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Hi! I’m Lucy.
Chardonnay and vintage finds lover, founder of the handmade jewelry brand bel monili *and* your new guide to making your handmade business WORK online.
As a jewelry designer, I like to make one-of-a-kind pieces. I find unique items and turn them into new jewelry. But some makers create products that they can produce in large quantities. Rather than having new items all the time, these makers create the same products over and over. If this is the case with your handmade business, you may wonder if you need to introduce new products at some point.
Introducing new products can help keep your shop fresh and interesting, but it also involves time, resources, and risk. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when deciding if and when to introduce new products to your shop.
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
I notice that makers can get stuck in a rut after they’ve been in business for a while. They find certain products are a success, so they make those products over and over. Because they have a product selling well, it can be hard to change. You know that old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”!
The problem arises with customer boredom. I know, how dare they? But truthfully, all customers look for something new eventually.
Introducing new products can be a way to expand your customer base and grow your business. It doesn’t mean you need to stop making the successful products. Instead, use their success as a starting point to create new products that your customers may also love.
For example, if you have a popular crochet pattern that sells well in baby blankets, maybe you can introduce that pattern in hats or sweaters as well.
Before committing to a new product, it’s a good idea to test the waters first. This can involve creating a prototype, offering a limited run, or conducting a survey to gauge interest.
Since most handmade items require materials to make them, this can keep you from buying a ton of materials that never get used.
By testing a new item first, you can assess whether it’s worth investing more time and resources.
Plus, usually our customers love to be involved in the process. By asking them for feedback, you continue to develop a strong relationship with the people who support your business.
Introducing new products can impact your existing product line, so it’s important to consider how they fit together.
Will the new products complement your existing products, or will they compete with them? It’s also important to consider how the new products will impact your brand identity and whether they align with your overall vision.
Don’t make something just because it looks like it’s trending or popular. Adding new pieces that don’t “fit” in your shop can confuse your customers. You want to be known as “the shop I love to get _____ from” (fill in the blank with your specific craft).
Think about visiting a flea market. Most tables usually have a bunch of different objects that have nothing to do with each other. But some tables focus on just one or two things, like bird houses.
Once you walk through the market, it’s a lot harder to remember which table had a lantern you liked (since 20 tables had lanterns among other things). But I bet you’ll be able to remember “the bird house table” very easily!
Forbes.com has a great article that goes more into strengthening your brand, if you’d like to read more: Nine Steps to Strengthen Your Brand
Introducing new products can greatly impact your production capacity. Can you create the new products without sacrificing quality or your sanity?
If you’re unsure, start small and gradually build up your product line to avoid overextending yourself.
We can get excited when we come up with something new. Since we’ve made it with our own two hands, we may rush to introduce it to everyone! But this rushing comes at a price: not ensuring we can keep up the pace long term.
So take your time, get a feel for how much labor is involved in your new product, before you introduce it to your customers.
Introducing new products to your handmade item shop can be an exciting way to keep your shop fresh and attract new customers. However, it’s important to carefully consider your customer base, resources, and existing product line before making any decisions. With the right approach, introducing new products can help your shop thrive and grow.
Now is the perfect time to get your craft business online! I’ve got the perfect guide for you to get going quickly and easily: Online Selling Must-Haves for Makers!
My free guide gives you everything you need to know about how to start selling your craft online. Download it here!
After running bel monili (my handmade jewelry business) for 10 years, I launched Bloom in 2019 to create a community where handmade business owners could learn, grow, and support each other in this wild venture of small business ownership. Welcome to Bloom!