Maybe you've tried to scour the craftshow com sites to see if you can find any suggestions on what art or craft you might pursue.
This short series of articles is aimed at helping you to get ideas for crafts to sell, and then help you in deciding if the idea you've come up with is a good one.
This article will be focused on where to get ideas for crafts. For some people this is the most difficult part of the process. From there we'll go on to talk about how to decide if the product is one you should pursue. This series will probably amount to around 2 or 3 articles. But who knows, there's a lot of information to explore here.
The idea of coming up with a product to sell is hardly unique to the craft industry. This is something that companies struggle with daily. Sometimes they get good ideas, and sometimes they flop. But where in the world do they come up with the ideas in the first place? There are a number of different approaches that companies take to get an idea. Below are just a few.
I'm not suggesting, of course, that you pick something complex that requires you to set up a lab and hire a bunch of scientists. I'm talking about things like never really having a good pen holder.
Maybe that sounds funny at first. But at our house, we have all the pens sitting on the counter stuffed in a coffee cup. Wouldn't it be nice if someone made a really nice looking pen holder. Maybe it would hold 4 or 5 pens each having it's own slot. Maybe it's made out of wood to be decorative, and has a magnet on the back so you can hang it on the refrigerator.
From there you can come up with all sorts of different ideas. The trick with this approach is to come up with something simple, but useful. Something that is realistic for you to make, and people will respond with "It's about time somebody figured that out".
Another approach that companies take with getting new ideas is to try and improve on an existing product. Look at something you use on a regular basis and think of how you might improve on it.
Consider something as simple as a paper towel holder. This is something you use every day. How could you improve it, so that you have something more to offer than just the standard holder?
Maybe you could improve the design. Every time you pull on a paper towel, you get 10. Maybe the roller needs a little resistance. You could consider how to improve that.Maybe you have more of an artistic flair, and will come up with a beautiful looking paper towel holder that people will enjoy. You might come up with a great design to paint or carve on it. Maybe it could be part of a kitchen theme where you sell it as part of a package. It could come with a calendar holder, pen holder, kitchen crock and more.
As long as you offer something unique or additional, you can take an everyday product, and turn it into something much more.
Something else you can do is watch the latest trends. I saw a magazine cover recently for one of the country magazines. On the cover it said, "Top 10 Collectible For 2007". Now there's an article you should read. If you can tap into what the popular trend is, then you will have a product that will move. Of course, you still want to try and add something to it that sets it apart if possible. Remember the last point above about adding to an existing product or craft?
Also with regard to current trends, consider the season. Certain arts and crafts become popular during different times of the year, especially Easter and Christmas.
If you have a website, you could run a survey. This could be as simple as posting a question on your home page with an email address for people to send their answers too. Offer a discount on a purchase if people are willing to answer.
I once gave away free ebooks if people were willing to send in ideas for what they would like to see articles on. It was something useful for them, and I was able to get a better idea of what people were looking for.
These are just a few ways to start thinking about your arts and crafts that might help you get ideas for what to make and sell. In the next article I will talk about how to decide if your product idea is a good one, or if it will flop.