Launching Your Craft Business In New Zealand

A girl selling crafted products

Do your friends think that you should stop giving away your handmade ceramic mugs for free and start selling them? Do you know where to start? Probably not.

Launching a craft business can be both exciting and daunting. It’s also natural to feel hesitant about taking financial risks or uncertain whether customers will like your handmade products. However, it’s important to focus on the potential rewards of pursuing your dreams and turning your passion into a successful enterprise. 

The good news is, that transforming your passion project into a DIY business is totally achievable! Certainly, there are many resources available to help you navigate the process, from market research and pricing strategies to setting up an online store or attending local craft fairs.

You can do your own research, but we think giving you some direction step by step would be helpful. With a little planning and some elbow grease, you can turn your love for creating into a thriving small business.

Remember, don’t feel pressure to make everything perfect. It is a learning process, and you have every right to change things during the journey.

Remember, all we need to do is a ‘CAN DO’ attitude.

Step 1: Validate Your Business

Validating your business idea is a crucial step before you invest significant time and resources into building it. For example, test-driving a car before you buy – it helps you identify any major issues and ensures it’s actually a good fit for your needs.

The New Zealand Government provides a resource that contains all the information you need about setting up a legitimate business; check out It is the ultimate go-to spot before to plan your journey. 

Now, let’s break down the steps in a way that won’t make your head spin:

Check if Your Idea Makes Sense:

Before diving in, make sure your crafty idea is a winner. Research businesses you might be competing with. Moreover, search Social Media and look for similar products. Check local craft markets.

Think about why people want to buy your products. You want it to be not just cool but also something people will love.

Pick a Business Name:

Get those creative juices flowing and choose a name that reflects your craft. Make it catchy—something that sticks! Try to find a name with a story behind it.

A good story can create an emotional connection with potential customers.  If they can relate to the story or the inspiration behind the name, they’re more likely to remember you and choose you over the competition.

Be an official solo trader:

No need to overcomplicate this. Sole traders are like one-person businesses. It’s a simple and cheap way to start small, be your own boss, and keep all the profits.

But you’re also personally responsible for everything, including debts.  You can switch to a different business structure later if needed.  Taxes are simple – you just pay regular income tax on your earnings.

If you’ve decided to start a business, you must register with certain government agencies when you begin. We’ve outlined who to register with and how to do it.

  • Inform the Inland Revenue Department(IRD) and Get Your IRD Number
  • Register yourself to ACC ( As a sole trader, you will get ACC cover for injuries automatically. Just register and create a MyACC business account to pay your levies when they are due.

Secure Your Business Name:

Don’t let someone else have your dream business name! After finding the perfect one, check if it’s available.

There’s a handy tool called ONECheck that lets you search for business name, website domain, and trademark availability all at once. Just type in your name and hit search.

If it’s clear, you can then see what options the results offer (likely referring to registering the business name or domain).

Step 2: Work On Your Branding

Picture yourself wandering a busy craft market. One stall has a handwritten price list; there is no logo or display on the stall design. Another stall has a beautiful banner with a catchy name and logo.

The products are neatly arranged by type and colour, and the seller has a friendly smile. Which one are you more likely to visit?

Branding is an investment that pays off in the long run. It helps you attract new customers, build a loyal fan following, and ultimately sell more of your beautiful handmade creations.

Here is a clear step-by-step guide to help you create a strong and distinctive brand that will make you stand out from the competition:

Create a brand story:

Different from other products, when you sell a handmade item, customers really care about the story behind it. They are curious about your motivation for coming up with that idea.

Answering these questions could create a bond between your customers and even help you justify your pricing. Your short paragraph could include ;

  • Why You Craft: What sparked your passion for creating handmade goods?
  • What Makes You Different: What sets your crafts apart?  Unique materials, local sourcing, or a focus on a specific feeling?
  • How You Help People: Explain how your crafts improve customers’ lives.
  • The Joy of Crafting: Express the emotions your craft brings you and your customers (relaxation, pride, etc.).
  • Bonus: Add a short story, describe the crafting experience, or hint at your future goals.

Design Your Colour palette, your Logo, and your brand voice:

Brand strategy materials for launching a craft business

Having a neat brand design makes your life so easier than you can imagine. Firstly, Find several colours that you think can represent your brand. Then, use these colours only for designing your webpage, display materials, and social media.

Secondly, design a logo, keep it simple and avoid cramming in too many details. Choose a timeless design unique to your brand, and select colours and fonts that align with your message and complement your logo.

Ensure your logo works well at all sizes and is not overly abstract. By following these tips, you can create a memorable and meaningful logo that makes a lasting impression.

Thirdly, your brand voice is also important when you connect with your customers. This part is a bit tricky because your voice will also define your target customer. So, pick your words wisely when you describe your brand. Do you want to be quirky, serious, or fun?

Lastly, take good photos of your products. You don’t necessarily need a professional photo shoot. However, you at least need to have basic knowledge of photography.

Build A Simple And A Friendly Website

Your website will be your shopfront and the first point of contact with your customers. There are two easy ways to create a website. 

Let’s start with the easiest option;


If you don’t want to invest time in creating a website, Etsy would be the ideal platform for you as a starting point.


  • Established Audience: Etsy has a huge built-in customer base actively searching for unique, handmade items.
  • Easy to Set Up: Opening an Etsy shop is straightforward, requiring minimal technical knowledge.
  • Low Risk: There’s minimal upfront investment compared to starting your own online store.
  • Marketing and Tools: Etsy offers marketing tools and resources to help sellers manage their shops.
  • Global Reach: You can sell to customers worldwide and expand your potential market.
  • Supportive Community: Etsy has a seller platform that will help you get support from other sellers.


  • High Competition: Many sellers on Etsy means you’ll need to stand out from the crowd.
  • Increased Fees: Etsy charges various fees, including listing fees and a percentage of each sale.
  • Limited Control: You’re subject to Etsy’s policies and platform changes.
  • Building a Brand: It can be challenging to build brand recognition solely through Etsy.
  • Less Customer Data: You have limited access to customer data compared to your own website.


Shopify is a user-friendly platform that enables you to create your online store. You can pick one of their free templates and customise it. Also, you can manage transactions securely.


  • Easy to Use: Shopify is designed for beginners with a user-friendly interface and drag-and-drop functionality.
  • Great Features: From product listings and inventory management to built-in marketing tools and SEO features, Shopify offers a comprehensive suite of features for e-commerce businesses.
  • App Store: Extend Shopify’s functionality with a vast app store offering everything from accounting and shipping to marketing and loyalty programs.
  • Reliable Hosting: Shopify takes care of server maintenance and security, allowing you to focus on running your business.
  • Payment Processing: Shopify Payments simplifies accepting payments, though transaction fees apply (except on higher plans).


  • Pricing: While Shopify offers a free trial, monthly plans can be expensive, especially for larger businesses.
  • Limited Customization: While themes offer design flexibility, extensive customisation may require coding knowledge.
  • App Costs: Many useful apps come with additional fees, adding to your overall monthly expenses.
  • No Email Hosting: Shopify doesn’t include email hosting, so you’ll need to use a separate provider for email marketing.
  • Transaction Fees: Unless you use Shopify Payments on a higher plan, you’ll pay transaction fees for each sale.
  • Difficult to Exit: Migrating your store away from Shopify to another platform can be complex.

Evolve Over Time:

Don’t just adapt—evolve. Regularly evaluate and make adjustments as your brand grows. It’s not just about staying relevant; it’s about staying uniquely you.

Here are  some user-friendly apps that are commonly used for designing branding. Include each app, which has features that make it easy for users to create professional-looking branding materials such as logos, social media graphics, and marketing materials.

Step 3: Promote Your Business

If you’re running a craft business, it’s important to showcase your products on different platforms to reach more people. Below are several platforms that you can consider using.

Social Media Platforms

Likes on Social Media for craft business

Instagram and Facebook are great for promoting and selling your crafts. On Instagram, you can share photos and short videos of your work to attract customers and use Instagram Shopping to make it easy for them to buy your products. 

With Facebook, setting up a business page allows you to connect with potential buyers, display your crafts, and use the Facebook Shop feature to sell directly to customers.

By using these platforms wisely, you can reach more people and boost sales for your craft business.

Marketplace Platforms & Craft Fairs:


Felt is a New Zealand-based online marketplace specifically designed for handmade goods, including crafts, art, and unique gifts. It provides a platform for local artisans to showcase and sell their products.

You might want to think about joining local craft fairs, markets, or pop-up events to connect with your community in person and give customers a chance to see your products up close.

Make sure to check with your city council or local charity groups to find out about other market opportunities in your area, along with the suggestions mentioned.

Upper North Island

Auckland – New Lynn Artisan Market – 1st Sunday of every month 

Cambridge – Bloom Collective Market – Every Sunday 

Lower North Island

New Plymouth – The Mill Market – Every Saturday

Wellington – Craft Central – dates on website

Upper South Island

Christchurch – Opawa Farmers Market – Every Sunday

Nelson – The Nelson Market – Every Saturday

Lower South Island

Queenstown – Creative Queenstown Arts and Crafts – Every Saturday

Queenstown – Remarkables Market – Every Saturday, summer

Local Boutiques and Shops:

Collaborate with local boutiques or specialty shops that align with your brand. Consignment arrangements or partnerships can help you display your crafts in physical stores. 

What Does Consignment Mean?  

Consignment is an arrangement in which goods are left in the possession of an authorised third party to sell. A consignment shop, for example, will sell items produced or supplied by someone else and pay them a portion of the profit.

That’s The End

Embarking on the journey of turning your crafty dreams into a booming business in New Zealand is an exciting venture filled with boundless potential for success. Remember to tailor your approach based on your target audience, product type, and business goals.

Combining multiple platforms can amplify your reach and increase the visibility of your craft business. Focusing on bringing your handmade treasures to the market allows you to enjoy the creative process fully.

By staying positive and embracing your creativity, you’re set to make your mark in the dynamic Kiwi business landscape, where endless possibilities exist. Transforming your passion into a thriving enterprise isn’t just a possibility –it’s an exhilarating opportunity waiting to unfold!

With hard work and determination, you can overcome any challenges and build a thriving business that you’re proud of. No one can say it will be an easy journey without any bumps. But trust the process. It will be totally worth it in the end.

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