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How to start a Product Line for your Handmade Business?

What is a Product Line?

A product line is a list of distinct products that you offer to a specific set of people but all under your company or brand name.

Coming up with ideas for your handmade product line can take some work but it is not impossible.

Being a creative person we know how difficult of a task it can be to sit down and actually write out what products you will offer.

Not that the work is a daunting task but mainly because I'm sure you will have a million ideas of what you can make and sell.

Here are a few tips to consider when its your time to come up with a product line for your business

Tip#1 - Be Unique, Be yourself

This may seem counter intuitive to business but its actually the foundation of many businesses.

Let me explain.

Trying to copy someone else in the same industry is never the best route. In fact the market is smart enough to know when they are dealing with a knock off.

Think about it, that fake Gucci bag you have. I'm sure you knew right away that it was not real. Well besides the price, the quality just wasn't on point and it may have read Guci instead.

By being yourself and offering something as unique as yourself you run the risk of actually developing a line of products that people will want to purchase just because your personality is infused in the product.

We all see the world differently and we all have different wants and needs. By injecting your personality, wants and needs into a product you produce an item well suited to persons similar to you.

Example, When we developed our Mr Grey Handmade Soap, we made it to counteract our daughters eczema.

We realized how well it worked for us and gave the soap away to close friends to try. The results came back with rave reviews.

We knew we had something special.

From solving our own problem we found out that there were many other person with the same issue and we had a solution to that problem.

This brings me to Tip #2 of which you will reach too soon.

On another note of being unique, you can include cultural expressions into your product to make the truly unique the world over.

For example, we took some of the knowledge of bushes from older folks and incorporated them in our soaps.

cold process soap

This gave birth to our Lemon Fever handmade soap. We also developed other soaps made from local plants such as Aloe Vera, Shepherds needle and other plants with medicinal properties.

I was especially fond of the cerasee soap, but since chickenpox is not as common as it was back in the day we did not get a chance to test it.

Tip #2 - Solve an existing Problem

This is often the easiest way to develop a line of products. Problem solving is a sure way to reach a targeted audience for your items.

In the cosmetics industry there are many serious and not so serious problems that exist that can be developed into a product.

Take the time to ask a few friends of their issues or ask if they know anyone with a particular problem you are looking to solve.

One very popular but not so serious problem is the issue of skin lightening. Many people believe they will live a better life if they were lighter skin.

Although there is no scientific validity to this it is nonetheless a problem to them.

You can help persons by developing a product to elevate that issue in their life.

For Bahamas Candle and soap, our products all were unique when they were developed and they also helped solve a particular product.

handmade cold process soap

Example our Baby Carrot Handmade soap was developed specifically for babies as we found that commercial soaps were to harsh for their delicate skin.

What we also learned that if we tweaked the formula it can also help keep your skin clean and looking a little brighter naturally over time.

We solved two problems with one product and we marketed it as such.

In developing these products our research led us to find a hole in the handmade soap business. Many soaps were not attractive hence we wondered if that was the only way they can be made.

We researched a bit more and found that our soaps and candles can be designed to be much more attractive.

This led us to tip #3.

Tip #3 - Find the hole in the Market

Finding the hole in the market space often comes as a surprise as you develop your product line.

Sometimes however you may see the hole when a company goes out of business or something happens to the industry.

Filling that hole whether it existed or is newly made is a sure way to gain more customers and help you decide on which products to offer.

For us at Bahamas Candle and Soap we noticed that there was a lack of beautiful designed soaps and lovely labeled candles at an affordable price.

We did our research, did a few courses, practiced and learned a few new ways to develop a unique looking product and an affordable product.

Prior to our entry into the hand made candle space, candles were primarily sold in medium sized jars for nearly $20.00 or more.

We opted to use candle tins, smaller size and colorful labels for decoration.

This became quick success. Just by offering the same product but in a different way we were able to step into the handmade candle business.

You can do the same. Do not compete on price alone as this is the quickest way to run your business into the ground.

Instead develop something of the same quality but smaller or in some instances larger. Give the opportunity to more people to have a particular item.

Tip #4 - KISS Keep It Simple Silly

This seems like a weird thing to say but I have a story on this to tell you.

Around the same time we were getting into the handmade business with Bahamas Candle and Soap, there was another business up and coming as well.

They were a few years older than us so they had some experience in the field.

The owners was and are still crazy talented. I mean they could come up with really cool products at the drop of a hat.

The problem that we noticed is they they expanded into to many products.

This is a major problem and the source of many businesses bankruptcy. Rapid expansion through products only.

If they didn't have about 30 different products across 6 different categories then we didn't have 1. - For those who don't know this is a Bahamian way of saying they too many products.

This type of gun ho attitude will only make matters difficult for you. Trying to focus on many products, their supplies, their uses and clients who purchase them will drive you crazy.

A business that is within the 5 year live or die phase will be cutting their own rope trying to keep up with such a large product line.

While you are spending 6 times as me on many products I can spend a fraction of that cost on my few products and spend more on marketing.

While you are busy catering to many I am focusing and offering specialized service to a few at a higher price point.

There are so many examples of spreading yourself too thin when it comes to your product line so its easier to say keep it simple.

Developing 5-8 products in one field is quite enough when starting out. In fact I would say if you have various categories it may be best to have less in each.

Conclusions

Starting a handmade business can be rewarding if you take your time to do proper research of your market.

Don't rush your decisions, write down what you want to do, research it and make sure there is a market for what you will sell.

Develop your product line based on your information and push your items to your target market as best as you can.

Give it time to build up. everything takes time so be patient.

If something is not working do not be afraid to adjust it or cut it out all together.

You will become better over time with development of products of your business.

Bahamas Candle and Soap - Product Line

Hand Made Candles

Soy Candle
  • Love Spell
  • Tropical Kiss
  • Apple Blossom
  • Beach Wood
  • Forever Pine

Hand Made Soaps

  • Lemon Fever
  • Midnight
  • Baby Carrot
  • Mr Grey
  • Lady Rose

Further Development

As we grew our business we added various items such as whipped Shea butter, Shea and Coco butter, Various sized in candles along candle and soap gifts.

As you business grows your product line will want to grow.

No sense in reinventing the wheel offer your products in different sizes or packages before you decide to add more products.

Although we have transitioned into a supplies business we do still offer wholesale Candles and Soaps. this is the evolution of paying attention to your industry and making decisions.

If you liked this article and would like to learn how to make your own candles and soaps. Sign up for our group classes or private classes.

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