Recently, it came up in conversation by an artisan who was contemplating selling her product, “How long should I wait before I begin selling?”
It’s a good question. Which factors demonstrate proficiency? Although opinions vary, I am sure most of us agree on several points you should consider before selling your creations:
- Do I know why I am using the ingredients or components? Or, am I merely following directions?
- Do I know the procedures, steps involved and the results to expect? Do I know for instance, that I am using coconut oil for lather or that I need to test the wicks in my candles?
- Do I have systems in place to create consistent batches and a consistent product line? Will my customer get the same quality in each purchase and find the products she wants or will she be offered whatever I feel like making at the time?
- Do I follow and appreciate safety precautions, not only to protect myself, but my customers?
- Now, the one point that artisans often do not consider, is this: Do I have the desire to make the changes necessary to turn my hobby into a business, as well as the desire to learn?
You are seriously considering offering your creations for sale. Do you fit the quality criteria? As for business, are you willing to operate a business? Are you committed to the time it takes to take care of business and the money required to get it set up and running properly?
A shoestring budget is understandable, but endangering your future by neglecting the basics is short-sighted. Business requires an investment of time and resources.
This barely scratches the surface, but should give you something to think about and aspire to before you set up your first table at the craft fair or farmers market.
Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.
Beth Byrne, for Making Soap, Cosmetics & Candles