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Dealing With Supply and Demand in the Crafts Business

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 14 Aug 2014 | comments*Discuss
Crafts Business Action Plan Supply

As with any business, you’re likely to find that supply and demand inevitably goes through peaks and troughs, but how can you deal with this?

All businesses would like to have fantastic sales all the time and never go through dry periods. But the reality of the crafts business world is such that occasional dry times, where you have fewer sales of certain products or bookings for craft workshops or demonstrations, is the norm. Accepting that this may well happen is important, so that you’re not utterly devastated when a bad period hits and don’t know how to handle it.

Fluctuations in supply and demand are a normal part of business life, so having a plan outlined in advance will help you cope with it and deal with it a lot better. It also helps a great deal if you’re prepared to be flexible and change your business tact, or the types of products you’re selling, in order to cope with changes in the market. For example, the crafts business world in particular is driven to an extent by trends in the marketplace. If there’s suddenly a new trend that comes to the forefront, perhaps influenced by fashion, craft TV channels, expert crafter's or even celebrities, a good crafts business will be prepared to immediately jump on the bandwagon and act on it.

Previous crafts related trends include handbag and mobile phone charms, knitted products and scrapbooking, all of which cropped up suddenly. Although it can be tricky to obtain raw products and craft materials suddenly, especially when it’s a new product trend, making an extra effort to source components can be worthwhile. For example, in the case of handbag and mobile phone charms that became popular in the mass market, craft stores that were able to source and stock the raw components, so that crafter's who were able to make their own versions, did well.

Keeping Up With Trends

In order to cash in on any new trends that occur, it’s a good idea to keep up with all the latest trends – and potential trends – as much as possible. This means:

  • Reading relevant trade publications.
  • Reading relevant consumer publications.
  • Attending trade and craft shows and exhibitions.
  • Keeping an eye on TV craft channels, especially watching for products that sell out quickly.
  • Reading craft forums and websites, to see what products and techniques crafters are talking about.
  • Reading relevant craft blogs and the websites of individual crafters.
  • Keeping an eye on what craft experts are doing and any new techniques or products they’re launching.
  • Talking to and networking with other craft businesses.
  • Keeping an eye on major fashion trends, which often overlap with crafts.

Trying New Selling Methods

As well as cashing in on new trends, you may need to include details in your action plan of how you’ll deal with having excess types of any one product on your shelves. Demand can peak and fall quite dramatically and it’s often hard to predict exactly when this will happen.

One way of dealing with excess craft stock is to hold special offers, discounts, sales or clearance events, so you can try and clear stock and boost sales. But in order to cope with it effectively, you may need to consider implementing new methods too, especially if the market is going through a particularly dry period.

A useful tool that many crafts businesses have utilised is the Internet and certain well known auction sites, such as Ebay. It is relatively inexpensive for bricks and mortar shops to set up an online shop and sell additional wares online and, if you market your shop well, you can successfully use the Internet as a good additional way of clearing stock.

Having special demonstration days to show customers how to use particular products is also worthwhile, or you could even venture forward in taking your products elsewhere to demonstrate and sell. Whatever you do, don’t forget there are always new possibilities to try and, should a dry period occur, the more you’re prepared to diversify, the better chances you have of coping with changes in demand and supply.

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Thanks for the complements @Dawn:-)
StartACraftBusiness - 28-Aug-14 @ 1:59 PM
Best site I have ever seen .Thankyou for all the great information.
Dawn - 14-Aug-14 @ 8:57 AM
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