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WAHM > Stay at Home Mom Work Ideas > Selling a Service > Start an Art Supply Business from Home

Start an Art Supplies Business

Artists need art supplies. You can sell supplies online, through direct sales or supply other stores with unique supplies.

By providing supplies online, it's easy for customers to order so they can focus on creating their art.

Most artists also go through the same supplies over and over again and it's the perfect opportunity for recurring customers.

What you will be doing.  Offer a line of art supplies to schools, daycare centers, summer camps, churches, and etcetera. 

Purchase the items from wholesale dealers who sell in bulk at a good price.  Deciding who you will cater to with your supplies, will determine where you will begin the search when looking for suppliers. 

Art supplies encompass a large variety of items.  If you choose to concentrate on colleges, the bulk of your supplies may consist of canvases, palettes, acrylic paints, and a number of different brush types, easels, and chairs.  These supplies are needed to stock an art studio where students will be working to hone their skills. 

An art supplier for schools will have more room to maneuver when it comes to stock.  Crayons, smocks, clay, finger paints, tissue paper, and the like are needed when teaching children about art.  Depending on the number schools that use your business, the amount of money that can be made is limitless.

How to start.  Do the homework.  Checking with wholesalers and getting their catalog will give you an idea of what you can stock without blowing your savings.  If you don’t have a lot of money, use a business plan model to determine the start up costs and apply for a business loan from the local bank.  Include clear concise information that the lender can follow.   

If you don’t want to go the loan route right away, try purchasing items on consignment.  Once the items are sold, a payment is made for them to the consignment wholesaler.  Once enough money is received into the business, pay for stock upfront. 

Start up costs.  Costs range from a few hundred to a few thousand depending on what supplies you want to carry. 

Easels and canvases will be expensive to stock.  As a beginner, stock items that all art supply buyers will need:  pencils, sketch books, paints, smocks, and brushes, for a start. 

These items are not as expensive and will likely be reordered over and over due to frequency of use. 

Any business needs equipment to get started.  If you don’t own a computer, one will be needed for bookkeeping, invoicing, and Internet use.  A telephone, printer/copier, and fax machine will help begin and expand your business. 

Skills needed.  Someone selling art supplies should have a working knowledge of the art industry.  When speaking to suppliers and potential clients, it is comforting to them when their supplier knows what they are talking about.  Knowledge of the Internet is helpful if you plan to advertise there.    

Marketing.  Work on getting a list of schools, daycares, after school programs, and college addresses and phone numbers.  Attaching business cards to flyers makes it easy to contact you.  Flyers can be put in mailboxes at the before mentioned places. 

If you belong to any online forums, advertise your new business venture there.  Your own website can be created to showcase your inventory and tell a bit about what art supplies you specialize in.  Having a list of wholesalers who are willing to work with you, allow you to fill large orders without having to ship the merchandise yourself. 

Art supplies are used in many places, including the home.  Determine the niche that best fits your area and use it to make maximum profit.  Don’t be afraid to start small.  Gaining a client’s confidence could lead to larger orders later.

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