Wouldn’t it be great to know for sure the answer to the question “Which hand made products sell best?” To know exactly the market trends of the next six to twelve months and be able to produce the perfect products which will sell like hot cakes? Unfortunately, none of us can do this. And while we can certainly look back retrospectively at the hand made craft products that sold best in the previous year, and even look at what is currently trending, this should be a guide only, not a straight jacket with which to steer us in a pre-determined direction.
So, what has been trending over the last months/years? Health and beauty products and jewellery often come out at the front, alongside consumables, personalised clothing and art work. However, market trends and consumer preferences fluctuate, so it cannot be guaranteed that these will always be at the top. A browse through Etsy or Pinterest and a quick Google search will reveal the top selling products at any one time. Maybe a more pertinent question to ask though, is how this knowledge could impact your decision making. Do you jump onto the crest of the current trend, hoping your products will sell amongst all the others? Or do you step out and start up a completely different line, knowing it’s not amongst the top sellers? Will you try to find a niche within the trending markets?
Most crafters would agree that the business grows out of our passions, natural abilities and vision. It would simply not make sense therefore for someone who loves to work with wood and makes exquisite household utensils or children’s toys using this skill, to throw it all in and start making bath bombs instead, just because they rank highly in the selling tables.
On the other hand, what if you are already creating products in the top selling range? How can you make yours stand out from the rest? If you are selling at craft fairs, can you include demonstrations as part of your sales pitch? Could you allow for customers to be involved in a small part of the production process? For example could they choose the beads on a simple pair of earrings and watch you put them together? On social media, reels or videos are trending over pictures, so can you translate this enjoyment of watching action into your craft fair stall? Your enthusiasm, expertise and love of your craft will shine through and act as a honeypot for the bees! Remember you will need insurance for crafters when attending fairs, so pick up the phone and we’re here to help find the best fit for your needs.
As with all small businesses, do the market research and find your niche within it. For example, hand made toys may not hit the trending list, but there is a market for them, and within that people will pay a premium for a product which is not only well made and has longevity, but also brings with it a comforting sense of nostalgia.
Whatever your chosen direction, ensure you get good competitive insurance quotes, which will not only give you the necessary foundations for your business, but will be cost effective. We are here to advise on the best insurance for crafters, and thus help you get your business onto a good footing.
Back to trending products. While it would not necessarily be a good idea to change your direction simply to be in line with current top selling craft products, you may be able to adapt your individual line in that direction. For example, if you know that jewellery sells well and you are a potter, could you make stands on which to hang necklaces or ear rings? Or burners for wax melts? Or could you expand your skills and make bath bombs to sell in gorgeously decorated bath shaped pottery receptacles?
Likewise, being aware of seasonal selling trends is also important to maximise on sales. Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day all need careful consideration, and although many of us might wish they were not so commercialised, it can work to your advantage. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of our throw away culture, and may well be looking for gifts which are more sustainable, support small businesses and will last more than a few weeks (unless of course we’re talking about mouth watering handmade chocolate fudge!)
On the subject of sustainability … it’s on everyone’s lips at present and top trending products often capitalise on this. We are also a nation for whom the desire for authenticity is on the rise. Consumers will value an item which has genuinely been made locally and with sustainable products. Even with the current squeeze on finances, customers will still pay a premium for such products. So, can you look at where your raw materials are sourced, how workers are treated, and what chemicals are used in the manufacturing process. Can you reduce the gap in some way between the producer and you the consumer? For example, if you make wax candles can you source your wax from local beekeepers? Or use locally grown herbs for beauty products? Ultimately, it’s more about what hand made products of yours sell best than about top selling products nationally. You can chase after the current trends, but if these do not reflect your abilities and passion then they will not work for you. So, be confident in your own skill set and vision for the direction of your business. Ensure you have good insurance for crafters in place, and then set about making the best products you possibly can with enthusiasm and enjoyment.