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Making It

The art of growing a crafts business.

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This story appears in the September 1998 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

It's a fairly simple concept: Take something you're good at, and create a profitable business. Talented artisans are taking heed: According to the National Craft Association, the past three years have seen a steady 43 percent growth in the crafts industry, and sales of crafts and hobby products topped $10 billion in each of those years. Entrepreneurs who create everything from handcrafted candles and jewelry to dolls and woodcarvings are seeing their sales soar.

Yet that very popularity often proves problematic. Handling growth is difficult for all business owners--but more so for craftspeople, whose businesses are based on their own creative talents. How can you expand beyond your individual capacity when you're the only person qualified to create your product? "It's a huge issue for all businesses, but the transition from being solo to being an employer is especially hard for crafters," says Madeleine Homan, a business coach in Dobbs Ferry, New York, who works with creative businesses.

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