There is *such* a movement happening around us as consumers move towards handmade items and away from big box generic goods. This movement creates limitless opportunities for the creative entrepreneur . . . but how do you determine what opportunity is the best for you? I'm happy to join Elayne Miller, a part-time math teacher and full-time mama to Baby B, as she shares ways to find your niche. She creates cards and goods with hand-lettered designs at Annunciation Designs, and enjoys being social on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Maybe you are looking to supplement your family's income, or you are looking for a creative outlet away from the stress of work or kids. Whatever your motivation, if you have decided to create a small business, you will need to find a niche. (Side note: pronounced 'nitch' or 'neesh'? Google seems to point toward 'nitch'!)
For the small creative business, finding a niche is a balance between passion and practicality.
Passion: Running a small business is wonderfully freeing and gives great opportunities for creative expression, but it takes serious work. Choose to create products that you are passionate about! For me, that means hand-lettering and Catholic quotes. For you, that might mean knitting and babies. Or painting and bright colors. Or jewelry and saints (like my friend at No Heart Untouched!) What is it that you love doing and want to spend your free time creating, photographing, and sharing?
Practicality: Many people who excel at creativity struggle with the practical side of their small business.
Evaluate the niche you wish to fill:
- Is there a need for the product you are creating?
- Will you create a product that others already sell, but with a new twist?
- Are you creating an entirely new product based on a need you see in your own life or the lives of those around you?
- Can you price your product at a rate that others will buy but that also values your time and skills?
- If this product is successful, can you keep up with demand?
- Could you afford to hire help (childcare or creative help) based on the price you have chosen?
- Could you afford to lower the price to meet wholesale demand?
If you also answer yes to each of these questions, you have found a niche in which you have a good chance to be successful! In my own shop, I recently moved to fill a new niche. I personally was looking for a journal that included Catholic information and inspiration, so I asked others. With their feedback, I created a Catholic-inspired journal. This falls under the category of 'new with a twist,' a notebook with Catholic-specific features. As small business owners, we have the wonderful opportunity to work with passion! My advice is to marry your passion with practicality, and you will find the perfect niche.
THOUGHTS FROM JEN: I want to second so many of Elayne's comments! It's important to realize that it can take time to find exactly what your niche is. Businesses, like people, evolve and change with time...and that's ok. From a personal perspective, I started off blogging exclusively about faith crafts under the name "Enter Under My Roof" (taken from Matthew 8:8). A few years later, I started quilting and sewing, and changed the name to Faith and Fabric. I had found a new niche, and let the business grow and change as the niche I looked to fill changed. Being flexible and open to filling new needs as your environment, interests, and time evolve ensure you'll stay relevant *and* interested in the work you're doing!
Has this given you ideas for your current or upcoming small business? Let us know in the comments below!
Copyright 2017 Jen Frost
About the Author
Jen Frost is a Catholic quilter and crafter who evangelizes through fabric and loves talking about small business strategies. She’s a pattern writter, quilt designer, and book author. When she’s not in front of her sewing machine, she can be found at the beach with her husband and son, toes happily buried in the sand. She loves Instagram, and writes and quilts each week at Faith and Fabric. Join in the fun the first Monday of the month at 12pm PST.