Creating a strategy for generating new ideas for a new crafting business may be the hardest step. However, the ideation process can be more straightforward if you know where to dip your toes.
Are you interested in creating a new crafts collection?
The best collections are tightly themed around a single idea or inspiration; for example, you may want to experiment with blue and green color combinations in your jewelry or incorporate floral silhouettes into your pillow designs.
It would help if you struck a balance between having a monotonous collection and one that covers too many topics.
Similarly, collections should strive to leave an impression from beginning to end. Products that genuinely impress should not be mingled with those that are filler. Everything you make should share the same design discipline and aesthetic quality level.
We’re sure you know what a collection would look like, but do you know that collections can look 100% astonishing several decades later?
Look at items from Far Fetched Imports, with some sets and collections dating back to the 1970s and the 1980s.
Your collection needs to range in price, production quality, and intended use to appeal to the broadest possible audience. A wide selection of products makes customers more likely to explore your store’s website or trade show booth. For example, how many can you expect a single customer to buy if you only produce belts?
But if you also make purses and belts, you might have doubled your sales from each customer. Since your customers will have varying financial constraints, offering a wide price range is essential.
Finally, if you plan to make most of your products by hand, they cannot all be highly time-consuming to produce. You can make your bread-and-butter items out of those requiring little effort. If not, the work you put so much love into could suddenly feel like a chore.
Track Those Creative Ideas
Whether your ideas constantly flow or your inspiration comes in fits and starts, you should always be prepared to make the most of any creative opportunities.
There’s no telling where or when an idea will come to you; it could happen to you while waiting in line at the supermarket, driving to pick up the kids from school, or even just before you drift off to sleep at night.
Keep a small notebook, some index cards, or even your phone handy in case you have an idea you want to write down before it disappears. It’s not always enough to sit and wait for inspiration to strike; sometimes, you must give your brain a little nudge. In that case, you can use that fact as fuel for further creative thought.
Start a journal and fill it with right-brained activities to open your mind, but don’t edit yourself or judge your work if you’re unsure of your creative inclinations, want to start with a blank slate, or need a little nudge to generate ideas.
1. Pay close attention to your immediate surroundings every day and take notes on the textures, sounds, movements, smells, and colors you encounter.
2. Deviate from your usual creative routine. For example, try writing if you’re more of a visual thinker or drawing if you’re more of a talker.
3. Follow your gut and see what happens. Then, do random drawings and write whatever comes to mind.
4. Gather inspiration from anywhere you can: the streets, the arts, the media, random conversations, etc.
5. Make notes on compelling images or stories you find in print media.
6. Create imaginative field trips. Document your explorations by snapping pictures and including relics in a journal.
Organizing Your Crafting and Business Objectives
After launching your company, it’s crucial to establish weekly objectives. A weekly goal sheet and writing down your business objectives will give them concrete form.
Diversifying your efforts by tackling both simple and complex objectives is optimal. Simple targets can include going to a craft fair, making a list of projects you want to make, or meeting up with someone in your creative circle to bounce ideas off each other.
Your more challenging objectives will most likely concern the commercial aspects of your craft or the completion of creative endeavors. Discipline is needed to complete challenging goals, so it’s helpful to break them down into manageable chunks.
Small wins along the way to your weekly objectives can be marked off as you go.
Be realistic about how much you can accomplish in a day or week; while some stress is necessary to keep your motivation high, too much stress can work against you. Plus, it helps to have a positive attitude toward everything you do, no matter how minor.
Surveying Your Market
Making something that reflects your unique creative vision is more complex than, say, coming up with a new flavor of soda that will appeal to a mass audience. It’s on a deeper, more individual level.
However, it’s possible that you’re not an artist in the classical sense, where you create unique works of art to appease your imagination. Instead, you are offering up your creative work for general consumption.
You must produce goods that can attract a sizable customer base. As a starting point, it’s helpful to consider a product that would make your life easier but currently does not exist. There are probably other people in the market for the same thing you are.
Finding your target audience’s wants can help you decide what products to release. Getting a hold of some craft magazines from the shelves is the easiest way to get some fast inspiration.
The next step is to go shopping at stores that sell what you produce to see what customers are interested in. In conclusion, visiting trade shows and craft fairs is a great way to learn about your future competitors. Focus on other designers working in your chosen field and take notes on the following when conducting your research:
1. So, what exactly is it that people can buy right now? Which regions have the highest levels of saturation? On the flip side, what sorts of items did you miss? Is there a large audience for your taste?
2. In what ways have you seen the market shift (in terms of products, aesthetics, materials, and colors)? Which, if any, of these fashions interests you?
3. Can you tell me if there was a designer whose table or booth got the most attention? What are your thoughts on why that designer became so popular?
4. Were you interested in launching your line of products, and if so, what price point did you expect to face at wholesale or retail?
Visiting craft fairs and trade shows can help you learn more about your target audience and the industry. These excursions can also provide comfort, particularly if you find that products matching your aesthetic are still in the works.
Attending these functions can be a gold mine for information and inspiration, but you should always be careful not to let it show. The designers are very wise to the visual shoppers (or shoplifting). Among all types of exhibitions, craft fairs are the most accessible to the public.
It’s simple to take in the surroundings, pretend to shop, or, better yet, purchase some goods for scientific investigation.
Typically, only members of the trade and the press are allowed into trade shows where manufacturers sell directly to retailers. You can prove your legitimacy by providing relevant paperwork like copies of recent vendor invoices and online presence elements like a website or business card.
You have the option of registering either online or in person. Obtaining a guest pass may be possible if you contact the trade show’s management and express an interest in setting up an exhibit. If you go to the show, you can expect to see designer booth after designer booth, all of which are trying to do the same thing: sell. Fortunately, there is a strategy for dealing with it.
Most of the exhibitors at a trade show won’t pique your interest because the show offers a sampling of every conceivable flavor. You can either get a list of vendors ahead of time to familiarize yourself with their offerings, or you can arrive early and find out which themed sections apply to you.
A glance at your badge as you enter a company’s booth will determine whether you are a press member, an exhibitor, or a buyer w. Several outcomes are possible, depending on factors like how talkative the company’s representatives are and how busy the booth is:
Depending on how outspoken you feel, you can either study the booth in silence or casually mention that you are a new designer who hopes to attend a trade show someday.
Getting copies of catalogs and line sheets will be difficult unless they lie in plain sight. Producers are typically reluctant to share data. You can usually get a catalog or line sheet from a company if you leave your business card with them. As an added caveat, a business card may not be enough if you don’t run a store. If you want to remember the names of the businesses you encounter so you can research them later, jot them down in a notebook. Don’t take notes in the booths, please.
Spending the day at a trade show or craft fair can be exhausting, and you might return with conflicting emotions. You could feel energized and full of new ideas or like you’ve popped your creative bubble by comparing it to the places you’ve just seen. On the other hand, it may become immediately apparent how far you are from your goals.
It’s normal to experience envy or jealousy now and then, but it’s important to remember that these emotions are counterproductive if you let them fester. Don’t let feelings of inadequacy hold you back from improving your skills. Those designers were once in your position and had to put in a lot of effort, too.
Tracking Current Developments
It’s helpful to be aware of current trends, but you shouldn’t feel obligated to follow them all blindly. Instead, pick and choose which current developments align with your long-term goals.
Supermarkets are good places to keep an eye on because they can be a barometer of the trend’s impending demise if mass production hastens its demise. As a general rule, your goal should be to create work that will stand the test of time.
While profit is obviously desirable, exhaustion is more likely if you chase trends to make a quick buck rather than because they hold any intrinsic value. The best trends will be the ones that you initiate, not follow.
Working with Your Inspirations
Given the abundance of talent you’ll encounter, we must discuss an issue plaguing the creative industry: plagiarism. Plagiarism is often justified with the phrase, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Trying to replicate the results of another person’s hard work or methods can be tempting when they prove to be effective.
There’s no shame in drawing inspiration from other people’s creative processes. If you want to pick up some tips, one method is to mimic a pro. However, emulating the work of others should serve as a springboard, rather than a destination, in your learning process.
That is to say; copying shouldn’t be used professionally but as a personal pastime. Keep your voice while channeling the inspiration you find in the work of others. Are you a fan of a company’s products because they combine seemingly unrelated crafts, such as pottery and sewing?
Put your creativity to the test by combining seemingly incompatible processes like knitting and woodworking. It’s not appropriate to slavishly copy the work of other artists; instead, you should merely make allusions to their work.
Making a cheap knockoff of someone else’s work dishonors your intelligence and creativity. Similarly, if you steal elements from an existing design without giving them credit, your work loses its originality.
Don’t assume that your appropriation will go unnoticed just because the general public isn’t design-savvy enough to tell the difference between the original and your version.
As a result of this tight network, news travels rapidly through the art and design world. Furthermore, the original designer, or even worse, her attorney, may reprimand you for violating patent or copyright law. If for no other reason than fear of the karmic consequences, refrain from stealing the ideas of others because someone else is sure to come along and take them.
Utilizing Visuals and Rhythms
As a designer, avoid plagiarizing other people’s work by using their images or patterns. Be sure that the images you intend to use have no copyright restrictions and are royalty-free (meaning that the creator gives up future rights to the image for a fee).
Clip art that doesn’t require payment for use can be purchased electronically or physically. Never assume that information in a rare or out-of-print book is free for anyone to use.
Making minor adjustments to an existing pattern or illustration does not make it your work and could leave you open to legal action if it is perceived as too similar to the original.
Be wary of making and selling items made from commercially available patterns if you sew, knit, or crochet. Although you can legally resell most vintage quilt patterns, you can’t do so with a cross-stitching how-to from a magazine or an embroidery kit from the fabric store because those are copyrighted.
They are not suitable for use in the production of a commercial range. Copyright laws also protect fabric designs and other artworks that feature an original design. Contact the fabric designer you intend to use to find out if there are any restrictions on its use or to get permission to use it in your project.
You should exercise extreme caution if your business deals with college students in any way. Collage, by its very definition, is derivative. Still, only the original author or owner of the copyright may legally make any modifications or derivative works from their work.
So, even if you’re using a magazine photo, it’s best to ask for permission before adding it to your collage, to be safe.