If you have a particular talent with arts and crafts, you may want to turn it into a business, either as a part-time enterprise, or as a full-time endeavour.
Although every sector is unique in its own way, the basic principles of business best practice and legislation should be considered. If you are starting up, you will need to look into whether or not you are infringing someone else's intellectual property (IP). You will also need to make steps to protect and monetise your own IP assets - for guidance on this, see our guide on protecting your intellectual property.
You will also need to make sure your taxes and more general requirements such as marketing, finance and business planning are in order.
Some arts and crafts business can easily be run from home, selling goods by direct marketing or over the internet. If this is viable for your business, read our guides on marketing and on how to create and manage a website.
Pricing your product
When you work out the prices for your work, you need to take into account your time and the cost of any materials, as well as the profit you need to make to cover your general business overheads. You can read more about this in our guide on how to price your product or service. A free product costing template, with a worked out example, is available from Craft NI - find it in their product pricing guidelines on the Craft NI website.
You will also be able to establish whether your product is viable - whether you can make it at a price which is attractive to customers, and which will be financially worthwhile for you. If you find that an aspect of what you are doing is too expensive or too time-consuming, consider your processes and the design of your workflow and supply chain. It's possible that by going to a different supplier for materials or outsourcing a part of your work, you may be able to save a significant amount of time or money. For more information, read our guide on how can I use design in my business?
Craft NI is the sector-lead body for the promotion and development of the design-led contemporary craft industry in Northern Ireland. You can find information about their development and funding programmes on the Craft NI website.
View Craft NI's video with tips on taking part in trade visits below.