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March 10, 2013

Finding a Niche for your Handmade Business

It seems as though there's a product out there for everything and there isn’t much room left for improvement. Companies usually focus their attention on becoming bigger and broader, but what if you started a company that focused on being smaller and more specific? If you're thinking about starting a new handmade business or revamping an existing one, you may want to consider an untapped market or specific niche to start out. Here are some tips on thinking smaller and coming up with a product that will stand on its own:

Think of an item that you need on a regular basis in your home. You can usually come up with a handful of brand names that sell that product and you can be sure that those companies are constantly trying to find ways to make the product faster, better, cheaper or different. Those are the big companies but it's a good idea to keep this in mind when starting a handmade/home based business too. It's much easier to break into a new market with a unique product than it is to play follow the leader in a market that's inundated.

Let’s use some examples of larger markets and how they can be broken down. Liquid dishwashing soaps have been around for years and almost everyone has heard of Dawn, Joy and Dove. They’ve perfected their brands and their products over time and made their way into most people’s homes. Everyone needs to wash a dish in their sink at one time or another, whether they have a dishwasher or not. But is everyone who does so the same?

Think of the different types of people that will be sinking their hands into the soapy water and their conditions and needs. To make it easier, think of the market that you would fall under and what your needs are. Are you male or female, young or old? Do you have dry skin, oily skin or something in between? Is there something you hate about doing dishes in the sink? Maybe it’s the fact that it dries your hands out or makes your nail polish chip. These may not be everyone’s problems, but you can be pretty sure that if there’s something you don’t like about a product or service, there’s someone else out there who shares your pain.

Coming up with a unique product doesn’t guarantee its success. There are many other aspects that contribute to a booming business including marketing, quality, customer service and word of mouth. However, creating your own spot in the marketplace with a product that's different, will allow you to hit the ground running instead of trying to play catch up.
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