this knowledge that will enable you to plan a product aimed at the most likely customers – at the time when they want it most.

  • Create a story for each of the craft pieces you make and include the story as a promotional tag or brochure. A story can make a craft special and add value.
  • Engage the senses; studies show that sales go up when a product interacts with one or more of the customer’s five senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, taste.
  • Test the marketability of a sample range of your handicrafts by judging the reaction of anyone who sees it: note comments, criticisms and preferences.
  • If you are satisfied with the results of your first ‘market survey’, look for the kind of shop that already carries good quality merchandise and that you consider a suitable outlet for your own work; show your work to the buyer.
  • Make sure the product is well displayed; use extra lighting to boost sales. Is it eye-catching? Is it easy to package? 
  • Build an eye-catching display to draw customers into your craft booth.
  • Increase sales by offering customers the option to pay by credit or debit card.
  • Is it practical to mass produce? Is it comparatively quick to make? Are the materials affordable?

Handcrafted products are divided in numerous categories:

Home & Garden: candles, place mats, napkins, curtains, towels, potholders, coasters, fire screens, baskets, pillows, quilts, room dividers, coverlets, throws, wall hangings, carvings, floor rugs, lamps, chairs, swings, stained glass, birdhouses, wind chimes, clocks, mirrors, cutting boards, pottery, plant holders, window boxes, potpourri, gift baskets, rubber-stamping, candle making, rug weaving, gemstones, flowers, potpourri, doll making, leather, quilting, knitting, crochet, egg painting, stone painting.

Clothing: shawls, dresses, blouses, aprons, suits, kimonos, children’s clothing, shirts, vests, sweaters, jackets, coats, painted sweatshirts, t-shirts; Accessories: handbags, purses, belts, sashes, babushkas, mittens, mufflers, house slippers, men’s ties, men’s and women’s: scarves, hats, caps, bandannas, boots, sandals, moccasins.

Interior Design: paintings, wall hangings, rugs, upholstery fabric, throws, curtains, pillows, room dividers, screens, window frames, furniture, ceramics, stained glass, woodwork, glass blowing, lapidary, basket making.

Corporate: rugs, tapestries, wall hangings, sculpture, furniture, paintings, batiks, folk art, wood carvings, flower arrangements, hand painted wooden door hangers.

Graphic Arts: stationery, books, calendars, gift cards, note cards, posters, caricatures, buttons, bumper stickers, photo prints, signs.

Toys: stuffed toys, dolls, puppets, animals, teddy bears, wooden trains, puzzles, building blocks, toy boxes, kaleidoscopes.

Special occasion: bridal gowns and shawls, baby blankets, greeting cards, Christmas ornaments, stockings, Easter bunnies, heart pillows for Valentine’s day, wreathes.

Religious: altar objects, vestments, tapestries, chalice palls, baptismal towels, banners, stoles, stained glass, candelabras.

Jewelry: earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings, anklets, headbands, jewelry cases, leatherwork, nose rings.

Other: tote bags, duffel bags, backpacks, garment bags, saddle-blankets, musical instruments, dried flowers, book ends, confectionaries, key holders, seat covers.

Contact Theresa ( to create a business plan, design packaging, promotional tag, brochure, Web showcase.

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