Festival season is upon us! For a lot of people this means at least one weekend this summer full of dancing to some of their favorite music, basking in the sunshine with their favorite people, and making a statement with the most eccentric outfits and accessories available to them. Music festivals have not only created an atmosphere of outward expression through music, dance, and art but fashion has come to the forefront of self expression for attendees. Many festival goers have used their personal appearance as an outward expression of self. It is a chance for many who don’t have the opportunity in their daily 9-5 to let the peacock within spread those beautiful tail feathers.
This trend has created quite the business opportunity for crafty/creative individuals. Now, you can google “festival clothing,” search Etsy and Instagram, and immediately find several sites dedicated to creating unique clothing and jewelry specific to the festival culture. Coachella is a good example of a fashion-focused festival. There are several blog posts all over the internet focused solely on what is “in” this season.
For those creative hobbyists who have been doing things like geocaching and collecting precious stones to make jewelry already, entertaining the idea of creating a business model around exactly that is a no-brainer. So what is next? Now that the idea has sprouted excitement where do you start?
Create enough for expected/desired audience
Now that you have decided that you are going to make the jump from hobbyist to small business entrepreneur, creating enough product to attract and maintain steady revenue is your first feat. If one-of-a-kind festival jewelry is your route this is no easy task. Each piece takes quite a bit of time, sometimes days. Find a pace that works for you, learn as you go and make room for mistakes and mishaps. Being a one woman jewelry factory is no easy feat so keep track of those shortcuts for your jewelry cleaning processes and creation as you go. Excel and word docs are now my best friend.
Generate an online presence
It is the 21st century–there is no longer a successful business without a successful online presence. It is extremely important to the success of your new business venture to create an online voice and business through Facebook, Instagram, and your online store.Your goal is not only to create new customers but repeat customers. Keeping your business at the forefront of buyer’s minds in your niche is easily done through social media. Once someone has purchased from your store, having a space or several where previous customers have visual reminders of new products will be key.
Things to keep in mind
You’ve created a healthy inventory, your online presence is buzzing with excitement and pleased customers, now what? A lot of artisan jewelers use their niche as an opportunity to travel and share their work at the festivals that their customers are attending. This side of things brings on a whole other realm of potential struggle. There are so many positive elements to working festivals. The idea of doing what you love for a living and being able to see the country while doing it sounds like a dream. Meeting new people and making connections with like-minded individuals, being able to enjoy the music, and sharing your creation face to face makes for a wonderful experience, but it’s harder than it sounds.
Surviving a festival is a learning experience as well. When traveling to any festival, pack as light as possible. Remember everything you pack in has to be packed out. Cleanliness is difficult as well. Keeping your precious creations out of the dust while staying retail worthy is a task, especially with customers who want to touch and try individual pieces on, this could be highly stressful.
There is also the matter of staying healthy and getting the proper nutrients while you are traveling to and from these festivals. Granted festival food vendors are always delicious, but the average plate costs $10-$15. That will add up very quickly. My advice is to pack not only non-perishable foods but vitamins as well. Vitamin C, Echinacea are my go-tos when I begin to feel under the weather. Take care of your body and your body will take care of you.
The largest roadblock for a lot of new artisans is the price tag. Being able to showcase your work at a festival ranges anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand–not counting the cost of travel and food while in attendance–for a small tent space, where there is no guarantee you will make your initial investment back.
As a business owner this will have to be your judgment call. Monitor your online presence, as well as your followers and the festivals they attend. This will help you decipher whether or not it is financially beneficial for you to attempt this route of business. For many the online route makes the most sense but if you have caught a case of wanderlust and think this could work for you, it could be quite the adventure. Best of luck turning your hobby into something that is also financially advantageous!