India is the land of artisans who showcase their creativity throughout their lives. Craft is an excellent way to express emotion, relax, and rewind yourself. However, building a business from this talent is considered unconventional. This may have been true a few years back, but today in this virtual world, you can turn your hobby into a business. In today’s world, where people are looking for unique and personalized products, the demand for handmade items has never been higher.
Today online shopping is very handy. Therefore you can start a handicraft business and become an online retailer with no money or very less money. But before you dive headfirst into the world of the handicraft business, it’s important to have a solid plan in place. In this guide, we’ll take you through the steps of starting a handicraft business and making it profitable, but first, let’s look at some of the handicrafts in demand.
Most Popular Handicrafts in Demand Across India
Woodwork is a popular handicraft in India that is in high demand due to its versatility. From furniture to home decor, the woodwork has a broad range of items that appeal to customers. The industry is mostly located in India’s northern and southern regions, with Gujarat and Rajasthan being significant hubs. Some popular woodwork items include intricately carved doors, antique furniture, and wooden toys. The market trend for woodwork is gradually shifting towards modern designs, with a fusion of traditional and contemporary styles. As a result, the industry has many opportunities for artisans to showcase their skills and create unique and innovative pieces.
The demand for pottery in India is diverse and widespread, ranging from ceramic plates and bowls to vases and figurines. However, in recent years, the trend has shifted towards a fusion of traditional and modern designs that cater to the changing preferences of consumers. Notably, a growing emphasis on sustainability and eco-friendliness has opened up new avenues for innovation and experimentation among artisans. As a result, India’s pottery industry presents many opportunities for artists and craftsmen to showcase their skills and creativity.
In recent years, there has been a growing demand for jute handicrafts in India due to the rising awareness of the importance of sustainability and eco-friendliness. Moreover, jute is a versatile and durable material easily available in India, making it an attractive choice for creating a wide range of products.
Jute bags are one of the most popular items made from jute, as they are stylish and eco-friendly. These bags come in various shapes, sizes, and colours and can be customized with different designs and patterns. Wall hangings made from jute are also in high demand, as they add a rustic and natural touch to any interior space.
Brass handicrafts are an integral part of India’s rich cultural heritage. India’s southern and eastern regions, particularly Andhra Pradesh, are the prime hubs of brass handicrafts. From intricately designed figurines and lamps to stunning candle holders, the demand for brass handicrafts in India is rising. The industry is witnessing a shift towards a blend of traditional and modern designs, with a particular emphasis on intricate and detailed work. This trend gives artisans ample opportunities to showcase their creativity and produce one-of-a-kind pieces. The brass handicraft industry in India is constantly evolving, providing skilled artisans with an exciting and dynamic platform to innovate and experiment with their craft.
Bamboo handicrafts are sustainable and eco-friendly handicrafts in India that are in high demand. The handicraft industry is mostly located in the northeastern regions of India, with Assam and Tripura being significant hubs. Some popular bamboo items in demand in India include baskets, home decor, and furniture. The market trend for bamboo handicrafts is leaning towards fusion sustainability and eco-friendliness.
Saris and Silk
Sari and silk handicrafts are a significant part of the Indian handicraft industry. The industry is mostly located in India’s eastern and southern regions, with West Bengal and Tamil Nadu being significant hubs. Some popular sari and silk items in high demand in India include handwoven sarees, shawls, and stoles. The market trend for sari and silk handicrafts is leaning towards combining traditional and modern designs, focusing on intricate and detailed work.
Indian carpets are known for their exquisite design, intricate patterns, and vibrant colours. The carpet weaving industry is a major employer in India, providing livelihoods to millions. The most popular carpet items in demand in India are woollen carpets, silk carpets, and cotton carpets. Woollen carpets are the most popular type of carpet thanks to their durability and warmth. Silk carpets are another popular option, known for their smooth texture and elegant designs. Cotton carpets, on the other hand, are more affordable and suitable for everyday use.
The market for carpets in India is driven by the domestic market’s demand and exports to other countries. The Indian carpet industry has been growing steadily, with increasing demand from countries like the US, the UK, and Japan. Carpet weaving is labour-intensive and requires skilled artisans, making it a promising area for entrepreneurship and job creation.
How to Start a Handicraft Business?
Let’s explore some essential steps and strategies on how to start a successful handicraft business.
1. Identify a Gap in The Market
The first step in starting a successful handicraft business is to identify a gap in the market. While you may be passionate about a particular craft, it’s important to research the industry and see what products are in demand. Conducting market research can help you identify gaps in the market and find opportunities for your business.
Start by analyzing what products are currently popular in the handicraft industry. Look for trends and identify potential gaps where your products could fill the void in the marketplace.
For instance, if you find a high demand for eco-friendly and sustainable products, you could differentiate your business by offering handmade crafts made from natural materials.
It’s also important to study and research potential competitors in the market. Determine what they offer and how you can differentiate your products from theirs.
2. Know Your Audience Better
When starting a craft business, knowing who you’re selling to is important. First, think about who would be most likely to buy your products. Consider their age, gender, and demography, as well as their purchasing behaviour. For instance, if you’re selling handmade jewellery, your target audience might be women in their 20s and 30s who are fashion geeks and love shopping on social media platforms. Understanding your audience’s demographics, interests, and preferences can help you create products that appeal to them. For example, if you’re selling eco-friendly products, you might target environmentally conscious consumers looking for sustainable alternatives.
Once you’ve defined your target audience, you can determine the best marketing channels to reach them. For example, if you’re targeting younger consumers, social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok may be the most effective channels. For old-age consumers, you might consider advertising in local newspapers or on radio stations.
3. Create a Business Plan
When starting a craft business, it’s important to take a step back and do some planning before you start selling your products. Creating a business plan is one of the most crucial steps in the planning process. This plan serves as your compass, helping you stay focused on your track and goals as your business grows.
The business plan should include the following:
- A brief overview outlining your company’s key points and objectives.
- A description of what your craft business does.
- Competitive and market analysis.
- A SWOT analysis.
- A marketing and sales plan.
- Financial projections.
By outlining these important details in your business plan, you’ll be better prepared to navigate the challenges of starting a new business.
4. Build Your Online Craft Store
While you learn how to start selling crafts online, build an online store that looks and feels professional. One of the easiest ways to do this is using an eCommerce platform like Shopify. With Shopify, you can create an eCommerce site in under 30 minutes and choose from various templates and themes to customize your storefront.
When designing your online store, you need to ensure that your product pages are visually appealing, with stunning pictures of your crafts and inspiring product descriptions that engage your potential customers. In addition, your landing pages should encourage people to build a relationship with your company and make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for.
5. Creating Handicraft Products
When creating your handicrafts, strive to develop unique and innovative designs that stand out in the market. Before you start manufacturing your products, it’s crucial to choose materials that are both durable and visually appealing. You should also invest in high-quality tools to help you create your handicrafts efficiently. Quality control is also critical in the making of your handicrafts.
Ensure that each product is made to the highest standard by inspecting every piece for flaws or defects. This step is vital for customer satisfaction and your business’s reputation.
6. Marketing and Selling Your Products
Marketing and selling your crafts is essential to starting your handicrafts business. After all, you can’t make any money if you don’t have customers.
Several effective marketing strategies can help you reach your target audience.
Email marketing: is a great way to keep in touch with your customers and keep them coming back for more. You can send out newsletters with special promotions, sneak peeks at new products, and updates on your business. Ensure that you segment your audience based on their interests to keep your messages relevant.
Social media: is another powerful marketing tool for your business. You can showcase your crafts through photos and videos on Instagram and Facebook. You can also use social media to connect with your customers, answer their questions, and build long-term relationships with them.
Search engine optimization (SEO): is also important for increasing your visibility online. Ensure that your website is optimized for search engines using relevant keywords and meta tags. You can also create content, such as blog posts, incorporating keywords related to your business.
Multichannel selling: Multichannel selling is a great way to expand your reach and increase your sales. It involves selling your products on multiple platforms, such as your website, online marketplaces like Etsy or Amazon, and social media channels like Facebook and Instagram.
7. Managing and Growing Your Business
Congratulations! You’ve started your handicraft business; now it’s time to focus on managing and growing it. Running a successful business requires ongoing effort and attention to various aspects.
Monitor and track business metrics to identify areas that need improvement. Keeping track of important metrics such as revenue, profit margins, customer satisfaction, and inventory levels can help you make informed business decisions. You can use software tools or hire professionals to help you track these metrics.
Strategies and Tips for Making Your Handicraft Business Profitable
Create a Strong Brand
Creating a strong brand can be the key to achieving profitability as a handicraft business owner. A strong brand can help distinguish your products from competitors and create a loyal customer base who truly appreciate your unique style and values.
Here are some tips for creating a brand that resonates with your target market:
- Define your brand identity: Your brand identity should reflect your business’s values, mission, and vision. Take the time to consider what sets your business apart and what message you want to convey to your customers.
- Choose a strong visual identity: Your visual identity includes elements like your logo, colour scheme, and typography. Choose colours and fonts that align with your brand identity and create a simple, memorable and easily recognizable logo.
- Tell your story: Every business has a story, and sharing yours can help create a deeper connection with your customers.
Streamline Your Production Process
As a handicraft business owner, you know that every penny counts! One way to increase your profits is to streamline your production process. An efficient production process can help reduce costs, improve quality, and increase output.
Develop a Marketing Strategy
Marketing is essential for any business, including a handicraft business to achieve profitability. Marketing helps to create brand awareness, generate leads, and convert leads into customers. Without an effective marketing strategy, your business may not reach its full potential in terms of sales and revenue. Therefore, developing a marketing strategy that effectively and efficiently reaches your target market is crucial to your handicraft business’s success.
Offer Custom or Personalized Products
One way to offer personalized products is to provide customization options such as colour, size, material, or design. You can also offer monogramming, engraving, or embroidery services to make products more personal. Providing these options allows customers to make a unique product that fits their needs and tastes. You can also offer personalized products for special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, or holidays. For example, you can create customized gift baskets or handmade cards for customers. This adds a personal touch to the gift, making it more meaningful for the giver and receiver.
Focus on Customer Service
When it comes to running a handicraft business, customer satisfaction is vital. Focusing on customer service can not only improve the overall experience for your customers, but it can also increase customer loyalty and encourage repeat business. One way to provide exceptional customer service is by promptly responding to inquiries or concerns. Make sure to monitor your emails and social media accounts regularly so that you can address potential issues as soon as possible.
Offer Discounts and Promotions
Who doesn’t adore a good deal? Offering discounts and promotions can be an excellent way to attract new customers, drive sales, and keep your existing customers coming back for more. One way to do this is by offering first-time customers a discount or coupon code when they sign up for your newsletter or make their first purchase. This can encourage them to try your products and further boost customer retention.
You can also run limited-time promotions, such as a sale on a specific product or a holiday-themed promotion. For example, if Valentine’s Day is coming up, you could offer a discount on your heart-shaped products or offer a bundle deal on products which are perfect for gifting.
Evaluate your Pricing Strategy
Pricing your products too high can turn customers away, while pricing them too low can cut your profit margins. Regularly evaluating your pricing strategy will help you balance earning a profit and making your products affordable for customers. When evaluating your pricing strategy, start by considering the cost of materials, labour, and overhead.
Next, ensure that you accurately track the cost of each material used to create your products, including any shipping or import fees. You should also consider the cost of tools or equipment needed to create your handicrafts.
You now have a wealth of knowledge on how to start and grow a profitable handicraft business. You can turn your love for art into a lucrative business with a clear vision and a solid plan. Remember these tips and strategies to never go off the track in driving traffic to eCommerce business. Always be open to learning, adapt to changes in the market, and stay innovative with your designs.
Is the handicraft export business profitable?
Yes, the handicraft export business can be profitable if done right. Handicrafts are unique and often handcrafted, making them highly sought after in the global market. With the rise of e-commerce and the growing interest in unique and sustainable products, the demand for handicrafts is on the rise. Additionally, many countries have recognized handicrafts’ cultural and economic value, leading to government support and incentives for handicraft exports.
Which handicraft items are best for export?
India is a treasure trove of handicrafts, and many unique items are in high demand in the international market. Some of the best handicraft items for export from India include textiles, leather goods, pottery, brassware, wooden handicrafts, and jewellery. These items are known for their intricate designs, exquisite craftsmanship, and cultural significance, making them popular with customers worldwide.
How do I find buyers for handicraft export?
Finding buyers for handicraft exports can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Here are some tips on how to find buyers for your handicraft exports:
- Attend Trade Shows and Exhibitions: Participating in trade shows and exhibitions is an excellent way to showcase your products to potential buyers worldwide.
- Use Online Marketplaces: Online marketplaces such as Etsy, Amazon, and Alibaba provide a platform for handicraft exporters to showcase their products and connect with potential buyers.
- Join Handicraft Export Associations: Joining a handicraft export association can provide you with networking opportunities and access to a larger pool of potential buyers.
- Collaborate with Agents and Distributors: Working with agents and distributors can help you reach a broader audience of buyers and expand your export opportunities.