My eldest child is about to leave home and head off into the big city to University. We are very proud of him and wish him every success but University costs A LOT of Money..... A big scary lot of money...
As a result I have been looking at ways that I can cut costs around my studio and home so that we will have that little extra to get him (and us) through the next four years.
This is just a small list of some of the things that I’ve come up with and plan to implement in my arty-crafty pursuits to save both time and a little money and thought that I would share them with you.
1. Spend less – while this should be glaringly obvious through past experience I have found it easier said than done. I am a hoarder of crafty stuff, wool and cotton fibre in particular. I am obsessed with vintage patterns and quirky bits of ephemera and a total eBay addict... If you can't cut out buying ( I do have to do a certain amount of it for my shop-front gallery) make yourself a list of nessecities and stick to it or better still, make yourself accountable to someone before you buy. Let a friend/business college or partner know what your budget is and discuss that need for any purchases... you might think twice if you need someone elses approval for what you spend
2. Wholesale- I am a registered business. I have an ABN. I quite often forget this when in the midst of an arty-crafty spending frenzy.... before I buy anything I have vowed to first stop and look at whether or not I actually need it.... and then see if I can get it wholesale. The trick here is to remember that just because it’s cheaper to buy something in lots of 100 through the wholesaler, doesn’t make it cheaper in the long run if you only need 1 or 2 of the item to complete a project. Even if you’re not a registered business, you can still often get great discounts for bulk buys or even through store loyalty programs.
3. Mass Produce- I don’t mean like from a factory, but that if you’re going to replace that small item from the shop-front or on-line store, make several. This will not only lessen material wastage, but save some time in the long-run too.
4. Use Popular Colours- visit design blogs, keep your eyes on what’s selling in popular crafty stores, a good excuse to browse Etsy or ArtFire stores – just browse, don’t log in so you are less tempted to hit the Buy Button- even browse fashion magazines at the supermarket checkout to see what are the most popular colours are for this season. I personally LOVE RED, but this season’s colour may be pink or blue, so unless I want to keep every item I make in red for my own use, there’s not much point in making 20 red items. Even better having a range of colours in popular hues should also help keep a healthy turnover of stock.
5. Coordination- coordination of items can be a distinct selling advantage. For example, I go to craft markets with my mum who produces hand appliqué tea towels, I am currently knitting dishcloths, many of which will coordinate with her tea towels.
6. Equipment – using quality equipment and materials not only produces a more professional looking and saleable item, but can also save you BIG on both time and materials. If you use glue, buy the best quality you can afford, what you’ve glued will last longer and my bet is you will use much less and save yourself dollars in the long run.
7. Quality Control- This kind of goes with Number 6, but especially if you are “Mass Producing”, make sure your seams are straight, loose threads are cut, glue is fast and paint drips are cleaned up (unless you meant to have drippy paint- in that case, drip away). Customers will be turned off by items that are sloppily made and even if they buy once and don’t return it for a refund, you can bet they won’t buy again.
8. Use What You Have - chances are, whatever your arty-crafty pursuit, unless you are just starting out, you will have at least some of the materials you need on hand. Use them, before you go shopping for materials for that new project, go through what you already have at hand and make a list of what you NEED, rather than just buying every item you might need for that new project.
9. Household Items- take advantage of what is in your home. I love working with clay and Fimo modelling stuff, but recently discovered salt dough. It works just as well for small items, can be coloured with dye, painted, varnished, moulded, cut and best of all it costs next to nothing to make... I’m sure that if we really think about it we can come up with heaps of substitutes for arty-crafty stuff just from around our own homes (or the supermarket). Not only cost cutting, but probably really good for the environment too.
10. Imagination- I’ve put this last, but maybe it should be top of the list. Always look for new ways of refining what you do by saving time and money. Any savings you can make in turn add significantly to your profits.
These are just for starters, I’m sure there are a lot more ideas for cutting crafty costs out there. What’s yours?