Online Benefits for Craft Businesses
The internet has an endless number of benefits for craftspeople, not just as a medium
for selling the end product but for each step that leads to sales. The fact that you are
reading this shows that you already utilise the web for information but perhaps you have
not yet considered some of the following points presented.
The ideas provided in this article have come from interviews with craftspeople,
conducted for AussieCrafts.com.au, in the interest of sharing information with our peers.
When boiled down to its bare essentials this is the true essence of the internet but it
sometimes gets lost in all of the advertising and sales. The interviews spawned a host of
ways in which the internet assists the crafters, both in their business and creatively,
and provided much insight into untangling the web.
When asked about the sources they use for inspiration most craftspeople have said that
the internet is a much used research tool. This is particularly useful with commission
pieces, where a client gives a basic idea and there is a need to familiarise yourself with
the subject. Browsing websites is also great for when you want to start a new piece but
are not quite sure where to begin. No matter what craft you do if you are stuck for ideas
on what to create there are always plenty of places to get some quick inspiration online.
The obvious way to get ideas is to search for your craft in the search engines but some
other methods are:
• Type your craft name into Google image search
• Yahoo groups on your craft often have galleries
• Online stores that sell your craft
• Craft directories
• Historical sites related to your craft, most crafts did after all come
from very ancient beginnings.
• Try searching for crafts that are similar to yours, if you do pottery,
for example, search for glasswork. The colours and shapes are likely to spark new ideas.
If it's a more abstract inspiration that you need such as colour or texture then art,
photography and nature sites are fantastic sources of ideas. Stock photography sites (such
as dreamstime.com), for example, have thousands of images of almost everything
imaginable. Let's say you want to create a bead necklace that reflects the colour and
movement of the ocean. If you browse the sea and ocean category of a stock photography
site you can jot down ideas based on what you see as you view page after page of
photographs that cover every aspect of the ocean.
Education: patterns and tutorials
There are very few crafters who believe they know everything there is about their
craft. Who of us do not want to learn something new? The internet is the best source of
tips, tricks, patterns and tutorials on every craft imaginable, so much so that many
craftspeople no longer purchase books about their craft. Many sites offer this information
for free, as a way to attract and keep surfers, much the same way as articles like this
are utilised. Others charge a subscription or a cost per tutorial, often downloaded as an
e-book or a pdf file. For many crafts there are also online classes or lessons via email,
again some are free (and often include advertising) and others are subscription based.
To find these valuable resources consider using some of the following terms alongside
your craft name: tutorial, pattern, learn to, ebook, lesson, techniques, instructions or
projects. These keywords were tested using Google search and beading, for example 'beading
projects', and the results were astonishing. If it a particular technique you are
searching for then add that to your search query, for example 'beading peyote technique',
where peyote is a type of beading stitch.