QUESTION ON Starting a Craft and Gift Shop
I love making homemade soap & candles. I also have a passion for candy-making and baking. I would like to open a craft and gift shop from home. But being a new mom money is tight. Where do I start and how do I go about small business loans? –
Advice by Tammy Harrison
There are many ways to start what you have in mind, without a lot of funds. In fact, I recommend you do some “market testing” before you rush out for your first small business loan.
Volunteering is the BEST way to get out and about. Be it for a local bake sale, community event, your church, etc. Make your products and give them away. Really! And, you can do it as you have the funds.
MANY companies fail because they haven’t tested their products before they jumped into production. Have you ever read about Debbie Fields and how Mrs. Field’s Cookies came about? She did exactly what I suggest for you — she baked and donated and shared her first treats before she ever went into business baking them for every supermarket around.
Do some research, read up on how people found success (even how they found failure) and make sure that you have tested your products before you use your house as collateral on a loan. When you have accomplished these things, you will not only have the knowledge to be successful in business, but you will also have the following of folks who have tasted and want more of your product!
You can also try to experiment and sell your products online. Etsy.com http://www.etsy.com will be a good marketplace for your homemade soaps and candles, as Etsy is the marketplace for handcrafted items. Then you can use the social sharing site Pinterest.com http://www.pinterest.com to market your products. Pinterest is a fast-growing social media site where people share photos of their favorite things.
As for small business loans, it is going to be very tough (almost impossible) for a home-based craft business with no proven track record to get loans. Credit lending to small businesses remain tight, but more so for home-based businesses. You’ll stand a better chance of applying for a credit card and using that to purchase the equipment, supplies and inventory that you need.
Recommended Resources on How To Start a Craft and Gift Shop
- The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and On-Line
- Start Your Own Gift Basket Service
- Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design
- Basic Stained Glass Making: All the Skills and Tools You Need to Get Started (How To Basics)
Article originally published in July 2003. Updated March 5, 2012
Tammy Harrison is a successful home-based working mom for over five years. She holds a degree from Mizzou in Consumer Economics. Her business focuses on Marketing and Creativity for Small Businesses as well as numerous other small businesses.
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