Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Taking the plunge

I've finally decided to take the plunge and start a business selling my handmade creations.  So now what?

I've got my Etsy shop name registered, I have a few (VERY few) established clients, and I've got business cards.  Inventory = 0.  Items for sale on Etsy = 0.  Small business knowledge = very little.  What I do have is years of sewing experience and the knowledge from a marketing degree gathering dust in the far reaches of my brain.

I'm a stay at home mom - I have a 10 month old and a 3 year old - and I just know I can translate my creative side into something to earn a little income.  Right now, I'm focusing on starting a business selling toys and dress-up clothes for kids (I've sold a good number of tutus to my daughter's ballet classmates) but I really feel like I need a niche. 

My research about selling kids products has turned up a couple hurdles.  I'm learning about the new testing laws.  Basically, these laws make it extremely difficult for handmade goods to be sold to kids without extremely expensive testing.  Also, Etsy is growing by leaps and bounds and I'm going to have to find a way to differentiate myself from all of the other established kids product sellers.

On the good side, I'm mostly interested in sewing, and fabric seems to be for the most part exempt from the testing regulations (although I do need to follow some labeling laws).  There are plenty of successful sellers on Etsy, so there's no reason I can't be successful, too.  I'm not looking to make a living.  I just want to make a little money doing something I love, and last time I checked there was no one paying me to eat cheesecake and watch bad reality TV.

My goal this week is to start on a business plan.  I have the book Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin waiting for me at the library, so I'd love to read that this week, too.  Wish me luck!

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