Top tips to keep your craft business profitable

No matter how much product quantity your business turns over or how much your customers love your fabrics, your business needs to make a profit! Sewing pattern designer Janice Pope offers some of her own top tips to keep your business in the black...

Analysis and evaluation: There are many different ways to examine your business. The easiest is the P & L.A Profit and Loss report that should be available with your accounting software. Be sure to run this report regularly and spend some time examining it. Look at classes and events your store uses. Keep the ones that are profitable and try some new ones.

Shoplifting: This is a direct hit to profitability so employ all means necessary to limit the losses. Have nametags for your team memebers featuring the company logo and require them to wear these at all times. Purchase convex mirrors for strategic areas in your store. Even better, have a security system and check the tapes. Have a security system and check the tapes. Have a sign on the door that says "All Shoplifters will be prosecuted," or "Smile, you are on candid camera". Be willing to prosecute every offender.

Sales people: Do they ask for add on sales? The simple question at the cash register is "Do you need thread for this project?" Perhaps your best sales people could teach the others their techniques.

Profit sharing: Consider offering comissions or a reward or bonus scheme for your staff to encourage enthusiasm for customer service and sales. Be careful that this does not undermine your long term relationships with customers through an ovelry aggressive sales-focused approach as helpful friendly service is more likely to encourage customers to return. A longer term team bonus may be more effective.

Days that could use a boost: Track which are your best and worst days, weeks and months for sales. Develop programs and incentives to get customers into your store during these lull periods.

Event give-aways: Suppliers will often have items available for special events. Be sure to ask for them as this way you can save money on giveaways.

Value in demoing and upselling: Every store can do more demoing and upselling just like at a retail show. Your store is a retail show every day! Make it fun and enjoyable to be there.

Check your prices: Review your prices regularly to check that you are still making sufficient profit margins on your products whilst remaining competitive against rival retailers.

Based on a guide created by Janice Pope of for Studio e fabrics.
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