While a lot of focus has been spent on making money off hobbies there are cases where hobbies remain just that, hobbies. Great ways to pass time that have little or no intrinsic value to anyone but the individual engaged in them. People LOVE their hobbies and are willing to spend a lot of money on equipment and supplies that are used in their pursuit of them. If you smell opportunity here then you are definitely in the right place. So let’s talk about setting up a hobby supplies business and how you can make the most of it.
A hobby is an activity that one engages in regularly in their free time for their pleasure. Based on this definition just about anything could be a hobby and rightly so. To list a few that we can use to get our minds around the idea popular hobbies include cooking, hiking, exercise, books, comic books, painting, crocheting, collecting all sorts of things, origami, sport, games, brewing beer, bird watching, gardening and so many more.
So the idea of a hobby shop is to supply hobbyists with materials they need to excel at their chosen hobbies. Say for example someone’s hobby is cake art, there are many supplies required in cake art that are not available in conventional shops and people may have to look very far to find all the supplies they need and rarely find them in one place. The idea of a hobby shop is to find an underserved market, a group of hobbyists who have difficulty finding what they need. You step in and supply these items. Hobbyists are generally niche groups so while the market is not quite large it is lucrative, depending on the hobby. I know a shop that solely supplies knit and crochet items. The aforementioned baking supplies shop is also a real business.
Online selling has become essential given the times we are in and the pandemic we are faced with. However, when dealing with niche markets like hobbyists, online selling has been somewhat of a key to success long before the pandemic reared its ugly head. There’s a phenomenon called tail ending which in short is the use of the internet to connect otherwise scattered groups of people. If there are only 5000 people who partake in the hobby you target in Zimbabwe, the internet makes you available to all 5000 of them as opposed to just those geographically close to you.
Online despite all its virtues is not the be-all and end-all for hobby shops. A strong offline presence is also very useful for boosting the business. Not necessarily a full-time brick and mortar store but think more along the lines of a pop-up store that operates fortnightly or once a month and brings together hobbyists. The business is based on a community and you may find it well worth your time to invest in the community. Be sure to comply with regulations in regards to social distancing and numbers of people.
Another great idea you can add to the hobby shop is the subscription box idea. Say for example the hobbyists you have targeted are into growing herbs and spices for home use. Structuring a subscription that not only provides them regular information but also say, a herb of the month with seeds and instructions to grow them could be a big hit with such a group. Each group has its needs and likes and finding those out and working towards ideas that fulfil them could be a big hit. This requires a very deep understanding of the market.
Hobbyists make a great target market but it is very important one understands the hobby very well. To the average person, the difference between pectin and gelatin isn’t much but to the hobbyist who loves making homemade jams and preserves the gulf between them is massive. There are so many other examples that can illustrate this. The point is understanding the hobby deeply will help you cater to the market better.