Craft out a good living

Crafting or making crafts means different things to different people. To some it is a hobby and to others it is a way to make money.

But one thing is certain, and that is a good living can be made from making and selling crafts.

African crafts have burgeoned, especially in the past decade and will continue to do so in future. There is an increasing demand for South African crafts by local and foreign tourists.

Statistics indicate that the crafting sector employs about 1,2 million people and contributes about R3,4billion to the country's economy every year.

With South Africa becoming one of the world's most popular tourist destinations and the 2010 Soccer World Cup being hosted here, the chances are that the craft sector will boom in the next two years.

So if your craft-making skills are good and you do not mind working long hours, this is the opportune time to tap into this business.

Many South Africans are making a good livelihood through making and selling crafts. But before deciding to start your own craft shop, ask yourself a few questions that are pertinent to this trade:

l Do I enjoy making the same crafts over and over?

l How long have I been making crafts and do I have original ideas?

l What kind of crafts do I enjoy making?

But above all, you must be very clear why you want to go into the crafts business?

Honest answers will be the driving force and also the deciding factor whether you will succeed or fail should you start such a business.

You must also know what you want to achieve because success starts with having a goal.

Once you have set your goals, you must be prepared for action. You must be ready to face whatever problem a craft business will throw at you.

Remember, it is your business and its success ultimately depends on you. You must be willing to work hard and long hours.

The success of a craft business is also determined by your attitude. A positive attitude at all times is essential. Do not be discouraged if things do not go as you had expected.

No start-up business ever became an instant success. It will take time and might even take two years to get where you would like to be. Remember though, you need capital to start operating, irrespective of how small the business is.

Unlike many other small businesses, starting a craft business is not expensive because you can also run it from home. Usually, the start-up costs for a craft business revolve around the buying of equipment and material to develop your crafts.

Finance options that should be investigated include credit cards, operating loans, short-term financing in the form of an operating line of credit and leasing equipment.

While there might be other minor costs, the craft business does not need huge upfront capital to start operating.

If you are passionate about crafts, this is the perfect time to start. However, you need to do some research first before you embark on such a business.