Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Needlecraft Business in the United Kingdom
If you always love knitting and products that come out of needlecraft, this is your business opportunity. Starting a needlecraft business in the United Kingdom has never been the same over the years. Many startups, especially sole traders, are pursuing this venture and offering quality products for locals and abroad. The industry is attracting several new entrants who aim to maintain the traditional sector that is threatened by new trends.
Here’s a guide on starting a needlecraft business in the United Kingdom.
Several years back, shops that were now selling a range of needlecraft products used to sell handmade and machine knitting wool and other yarns. The popularity of knitting over the years has fallen significantly due to a number of reasons:
- There are more affluent people that need not make their own clothes.
- The market now has cheap imported knitwear.
- Kids are no longer taught knitting and prefer other activities such as playing computer games.
- People are impatient and want to get instant results.
- Young women are starting a family later in life and may often not have children at all.
In recent years, we’ve seen the revival of knitting with celebrities and designers featuring their designs in fashion shows. We’ve seen in certain areas knitting groups setting up to encourage beginners to venture into the business.
To stay up to date with the needlecraft sector, you must join trade associations or clubs. We have a number of organizations that look into the industry, such as:
- The Knitting and Crochet Guild. This organization promotes knitting and crocheting and publishes a quarterly journal.
- The UK Hand Knitting Association (UKHKA), which supports knitting and represents the interests of manufacturers and distributors o yarns
- The British Wool Marketing Board
- Confederation of British Wool Textiles (CBWT)
- Crafts Council
Alternatively, you can get more helpful information by visiting a trade show for the needlecraft sector such as:
- Craft, Hobby and Stitch International (CHSI)
- The Knitting and Stitching Show
From these shows, you’ll meet manufacturers, suppliers, and importers and plan on your future stock. For more information, you can check with The Exhibitions UK website, where you’ll get more insights about the sector.
Business Registration Process
Starting a needlecraft business in the United Kingdom doesn’t need to be expensive, particularly if you’re making a small quantity of craft, to begin with. However, you will incur some inevitable startup costs.
Here are some of the things you must put into consideration before starting your business:
Develop Your Business Plan
To get you started is to develop a solid business plan that will guide you throughout your journey. You should lay out your mission, vision, and objectives and where you want your business to go. Your business financial, operational, and marketing strategies must be clear right from the start. State out clearly how you’re going to handle your weaknesses and take the opportunities that come along your way. This document is essential even when you’ll be seeking finances from financiers.
Choose Your Legal Structure
Getting into business means that you must know the type of structure that will work for you. Sole traders run many needlecraft businesses in the UK; however, other business owners choose to set up limited companies. For tips on starting, you can check out the guide to company registration in the UK on the government website. Again, you should check with the HMRC concerning you registering as self-employed so you can pay your taxes. Get more guidelines on filing your tax return and for your business.
Register Your Needlecraft Business
Once you have identified which type of structure you want to go with, the next step is registering your business with the Companies House. Before your register, you must have a business name. The business name must resonate with the nature of your business and should be unique. In case you’re registering a company, ensure you have all the necessary legal documents with you. You will receive a certificate of registration once you complete the United Kingdom company incorporation process.
Research Your Market
Knowing whether or not there’s adequate demand in your craft is vital when starting a needlecraft business in the United Kingdom. Therefore, you must be aware of the sector’s competitiveness as consumers’ interests and lifestyles are shifting to other things. Find out the demography of the customers in terms of their current tastes and preferences. Besides, knowing your competition within your area is crucial.
- Establish the range of products they sell and the prices
- The kind of customers they have
- What kind of services do they offer
Promoting Your Business
Starting as a beginner means that many of the customers may not know your existence. And promoting your business is fundamental right from the start. You can decide to go with word of mouth within the area you’re operating or distribute business cards or flyers. Again, you can opt to advertise on the daily newspapers, radio, or TV about your product and services. Creating your social media platforms is another alternative where you can showcase your products to potential customers.
Developing a Website
Through your website, you can advertise your products to potential customers. Today, companies are embracing the online presence by developing a website. You can start with a simple website and design it gradually. Ensure that you put your contacts where people can reach you either through email or the phone. The content that you put on your website must be of high quality.
Setting Your Price Policy
After doing your research on the market and competitors, you now know how much they charge on a similar product you sell. Getting your price policy right is essential. Loyal customers will appreciate the knowledgeable service that you offer and the wide range of specialist products. Ensure that whatever price you’ll set will be able to cover your expenses, and you end up making profits. If you provide special offers and discounts, you make use of that strategy at the beginning to draw in more customers.
Determine Your Customer Profiles
Profiling your customer is one strategy of targeting the right customers. Typically, your customers will consist of the public; however, you may have some trade customers. Some of the trade customers may include schools, nurseries, professional dressmakers, and craft workshops. A more significant percentage of your customers are likely to be female, with some going among the older generations. Subsequently, you’ll probably have seasoned hobbyists, first-timers who are making a try for the first time. Having all these different types of customers makes it easier for you to prioritize your customer profile.
Secure an Insurance Policy
While planning on starting a needlecraft business in the United Kingdom, you must also think of insurance cover. The insurance companies offer a range of different covers, which include:
- Public liability insurance—which protects you from claims from members of the public.
- Stock insurance—covers your entire stock within your premises.
The insurance company can offer tailored insurance that suits your needlecraft business, allowing you to combine all the covers you need.
Licenses, Permits, and Regulations
The most likely thing to note is that there is less likelihood of selling crafts without a license in the UK. Therefore, when planning on starting a needlecraft business in the United Kingdom, you must identify with the laws of your jurisdiction.
Do I Need a License for a Needlecraft Shop?
We cannot categorically say that you’ll need to have a license when operating a needlecraft business in the UK. However, if you plan to play background music in your shop, you must get a music license from PPL PRS Ltd.
Safeguarding Original Knitwear Designs
As an aspiring business person, you need to be aware of the Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act. The law gives protection to original designs, including artistic copyright. You can check out the copyright law in the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) section for more information. Again, if you need any further assistance, you can check with a corporate service provider in the UK like 3E Accounting.
Within this sector, we have legislation that applies to retail outlets to safeguard the consumer’s interests. For instance, you should label goods correctly not to mislead consumers and display the price. Any goods should always fit the primary purpose for which it is intended by meeting satisfactory quality.
If you have plans to sell online via your website or through an e-commerce platform, you must comply with the online selling requirements. This will also apply to your catalog and other mail-order sales.
Contact 3E Accounting for clarification or assistance in starting a needlecraft business in the United Kingdom.