Starting a successful craft business takes a lot of work – just ask Paulius Jančiukas.
He’s the founder of Baltic Blades, his own craft business that produces handmade, bespoke knives that he is now selling online.
If you want to know how to start a craft business, the secret is dedication, passion, and a few extra tips and tricks.
Here is the inside track on how to start a craft business from a real Zyro Small Business Hero.
My online craft business started out as just a hobby
I’m a programmer — a soft-handed developer who sits in front of a screen and presses buttons all day.
My day job is about creating digital products, and sometimes it’s tough to precisely grasp what you are making and how it impacts people’s lives.
So, I wanted to start something that made me feel connected.
At my regular job, I affect millions of users every time I publish my code. But, when I create a knife for a person, it’s a totally practical object they can use in their everyday lives.
You have this instant feedback where someone takes my product into their hands, uses it, and for me, it’s like, wow, this is something I made entirely by myself. It’s crazy.
I believe it’s another half of the love of my life. I have a passionate hobby where I can do whatever I want in the way I want.
As a new craft business owner feedback is your friend
I love feedback. If you want to improve your skills in the crafting business or just your crafting skills, generally, you need to have feedback.
Personally, the feedback that I really love is when people send me pictures of my knives in action.
It’s the personal touch where I can see my customers using my products in their own home that reminds me why I love crafting.
Knives are objects that we learn to use from a very young age. It’s like an extension of your arm—a totally practical object, which is a manifestation of your thought.
There are a lot of knives out there that you could classify as art – jewelry style knives. They look so beautiful, but you know that the knife will live on somebody’s shelf forever and never get used.
For me, that’s fine, but I want to encourage people to create things too. Whether it is preparing food or going camping in nature, it’s an amazing thing.
It sounds funny, but I really love it when people send me a message telling me that they just cut their finger or they used my knife to make something of their own – and it’s great for social media too.
Handmade business is tough. I had to learn everything from scratch
I grew up in a very small village – we are talking single digits.
So, when I was a child, even something like sharpening a stick was always a fun task, so I’ve always loved making things, but creating my own online craft business is a different story.
It started with me and my buddies going camping. We went on survival trips, and you always need a knife. So I got interested, and then I started doing my research.
I was watching knife-making videos on YouTube, and all I saw were these huge contraptions that are obviously super expensive, and I came away thinking – can one man make a knife?
My first thought was, “damn, I need hundreds of thousands of dollars to make that happen. There has to be another way.”
That was three and a half years ago now, and to this day, I’m still watching YouTube videos. There is no knife-making school, no knife-making anything. Everybody in the business is self-taught.
So, you just have to do it. When I realized that, it became clear to me that there was nothing stopping me, and I started the very next week.
I made my first knife in two days
One of the inspiring things about starting your own craft business is that you don’t need any qualifications to do it.
Anyone who wants to know how to start a craft business just needs the passion to do it and the strength always to keep improving because when you get started, there is a lot to learn, and you won’t be perfect from day one.
When I started, I went home to my village, and I made my first knife in two days. For the first knife – it’s impossible, it was terrible, I mean really, super ugly.
Still, you have to start somewhere, and it’s part of the philosophy that has been important to me as I have learned how to start a craft business.
You plan everything, make everything, and always finish the product even if you know you have made mistakes.
Afterward, I look at it and think about what went wrong with it and how I can improve and iterate in the next production cycle.
I wanted to be more agile. Create fast and learn from the experience. So it’s actually a little bit similar to how we do it as programmers, and that’s how we conquer the learning curve.
If you want to start an online craft business or any type of craft business for that matter, you have to accept that at the very beginning, you are going to fail – you need to be honest with yourself if you want to improve.
If you want to turn a hobby into a business, then you need the right tools
It’s one thing learning how to start a craft business but transitioning into a successful online craft business is a different story.
Honestly, though, it’s not as difficult as you might think. The key is to focus on what you need at different stages of your business structure and craft business plan.
Personally, at my level, I don’t even have an online store yet – that’s coming soon, and I know I’ll need one as my business grows to attract customers, but for now, I am happy to say that I have a reasonably successful business with a very simple website.
Zyro made it so easy to get set up online
Being a programmer, I really don’t want to program after work – I just don’t, I want it to be easy, no-hassle, but I still want to use a quality platform, so Zyro was the perfect solution.
I looked at all the competitors, and Zyro had the most amazing prices.
I knew that starting a successful online craft business would take some time. Still, I didn’t necessarily have the resources to commit to an expensive plan – especially for new business owners like me. Every cent makes a difference – Zyro is so affordable that I didn’t even have to think about it. I bought a two-year plan straight away.
And it’s really so easy. I don’t need to spend time worrying about what to do with my website, I just open Zyro and I drag and drop.
With Zyro, the hardest thing about making a website is the content – there are even tools like the AI writer, which can create text for you until you work out precisely what you want to say. It’s a great solution in the meantime.
My website gave me a solid foundation to find success
Honestly, it’s wonderful. If any potential customers have questions, I know that I can direct them to my website.
It’s really streamlined my business structure. My favorite thing is that I can create hidden pages which I can send out to my customers with detailed information about their knife – it would be too much content to have on my homepage, but it was so important when I started selling online.
Building a relationship with your customers is essential when you have a small craft business, and my website makes it so simple to take care of the little things like aftercare for the product.
Before, I used to have to do everything by email, and now, I have everything in one place.
Coming from a programming background, I know how difficult it is to do small things that people don’t even notice, like making a website work on all browsers.
So, when I see features like the Zyro roadmap where you can submit ideas for features that you want to see, and you can submit direct feedback about a product, with the understanding that the developers are actually going to try to create it – I’m blown away.
For a small side business project like mine, my spare time is really important.
You need to learn the craft and think about your product and how you will position it, market it, price it. It’s a lot to learn. Having this simple website builder really helps save time and makes me a better knife maker because I can spend it focusing on improving my skills and transforming my passion into a successful online craft business.
My next step is to create a store with Zyro
I can totally see how I need to change my website as I’m changing my business.
For craft businesses like mine, there are essentially two routes that you can follow – making totally custom items that are very specific to somebody’s needs or production work with little to no customization.
In the future, I want to use an online shop to automate simpler products so that I can focus on custom pieces where I can express my passions.
To do that, I need to upgrade my Zyro plan to include eCommerce, and I know it will be straightforward.
When I got started online, I knew that I just needed to create a very simple website, very fast so that I could start getting found online and start my business.
Now, I’m ready to take the next step with Zyro and create an online shop for my own business. I know that with Zyro, I will be able to start selling more while also having the time to keep those personal relationships with my customers and that is so important to me.
It’s not expensive to upgrade, and it is the perfect way to scale your business without having that stress of thinking about whether or not I can afford it.
Baltic Blades is my passion. I don’t need it to be stressful.
I want to chill and have great interactions with great people about the things that I love to make, and for me, Zyro is all about removing that negative stuff and helping people to follow their dreams online.