I’m so excited about using my GF. I love creating SO many different things, but had gotten away from it for quite a while when I had my kids. A little over a year ago, I started up again and have been having a blast with a Cricut. I started epoxy tumblers but I’m very allergic and that’s now out. We just got our GF 2 weeks ago. I’ve seen so many things I can’t wait to make, but I’m having a hard time narrowing down what I’d like to focus on. I want to find my niche (for selling items).
How did you decide what to focus on? If you didn’t have a focus area when you first got your GF, did you try out a bunch of different things and kind of test out your success?
Focus? What focus?
(It’s a hobby for me, though, not a business, so maybe I’m an outlier…)
Hahaha! Yes, for selling! (I edited the title for clarity LOL) My hubby and I are looking to make this into a successful business. It will really help in our situation. (Our daughter is in chemo and hasn’t been able to go to daycare, etc for over 2 years, so I’m the employed one right now. She will finish treatment in 49 days (omg!!) so that will be great, but it’s still going to be a while before things are back to normal, or a new normal at least!) lol
Make every possibility you can think of and make more of what sells? If you have allergies you might find that an issue as well, not just about smoke but clean up after.
I’m ok with sealants, glues, dyes and paints etc, just not epoxy. But yes, planning to use gloves and if needed, a mask. That will minimize exposure which could lead to a sensitization.
I mean that’s such a personal decision, depends on what market you’re going for, how you intend to sell these things, etc… for me it would also come down to what I like to create too. If you have choices, what’s the point if you don’t like what you’re doing?
I’m sure you’ll find a direction soon.
My girlfriend and I have gone to A lot of local markets before our GF purchase and gauge based on what seems to sell the most/draws the most attention and then going from there.
I would also recommend not verging off the path too far of what you truly enjoy.
If you enjoy boardgames go with that, if you enjoy household decorations start with that.
Rule of thumb, we have realized that personalization of any item will always sell better than generic!
As a fellow business oriented GF owner, keep in mind that this is a tool, and if it’s an essential tool to making your business successful, then be prepared for the possibility that it may have an issue that makes your business come to a halt. Have a back up in mind, something like a second laser, whether it’s another GF or another brand. I’m not saying that you could have an issue, plenty of people here who have had their machines running perfectly for years, but they also don’t use theirs for business and can have their machines down for a period of time. You can’t always rely on customer support to get you back up and running within what you would consider a reasonable timeframe, so just be prepared!
With that out of the way, I am a tedious kind of person, so I make a dumb amount of earrings, that’s what I sell most of. Almost every design I’ve made was hand drawn and created using my Adobe products, but there are plenty of places online that have free templates that you can use for your use of choice, keep in mind that you’ll want to look for the ones with commercial licenses! Like evansd2 mentioned, whatever you enjoy making is going to be a good area to start, because spending hours upon hours on something you don’t like will make you resentful of the item. There are so many different directions you can go with, you wouldn’t believe it!
Another important thing is managing expectations. Just because you love an item you make, doesn’t necessarily mean everyone your trying to sell to will care as much as you do. There might be craft shows you go to and sell nothing, or there might be weeks between sells, that could happen for a various amount of reasons. There definitely isn’t a sure fire way that I know of, but learning your market and what they’re wanting is a great start
Personalization also allows you to significantly increase the price. If you make something generic, figure out a way to also offer a personalized version with minimal additional effort
I agree with everything in the four posts above this one, but I’ll add to what raymondking32 said - plan on equipment being down. Not that the machine is unreliable, but so many people come on here, especially around holidays, screaming how they have last-minute orders they can’t fill and their business will collapse because the machine has encountered an issue and the hobby machine they purchased doesn’t come with 24x7 business-level support.
Plan ahead. Build up inventory for generic items. Give yourself reasonable lead times for customization.
… and sit back and enjoy the amazing things you can create with it!
If you’re looking for inspiration, this google search will allow you to browse the images in the “Made on a Glowforge” showcase here.
This feedback is all great and very helpful! And reinforcing things I already know but sometimes forget!
Two passions of mine are Down syndrome awareness and childhood cancer awareness (my 4-year-old daughter has both) and those items are near and dear to my heart. I have some ideas for things I think will go over well in those communities and things I haven’t seen around much (well now that I say that I’ll probably start finding tons of them LOL).
I think I’ll make a few designs of my own and then test them out! Thank you for all of this feedback! I have other ideas, too, outside of this realm, but those will be great starters.
I have been reading a lot of topics from so many of you in this forum and wow, the depth of information is amazing to me. I don’t get all of it yet, but that’s what motivates me to keep learning, so it’s perfect!
I would use your passions to guide you on what to make, where to sell it and the reason’s behind it all. I know that simplifies it but maybe start with a fundraiser for charities for Downs and/or childhood cancer. See where that leads you. I am struggling myself as a new owner to decide if I want to make this a business or just a hobby. With that said, I did recently sell my first item and it felt great!
Play around and see what you enjoy. If you can move away from the same things everyone else is making, I think you’ll find more success, higher end clients, and a bigger profit margin.
Also, sometimes less is more. If you can sell 100 widgets for $200, that’ s great, but what if you can sell 10 fancy widgets for the same thing and less time?
We have a custom leather shop. We make a lot of products by hand. Here is our plan for the GF.
We’ve been making custom leather products for many years now and everything we do is cut by hand. We purchased a GF Plus for a few reasons. We want to streamline our products and increase uniformity and begin offering new products.
For the streamlining process we took into account downtime. If the laser goes down, we can do it by hand. For newer products, we only offer those and already made, production items that are customizable. We sell everything in our Etsy shop so we can deactivate our listings anytime in the event we can’t produce something.
Hope this helps.
Nice, well thought out. Especially the part about using it to streamline an existing business, vs. the dream many have of riches now that they have purchased their first crafting tool.
great point! I’m working on some ideas in my head right now about having some lower-priced items that appeal to a large group and then some more expensive, nicer items. I have a great audience if I can tap into it well.
Hi I see you are new, too! Can’t wait to see where we both are in say, 6 months!
That’s one of the things I love about Etsy - so easy to pause when needed (whether that is vacation mode or deactivating specific listings, etc.). I was thinking along similar lines with items that are already made and then can be customized or not, for flexibility.
I mentioned somewhere else in the forum about an idea to start a (digital) notebook and start jotting down all of my ideas. A brainstorm, really, a place to spit out any ideas regardless of how crude they are, then return to them later when I have time to pick one to work on. Right now I have so many emails I have sent to myself with notes or pictures. lol It works, but it’s kind of hard to manage. I need to get everything in one place, that will help improve my process. haha
You need Evernote or OneNote. Those are perfect for digital Note taking, including clipping pictures, websites, etc.
I really haven’t had a great experience with either of those. But I’ve been working in GoodNotes in a digital notebook I created for my iPad and I like it so far. I made a digital BuJo too and am just starting to work in that, but for designs I’ll have a separate notebook.
Fair enough. I do most things online, but personally prefer a paper notebook.