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I started doing craft fairs this past Christmas/holiday season, and am planning to open an Etsy shop in the coming months. However, one thing I've struggled with a lot is my "brand" and figuring out my target market. I started out very easily deciding on a very niche market because it was something I was passionate about and figured I would have fun with it. When I did my Christmas craft fairs I decided to go for a more broad spectrum appeal to try to be an easier sell. I feel it worked well enough. 

 

I have been suffering through an internal struggle trying to figure out the best course of action with my business. I read some great posts on this topic from @TallTayl who it sounds like was actually in the exact same boat as I am in, though with quite a bit more struggle. But I guess my question is this: How do I determine my brand and my target market? Is it okay and potentially viable to fit yourself into a much smaller niche market? Or is it better to go for broad appeal but compete with others?? 

 

Husband says I need to just make stuff, have fun, and I'll figure out what I like to make and what sells well. Unfortunately (but also very fortunately), we are in the process of moving, so I can't really do anything right now other than sit and think about everything and drive myself crazy. Sigh. 

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It is not easy.  You will never have it figured out.  When I started I said I am only making candles in glass beer bottles.  I went to a gift shop and she asked.  Can you do tins?  Sure I said, and she kept buying more.  Then i discovered how to use beer cans.  But they were so boring.  can't see the light through the can, I was not interested, until people kept asking for them.  Now half if not more is in beer cans.  Scents get added and removed as they sell and don't sell.  Never wanted to do Melts, now I do.  Interact with people at shows, listen to what they ask for.  Listen to what they like and want.  You will find things that sell and things people want.  Need to accommodate. 

 

Husband is right to a degree, make some stuff and go from there.  See what others are doing at the shows that are similar to you.  See what their pricing is, look at how they display.  Look at other displays and see what they sell, how they sell and display.  Some people stand in front some people stand behind.

 

Make some money at the shows and re-invest.

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I read a book recently that advocated having a target market of one person. The concept was that in a crowded if you can give one person exactly what they are looking, but haven't found, there will be others looking for the same thing. The idea was to sit down with one person who uses the products  you produce and find out what they want that isn't available. Since you are the process of moving right now it would be a good time to do some market research.

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Great questions and posts!

Artists struggle with the same dilemma, do I make what I like or do I make what consumers want?

I loved Milos response. You can see he started out making a product, he was open enough to listen to his customers and make what they want. We all have ideas of how our business should be. I would say the process evolves as you go.It’s important to just begin and be open and flexible to add new products or remove them. Also, your craft fair customers and Etsy customers may vary in what you offer.🌸

 

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Hey hey! This is a scary and exciting part of being in business. When new, it can feel overwhelming. So happy you have found some great answers from forum members. 

 

14 hours ago, LittleMissSunshine said:

How do I determine my brand and my target market? Is it okay and potentially viable to fit yourself into a much smaller niche market? Or is it better to go for broad appeal but compete with others?? 

It depends. Not to sound ambivalent, but it does depend on a few things:

 

1) where do people in your niche shop? If it’s not at a craft show your set up at, then it will be very difficult to build your base.

Turned out no matter how many craft shows I set up at my people just were not there. Unless it is spray painted wood on a stick with glitter it does not sell at craft fairs in my area. 

 

2) how narrow is that market?

When starting out many of my fellow makers went right for the all natural crowd. Turns out that crowd is pretty sparse, and in the end like to tawk about all natural without really meaning it. Many picked up the most colorful and fantasy fragrances while pursing their lips at essential oil scented products. Those folks who really went all natural would just make stuff themselves.  

 

3) you’re not necessarily competing with others as much as you’re competing against yourself

Everyone has fellow sellers in their niche. I don’t consider most competition, though.  Most others at small markets can only “compete” on price. I’d rather compete with myself for displays that draw people in and WANT to buy or NEED to buy my stuff. Think Lush. It’s exciting and fun to shop there, as opposed to say a supermarket. If you don’t happen to like  say shop at a cool, chic boutique versus a Walgreens. Whatever floats your boat. 

 

At the end end of the day, I need to make things I like. Me. Whatever is left over I tend to have to use. I might as well like it. 

 

My brand evolves continually. As you discover who you are the evolution starts to come naturally. 

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2 hours ago, TallTayl said:

1) where do people in your niche shop? If it’s not at a craft show your set up at, then it will be very difficult to build your base.

I think my target selling places will be online and conventions, actually haha. I could do craft fairs, but again I imagine I would have to bring really different product. I brought my dragon egg bath bombs and sold a few at the Christmas craft fair, but the gingerbread bath bombs and lavender soaps definitely did a lot better. If I want to stick with the geek niche, craft fairs are not going to be my thing. 

 

2 hours ago, TallTayl said:

2) how narrow is that market?

Well. I don't know. Geeky stuff is actually pretty big right now, but geeky bath & body plus candles (though I'm not comfortable selling candles yet) seems like a much smaller niche. I think I am also afraid of limiting myself too much. I like the idea of making bakery shaped products too, but I think those two things would be weird together. 😂

 

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1 hour ago, LittleMissSunshine said:

I think my target selling places will be online and conventions, actually haha. I could do craft fairs, but again I imagine I would have to bring really different product. I brought my dragon egg bath bombs and sold a few at the Christmas craft fair, but the gingerbread bath bombs and lavender soaps definitely did a lot better. If I want to stick with the geek niche, craft fairs are not going to be my thing. 

 

Well. I don't know. Geeky stuff is actually pretty big right now, but geeky bath & body plus candles (though I'm not comfortable selling candles yet) seems like a much smaller niche. I think I am also afraid of limiting myself too much. I like the idea of making bakery shaped products too, but I think those two things would be weird together. 😂

 

Geeky = Fantasy crowd = Huge potential. 

yes, with choosing a niche like this, stay in your lane. 

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