Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Crafty advice

The following question comes from Joanne, co-founder of Krafty Kidz Creations, a collection of handmade children’s craft kits. Here’s her situation:

We just started in April this year, testing the waters to see what response we would get. The response has been huge and now I'm very intimidated. We too, don't have a lot of money and resources to get our business running at a higher capacity.

I have heard there are grants for women entrepreneurs but I can't find any information on them, except from sites that want a $400 registration fee to provide the information. Do you know what grants there are or where I can find the information without paying a fee?

I’m sorry to say I haven’t heard of any grant programs. I came across this thread on the subject.

I think you are going to need to look for other avenues of financing. I know this can be intimidating at first, so I encourage you to carefully consider where you want your business to go. I’ve mentioned them before: Women’s Enterprise Centre has a fantastic set of resources for women entrepreneurs.

And her question continues below:
Also, to date we haven't been purchasing our supplies from a wholesaler but from local discount stores instead. We don't have the volume to purchase from wholesalers. We have been told there is a minimum purchase of $500-$1500 depending on the wholesaler. Do you know of a way around this minimum volume?

There are few options I can recommend here:

  • Shop around – There are likely a number of wholesalers providing craft materials in your region. I recommend contacting a number of different providers to find the products, prices, and financing that will work best for your business.
  • Appeal to their softer side – Sometimes it just takes a little more background for the wholesaler to know you are committed. Talk to them, show your product, and explain your future plans. If they’re smart about customer service and you’re close to the minimum, they’ll get you now as customers before you grow.
  • Find a partner – Network with other small businesses that need similar materials; perhaps a scrap booking company or a preschool. Partnering with another company allows you both to meet the minimums.
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