Step-by-step Guide on how to start your Online Lampshade Business

Have you been thinking of taking your Lampshade Making to the next level and start selling your shades? We have huge practical experience so we have packed this page with a step-by-step guide on how you can set up your business and sell online from the comfort of your home. You can also give us a call for a friendly chat or email us at info@dannells.com

How much does it cost to start a Lampshade Business?

Starting a craft business doesn't need to be cripplingly expensive, especially if you’re starting with a small number of products.

We have put together this special start-up pack that puts you in business straight away enabling you to make small, medium and large lampshades with an additional 20% saving Click here for more details. 

You may want to set aside some cash for marketing, but remember that some of it can be done on a shoestring. Take a look at Simply Business guide to the most important concepts in online marketing for more.

Starting your Lampshade Business -  step by step

1. Planning & Realising your Goals

By writing out your goals for your business on just one sheet of A4 paper, you can crystallise what it is you want from your business and why. Try dividing your goals into key areas such as financial, aspirational, practical and creative and use the following questions as pointers. Make the goals short and sweet and even visual in a bullet journal style if it helps. 

2. Name of your game

Picking out a name for your lampshade making business can be tricky and ideally you’ll  need it to have the potential to become a strong brand (particularly if you hope your business will become your main job).

Secondly the name needs to have a Domain/URL available, which you can then buy. An easy way to check if it’s free is to use a URL checker such as 123.reg. Even if you’re not planning on a website at this point, it’s important to have the URL registered for further down the line. Dream big, who knows where your business might go! 

3. Sort the legal side

When starting any business, there are some important legal issues that you need to sort out immediately. One of the first questions is around legal structure. Many craft businesses in the UK are operated by sole traders, but other craft entrepreneurs choose to set up limited companies. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and you should consider speaking to an accountant or company registrar before making a decision. For some starting tips, read more about the differences between a sole trader and a limited company.

As a new business owner, you’ll also need to deal with HMRC. You’ll need to register as self-employed, and file your tax return and pay your tax bill (including Corporation Tax if you establish a limited company) according to the relevant tax deadlines for your business.

(extracted from SmallBusiness.com)

4. Find your market

Every product needs a market and will only be successful if it finds it. If you’re starting your side hustle because you’re fed up of making shades for friends as freebies, you’re probably already some way to finding your market. But you’ll  need more than just friends to create a thriving business. 

Fiona Pullen of The Sewing Directory and author of Making and Marketing a Successful Craft Business offers this advice:

Correctly identifying your market from the outset will save you a lot of time, money and heart ache in the long run. Many people as so excited by their business concept, and so keen to get up and running that are tempted to skip the planning and research stage. Avoiding this can make the difference between eventual success or failure for your business.

So what can you do to find your market?

Create a paper or online survey to ask your potential customer what type of lampshades they want, how much they would pay, whether they would pay more for a bespoke shade. You can even include questions on taste and home decor style. 

A useful tool is Survey Monkey which allows you send a survey of up to 10 question to 100 people for free. Remember your friends and family can be surveyed, but try to capture the thoughts of people outside your close circle too for honest opinions. 

5. Think about where you’ll sell

It's never been easier to design and sell your own products. You don't need to rely on orders from retailers. You can sell your products immediately through the online shopping channels like ebay, Etsy, Notonthehighstreet, Folksy, Amazon. 

You can also set up your own ecommerce website.  We highly recommend EKM.  EKM has helped over 80,000 businesses get online and grow their businesses and can provide a fully managed ecommerce service. Start a free trial using the link below:

Click here for  EKM 28 day Free Trial

6. Check the competition: 

In the world of social media it’s easy to find others who are selling lampshades, so consider yourself a super snoop and start to makes notes on what’s gaining likes and positive comments, but remember that likes do not equal sales! Pick out two businesses that are aligned in style of the shades you want to make and then pick a niche shade maker for a different perspective. 

Also take a look at what the high street has to offer. Large stores are still selling shades and it’s a good exercise to check out their price ranges and sizes, either online or in person to help inform your own prices and products. 

Need some inspiration?

Take a look behind the scenes at The Lampshade Company - a Colchester-based business selling high quality, unique lampshades to both domestic and commercial clients.
Starting from a spare bedroom in 2011, the Lampshade Company is now a full-time venture with a small team and some big plans for the future.

So hopefully by taking your passion for making shades and combining this with a little business know how, you’re now a few steps nearer to developing your lampshade making business. We've got everything crossed for you!