15 Things to Know When Starting a Small Business

NOV 25, 2017 updated Jun 2, 2021

Over the past (almost!) 10 years, the Spoonflower community has grown into a family of designers, crafters and makers. You could consider Spoonflower a melting pot of talent where one artist’s strength in design supports another artist’s strength in making. We love seeing these collaborations grow and we’ve even gotten to know some of the small business owners on a personal level through the Meet the Maker series on the blog. If you’ve ever considered taking the steps to owning your own business, you won’t want to miss these words of wisdom our maker community is sharing today! 

Meet the Maker: Elisabeth Wing of Wingmade

Meet the Maker: Jane Newham of Doops Designs
Meet the Maker: Maddie Flanigan of Madalynne
Meet the Maker: Annie Casale of WRAREDOLL
Meet the Maker: Ashley Alexis McFarlane of Omi Woods
Meet the Maker: Elisabeth Wing of Wingmade
Meet the Maker: Zoë Linn Anderson
Meet the Maker: Maddie Flanigan of Madalynne
Meet the Maker: Yaling Hou Suzuki of Flowie
Meet the Maker: Tina Dixon Spence of Buddha Babe

Meet the Maker: Cinne Worthington of C.Banning Accessories

As we’ve read in the many Meet the Maker interviews, there’s one thing we’ve learned from everyone: it’s not always sunshine and rainbows when you are your own boss.

Meet the Maker: Cheryl Oldon of Ollie Jones Clothing
Meet the Maker: Jen and Madeleine Anderson of Gigy Bags
Meet the Maker: Kathryn Zaremba

If you’re thinking of starting your own business, or maybe you are already on the journey, just remember these words from Bethan Ludlam of Lsea Swim when times get tough:

Bonus! Now that you’ve learned 15 tips from the Spoonflower maker community, it’s time to learn how to craft your business with Spoonflower

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  • Ever since I came across spoonflower, I developed a new passion for surface pattern designs. I was a student back then and I always found my inspiration in colors and patterns from spoonflower.

  • Finding Spoonflower was the key in launching my own small business. Custom printed fabrics in designs by very talented artists is everything that I could have ever needed. It’s opened up a world of options for me to find my brand’s voice and image.

  • Make sure you know the legal requirements, if any, for your business. Many people don’t know that there are federal safety regulations for all children’s products! Sadly, this is an area that most legal professionals know nothing about. The CPSC website is a great place to start for small businesses and the FTC has labeling information for textile products in their Threading Your Way through the Labeling Requirements document. There is a great FB group that helps break down this information: US Product Safety Compliance.

    As far as taxes and business registration, make sure you vet your professional. There are many out there who don’t know how small handmade businesses operate and don’t know how to handle inventory (anything that goes into making a product), which is considered an asset.

    • Hi Carolyn,
      Thanks so much for sharing these helpful business tips and resources!
      -Meredith from Spoonflower

  • THANK you, When your older, like me…..I feel Froze in ideas…running every wher,in my mind,I love the challanges here,I write dates themes,yet it seems each time,i start….Its over! Anty tips on ….
    getting focused ” my art is useless if I cant use it…..
    please note/my website is not proper- over year still cant get navagation to work correctly….And my actual Face Book I cannot get in, its been years? WHY/ why? does this happen, might It be hijacked? please share if possible,and you find time to……

    Every one seems to be so organized, know how to approach and set goals. I Love all of what I see here At Spoon Flower…….
    yous allways have such good Shares, Is there a group that helps each other stay focused?
    For over 5 years,possibly more, No matter what I try, my Mobile devices, arent reliable, I have used ,color tab type stuff all wrong, And Does most of you mazing designers all use Adobe Ilustrator? How About AutoDesk?
    well….I pray, I get to enter some challange, and , understand what is it ,that I get so off centered…..
    linda ann

    • Hi Linda Ann,

      Thanks so much for stopping by the blog! The Spoonflower community is a great place to find inspiration and we suggest taking a look at the Spoonflower Fans group on Facebook to connect with other designers. To learn more about our weekly design challenges, please click here!

  • Anne Dykstra

    I’m so excited to have found Spoonflower! A mother of 5 who is now an empty nester. Finding Spoonflower has sparked my engine and my creative juices !!!! I’m placing my first order tonight. This project will be one of 31 Projects that I’m doing in July. I’m challenging myself to to grow , develop, learn new skills and techniques as well as to meet my goal each day to complete the project. One project each day, SEW WHAT!

    • Hi Anne,
      We’re so happy to have you! Please let us know how your 31 projects go.

      Meredith from Spoonflower

  • Hi. I have recently ‘stumbled across’ Spoonflower, and I am mesmerised by the fabrics, designs, creative ideas and posts. I love the website.
    I live in the UK, and whilst I acknowledge international posting is an option, does anyone reading this have any experience of such as ordering etc., because as far as I can see there is nothing similar here in the UK?

  • Terri RaFalik

    Spoonflower is always a source for great ideas. Thanks for keeping that creative spirit alive in me.

  • I love Spoonflower!!!
    Today, once again , I wish I could purchase some fabric I love. That day is coming!!! I cannot wait for my first Spoonflower purchase.
    Thank you for your great posts. I eagerly read everyone and dream.

  • All of these are great pieces of knowledge, but I did give quite a laugh with \”polish your math skills\”, cause yeah, I had to polish mine real good!