Are you a start-up/small craft business looking for some guidance over the first hurdles? With you in mind, we have developed a bitesize guide to get you off the ground, so grab yourself a cup of tea, pop your feet up and dive into our article packed with chunks of must-know material.
You have your designs! But what do you do next?
As you lean back in your chair you feel a sense of excitement. Those initial design ideas you’ve had circling your thoughts for weeks now are now starting to come together in front of you – but what to do with these next? Once you know exactly what product it is you’re looking for and you have some initial design concepts ready, your next step is to start the search for an ideal manufacturer for you; a company you want to work with and a company who can bring your ideas to life in the best possible way.
When looking for a supplier keep these 4 factors in mind:
Quality – Sat in their craft space one of your customers has opened up your product and starts crafting – what do they think? Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and go on the journey with them from purchase to use. Know what you expect from a product and what level of quality you want to attach your brand name and designs to.
Price – Without a doubt price will always be an essential factor. The price needs to allow you to sell your product on at a fair price, yet still enable you to make a profit for yourself. Generally speaking, the higher the quantity you buy the better the price, but remember to be conscious of not going overboard and putting yourself in a tricky stock situation – think ahead! Price isn’t everything, so if something seems too cheap or too good be true it often is!
MOQ – MOQ, or minimum order quantity, is the minimum amount you can buy of a certain product. Generally speaking, companies in the Far East have very low prices but have very high MOQ’s, whilst companies with the UK and Europe are likely to have lower MOQ’s or a reasonable minimum spend amount.
Hidden Costs – Keep your eyes peeled for those sneaky hidden costs. When working through your pricing don’t forget to factor in shipping (the further you source from and the heavier the item the higher the price will be), any VAT or duties and set-up, moulding or tooling fees (Photocentric does not charge these however many Far East factories will).
Quality, Quantity and Costs done. But what else should you consider?
Packaging – If you’re looking to display your items in a shop you need to consider two things: look and functionality. Remember, first impressions really do count! Make your packaging as attractive as possible yet still keep it in line with your branding so it becomes recognisable as a product from your company. For functionality, if you’re hanging your products for all to see it may also benefit from a Euro slot for display hooks.
Perhaps you are looking to sell online only? For this, you may be able to opt for a simpler packaging but remember, your product will always end up in someone’s hands, so it is essential it still looks great and well-presented under your brand. Whether it be in a shop or online, we recommend at a minimum your brand name/logo, the name of the product, care and usage information and perhaps drop in some inspiration or tips for use too!
Design Protection – This is a hot topic in the arts and crafts world at the moment. Many companies of all sizes are finding cheap, poor quality replicas of their products making their way into the craft market, usually from the Far East. Some of the first steps you can take to keep your designs protected include being careful with the images you upload, watermarking, copyrighting and keeping an eye out and reporting immediately any copies which you see crop up.
Know Your Audience and Market – Just because you love it, it doesn’t mean it’ll be a hit. Be sure to do your research. It’s so important to knuckle down and research before giving your proposed products the green light. Doing thorough research will allow you to get a feel of what’s out there on the market, what other market players are providing, up and coming trends, and what crafters want next to add to their craft arsenal, therefore helping to give you an advantage when putting your product out into the world.
Marketing – Now more than ever there are so many ways to connect with your customers, but remember to pick what’s right for you online and offline! With more social media platforms popping up every day, don’t be sucked into building a presence on all of them. Be selective with what platforms you choose, remembering each one attracts a different customer, brings in a different type of engagement and has a different algorithm in place all business pages need to combat. Monitor your insights and digital performance to see which site or campaign get the best activity and learn as you grow. Don’t expect people to find you, be proactive, utilise paid advertising through online and print, and also consider both trade and consumer fairs to get your brand and products out there to wider audiences.
Photocentric Ltd is an award-winning UK manufacturer based in Cambridgeshire, UK, specialising in bespoke Photopolymer Clear Stamps and other made to order Craft products. For further information connect with a member of their Craft team on Makingmart here.