Let’s talk for a moment about the challenges of marketing a craft business in the age of Pinterest and YouTube. Nowadays, people can find tutorials for anything thanks to the interwebs. Sites such as Pinterest, Instructables, and YouTube foster many tutorials and Do-It-Yourself projects for anyone wanting to learn. From learning how to cast resin accessories for cosplay, doing your own home improvements, or crafting your own knitting and jewelry, you can find a tutorial for it somewhere.
So, what does this have to do with small craft businesses? As one of those crafty business owners, I have seen firsthand the effect of the DIY craze. I attend numerous craft shows and festivals throughout the year, and I often hear people tell me or my fellow vendors these sorts of comments:
- “I can do that. How hard can it be? I’m going to go home and make one!”
- “You should donate this for free to gain exposure.”
- “I can get that for cheaper at Walmart/Target, etc.”
- “I have this friend that makes these too, but her prices are cheaper. I’ll just get her to make one for me.”
These are more common statements than you might think, and half of them involve doing it themselves or having a crafty friend. Have you ever had someone say these things to you about your chosen profession? This happens to artists and crafters all the time, and it’s because everyone thinks they are a DIY master.
I do not want to devalue the benefits of these sites, because I use them for inspiration as well as for tutorials. These same sites can also help you fight back on this front. I consider Pinterest to be a valuable resource for market research. You can easily go into a specific craft-related board for knitting, crocheting, or sewing and find out what the most popular do-it-yourself items are. By knowing what is popular, you can have an edge on a specific item—like Owl Wrist Warmers, for example. It’s a project that has seen some popularity on Pinterest, but there are no tutorials for making them. Because it’s not readily available and is not a beginner-level project, you can gain an edge on the DIYers by taking your products up past that skill level.
It really comes down whether the individual crafter is willing to push past these challenges. Although there are many people who can and will make these things themselves, there is always something that they aren’t willing or able to do. You simply need to do your research and stay ahead of the DIY curve.
Although the do-it-yourself craze has changed the dynamic of running a craft business, it’s also an example of the ever-changing way the internet provides information to the general public. You have that same resource—and all you need to do is use it to gain an advantage!