Recently, I attended NY NOW, a trade show focused on gift products as well as home & living. My focus was on the gift market and I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend a seminar on how technology can help the “maker entrepreneurs” who have taken a craft and created a business.
These four platforms may help you along your journey of making a craft into a sustainable and scalable business.
1) Indiegogo – a crowdfunding platform that allows you to raise money by presenting your idea or product to the masses. David Abramovich works as a campaign specialist for the company and he stated that:
“A successful campaign means market validations and can possibly help you with future angel or venture capitalist investments. The real benefit isn’t actually the money you gain from a crowdfunding campaign, it’s the dialogue with your customer base that will help the most. In essence, you have a focus group with your target market and you can use that to your advantage.”
His other words of advice is to think about why people invest in, or spread the word about a product. People invest in people and people contribute based on emotion. Be sure to open up and share something about yourself. You’re the person who is actually passionate about the product so let your customers connect with you.
2) Makers Row– this is an online resource the helps assist designers in finding American manufacturers for their products. Currently they only serve apparel and furniture but they’re a new company as well so if you’re product doesn’t fall into either of those categories don’t write them off just yet…they are expanding!
Matthew Burnett is the cofounder of Makers Row and he commented on where he sees his platform going:
“Manufacturing should be like ordering a Domino’s pizza online. It’s all about the network and you have to be aware of that.”
What he was saying was that information has to be digestable to everyone consuming it regardless of their background.
3) Red Clay Design – this online platform connects entrepreneurs with ideas to designers who can bring those product ideas to life. It’s founder, Abigail Keifer, said that she created this in part because, “time is your greatest asset as an entrepreneur and you can’t waste time searching for that right designer”. Her advice to other entrepreneurs was:
“This is just the beginning of the conversation. Do lots of talking and learning from people smarter than you who have already gone down the path before you.”
4) Etsy Wholesale – I’m sure you’re already aware of what Etsy is but now they’re giving makers and crafters the opportunity to sell their creations wholesale while also connecting them to interested buyers/retailers. Dana Mauriello said that, “People want to buy things and they are looking for stories. Over $1 billion were made by sellers on Etsy last year”. Dana’s advice to you is:
Essentially what she’s saying is, do your research!
Also check out The Grommet and the opportunities they have for maker entrepreneurs 🙂