6 ways to run a product-based business in a small space

There will never be a right time or place to start the business idea you have. If you have a dream, chase it! When I started b.e.happe we were living in a sticks and bricks home, I had an entire bedroom for my office, shelves for the finished knit pom pom and crochet slouch hats, storage cubes for the wool blend yarn and a standing desk! b.e.happe was a hobby, side hustle, whatever you want to call it in 2019 when we sold our Iowa home to travel the U.S. in an RV. In the past three years, b.e.happe has grown more than I could have ever imagined. Yes, there are certainly limitations that I run into with running a product-based, handmade knit hat business in a small space, but when you are chasing your dreams of traveling to focus on time together and showing your children the country, you make it work. 

Here are some ways that I maximize storage and running a business in an RV:

Write down what you need.

What is the bare minimum that you need to start or run this business? Do you need an actual office with a desk or do you need a space that is clear for zoom meetings? What equipment do you actually need? My must haves for running my handmade knit and crochet hat business:

Automate or Electronic Services

Apps or electronic services not only save you time but also makes life simpler.

  • Shipstation
  • Quickbooks
  • Google Docs/Sheets
  • Dropbox


Use the vertical space

I use a cabinet in the kitchen for my office space. I use clear, stackable containers so that I can see my knit hat tags, crochet tools, and other items I need. I also use shelf racks to create more space. When you have a cabinet you want to make the most out of what space you have and adjustable cabinet shelves are great for that! The walls- what items can you hang from the walls? I use command strips and hang a large desktop calendar on the wall where I keep track of what hats need to be made and write down deadlines. 

Open Space 

We purchased this RV knowing I already had a business so we definitely did consider the storage + rig weight when we purchased. Our King size bed lifts up and has storage underneath so all the yarn goes under there. I know the maximum amount of yarn I can carry for under the bed. The crawl through space in the RV is quite big. Like with the under bed storage, I have figured out how many knit pom pom and crochet slouch hats I can carry based off weight and space. 

Logistics

In the almost three years of traveling the U.S. we have only had one place that accepting packages was not possible. It takes some coordination with supplies and my team to determine where we will be so that packages can be sent but like I said before you make it work. I love using Google Sheets, I use the spreadsheet to plan what yarn I need for each hat, who is making the hat and the deadline for the hats. The documents can be shared and updated from my team. b.e.happe is very focused on supporting small businesses so I do have to say that getting yarn, supplies, tags, and all other things that I need to run my knit and crochet hat business, small businesses are willing to go the extra mile with our shipping situation. 

Declutter

Less is more, especially in a small space. When you start with the bare minimum, it will feel like a much larger space when you have less clutter. 

No matter what you situation is, if you have an idea or a dream to do something, just do it. If you fail then at least you can say that you tried and if you succeed, you have a wonderful story to tell.