When I started my own craft business on 2006, I had no idea how successful it would become, or just how possible it was to reach almost 7-figures of turnover in 11 years selling the things I designed and made. So today on the podcast I wanted to share my story and my tips on how to turn your hobby into a successful business too.
Read to the end for my 5 tips on how to be successful!
My Story: Hobby to Successful Six-Figure Business!
My own journey started in mid-2006, while I was working as a freelance Fashion Designer in London. As was the custom with freelance work in the fashion industry I was tied into a lucrative contract that would only have me work for two days each week. So, with time on my hands and nothing else to do, I decided to try selling on eBay. eBay back in those days was just starting to get big here in the UK and it was literally impossible not to make a return on a small investment if you worked out a few basic principles. So, with one hundred pounds at my fingertips I carefully chose my first stock items.
I stuck to my guns and invested in something I knew about; haberdashery and craft supplies. I found a great deal on some bankrupt stock, which was from a strong supply line (due to the early signs of recession on the high street). My idea was to create a space where those who had lost shops in their locale could find an on-line replacement. In a week or so my investment was returned, and I had enough to buy two more stock boxes and so I continued my experiment.
Pretty soon my experiment took on some serious pace and I had begun to find focus in wool textiles, something I knew little about, but could see a bigger market for. I started learning about and investing in wool products and my journey shifted.
By 2007/8 I found myself buying a fellow eBayer’s successful wool business and this is where I started getting serious traction. So much so that I was able to give up the day job and make a go of this business full time, relocating to Devon which had been a dream for myself and my partner.
At no point in this journey had I decided to sit down and plan my business or see how it was looking financially and this costly mistake was something that would soon come to haunt me. I think it was about 2010, when I suffered a major burnout that coincided with an unfortunate miscarriage, leaving me almost bed ridden for a month. At this point I did what most people would do; I cried a lot and I started to question everything around me. What am I doing? Why are we living here? Why am I working so hard when life is so short? I questioned everything.
I turned to my business and realised that my experiment had gotten away from me. Whilst I was turning some pretty staggering figures, the truth was I couldn’t afford to take on an extra pair of hands to cover the ever-growing workload. It was obvious that I hadn’t been paying attention to the most basic of business requirements; profitability.
I took pen and paper in my hands and started planning. Planning like I should have done from day one!
I made a lot of changes when I got back to work and I lost some of those initial customers because of it, but I ended up with a business that I adored and that paid me a real wage for the time I worked on it.
What did I change?
I became a handmade led business creating and selling my own hand dyed yarns and fibres and moved away from commercial product. I also taught and wrote books on aspects of the crafts my customers worked in. I became a ‘go-to-person’ for my product.
When I closed and sold Sara’s Texture Crafts in May 2017, I had turned over almost one million pounds in revenue. That is quite staggering for a craft business trading from my spare room!
I realised that I only achieved this through careful planning and working in a focused direction, learning the right business skills along the way. It is obvious to me that others struggle to make the same leap from creative idea to successful small business and so I have created the Craft Biz Incubator.
I want you to take a moment and imagine a world where you could...
Dramatically grow your following - Constantly draw in new customers who simply can't live without more of what you make.
Authentically stand out from the crowd - Grow your business in-line with the core values of the brand you want to build.
Continually grow your income in an organic way that’s totally based on your lifestyle - Build income streams that are easy to implement alongside your handmade products and don't take extra time away from your core business.
Have extra hours in your day so that you get to enjoy life away from your business - Learn how to create systems that help you automate your workflow and generate more profit.
Feel confident in your choice - No more second guessing yourself or listening to those who think you should get a 'real' job! What is that anyway?!
Turn your business into your full-time career - You’ve achieved what most people aren’t willing to do; start your own successful business by leveraging your new audience and potential.
Yes. It's totally possible and the Craft Biz Incubator is your answer!
The Craft Biz Incubator opens on April 2nd at just £15 a month! It’s going to be jam packed with everything you need to get started and move forward with your business… what’s more, the content will grow organically over the lifetime of your membership and yet your fees remain the same!
The Essential 5 Steps to Taking Hobby to Successful Six-Figure Business!
I know you will want to know what my biggest tips are to those of you who are starting your own craft business journey and it’s simple;
Make sure you pick a hobby you have a depth of knowledge about – your customers are looking for the ‘go-to’ person in your field. Knowing enough about your product and it’s uses will help you design the right product, so that you can market and sell to the right customer.
Make sure your product is viable – Profit is everything and yet it’s the one thing as creatives we often forget. So, make sure you cost your products and work on a margin and retail price that ultimately allows you to pay yourself and still sell within your chosen market.
Learn who you customer is – understanding your market and customer keeps you ahead of the trends and ahead of your competitors in a crowded marketplace
Plan – every aspect of your business needs planning, from; your growth strategy to sales and marketing. Without a plan you simply can’t quantify success, or even point yourself in the right direction for it.
Know your figures – From money to business statistics you need to understand how your business is performing to plan new strategies and to cut out things that are weighing you down.
If all of this feels like a foreign language, then please don’t worry, because I have been there and this is why I have created the Craft Biz Incubator – to give you the tools you need to start your successful business today!