When I first started our original craft business (Mad about Cards) in 2002, I bought lots of things that I would use myself.
I’d made lots of cards using pom-poms and pipe-cleaners which had always sold very well; caterpillar cards made with yellow and green pom-poms (very ‘Hungry Caterpillar’ in style!) and fairies using white pipe-cleaners for legs and arms, a white pom-pom for the head and a dress made of what we called sparkle paper. These were tried and tested designs that I’d always sold a lot of at craft fairs and to friends.
So, when we started selling craft supplies, the pom-poms and pipe-cleaners, to me at least, were essential stock.
What I discovered though, was that these things aren’t essential stock to most other people – they didn’t sell and we ended up putting most of the colours in the first sale that we had.
Something I never wanted to sell was peel-off stickers. Why? Because I didn’t like them. Rubber stamps were in the same category – I wasn’t a stamper so I wasn’t keen to stock them.
I was wrong.
When you’re in business you must put your personal preferences to one side and go with what sells. You won’t necessarily know what sells to start with but you dabble, try something out and see if it works. And if you get a bite, you go deeper into that area until you, perhaps, reach a saturation point.
We ended up with hundreds and hundreds of designs and colours of peel-offs and masses of rubber stamps and stamping equipment at MAC, we sold loads of the things.
The point here is probably obvious – don’t think about yourself and what you like when you want to make money out of something, think about your market and who you can be selling to.
Our public domain discs each contain hundreds of pictures that you can take and use for anything. I compile each one on a theme so you’ll know, ball-park at least, what you’ll be getting! Some pictures I love, some I like but I can’t think of a use for them perhaps, some I might even not like but I could see how they would be useful. Not everyone likes the same thing, as the pom-pom and pipe-cleaner examples proves.
BUT, I know they are worth so much in terms of what you can make and sell using those pictures. As well as the obvious things such as card-making items, calendars, prints etc., I’ve been examining some of the shabby chic things in the shops lately.
The things that particularly come to mind are signs and clocks with an altered art/collage-type background – these look amazing and would be so easy to put together with a few basic graphics program skills.
Anyway, enough rambling. Well, almost….. Did you know that it’s a Jules Chéret poster that appears in the girls’ apartment in Friends?
In fact, I’ve spotted more Chéret posters in other apartments whilst watching the programme too. His stuff I love!
Check out our Art Nouveau Posters DVD for more examples.