Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Make And Sell Garden Ornaments

One unique business you can try that will combine your gardening passion with your creativity is to make your own garden decorations. If you have a bit of creativity, then you may be able to make this garden business work. You will need to begin by taking a couple of weeks to be observant. Look at the ornaments you have in your own yard. Think about ornaments that you would like to see. Then go to various craft and gardening supply stores. Check out the types of ornaments that they have available.

Your next step will be to take a critical eye and look at the examples you have seen. What is unique about them? What is missing? What can you do better or for less money? Then you can begin your search for the right materials.

Anytime you are making something new, you may want to consider making a prototype with items that are less expensive. That is because you probably will make some mistakes with the first one. They are part of the learning process, and you do not want to get upset because something did not turn out right the first time. Instead of worrying about making a mistake, you want to be free to be creative and experiment without having to worry about anything. So you should pick up some cheap supplies and get started.

You will need to spend several days planning the garden ornament you are going to make and then take the time to make it. Once you have the finished product, step aside for one or two days. Then come back to it and question it. What works? What does not? What could you improve and how? The creation process can be long and difficult, so you just need to be sure that you are able to critique your own work.

Once you have an idea of how to make the final product better (it can always be better!), then you should get to work on it. While you are working on making the product, begin to assemble a focus group. While this task may seem daunting, it does not have to be. You should ask your friends and relatives, particularly ones who are interested in gardening, and then ask a couple of ladies and gentlemen you know who are interested in gardening. Get their opinions on whether they would buy your product, for how much, and where they see areas for improvement. You will need to develop a thick skin for this part of the experience, but you should be able to take their ideas under advisement.

Do some work with the product until you see that you have made good changes to the ornament or designed object. Your next task will be to begin to sell the item. Now, you may have great aspirations about your gardening business, but let me give you a word of advice. Start small. (Okay, that was two words.) Start small. Do not start out by trying to send your idea to manufacturers. You want to know if people are interested in your product.

Look around for local flea markets, small garden shops, or nearby craft fairs. You will need to set up tables as well as ask local merchants if they may be willing to sell a few of your items. Offer to set up the display for them and to help them with anything they need. Remember that they are taking a chance on you, and you should be willing to help them if they need it. If you go to craft shows, you can watch reactions to your products. Notice what people buy and what they do not. Pay attention their whispers to each other. Note what you may be able to do to increase your sales.

You must work on this business idea constantly so that you can improve your product. It is important when you run a home-based business that you are responsive to others. You will get business primarily through word-of-mouth, so treat each customer with care. Be sure that you get names and other contact information for your customers so that you can keep the abreast of your business moves.

By Julia Mercer

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