Careers in Craft (how a young person could make it their job)
Working in the craft industry is an incredibly rewarding role. Not only do you get the opportunity to create items that you can sell to others, but you can also spend your days crafting. What could be better than that?
There are lots of different ways that handmade crafts can be turned into a full-time job. This could be working as a crafter yourself or working in some areas that help support the craft industry such as photography and design work. Here are a few ways that a young person could start a career in the craft industry.
Artisan Crafts – Finding a niche craft with a specific theme can be a way for a young person to hone a product for the market. The creation of unique products is a great way of capturing trade and making a name for yourself. Taking an apprenticeship or mentoring with an established artisan will give any young person the chance to hone and learn the necessary skills to become adept at their craft. Two of the best examples of this are jewellery making, a perfect medium to make bespoke and commissioned pieces, and pottery. Both of these have a good online platform and focused attendance at regional crafts fairs. Ultimately, the main goal would be to have their shop or be able to open up a studio that they can work from and sell directly to the public.
Design Work – There are plenty of academic avenues via which young crafters can progress in the field of design work. The route to design work usually begins at GCSE Design and Technology. Here the student can learn the basics of design and get a foundation to start their career. It’s usual to combine this with GCSE Art. From here, the next step is to study both subjects at A-Level with a view to moving on to university and a degree in the subject. This will give the young person years spent being creative in which they can find the type of design they prefer to work in. Fashion and textiles may be an option but there is also scope for furniture design, taking a break from traditional styles for example. It also opens up the possibility of working for a design company and the chance to see their products mass produced. Over time, it may be that they may wish to start their own design company.
Workshops and teaching – The teaching of arts and crafts may be a better outlet for the young person seeking a career in handmade crafts. Gaining a degree in teaching is the best way to combine the two disciplines for a successful role in the field. Teaching others the skills required to be an artist or crafter can be a deeply rewarding experience. As well as being taught in schools, arts and crafting have also been used very effectively as a means of pain management and for creating mental health wellbeing. These kinds of courses can be conducted at colleges or in workshops in community centres as well as in schools.
Restoration and Upcycling – If the creation of new pieces is not something that the young creator finds appealing there is also the option of specialising in the restoration of older pieces. This gives them the chance to bring something that may appear damaged beyond repair, or needs a little love and attention, back to life. Restorers have an in-depth knowledge of the pieces from the past that they are working on, meaning that they have had to invest time in research of the history of the furniture, tapestry or art piece that needs a spruce. This also includes the conservation of the item with constant monitoring and care. Studies in art conservation and working with established conservators can prove to be an advantage. Conservation of this sort requires vital skills that can be used to make a long lasting and truly satisfying career.
Craft Entrepreneurship – Anyone with a business mindset can use their entrepreneurial skills to make craft related operation. There is a readymade market for the provision of craft suppliers. Opening up an online supply business with delivery and distribution can bolster the craft industry. Young entrepreneurs may also consider becoming a retail seller of the handmade crafts that people make. This will save them time and money plus allow them to concentrate on the more important aspects of actually making the crafts to sell as they can still add their own craft projects to sell as well. One of the more interesting ideas that has become popular of late is that of creating a subscription service where people receive a themed item every month. It’s clear that these young people who have embraced the world of the online marketplace are some of the most forward-thinking business people out there.
Whatever path the young person decides to take in the crafting world, either producing, selling or assisting in terms of sales, marketing and admin, they should make sure they are constantly updating and maintaining the skills they have. They can do this by joining online communities or creating their own with other likeminded artisans and crafters.
They need to be completely in tune to what is happening in the craft world. In this way they can be able to see what the shifting market trends and fashions are doing. Being adaptable and staying on point with what people want is the only way to stay relevant.
Finally, for a young person to be successful in the craft business they must make sure that they have built a strong online presence. Following the recent events of the pandemic and the rising costs in the retail outlets, this is a great way to make inroads into the market and sell to as wide an audience as possible.