Why Now is the Best Time to Start a Handmade Business

Start a handmade business

When I started the Indie Business Network in 2000, this nation’s economy was booming. Within the next five years, it was sliding toward disaster. My husband lost his job, and his profession began to die off as new technologies slowly replaced many of his skills. We had two babies and a mortgage. Just when our incomes needed to be climbing, they were taking a nose dive. By 2008, we were not alone in our misery as we watched many of our friends and family members lose their jobs and even their homes, and sometimes give up hope altogether that they would ever live anything remotely resembling the life they had planned.

Throughout this time frame, I heard so many people say that the “Great Recession” was the best time to start a business. They rattled off the names of successful people who ended up wealthy as a result of a business started when the economy was in tatters. I had no choice but to believe them, and in hindsight, they were right.

But maybe you didn’t listen like I did. Maybe you had a great job at the time, so you tuned it all out. Perhaps entrepreneurship just wasn’t your cup of tea before the start of the last decade … and maybe it is now. Whatever the case, if you are looking fondly at your friends who started businesses during the recession, and wishing you had followed suit, I’m here to tell you it’s not too late.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

As someone told me nearly 20 years ago, now really is the best time to start a business of your own. Here are some reasons why,l..

Start a Handmade Business

1. Economic Indicators

While employment statistics continue to show overall improvement, no one is calling them “steady.” In April of this year, 160,000 new jobs were added to the American economy, down from the recent monthly average of 192,000. It’s better than 2008, but still not at the point where anyone seeking a significantly better life can rely on a traditional job to take them there.

Having said that, because the numbers are moving in the right direction, it means that consumers are starting to have a bit more money to spend. Why not help them spend it on your products?

There are more and more places where you can go to get help to start a business off on the right foot. Banks are beginning to woo small business owners again. Funding websites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are helping new businesses start every day. Local communities and entrepreneurs like me are offering free and very low-cost entrepreneurial learning opportunities — both in person and online. Whether or not you have a job, if you think entrepreneurship may be in your future, you can begin to learn about what it takes to turn a product you know how to make into an empire.

2. Increased Acceptance

There was a time when handmade products were unusually unique. Many people considered them to be oddities.

This is no longer the case. Handmade and artisan products can be found everywhere, and as consumers share more of the handmade products they love, more of their friends buy them. An increasing number of people are discovering that handmade products work, and that they are made and sold by people who are a genuine pleasure to deal with from a personal perspective. This personal touch is a powerful one-two punch that massive brands cannot match. Acceptance of any and everything handmade is on the rise. Now is a great time to find your niche and get in the game.

3. Increased Demand

For years, the world was bombarded with products that were made either overseas or in mass production environments in the United States.

Things are different now and handmade products can be found everywhere, and their growth and popularity shows no sign of slowing down. First, there was Etsy, but today, there are so many more … including Amazon Handmade.

Consumers — and more and more of them — want to purchase handmade and artisan products. Now is the time for you to consider creating a product to help meet the demand.

4. More Resources

Need a less expensive way to ship your products? Need to learn how to do business overseas? Need a new supplier for the nuts or bolts you need to make your products? Would you like someone to teach you how to hire your first employee?

Just a few decades ago, you could spend a year just getting an answer to one of those questions. Today, every single thing you need (and a lot you don’t need), is at your finger tips twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Not only that, every single thing costs a fraction of what it cost just a few years ago. A website that cost $50,000 in 2000 may cost $5,000 today — probably less.

Maybe you don’t know anything about starting and managing a business as you read this post today. But if that’s the case next month, it’s no one’s fault but your own.

5. Prolific Community

When I started my first handmade business, I was on an island — and not by choice. The Internet was available, but no one knew how to use it well for anything. Ecommerce technology had not evolved to the point where it was affordable for most people. The people making handmade products were few and far between, and there was no easy way to connect with them to share information and resources.

Fast forward to today, and the Internet has exploded with places where you can gather to connect with and learn from like-minded entrepreneurs who are at the same stage of business as you are. With a simple five-minute search, you can find them locally and far away on sites like Meetup and you can find them in Facebook Groups.

Time Photo via Shutterstock

Donna Maria Coles Johnson Donna Maria is the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, a trade organization providing mentoring and coaching services, and affordable product liability insurance, to makers and creative entrepreneurs across North America. An award-winning small business advocate, Donna Maria has hosted the Indie Business Podcast since 2005. She blogs at Indie Business Blog.

4 Reactions
  1. I have to agree about the increased acceptance. I think that the proliferation of online businesses makes it easier for people to start purchasing handmade products. So the best time to start is now.

    • I love seeing the acceptance of handmade and artisan products. I believe it is a reflection of people’s desire to be more intentional about their lives and the items they choose to surround themselves with. Thank you for your comment.

  2. This is a great read for hourly employees looking for opportunities to start a business of their own. A handmade made business is a great place to start and the opportunities grow from there!

    • So true! We never know what will happen when you take small steps to create your future in a more intentional way. I had no idea what would happen to me when I quit my job to open a retail store where I sold the soaps and candles I made, and taught classes to help other people learn to make the same products. I had no idea what would ultimately happen, but I knew nothing would happen if all I did was sit there. Great observation about starting and allowing the opportunities to appear — and they ALWAYS do!