“My favorite things often have a story behind them and are usually handmade or discovered at a flea market.” – Amy Sedaris
Around the age of twenty-four, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t meant to work for others for the rest of my life. I didn’t know how I could become an entrepreneur, what I would sell, etc.. What I did know is I couldn’t spend the rest of my life making money for someone else, clocking in at a certain time, or being stifled by a certain wardrobe, among many other things. I never imagined that I’d create and sell a product made on my sewing machine! Having several friends, including Tasha, who’ve taken the entrepreneurial route in life, and none of them selling handmade goods; I think it’s interesting how varied our experiences have been. So, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned, or have been reminded of as a handmade entrepreneur.
Everyone will not understand your product.
Whenever I tell someone that I make clutch covers, they are like, “a what?” Granted, clutch covers are a product that wasn’t on the market before I accidentally started making them, but in my head, they are pretty self-explanatory, laughs.
No orders equals no products to share.
I love seeing the products stores get listed in their online and physical shops, but with each clutch cover being made to order by hand, I am left with piles of fabric until a clutch cover is ordered. At the same time, I love the idea of offering a product that is made to order, so I really can’t complain about looking at piles of fabric when I have no orders to fill.
Make sure whatever you’re selling/making puts a smile on your face.
I get excited every time I need to fill a Clutched & Covered order, and not just because that means money in my account! I love deciding which lining color will go with each customer’s fabric choice. However, there are times when I am a bit uncertain because each clutch cover is made based on the dimensions provided by the owner. It could be shipped off, only to discover it doesn’t fit, which happened once. Nonetheless, the process makes me happy either way, and I really believe in the awesomeness of my product!
Never stop learning
Whether it’s making jewelry, baking desserts, or sewing garments, there’s always something to learn to help improve your business and product. There are many great tools out there to help you continue to expand on your skills: from classes at your local craft store, to online learning and tutorials, or even sites like Youtube and Craftsy, (I have a class I need to take on zippers).
Use the handmade angle to your benefit.
In a world where so many things are manufactured in foreign countries, I’ve found that people are looking for items made in the US or at least products that offer them the ability to have something no on else will have. Therefore, I always point out that I make each clutch cover, to order– from scratch.
Don’t give up.
This lesson applies to being a handmade entrepreneur, but it also applies to life in general. There have been so many times I’ve wanted to give up on Clutched & Covered, feeling like no one understands the product, or like I will never reach the point where I’m selling pieces frequently, but then God never fails to remind me to keep pushing and try to reach my company goals.
Now that I’m a handmade entrepreneur, I certainly wouldn’t change it for the world! There is something so rewarding about making a product with my hands, and then receiving a message from a customer sharing their satisfaction.
What are some things you’ve learned as an entrepreneur? Do you love buying handmade goods?