How to Start a Small Craft Store Business in a Small Town

by Vanessa Cross; Updated September 26, 2017
Starting a small town retail craft store

According to a Craft Organization Development Association (CODA) survey, craft industry sales in 2001 reached nearly $13.8 billion in the United States. While a crafts and hobby store can be a profitable small business operation, starting up a craft business because of a passion for crafts is the best foundation. If you have a creative touch and business know-how, open a new craft shop in a small community to offer unique craft items for gift-giving and home decorations.

Items you will need

  • retail shop
  • craft items
  • check-out counter
  • display counters
  • cash register
  • credit card machine

Business Planning for the Craft Business

Step 1

Create a business plan that includes an outline of how the craft store will be unique within the community. The business plan should state what types of crafts will be featured and answer some basic questions. For instance, will the craft company exclusively feature the handmade crafts of the owner or a selection from various artisans? Will the focus be local craft artisans or a wider selection of craft artisans? Will the craft business include craft supplies?

Step 2

Finance the retail craft business. It is best to plan for two years without profits in planning business finances. Start-up capital for a retail craft business includes the the lease of commercial space, initial inventory, advertising and potential store build-out costs. A retail store's build-out costs may include a check-out counter, shelving and craft display counters. A cash register and credit card-processing equipment will also be start-up expenses to consider.

Step 3

Find a retail location. Street visibility, high-traffic levels, accessible parking and proximity to competitive craft stores and major highways are especially important considerations in choosing a retail location in a small community.

Step 4

Market and advertise the craft business. Participate in art craft fairs. In addition to being an additional source of income, craft fairs provide a marketing opportunity for the brick-and-mortar business. Additionally, advertise the business in local publications and set up a website for the craft shop that allows potential customers to purchase items online. Ebay.com and Etsy.com also provide a forum for selling craft items online.

Step 5

Develop special craft workshops, classes and seminars to encourage new craftspeople and provide experienced artisans with new information and creative techniques. Begin to build a contact list of expert craftsmen that can be called upon for these special in-store events.

Step 6

Join an industry association and subscribe to industry publications. The Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) produces two trade shows each year that include workshops for craft retailers. Subscribe to craft industry magazines, such as Craftrends, to stay abreast of developments in the retail craft market.

About the Author

Vanessa Cross has practiced law in Tennessee and lectured as an adjunct professor on law and business topics. She has also contributed as a business writer to news publications such as the "Chicago Tribune" and published in peer-reviewed academic journals. Cross holds a B.A. in journalism, a Juris Doctor and an LL.M. in international business law.

Photo Credits

  • general store old el paso image by Lars Koch from Fotolia.com