How do you set yourself apart from the competition?

Today’s Crafty Business Advice Question comes from Krista of Kihten.

How do you anticipate what people want / will buy from the shop & how do you set yourself apart from other people who make essentially the same types of things that you do?

I tend to use my own taste to determine what I think people will want. I know if I stick to what I know and like, then at least I can be sure I’d buy it. Then again, sometimes I finish something and think, “Hmmm, I don’t know if I like this anymore,” and it’s gone 5 minutes after I list it. The bottom line is: be true to your own aesthetic.


Handstamped Dr. Seuss Bracelet by Serenitystorms

I think the same answer applies to setting yourself apart from “the competition.” Design with your aesthetic in mind, and you’ll stand out all on your own.

I actually choose not to look at other handmade designers as competition, though. I think it tends to breed an unfriendly environment. I pity those handmade sellers that choose to knock other designers, because they’re missing a great opportunity to make friends and network with like-minded business people.

I can’t tell you how many referrals I’ve gotten from fellow sellers that I’m friendly with. Some of them make very similar items to mine, but since they don’t take custom work and they know I do, they send customers looking for custom orders my way. If I made snarky remarks about how crappy so-and-so’s shop is or how my stuff is so much better than the other garbage t-shirt reconstructions on Etsy, I don’t think I’d be getting those referrals.

The other reason networking with “the competition” is important is that the true competition is mass production, and it’s a lot easier to convince the masses of all that handmade has to offer when you can point them in the direction of not only YOUR shop, but also those of all the talented people you know.

Happy crafting!



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