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August 18, 2014

How to Create a Collection for your Handmade Business

Working in retail for several years, I learned a valuable lesson about creating “stories”. Each season there would be a master catalog that would be sent to each store, showing the different collections that would be arriving and the pieces within them. This book was for employees eyes only but they would also send out smaller lookbook that would sit at the counters for customers to see the key pieces of the season.

If your handmade business is growing and you’re continually adding new pieces, planning out different stories is a great way to show customers how your items work together to convey a certain look or vibe. Here are some steps you can take to create your collections.

Get inspired – do some exploring with nature, movies, eras, music and fashion to see what stands out to you. Don’t just look for items that are in the same category as your pieces, think outside the box. If you’re creating a new jewellery line, see what’s trendy in home décor or make-up.

Gather ideas - Pinterest is the ultimate place to get inspired and an easy way to start a board to gather all things that you love for the season. But there’s also the tactile element that can’t be beat. Regardless of how many computer programs there are for organizing, I still love a good ‘ol list using pen and paper. Take photos if you like, gather scraps and cut images out of magazines and pin them to a bulletin board.

Start Sorting - Try not to think about what you gather at first, go for anything that catches your attention. Then you can begin to sort your ideas out and see what works together as a theme. You might think of some unlikely pairings and start to see a vision of how you can work those elements into your pieces.

Define your collections – once you start to see colors and textures come together as a story, define the feel you want to convey. Putting a clear definition on what the collection will embody will help you decide what works and what doesn't when choosing materials and working on designs.

Name your collections – you may find it easier to have names for your collections to help organize and explain them. You can get creative with them and name your collections after movies, actors or songs that inspired you.

Begin creating – now the fun part begins. Go shopping for the materials you envision for your collection and bring a snapshot of your vision board to reference while browsing. This is another place to think outside the box. If you’re making jewellery, don’t confine yourself to the jewellery making section of the craft store. See if there are fabrics, flowers or other elements that may work.

Showcase your collections – when showing off your collection at a craft show, to a retailer, on your website or social media pages, group your stories together so customers can see your vision. Include a short description that you can display through text or in conversation to explain where your inspiration came from or what the collection is all about.

Follow Made Urban on Pinterest to view their inspiration boards


Image courtesySicha Pongjivanich/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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