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How My Creative Hobby Made Money For Me - It Could Work for YOU!!!
My Luxury Scented Hand Crafted Candles
How to Market Your Products or Hobby
There are many creative people out there who are very talented but never really utilise it to their financial advantage. I used to be one of those people until one day I decided that I was going to have a go at making some money out of it.
My hobby of choice was candle making and it is something that I really got into and my creativity allowed me to produce bespoke luxury candles which were far different from what is already available. I must confess, I used to be a heavy shopper (I'm a reformed character now), and as such I was able to build a lot of relationships with different shops which later on was to work to my advantage.
Now, building relationships with different people is key in business as you never know when their range of set skills and connections will be able to help you, so if you have good interpersonal skills it is vital to use them to your advantage - remember about the six degrees of separation!!
So I warmed up perspective clients by telling them about my candle maker and introduced and seduced them with what I can do and let them know that my products where taylor made - this is the clincher as people are more than happy to have a product which they believe no one else will have, call it customer snobbery if you will! So I shopped around for my materials because I knew that if I was going to make a go of this I would have to be able to source my suppliers and find out if I could collect the items from my local or surround areas if I really needed to, and I love the Internet for this as it is a brilliant fact finding tool which can save you a heap of time & money!
Finding my suppliers was fairly straight forward and the next thing I needed to sort out was my packaging, and I have found at times that a lot of creative people make brilliant things then it's all let down by poor presentation. Looking in gift stores to see how products are presented is an easy way to overcome the struggle of how your product will sale as you don't want to come across as a "Please take mercy on me" type of a seller - it's embarrassing for a start and you need people talking about you and your products in a positive way so you can get repeat clients and new ones through word of mouth.
It is now at this point that I had it going on even though I didn't even know it. So I made a batch of candles, had them nicely scented and my packaging was looking really professional and one day I went into all the shops I used to frequent and showed them my work and had orders up to my eyeballs!!! I had so many orders that people were willing to wait weeks for their products and it was then I realized the value of my work.
The first year I made candles, with the proceeds I managed to buy my custom built PC, printer, digital camera, mobile phone and a workshop shed - all the things I needed to really make a go of things and all from making and selling candles!!!
I remember the first Christmas I made candles I had orders totalling over £600 - not bad for a hobby ah?!?! I had business cards made up really nice ones too and I took a lot of pictures of my work and made an order contact sheet so I could show perspective clients.
I would hold candle parties in my front room which were really successful, having a laugh and a drink and making money, and anything I didn't sell I would take to craft markets or sell in bulk.
After a while in my local area I became sort of famous for making luxury bespoke candles and many times I would talk to people about them and show them pictures, and they would say "I've seen one of those at my friends house" so it became like a signature piece, once you've seen one K. Sinclair Candle if you see another one you know it was me who made it!! It's a nice feeling to know that you can stand out from the crowd and hold your own!
Throughout the time from when I started making candles I managed to hold my own art exhibition and gain sponsorship from some big high street names, my products were featured in the "Handle with Care" exhibition directed by the Design Museum, gift shops sold my products, my candles were featured on GMTV, I've had my products featured in the papers, I won a design competition sponsored by Topshop and the local borough council and have been invited to do motivational speaking and make promotional products for well known companies.
So you see, you too can make money out of your hobby and take it to the next level, all you need is a craft or hobby you know others will appreciate, good communication skills and the ability not to be put off by the word "No"!!
Take my advice, be brave and jump on it you never know if you don't try!!