Young Upstarts

All about entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, ideas, innovation, and small business.

Should I Give Up My Job And Make Clay Knick-knacks?

“Hi Daniel,

I’m thinking of starting a pushcart with a friend, but have not done any detailed planning yet.

We are planning to sell some handmade knicknacks from clay, its targeted at kids and youngsters. We can have a small table to teach customers (children) how to make it themselves too. It will be something like those stalls selling colouring plates with coloured sands, or the colouring of gips(?) dolls.

Do you think there is a good business opportunity? And most probably what is the start up cost, like rental and manpower?

Is it possible to juggle the stall and office work? Both of us (are) currently working.” – Lilis

It’s great that you’re looking at starting a small business with a friend, but here are some things you may want to think about:

1. Revenue – You’re looking at two revenue streams – selling finished products and teaching children handicraft. With a pushcart you can do the first, but you’re unlikely to have enough space for the second. How much can you charge to cover the costs of raw materials, rental, your labour and hopefully make enough profit for two? I personally think this is going to be a tall order.

2. Business opportunity – Many people mistake a hobby for a potential business. Do you truly love making clay figurines, or is it just an excuse to get out of the daily grind? A business need to scale – hobbies don’t have to.

3. Juggling the stall and a job – There’s no way you can do this unless you only plan to open the stall on weekends. But doing this will be severely limiting. It also means that you’re not going to have much of a social life!

4. Friendship and business – Be very careful about mixing the two. I’ve heard too many horror stories of best friends turning into enemies over business partnerships.

My advice? Don’t do this unless you’re willing to stop your regular jobs and concentrate wholly on this. I’ve tried to juggle between my job and running a T-shirt business – it failed miserably!

What you can do, however, is this: start small. Take your capital and get raw materials. Create your clay products first. See how many you can create without getting bored so you can judge your production rate – and you can do this on your free time on weekends and during the night.

In the meantime, go around talking to pushcart operators who may be willing to carry your product and sell to them on a consignment basis. See how well it sells, and at what prices. As you refine your skill, judge for yourself how much of a business you can make out of this.

I hope this advice works for you.

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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  • Lilis

    Hi Daniel,

    Thank you a lot for your advice and suggestion once again. It helps me invaluably!

    I’m still an arts and crafts lover but becoming more ‘practical’ than ‘idealistic’ as before. I took your suggestion and started small on my own. I stretch my time and just started to sell my handmade item online to subsidy my hobby. I started it armed with my domestic sewing machine and pocket camera along with some suggestion from people around me.

    I often look at your blog for tips and opininions especially on your Professionalisms section. It’s a very good source. Your blog is growing fast and professionally done!

    Entrepreneurship is still far away for me. However, I hope one day I would be able to tell my self that I tried! Entrepreneur? Maybe not, but who knows I could call myseld indiepreneur soon.


    • Daniel

      Dear Lilis,

      I am very, very glad to hear that this blog has helped you along in your journey. Starting small is in itself a badge of courage – you’re already an entrepreneur!

      I wish you all the best, and thanks for being an ardent reader of Young Upstarts!


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