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Teaching and Demonstrating Craft

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 16 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
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Teaching and demonstrating craft can be a lucrative and rewarding way of running a business, either in its own right or as part of a craft business. But what’s involved and how can you make it work?

Crafters of all levels benefit from learning new tips and techniques and teaching and demonstrating craft can be a fun and enjoyable way of sharing your knowledge and making money. If you want to establish yourself as a teacher or demonstrator, then it can take some time and a lot of commitment, but can reap rewards in the long run.

Running Classes

Running classes locally or even nationally is one of the ways in which you can establish yourself as a recognised craft teacher or demonstrator. If you have professional qualifications in your craft speciality, then it will be beneficial, but it’s not entirely necessary, as long as you have the relevant practical experience.

Classes can be of a one-off nature or a series, and can be held at weekends, on weekdays or in the evenings. You’ll need to carefully do your research and work out the best price to charge, so you both attract paying attendees, but also make a profit yourself. One of the benefits of going elsewhere to teach your classes is that you won’t have to provide the venue or sort out the logistics of it, as this may well be provided for you. This can sometimes take away some degree of hassle, especially when you’re starting out in the early days and just want to get on with the crucial business of actually teaching and demonstrating craft.

As part of your marketing and PR, it may occasionally be beneficial to run the odd free class or demo, especially if you team up with other businesses or craft specialists. Working out what’s best for you is sometimes rather a case of trial and error in the early days.

Teaching and Demonstrating in Your Own Shop

If you have your own shop or workshop, then running sessions where you teach or demonstrate craft can be a very good way of drumming up extra business. Classes can take place at weekends, during the daytime or in the evening – but you will have to experiment to discover which time or day generates the best response.

Demoing products you have for sale can have an obvious benefit on your business, as it offers up the chance for attendees to buy products and tools. If customers are paying to come along to a class you teach, then you could either include a set amount of materials for them to use within the class fee or offer discounts on anything they purchase as a result of the session.

Sometimes it may pay to offer free demos in your shop, for example on an ad hoc basis or when you’re just establishing yourself, as it’s likely to both encourage existing customers or new customers to come along and see what’s on offer.

Teaming Up With Other Businesses

Teaming up with other businesses in your local area, or other craft specialists, and running workshops, having exhibitions or teaching is also an option. It can be a good chance to showcase your work, abilities and designs and broadens your business horizons.

Sometimes it may seem unwise to team up with another business similar to your own, but a bit of competition can be healthy. What’s more, you’re likely to be learn from each other and often two heads are better than one for coming up with new ideas to tackle the market. So try and learn from other businesses and don’t disregard opportunities to network and interact with other specialist crafters. Often they may already have a craft following and teaming up with them brings their customers onto your radar.

Whether you’re concentrating solely on teaching and demonstrating craft, or want to have it as a subsidiary element of your business, in a world where learning a practical skill is highly relevant, it can be a key part of a successful craft business.

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