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Choosing what to make

You may have many crafts at your fingertips or perhaps just one. You still have to make choices.

If you are going to sell your products they will need to make a good profit otherwise there is absolutely no point in any of it. To build a business there must be a profit.

So it follows that whatever it is you are going to produce, it is going to enable you to build your business and pay you a decent wage.

Choose something that you enjoy making and will retain your enthusiasm when you are producing them time after time. Then you will need to know how long it takes to make. Now most of us tend to pick up and put down quite a bit. We are lucky to get a stretch of time that enables us to start and finish in one period of time. What I do is have my notebook by me where I jot down everything about the making of one item. In this notebook I jot times of start and finish of each length of time so that later I can see that I if 30 minutes here and 5 minutes there – or whatever it is – then the total time can be added up.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that it takes one hour if in fact it takes three. Be realistic. It is on this totalled time that you base your hourly wage.

If what you are making takes too long and will therefore need too high a price, can you find a pattern or design your own in a way that will make it much quicker to produce? For example, I was producing crocheted Christmas stockings. The pattern I was following was in rows going back and forth. This, of course, necessitated a seam which had to be sewn and finished neatly. I rewrote the pattern and produced them in rounds which meant no need to sew! What a saving in time this made.

Another area to take into consideration is the material that you will be using. How much is this going to cost? Do your research and you will most likely find somewhere that you can buy cheaper. You may be able to buy a quantity which gives you a discount. Make sure that whatever you buy will be available when you want to make the next batch. It is worth taking your time here to find the right supplier. After all you are going to want supplies for the long term not for a one off batch.

Don’t go looking for the cheapest just to save money. You need to obtain the quality that is suitable for the job and source this as cheaply as possible. Your customers will not be buying merely on price – they will want to own a beautifully handcrafted item made in the correct materials.

Usually the materials which can be used do not actually vary widely in price when seen as a percentage of the cost of production. There is usually a middle line here. Or you may get lucky and find a supply that is just right at a price that you like.