Use the materials to help give your product the edge | Crafting your business | Small Business Connect

Choosing to use unusual materials can give you the competitive edge that will lead customers to buy your product instead of the competition’s.

This is why you need to consider your choice of material very carefully. You may be surprised with the results that come with using material that is more innovative and appealing to your market.

There may even be more cost-effective material available that you have not considered using!

Here are some tips that will help you in selecting the right material:

  • Buy quality materials so your product sells for more. Good-quality materials mean that your product can often sell for more when it is completed. Keep in mind who your target audience is and how concerned they are with quality and price.
  • Keep researching. Don’t stop at the first material that works for your product. Consider others. Also research the different ways of obtaining your materials.
  • Get close to the source of your supply. The closer you are to the source of the material, the more likely it is that you will have a greater range to choose from.
  •  Use materials that are easy to get. Don’t try to make a product out of something that is hard to get hold of. Many items are not readily available, or only available at a premium price, particularly in rural areas. Look at local stores for what you will be able to get easily. The internet is a good place to source materials, if you know exactly what you want.
  • Use natural materials in a sustainable way. The sustainability of the natural environment – the plants, trees and animals – must be the first consideration if you want to use natural materials in your products. If you use natural materials, such as leather, make sure you use a credible supplier and that the material is properly treated so it will last.
  •  Consider the impact of the material at every stage of the product’s journey. Materials have different health, safety and environmental considerations at every stage of the product’s journey. Assess the toxicity of different materials, particularly glues and paints, in the production process. Make sure the materials you use meet health and safety standards, especially with regard to food and children.

Buy wisely

After you started out, the money to pay for your materials should ideally come from your sales.

Try not to borrow money to buy materials, even when you start out. Rather negotiate terms with your suppliers so that you can pay for your materials through sales.

You have to build strong relationships with your suppliers so that you will always have the material you need to deliver on orders. Stick to their payment terms and keep them informed if you expect delays with your payments.

You also need a realistic understanding of lead-times from suppliers so you know how quickly you can deliver on an order from your customers.

You should be able to predict what materials you might need and keep that in stock.

Many craft producers buy what they need when they need it, which cause delays in delivery.

Try to plan and predict what materials you may need so that you can buy bulk and get discounts. It is best to get prices from different places when planning.

Once you have at least three options, work out the final price on all three options.

When you compare prices, you may find that one supplier offers cheaper items. Split your shopping list according to the suppliers you buy from and make sure that you get the best prices.

Keep an eye on other suppliers’ prices and check that your supplier’s prices remain competitive.


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