top of page

Tips for starting a lampshade making business

It’s not only a New Year, but a new decade and as always January is a time to ring the changes and put fresh, exciting ideas into action. If you’ve been toying with the idea of taking your lampshade making to the next level and selling your shades, read on as we’ve packed this post with tips for getting started on your new decade resolution as well as information on our Lampshade making manufacturing packs, making sure you have everything you need to get started.

Before making the leap into running your lampshade business full time, it’s a good idea to trial your business idea as a ‘side hustle’ alongside your main role, whether that’s’ a job, being a parent or even being a volunteer. Or you may already be trading by selling at markets but want to make your business more official. Either way grab a notebook, a pen and a cuppa and get ready to take your first steps…

Realising your goals

Unfortunately, as with nearly all things the planning must come before the doing! It’s not the most exciting part of setting up a business, but is essential for future success and will be the foundation for your lampshade making business.

By writing out your goals for your business on just one sheet of A4 paper, you can crystalise 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.

· What finances do you need to have in place to get started? Thinking about start-up costs and a contingency plan are key.

· Where do you want your business to be by the end of 2020? This can be sales based and /or key stages of business development such as website and branding completed.

· How will your lampshade making business fit in around other commitments?

· What will starting your own business do you for your creativity and personal well-being?

To your goals and thinking further consider a workbook such as the Maker’s Yearbook 2020 which is written and designed to focus and help creative minds work towards a successful business and has helped thousands of businesses get on the right track – plus it’s pretty too!

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 be an available URL, 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 as who know where your business might go!

We’ve picked out these lampshade making businesses below with names that reflect different branding ideas:

Not linked to Lampshade making at all but totally unforgettable and equally fun!

Specialising in retro fabric shades Light Fandango is evocative of vintage fun!

Short, clean and contemporary, the name and logo immediately suggests design led stylish shades.

Using your name as the title of your business clearly defines you as the owner and give a personal touch

Finding 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 a freebies, you’re probably already some way to finding your market. But you’ll 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 décor 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.

Checking 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.

Picking your products

So you should be some way to setting up your Lampshade making business, but what about your actual lampshades and the materials you need to make them? That where we can help with our specially created Lampshade Business Start Up Pack, that allows you to get started making the most popular sizes of drum shades straight away.

Each pack includes all the components to make the following for just over £400, saving 20% on the individual manufacturing pack prices. Working out at an average of just £3.65 per shade it’s a great way to get your new lampshade making business off the ground!

50 x 20cm Drum Lampshades

30 x 30cm Drum Lampshades

30 x 40cm Drum Lampshades

Check out our You tube video below, which takes you through the full pack.

If you’re still testing your market and prefer to stick with one style of shade then all of our shades shapes and sizes come in individual manufacturing packs that include our rectangle, square, oval and empire line shades.

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!

1 comment

1 Comment

Elizabeth Makava
Elizabeth Makava
Jan 27, 2020

Thank you this was informative. I have started my business and wanted to hear your advice on taking orders versus just making stock of lampshades and selling what is already made

bottom of page