By Amanda Winstead

Starting a craft retail venture is a great way to bridge your creativity with your entrepreneurial ambitions. Importantly, the market holds significant potential. One recent study found that the global art and craft market is expected to reach $50.9billion by 2024.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. Launching a craft retail venture — whether it’s online, brick-and-mortar, or a combination of both — takes some solid project management. After all, there are a lot of moving parts to juggle and challenges to consider.

Formalize Your Starting Steps

The first task to perform is to formalize your route toward launch. Solid project management is rarely based on improvisation. Creating a framework that takes you step-by-step through the essential preparations helps keep you on track.

The step-by-step prep for your venture will often depend on your business model. For instance, starting a craft-based business on Etsy tends to include the following elements:

● Setting up your workspace: Depending on the types of craft products you’re selling, you’re likely to benefit from a dedicated workspace. Converting a spare room in your home might be sufficient for fabric work or clothing design. However, woodwork or metalwork may be safer in your garage. Remember, too, that you’ll need to think about finding a clean and dry space to store inventory if you’re not making items to order.

● Registering your business: Even online retail ventures need to follow business laws and regulations, including registering your business. These can vary from state to state. If you’re working alone, you may be able to register as a sole proprietor. However, starting a limited liability company (LLC) can protect your personal income in the event of financial problems.

● Setting up the store: Setting up your Etsy store is relatively straightforward. You’ll need to pick a name that’s unique while also representing your individual characteristics. You’ll also need to populate your store with inventory, taking clear and accurate photographs of each item. Remember, too, to make your store stand out from the crowd with eye-catching branding on your banners.

From a project management perspective, it can also be helpful to break these steps down into subtasks. This can make the work feel more manageable. Remember that the start of any business is simply taking one step at a time. Be patient and set your expected launch for a date that gives you plenty of time to prep.

Make Data-Driven Decisions

Data-driven decision-making is a project management strategy that empowers you to shape your products and practices to the needs of the market you’re entering. One of the most effective approaches is to incorporate enterprise intelligence into your retail business model. This term refers to using technology to pull data from various sources. Especially if you’re running a combination of online and brick-and-mortar craft retail, connected technology in all areas of your business is vital. This gives you a more holistic view of the customer behavior and how it differs depending on where they shop.

So, what types of technology can help you collect and manage holistic data? The Internet of Things (IoT) is the main tool here. Particularly if you’re storing a lot of craft inventory in both warehouses and stores, barcodes on each item and scanners at every stage between production and delivery provide you with real-time data. As a result, you always know your

current stock numbers and customers’ purchase locations. This enables you to keep on top of changing demand.

In the run-up to your launch, data analytics software is also a valuable tool. Platforms like Google Trends and GWI allow you to research and track market data for your industry. This gives you insights into what the current demand for different products is. You can adjust your focus toward specific types of items or direct your marketing to the most receptive audience demographics.

Maintain Good Organization and Communication

Some of the project management essentials when launching your craft enterprise are actually relatively simple. For instance, maintaining good organizational and communication practices doesn’t take a huge amount of effort, but they keep you on track for a smooth launch.

Some focus areas here should include:

● Establishing clear milestones on the road to launch: Make a timeline from the beginning of your project to the launch date. Plot out when each task should be completed.

● Check-in regularly with partners: Even if you’re a solo entrepreneur, you’re still likely to rely on partners in your venture. This might include raw material suppliers, online influencers, and your accountant. Keeping a regular and open dialogue with these parties helps ensure you’re all on the same page and you can keep informed of potential issues to address well in advance.

● Create a clear system for your administration: Admin is clearly the most boring part of a craft retail venture. However, keeping your invoices, orders, and materials organized prevents headaches down the road. Set up a clear filing system for these — either online or physically. Particularly for digital files, keep consistent naming protocols — for everything from invoices to product design files — so you can quickly search and locate these when you need them.

Some of these organizational and communication practices will develop as you grow. For instance, if you take on staff, you may need to expand your practices to incorporate virtual resources, like project management platforms and video conferencing software. Regularly assess the needs of your venture, what practices work and which are superfluous, and make adjustments.


Adopting a range of project management strategies can empower you to launch your craft retail venture effectively. Take the time to build solid planning frameworks, collect and assess relevant data, and keep organized. Each craft business is its own animal, though. Not every approach will work for you and others will need to be adjusted to meet your needs. The more

time you can spend tailoring your project management practices, the more effective they’re likely to be.

Author Bio

Amanda Winstead is a writer from the Portland area with a background in communications and a passion for telling stories. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.

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