Trendspotters agree that the market for unique and customized items is having a resurgence as more and more of us are learning to cherish the work of human hands.
Not all artisans are taking advantage of the opportunities, however.
Several years ago, I met a man who was a masterful carpenter who loved restoring old houses, flawlessly repairing woodwork and cabinetry. At that time, he had abandoned his craft believing that no market existed for his services.
He had bought the myth of the starving artist and was living proof.
Happily, that myth is becoming outmoded as artisans are carving out their own merchandising niche proving that old-fashioned craftsmanship can be profitable.
If you want to put your arts or crafts skills to work for you, don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re in the business of marketing to everyone. Specialized products will attract a specialized clientele who appreciate and value such craftsmanship.
Once you are convinced that you do, indeed, have something to offer, you’re on your way to creating a profit center that’s as unique as you are.
In The Ice Palace That Melted Away, Bill Stumpf writes about exploring the Isle of Skye where he and his wife came across a sign that read, “Woolen Socks for Sale.” They knocked on the door of the house and were welcomed by a friendly couple who fed them tea and scones and told them about their business.
The husband was a retired Army officer and the wife a part time artist. They decided they didn’t want to fade into oblivion upon retirement. They chose knitting as a business although they were untrained in the craft.
“They sold socks in local towns but worked no more than three days a week. In addition, they raised raspberries and Australian shepherds,” Stumpf recalls.
There’s plenty of evidence that as mass production continues to fill malls and online catalogs, those who create and market one-of- a-kind or limited edition products lovingly made will find an appreciative clientele.
It isn’t only handmade clothing and decorative household items that will find a welcome market.
Skillful woodworkers and plasterers and preservationists are finding their special talents in demand by those who long to salvage buildings from the past.
There’s a renaissance going on that is bringing a new appreciation and prosperity to those who use old-fashioned skills and patience to create wonderful things. If you have such a talent, your next profit center may be as close as your fingertips.