As a craft producer, when creating a product, you have high expectations for it. Whether it be wall art or leatherwear, your goal is for your product to reach its full market potential. However, more goes into a successful product than just a “good idea”. Taking your craft production to its full market potential is much more complicated. Too often creatives develop great craft products that fail to perform well on the market and generate sales.
If this cap fits, Entrepreneur Weekly has compiled five reasons your craft production may not be market-ready:
- Low on Funds
Money begets money…You have to invest in your product so that consumers invest in it. It’s more than just making the product. You will need a budget to support marketing and production. Vivette McFarlane, Assistant Manager, Marketing Services Unit at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) says a top reason that products fail to perform on the market is “Lack of funds to sustain production if payments or income have not been received.” Entrepreneurs can access financing from several financial institutions across the island, as long as they meet the requirements.
- No Market Research
Before moving your idea to production, it is imperative that you conduct market research. Market research is the process of evaluating the viability of a new service or product through research conducted directly with potential customers.
- It provides an accurate picture of your product. Key issues with developing a certain product or service can be identified and it can help you to avoid expensive mistakes with its development. Do consumers want your product? How will it help them? Is it solving a problem?
- It can help you determine who and where your customers are, and which customers are most likely to do business with you – target audience.
- Gather real-time data about your market and your customer base that can help you to set goals that are attainable.
- It’s Creative, but it’s neither Different nor Trendy
As a craft producer, you are naturally creative, but for your product to be successful on the market it has to be a little more than just creative. It has to be different. What can your product do that the others on the market can’t. This step goes hand-in-hand with the research process, because the information gathered from the consumers will help you to understand what kind of craft products clients need to solve what problem and ultimately, the products to create.
At the same time, JBDC’s Product Development Specialist, Donna-Gay Uter says, “Design and production in collections make each product unique, however still trendy. As local designers, we often don’t design around trends. If one wants to keep up in this competitive market, we should always research to be informed and keep abreast.”
- No Marketing Strategy
Crafters sometimes underestimate the power of marketing; some businesses may even lack resources and just want to jump to selling the product. However, marketing is an important step, that when done correctly can drive sales to your business. Like market research, having a marketing strategy gives you an edge over your competitor. It helps crafters to set goals and implement strategies to meet them. Without a marketing strategy, you have already failed.
Your creation is worth more. When you are developing a product, it is important to know its value. Often, crafters who start to turn their craft into a business neglect to pay themselves a fair wage for their time or misjudge the amount of time it actually takes to create a piece, start to finish. Some producers believe they are at an advantage if their product is cheaper than the competition. That’s not always the case. Colin Coley, Senior Business Development Officer at the JBDC says that manufacturers must factor in cost of labour, cost of raw materials, and several other expenses to help determine the price of your craft product. Develop a formula or strategy to price your product.
Taking your product to its full potential is not an easy feat. The Product Development services offered at the JBDC Incubator and Resources Center (IRC) in Kingston, position your craft products for success. The IRC’s Craft Incubator is equipped to accommodate clients who produce a variety of products including jewellery, leather goods including footwear (sandals), printed textiles, among others.
The space is able to accommodate multiple users at a time and is equipped with tools such as tumblers, drills, polishing wheel, rolling mill, laser etching machine and a variety of hand tools. The incubator is also ideal for clients who want to experiment and develop new product concepts and prototypes. Book here: https://www.jbdc.net/services/incubators/.
Donna-Gay Uter is passionate about craft jewellery having the perfect finish. “My clients need someone who can help them navigate the industry and guide them not to just put beads on a string. At times, they have great ideas, but fall short in the finishing. That’s when I use the various techniques to lift that piece,” she said. See details below for the IRC’s upcoming Chasing & Repousse – Fine Jewellery Workshop.