I’ve been doing this for going on four years now, so I think I’m qualified to pass on tips. Plus, I get asked the same questions a LOT, so here are the answers, for the record.
When I first realized that I wanted needed to work with my hands creatively I began getting a lot of opinions. Some told me that I shouldn’t try to start up anything like that while my children were small (Arwen was under 2, and Charis was either still in the womb or a newborn at the time… my memory is fuzzy). This, for me, turned out to be the worst of the advice I got.
Turns out that while my kids were so little they napped a lot. Really, when they are that small it’s mostly play time and nap time all day. I’m so glad I didn’t wait until I was in the throws of homeschooling, or mother to five to get started! (That’s not to say that you couldn’t get started now, if you are in those positions!)
When I say that I needed to work with my hands I don’t want you to think that mothers who do not operate a creativity-intense business from their homes do not. Mothers have always worked with their hands, we just do it a lot less now. We have machines to wash our clothes, machines to wash our dishes, machines to bake our bread, etc. Mammas almost have to be trying to be creative on purpose these days! I ignore my breadmaker most weeks and kneed the dough with my hands. I ignore my dryer and hang at least the diapers out to dry. I shun the idea of buying a mass produced bathroom rug at the store and opt instead to make my own (which is why the kid’s bathroom has no rug yet). We are made in the image of a Creator, and we are by definition “creative.” Every single one of us! I had this intense longing and need and desire to make something. And if someone wanted to pay me to make it… even better!
A Good Idea
So I thought a lot about what I wanted to make. I considered raw materials, I considered time and maximum output. I considered the space I had to work with (which was actually a lot bigger than I have now!). Think about what you love. If you don’t love what you are doing it will be hard to be successful at it and to do it long term. Consider whether you want your children to be involved in your work, and if it is something you see yourself passing on to them one day. Consider your time- your time is precious and you should be compensated for it. If you can’t get compensated well for the amount of time that a craft is going to take you (unless you just really REALLY love doing it), then you might not want to pick that one! Lastly, and most importantly, consider whether people really want what you are offering for sale. You can make all the beautiful toothpick bird houses you want, but if no one wants them they are not going to buy them! Check out etsy.com or ebay to see what is selling and how much it is selling for (you can check on ebay by clicking on “completed items” in the search terms). Even better, do an internet search for the item and check out the websites of those already doing it. If the web design is poor and the pictures ugly, you probably don’t want to take much information from that site. Look for sites that appear professional, and even better, ones that are sold out of stuff- that indicates people are buying it all up! These sites will give you valuable ideas, but please be respectful of the creativity of the owner of said site. Don’t go stealing ideas!
A Good Name
Accidentally, I started making soap. A lot of people liked it and a friend signed us up for all these craft shows. I needed a name, so I turned to my trusty thesaurus. I knew that my soap would be “pure” and “natural” but also a little bit “sassy.” I didn’t want to give off a stinky vegan vibe, if you know what I mean. As it were, “Cheeky” is a synonym for “sassy” and “Maiden” is a synonym for “pure”. And Cheeky Maiden Soap Company was born! Brand identity is super important. It’s how people will remember and recognize your product. If you want to do an array of items, try to pick something broad enough to cover all items and/or services you wish to offer.