Starting out as a Create-Preneur
Hong Kong is a concrete jungle as well as a great city of opportunities for many of us. For me, it was an opportunity to start a small business focusing on HANDMADE accessories for babies and kids. I started sewing nursing covers as I couldn’t find a simple one for my firstborn daughter that had a boutiquey feel and yet without the hefty price tag. And hence Eight Little Canaries was born to combine handmade baby accessories with a boutiquey feel at reasonable prices. That said, with the start up on this small CRAFT business of mine, I have truly enjoyed every moment of designing and SEWING these baby items as it for was my own children. And yes, it is possible to make money from your hobbies! So here are some useful tips to start making money on a craft you love, that is if you are eager to start your own SMALL BUSINESS. Find What’s Missing The best place to start is to note what’s available (or not) in Hong Kong. If it’s already available, can you improve on the price, design, materials? The goal is to differentiate yourself from the crowd.
Use Quality Materials Organic, upcycled, and natural is what’s trending now. Make it your goal to use quality materials in whatever you do.
Don’t Overstock When starting a new business, it’s easy to get excited and overstock. However, seasons change, trends change, and customer’s feedback is the best indicator of what to stock, so don’t overstock until you have a steady stream of orders.
Practice, Practice, Practice Perfect your craft. Use scrap material or reuse what’s around the house for materials in order to reduce cost and waste.
Make the Price Worth Your Time Not sure how to price your items? Consider the production time and cost of materials as well as any marketing costs. Slightly higher than the mass production products but well-priced enough that customers are willing to pay extra for your craftsmanship.
Use a Memorable Name You may start out creating quilts, but with time add additional types of products, so think of a name that can accommodate your business down the line. Check to see if there are similarly confusing names already being used.
Claim Your Name Once you find that perfect name, register your domain name, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter etc, before someone else does. Consider getting both .com and .hk.
Register your Business You will look more professional and suppliers and distributors will take you more seriously. Hong Kong has it made it very simple for entrepreneurs to start up their businesses.
Simplify Packaging Packaging. Can be eco-friendly or as simple as a ribbon and your tag with your logo on it.
Make a Website Nowadays, just having a Facebook page isn’t enough to make you look like a professional artist. You can launch your website yourself, for free (or very low cost), using tools like Wix, Wordpress, Shopify and others depending on your skill level.
Sell at Fairs There are many places where you can sell your crafted items. Handicraft fairs is a good way to get in front of your customers, and get their immediate feedback on patterns, colors, etc.
Barter Partner with a photographer in exchange for your products or teaching their kids your craft. Bartering for goods and services is a fantastic way to get something that you need for free, and is a completely underutilized approach in the startup space.
Network Never underestimate whom you will meet at events and parties as that’s when you can talk a little about yourself. Be ready to show some product photos on your phone!
My last piece of advice is to stay passionate and original in what you love doing. Who knows, you may even quit your day job!
By Erika Anabella. A mother of two (and a rescued pug), Erika founded Eight Little Canaries in 2012 and since then has been designing baby and kids accessories in Hong Kong. facebook.com/EightLittleCanaries