How To Build A Craft Business – The Ultimate Guide

Do you want to build a craft business? 

Is it still a profitable business option? 

To help me breakdown the step-by-step process of building your craft business, I welcome Ma-Anne Garces from The Unique Bowtique PH.

She’ll share important points you need to know before you step on the gas and accelerate to failure. 

Here’s the summary of the post: 

  • The Brutal Truth of Building a Craft Business
  • How Do I Start a Craft Business?
    • Figure out what is unavailable in the market.
    • Spend hours of research.
    • Create a business plan.
  • Conclusion – Is Craft Business Still Profitable?
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The Brutal Truth of Building A Craft Business

Frankly, it is not easy to build a creative business. Many people consider this as a seasonal option for a side income, not full-time.

In most cases, you are alone. Nobody is going to help you build it unless you collaborated with a few people. 

You’re the photographer, copywriter for product listing and social media marketing, craftsman, researcher, online marketer, and writer. All at once!

The sad thing is, craft business owners need more self-motivation than other types of entrepreneurs because of the niche itself. You’re trying to create from literally nothing!

Unlike selling digital marketing ideas, a creative business takes more time, more patience, more self-motivation, and more consistent and effective marketing strategies. 

One thing you need to consider is it’s often seasonal. That means you won’t get the same monthly income except for holidays. Amiel Pineda of Grit.ph suggests craft business could be ideal for summer breaks when kids are off from school. 

According to Blend.ph, it takes time, effort, and resources to make this business work. One of the pivoting keys is the effectiveness of social media marketing. 

Nonetheless, building a craft business is a great way to monetize your creativity. At the same time, sharing your craft and seeing your customer’s delight make you happy. 

The Unique Bowtique PH, a Manila-based craft business, established in 2013.
Photo Credit: The Unique Bowtique PH

How Do I Start My Own Craft Business?

To start your business, you need to be more observant. Figure out what’s unavailable in the market. Then, spend hours of research to determine what to do next and predict your business growth. 

  • Figure out what is unavailable in the market.
  • Spend hours of research. 
  • Create a business plan. 

In 2016, I interviewed Ma-Anne Garces from The Unique Bowtique PH, a Manila-based craft business in the Philippines selling handmade kids accessories. 

She recalled the difficulties she faced months earlier her business launched in the last quarter of 2013. During the planning stage, Garces did intensive and careful planning to ensure her business runs well.

At this point, many handmade sellers quit after realizing their hobby doesn’t make enough to cover their daily expenses. To avoid that, Garces had to figure out potential business ideas she could do without risking too much.  

How to build a craft business - Know what's unavailable. Research. Create a business plan.

1. Figure out what is unavailable in the market.

When asked where she got the idea from, Garces explained her frustration to see aunts like her, giving Christmas presents without value. All of them came from China or some cheap marketplace. 

Her desire to give unique handmade nice gifts to her nieces consequently led to her ultimate business idea. And when she researched, Garces realized she got a multi-million-dollar idea: her handmade kid’s accessories. 

2. Spend hours of research. 

“We did our research, and there are many online bow-tiques like us, but we leveraged on handmade/hand sewn goodies. I know I can make use of my mom’s sewing skills since she’s really good at that,” Ma-Anne cited.

3. Create a business plan.

What to cover in your business plan? 

a. Location

In what specific location do you wish to build your shop? 

Is it online or a real-brick and mortar elsewhere? 

Would you use Etsy, Zazzle, Shopify, or where?

Renting a space for a physical shop requires review to make sure the safety of the business, or at the best spot visible to your customers. 

b. Marketing

Within 2 years of business, every second is a hustle. Garces emphasized the power of consistency in marketing, especially when they started. 

“It’s [difficult] to get noticed at first… if you’re a newbie on the online business,” she said. 

Unlike bigger craft businesses, she couldn’t afford bloggers or celebrities for endorsements. Social media marketing became her option. 

She tried Facebook ads as she paid advertising strategy to boost her shop and reach more people. 

On Instagram alone, though many handmade online shops lurk to get customers, the competition between craft sellers remained tough. Let alone for a newbie business owner like her. 

“Getting more followers on Instagram was or is still a struggle! On Facebook, it’s quite easy since we just set a budget and pay,” she added.

As your business matures, you can consider celebrity and/or blogger endorsements in your marketing strategy.

“Look for bloggers or celebs who have a huge following as they can help boost your business,” she said.

c. Pricing

Another struggle for most of the craft business owners is the pricing. Normally, their impostor syndrome results in underpricing their items. 

Garces, on the contrary, was eager to make it fair for her and her customers, local and international (mostly to the US). She considered the following in her business plan:

  • Time in creating the product
  • Effort in making it as beautiful as possible
  • Materials 
  • Shipping fees, local and international 

The majority of her products ranged around Php 125 to as high as Php 1,250 depending on the peg. The price would then increase as customers request custom orders.  

d. Staffing

As I mentioned earlier, most business owners start alone. On the flip side, hiring someone could save you more time from practice and costs for mistakes.

For Garces, she knew her mother could sew better than her. So, she had no second thoughts about hiring her mother to help her out with the production. 

As a result, she had more time to focus solely on marketing and running their online business. 

e. Stocks, products, items

What specific products are you trying to sell? 

How would the products stand out from an ocean of similar handmade items sold online? 

These questions left Garces to ponder during her research. She had to consider the close competitor’s items and their bestsellers. 

Not only she studied other online shops, but she also thought about her market’s demographic profile. 

  • Income (average monthly salary)
  • Area of residence (near or far from the physical shop)
  • Accessibility to online business (offline or online)

 “In a sea of online stores, find something that will make you stand out to your prospective customers. In simpler terms, be unique,” Ma-Anne said. 

f. Dealing with copycats

“It’s very insulting. Like you put so much effort into creating something unique and identifiable to the brand and then someone will just copy. And sadly the copy isn’t that good,” Ma-Anne shared.

Copycats are everywhere and inevitable. 

Instead of wasting your time dealing with them (file or sue them, why not make your products recognizable and impossible to duplicate?

Privacy Policy - Bitchy Chicken-min

Conclusion – Is Craft Business Still Profitable?

Yes, it is. It depends on your effort to keep your marketing strategies as consistent as possible as Garces pointed out in the interview.

Always be visible in social media such as on Facebook and Instagram. Post regularly or every day if possible,” she mentioned.

Be patient. Your hard work will pay off. Always keep in mind that you need to act smart and strategic. 

Your entrepreneurial goals will soon succeed. Just don’t stop working on it. Your dream craft business will soon reach its greater heights. 


About The Unique Bowtique PH

Ma-Anne Garces owns The Unique Bowtique PH, a Manila-based craft business selling kid’s accessories. You can reach them out through their social media links: Facebook and Instagram.

Do you find this post helpful to your pre-planned creative venture?

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Author: Mecyll Gaspary

Mecyll Gaspary is a passionate writer, who spent years working as a professional content writer for companies and solopreneurs. The existing "writing rat race" pushed her to limits, resulting in crippling creative burnout.

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