Making and selling crafts isn’t as simple as looking up an idea, learning how to make it and setting up a website or displaying it at a craft show to sell.
You must find a unique angle for your crafts if you want to stand out and sell more. There isn’t a craft that doesn’t have competition but finding a niche for your product will help you lessen the competition.
If you’re looking for a list of specific products (instead of ways to come up with new ideas for products), please visit:
KEYS TO FINDING A NICHE
Finding a niche isn’t about coming up with an idea that hasn’t been done; it’s about finding a focus for your crafts. When you find a profitable product that incorporates a pain point, passion, feature or combination of all three, your business should revolve around it…not it and 20 other products for different customers.
Here are a few areas to explore to find your niche:
1) Pain points
Consider the frustrations and problems related to your product that people may have and if you can offer a solution.
For each category, I’ve shared a few examples of pain points but try to come up with some on your own. A great way to brainstorm pain points is to imagine you’re asking your ideal customer the question: “Why haven’t you purchased ______________ yet?”
For example, a vendor selling (or considering selling) gold hoops might work through the exercise as follows:
Why haven’t you purchased those gold hoops yet?
- Because I already have a gold pair of hoops
- Because I’m not sure if they’re worth $50
- Because I’m worried they might irritate my ears
The imaginary answers may generate new product ideas.
Some answers may allow you to ask “why?” again to find another pain point or get to a deeper meaning. For example:
Why don’t you have art on your walls?
- Because I haven’t found anything
- Because I don’t know what to choose
- Because I don’t understand most art
“Not getting art” is common yet every piece of art has meaning. An artist could create a niche by selling meaningful art that comes with an explanation of the story behind the piece and how that story came out as art. It could be communicated through a handwritten note attached to the art, written on the back of an unframed canvas or shared through a product’s description.
A niche can also be created by finding a segment of the market that’s under-served.
A nice pair of gold hoop earrings, a soft blue scarf, lavender-scented soap; all things I love. But they’re also products I can easily find and buy at any time, so there’s no sense of urgency when I happen to come across them. There must be something unique that makes me feel I need this pair of earrings, scarf or soap.
Think about the things people might be slightly obsessed with. It’s no secret; I love cats. I honestly didn’t even realize how much I was obsessed with them until my friends figured since I have a cat, I must be a crazy cat person and started buying me, tagging me and forwarding me anything cat related. And now anytime I see anything cat related, I feel as though I must have it. Billions of dollars are spent in the pet industry because people love their pets.
Brainstorm the different passions you have or ones your customer might have. It’s important you share the passion with your customers so you understand what exactly they’re passionate about. If you’ve never practiced yoga, you’d likely have a hard time continuously coming up with new product ideas and features that please a yoga fanatic.
Passions may be centred around:
- The environment
- TV shows/movies/books
*Note: be sure you do not infringe upon copyrights when it comes to sports, TV shows, movies, books, etc. (check out this article for more details). All those crocheted Disney characters, signs with quotes, pictures of celebrities turned into a painting, etc. are all likely breaking copyright laws.
The following areas of product features may help you find a niche:
- Color – we all have a favorite color that catches our eye. Offering your products in every color of the rainbow may seem as though it will increase sales but you make more of an impact when you focus on a specific color palette for all your products.
- Style – we’re also drawn to certain styles. Modern, vintage, retro, goth, pinup, etc. Choose one you love and can carry through all your crafts and business.
- Material/ingredients – you become an expert when you only work with one set of materials or ingredients and can create a niche when all of your products are made with it.
- Purpose – your niche may be centered around one specific purpose or occasion. For example, art for the kitchen, wallets for organizing receipts, lotions that moisturize and tint to even out skin tone, etc.
4) Mix and Match
You can come up with ideas for each point mentioned above and then combine two or more to create a niche product. For example, cats painted in shades of blue and sold with an explanation as to why a giant picture of a blue cat is considered art would combine a passion (cats), feature (color) and pain point (not understanding art).
Tips for your niche
- Be sure to test the market before you dive right in and change your entire business and product line up. Once a niche product has proven to be profitable, you can slowly add more versions or related products and phase out your old products.
- Don’t go too niche and make the market your products appeal to too small. Get specific but be sure there are enough paying customers out there you’ll be able to reach.
- Always be authentic and follow your passions and skills. Jumping on a trend you don’t have an interest in likely won’t be profitable in the long run.
- You create a niche business by focusing on one type of product and becoming the expert and go-to person for it. These ideas are to tweak your product to find a niche, not to come up with 100+ crafts you can add to your product line.
Below are a few main categories and subcategories crafts are sold under. Have a look at the category of your products as well as those that are unrelated to your product, as the examples may help spark ideas.
And if you’re looking for more help on how to find your niche, build your brand and sell to more people, check out my new ebook HOW TO SELL HANDMADE BEYOND FRIENDS & FAMILY.
CRAFT CATEGORY: ART
- Can’t decide on a piece of art
- Rent-a-painting – offer a service where the customer pays for shipping and a fee each month to rent a print of a painting until they find one they love
- Price points can make art a big commitment
- Prints of original paintings to lower costs
- An artist who only paints cows or birds or fish
- Paintings of beach settings from around the world for people to escape right in their living room
- Paintings for craft rooms (e.g. paintings of retro sewing tools)
- Paintings that only use the color blue
- Pop art style paintings
- Paintings on reclaimed wood
- Paintings on rocks
- Paintings on household items (e.g. planters, dishes, etc.)
- Paintings to add art to a man-cave
- Paintings to add beauty to an office or cubicle
- Paintings for the kitchen
Mix and Match
- Contemporary monochromatic paintings of animals, offered in prints to lower costs (For example, this pink painting of a flamingo)
- Colorful paintings of animals (For example, this colorful cow, this blue and purple painting of a jellyfish or this colorful painting of a dog)
- Aren’t sure how to fill a big wall with photos
- Paintings/photos displayed and sold in groups to help shoppers see how to fill a bigger space and how pieces work together
- Portraits of people’s pets
- Photos of trains and train tracks
- Photos of food items for the kitchen
- Black & white photos only
- Photos of blue objects that are digitally altered to use different shades of the same tone of blue in all photos
- Eerie or moody styled photos
- long exposure photography
- Photos printed on household items (e.g. cutting boards, pillowcases, sheets, blankets, stationery, wrapping paper, etc.)
- Photographs for dental offices
- Photographs for cabins or lake houses
Mix and Match
- Eerie black and white photos of abandoned trains and train tracks (For example https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/326862885440719639/)
- Black & white photos framed in the same size for customers to add as many as they like to fill a wall and create a large photo or a small section of a photo (For example https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/192388215315225230/)
- How cool are these gold and turquoise statues for the yoga lover? https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/553028029236785442/
- This artist could create a niche for their business by only painting trees from the perspective of looking up: https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/375839531383246382/
- This artist creates fashion art using food, flowers, and other unique objects: https://www.instagram.com/edgar_artis/
CRAFT CATEGORY: ACCESSORIES
- Too bulky with their winter coat
- Scarves that are lined to add warmth but use lightweight yarn (scarf and lining could snap together to be worn separately depending on the temperature)
- Using cruelty-free wool
- A scarf that covers the face and neck and will stay in place while bike riding
- Scarves that help customers get the looks worn in Hollywood
- Scarves made in soft pastel colors
- Vintage handkerchief scarves
- Silk scarves
- Scarves to be worn in warmer climates
- Scarves to be worn with a dress and to cover the shoulders
Mix and Match
- Lined silk scarves that add warmth without too much bulk in soft pastel colors
- Gloves aren’t warm enough but mittens look too casual
- Merino wool lined gloves
- Mittens sewed out of suiting material with fleece lining
- Mittens that have grips on the palms to help throw and catch a ball
- Winter gardening gloves; there are many people who garden year-round and warmer garden gloves would be great for spring and fall
- Mittens that allow you to flip back the top and thumb to eat with your hands while outside
- Offer mittens in every shade of blue
- Feminine gloves and mittens using bows and ruffles (e.g. https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/139119075970032199/ ) or fingerless gloves and mittens
- Biker style gloves
- Faux leather and fur
- Mittens for outdoor activities such as shoveling snow
- Gloves for fashion over function
Mix and Match
- Faux leather fingerless gloves with bows and ruffles (For example, https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/418131146627800043/)
- Too itchy on their forehead
- Knitted hats lined with soft fleece or silk
- Cat shaped hats
- Matching hats for the whole family, including pets
- Baseball, soccer ball or football patterned hats
- Color combos inspired by team colors
- Neutrals (e.g. cream, white, beige, grey and black)
- Bold colors for those who want to make a statement (e.g. neons or primary colors)
- Hooded scarves
- Specific stitch (e.g. puff stitch)
- Specific pattern (e.g. fair isle)
- Silk lined wool hats to keep hair smooth
- Hats for jogging
- Hats to cover bed-head
- Hats for “silly hat day” or themed parties
Mix and Match
- Neutral colored wool hats lined with silk to avoid an itchy forehead offered in sizes for the whole family
CRAFT CATEGORY: BAGS
- Hard to find a bag that’s stylish and functional
- Professional and stylish backpacks, laptop bags or briefcases
- Can never find anything in my bag
- Bags with lots of organizational pockets
- A bag suited for dog walking with a detachable, washable compartment for poop bags until they make it to a garbage can
- Bags for specific sports or activities (e.g. a bag that rolls out and turns into a yoga mat, washable bag for dirty gym clothes that can go straight into the laundry)
- Bags specifically for carrying food (e.g. bags with a bottom sized for general casserole sizes that allow you to bring food to a guest in style, stylish and professional looking lunch bags, stylish reusable grocery bags, bag specifically for carrying wine and wine glasses)
- Bags for kids (e.g. matching mommy and me bags, kid-sized carry-on luggage, bags that organize kids toys for car rides)
- Colors for each season (e.g. pastel pink for spring, yellow for summer, burgundy for fall, forest green for winter)
- Professional style of backpack
- Feminine style of briefcase
- Faux leather
- Heavy-duty washable canvas
- Bags for strollers
- Laptop bags
- Travel bags
Mix and Match
- Travel bags for kids with lots of organizational pockets for toys, made out of bright colored heavy-duty washable canvas
- Anti-theft lunch bags https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/337558934562409165/
- Lay and go bags https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/17944098490818498/
- Cat backpack https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/236016836700836466/
CRAFT CATEGORY: BATH & BODY
- Scent doesn’t last through the whole use of the bar
- Smaller bars of soap sold in sets so bars are finished quicker but keep their scent the full ay through
- Scent is too strong for people with scent sensitivities
- Scent-free soap
- Skin feels dry after using
- Moisturizing soap or cleansing lotion
- Food-scented and shaped soap (e.g. bacon, donut, oranges)
- Drink scented soap (e.g. pina colada, coffee, cola, fruit juices)
- Candy scented and shaped soap (e.g. gummy worms, chocolate bars of soap, candy cane)
- Hobbies (Gardener)
- Soap scented like flowers
- Liquid soap that comes with a bristle brush or a bar of soap inside a sponge or loofah to help scrub dirt from underneath fingernails
- Individual use soap bars or pellets or soap that comes in a travel case
- Colors and shades that match home décor paint trends so the soap matches the décor of the bathroom
- Unique shapes (e.g. geo shaped soap)
- Unique packaging (e.g. liquid soap that comes in beautiful vintage bottles)
- Soap that uses uncommon and exotic ingredients (e.g. bee venom, superfoods, ingredients from the rainforest, etc.)
- Soap that moisturizes
- Soap for kids’ bath time
- Soap for shaving
Mix and match
- Smaller bars of floral-scented soaps that keep their scent the full way through and are petal-shaped.
- Love these individual size gummy bear shower jelly soap. Add gummy worms, Swedish berries, sour soothers, etc. and you have an entire niche product lineup: https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/ARhl1_DWlJR3D-lBm_Pgv1IZOnk_eszEUewC6rdeTt3lj4kfOocrmjU/
- Lots of jewelry that doesn’t get worn
- Offering classic pieces that will last a lifetime
- Exercising before work and worried about jewelry getting lost or broken being in a gym bag
- Durable jewelry sets sold in travel cases
- Silver or gold plated jewelry always tarnishes or the finish rubs off
- Jewelry with thick, durable plating
- Jewelry that is stylish but comfortable so it can be worn while being active (e.g. fabric or leather bracelets that bend and move with your wrist)
- Necklaces, charm bracelets or rings sold in sets for family members
- Charm bracelets or necklaces with collectible travel themed charms (e.g. country shaped charms customers buy each country they’ve traveled to, airplane, suitcase, passport shaped charms or landmarks or iconic structures from around the world)
- Focusing on one color of stone/gem/bead (e.g. turquoise stone)
- Offering one color of metal (e.g. rose gold)
- Bohemian style jewelry
- Leather jewelry
- Surgical steel
- Concrete jewelry
Mix and match
- Travel themed rose gold jewelry that is thickly plated so the finish lasts
Let me know in the comments if this article sparked new ideas for you or if you’re stuck on how to turn your craft into a niche product
Hey, I’m Erin 🙂 I write about small business and craft show techniques I’ve learned from being a small business owner for almost 2 decades, selling at dozens of craft shows, and earning a diploma in Visual Communication Design. I hope you find my advice helpful!