13 September 2012

Being unique in a Handmade world...

I've just had a wonderful lunch with an old girlfriend who I have loads in common with. We are both in our early 30s with young children, managing our families, homes, part time work, outside commitments etc and wondering how we can turn our passions into dollar making businesses. I'm tipping a lot of you have had similar chats with girlfriends about how to best spend these precious few years at home with our little ones but still feel as though we are being 'productive' in the sense of keeping our minds and creative spirits stimulated while earning some money! And finger painting and paper mache is not what I'm talking about.

The handmade world is really quite a small marketplace when you think of it. The longer I'm around the more I see the same small businesses selling products that have earned their way to the top of madeit and etsy's top sellers lists. I look at their sites and think, "good on you for being unique, working hard and making your mark!". And then there are those who are new to the marketplace selling things that there are already hundreds of for sale online and generally trying to sell theirs for a fraction of the price and it makes me so frustrated! Unfortunately, the handmade marketplace is very competitive and if you want to be a top seller you need to be original and unique.

I think the secret to being a successful  handmade seller is firstly, being original. Don't copy other people and if you do decide to make something similar at least put your own spin on it! Make it unique. Take the Handmade pledge over at the Contemporary Handmade Alliance. I have and I am proud to say even though some of my items are considered 'mainstream' they are still unique and no two are ever the same. Secondly, you need to be persistent. I have made so many different collections of things over the past few years and still have items in my sewing room that have never sold. Sometimes it can be deflating but I would rather see it as an opportunity to create something new and see how that goes!

So while I sit here contemplating how I can take over the world of handmade (and think of something that someone else hasn't beaten me to!) I'd love to know if you are in a similar situation or if you have been and have since found a way around it and now have a fantastic small business you love!

P.S. Check it out! Ernie & Bird is the Sponsor of the Week over at the Handmade Cooperative! Pop on over and sign up for their newsletter - you'll love it! Oh and sign up for the Ernie & Bird Newsletter too, when I have more than a handful of subscribers I'll send out the first edition. Yay!

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