[This article was written by Lizzie Weakley.]
There’s a certain alluring quality to products that you know are crafted by hand. There is the attention to detail that only a true artisan can give to a product. It’s also the fact that product will, for all practical purpose, be one of a kind.
However, focusing a business plan on hand made products does present some challenges. For one, how do you ensure a standardized level of quality for those handmade products? While it requires some work, it can be done.
Start with High Quality Raw Materials
Just because an item is handmade does not mean it will be valuable to the end consumer. You need to start with high quality raw materials. If you don’t, it won’t matter how skilled your workers are. Handmade products made from cheap and low quality materials will create products perceived as low quality junk by most consumers. If you want to create the allure of one of the kind handcrafted valuables, you need to give your artisans the right materials to work with.
Consider Using Molds
Just because a product is created by hand does not mean it has to be chiseled out of stone every time. Consider having your craft makers create caster molds that can allow certain elements of their handmade products to be duplicated. Find a polyurethane casting material supplier that can supply you with resins that can be poured into your employees’ hand designed molds to create products. Using these molds can allow you to replicate products that have that same handmade look in a more consistent fashion.
Another option for creating uniformity in handmade products is to provide your employees with blueprints that they are instructed to replicate. These blueprints should include measurements and minute details. There of course should be some variation allowed in how closely the finished products follow these blueprints. You still want to create that handcrafted one of a kind look. However, you should also use the blueprints to weed out products that stray too wildly from the original design. This will help ensure standardized quality and at least some sense of uniformity.
Rigorously Train Employees
Creating handcrafted goods is not something people can usually do well on their own on the first try. Instead, these are skills that must be honed and perfected over time. As such, invest a good deal of time and effort into training your employees. Without that training, quality will certainly suffer.
Handcrafted products have a lot of appeal. You can tell when something was made by hand. That quality can’t be replicated by a machine. Still, even handmade products need some sense of standardized quality and uniformity. The strategies listed above can help you achieve that for your business.
Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.