Thursday, June 28, 2012

Building a Crafting Business Without Much Investment

First, before we go any further...I've been a bit of a blog slacker.  Not many new/original tutorials recently, not great pictures, and not posting everyday.  But in my defense, I've been super busy getting ready for this craft fair.  In fact, look what I made...

I'm going to try to make more lanyards before the craft fair...but I still need to make a lot of birthday boards, so this may be all I have.  And I even found a cute little bucket at Home Depot (in the paint section, only like $2) to put them all into

Now...onto the post...

They always say, in order to make money, you have to spend money.  And, to a certain extent, I agree.  I would never have been able to start selling my Birthday Boards on Etsy without first investing in the supplies to make a few prototypes (and doing some research with different hardware/materials to figure out how best to make one).  However, I really hate spending too much money for a business that, while growing, is growing pretty slowly and certainly isn't my primary form of income.  As a result, I've become a bit obsessed with finding ways to grow my business for little to no money.  Here's a few things I've learned along the way...

The Importance of Branding

Branding is free - it really is.  And, it's so so so important.  I have absolutely no marketing education (but I do a bit of marketing/communications at work...and by that I mean I hang around with the communications people and hope their brilliance rubs off on me).  I'm still working on my branding and I really hope to come up with a logo at some point, but until I do, I'm at least trying to synchronize everything together.  So, my etsy shop, my blog, my email, my paypal, everything is under Jane's Girl Designs.  I figure it's less confusing than having 18 different names, and I'm also hoping that people that stop by my etsy shop decide to visit my blog or vice versa.  I need to work on the appearance/logo...but for now I've been focusing on cute, girly, and crafty. 

Right in line with branding is just having a professional appearance.  I think my blog has been looking a bit better recently, with the help of a title bar and background from the cutest blog on the block.  Completely free and definitely worth checking out.

Business Cards are probably a good idea

With this upcoming craft fair I've realized that business cards are a must.  Really anyone with an etsy shop should have business cards and include them with orders they send out.  Well I was a little slow on this train but I finally ordered some for a good price.  Vistaprint offers free business cards on their website - you just pay S&H for $7.50.  What this actually boils down to is 250 nice cards, with one of their design templates (quite a few to choose from) and on the back of each card in really small type it says "grow your business with Vistaprint."  Of course, you can get shinier cards, no vistaprint mention on the back, and upload your own design but all of that costs a bit I went he cheap route.  And I really love how they came out!

Sorry, the pictures sucks.  That seems to be a trend with me recently.   I promise I'll buck that.  I've been a blog slacker. 

Anyway, the card is sort of a light blue color with brown detailing.  It's simple and just what I wanted.  I didn't include my blog address on there, but I plan to write it on the back for now.  Moving forward I'll hopefully have a logo and more involved cards...but for $7.50 this is a great start!

There's also the option of buying the printer paper at Office Depot and printing your own business cards.  The price of that didn't really make it a cheaper/better option than vistaprint for me.

Spread the Love

I'm not sure this really helps, but I've been trying to do more than just read the craft blogs I always read.  I've been reading more blogs, expanding, and commenting.  Not crazing commenting to every post, but giving the occasional "wow, love this idea" comment.  Because...I love comments (but never really get them...maybe someday!).  Plus, I leave all my comments publicly as Jane's Girl Designs...again, just trying to get my name out there.

There are a ton of other tips I'm sure...and I find new ones every day..but recently these have been my focus.

And I know I've been talking up this craft room, but it's definitely coming together!  Last night we built our table (walmart shelves and painted doors, an idea from pinterest) and that has really expanded my work space immensely.  I can't wait to get it done and be able to post some nice pictures! 

Have a good day!!


  1. Good luck at the crafts fair! When is it? Are you doing the big one on post?

    1. Thanks! I'm doing the Prairie Village Villagefest craft fair. It's the morning of July 1st (starts at 9:30am). There's a ton going on for the villagefest and so far I think 16 crafters will have booths!

  2. I love my lanyard!! Are you going to accept orders at the fair as well? What hours will you be there? We'll plan to come by :-)

    1. Yeah, come by! It's July 4 from 9:30 to 1:30 at 7700 Mission Road in Prairie Village. I plan to have 15 or so birthday boards for sale, a handful of lanyards, and order forms for custom orders (or if by some miracle I run out of stock at the fair!).

  3. hi, I met you today at the craft fair! I really like your stuff. hope you sold a lot! :)

    1. Hi Dara,

      Thanks so much for checking out my booth! It was a hot day but it was really fun. I think I may have gotten the craft fair bug!