How to export handmade Pakistani handicraft

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For the longest time, labelling and classification have been accepted as part and parcel of a human’s daily life. But research now reveals a shift in sentiments. Consumers no longer want to be pigeonholed into predefined categories, seeking, instead, ways to express their individuality.

With the rise of this trend, the demand for one-of-a-kind items grows in tandem. This is reflected in figures shared by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), which indicates that between 67% and 76% of shoppers across different age groups seek unique products.

This change presents an exciting opportunity for artisans and business owners of handmade arts and handicrafts in Pakistan to expand their reach abroad. But where do you begin when it comes to selling Pakistani crafts? It all starts with understanding your export markets.

What and where to export handicrafts?

1. Decorative items

When it comes to decorative pieces, consumers in China have demonstrated a deep appreciation for the exquisite Islamic flowers and animals and gem-inlaid decorations in Pakistani arts and crafts. Meanwhile, the raw materials used in these handicrafts, such as the famous Pakistani jade and gems, also resonate well with them. With these advantages, artisans and business owners in Pakistan stand a good chance of gaining a strong foothold if they sell homemade decorative things to the China market.

2. Carpets

Carpet making has flourished as one of Pakistan's most significant craft industries, boasting an impressive export rate of over 90%. Among the prominent importers of Pakistani woven carpets are the United States, Germany, and Japan. As such, handicraft artisans and small business owners specialising in handmade carpets and rugs can consider venturing into these markets to take advantage of the established pool of discerning customers.

3. Handmade textiles, embroidery, and apparel

Pakistan's textile industry stands as the cornerstone of its manufacturing sector, representing over 60% of total exports. As major textile-importing countries experience declining inventories, demand for Pakistani products increases, creating favourable prospects for handmade textile exports and raw materials, such as embroidery and cotton yarn.

Among the various trade partners, China, Europe, and Japan are the top importers of cotton yarn business owners and artisans can look to work with, while textile sales are mainly attributed to Bangladesh, Italy, Turkey, and Portugal.

4. Ceramic products and tiles

Ceramics and glazed tiles represent another famous handicraft item from Pakistan. While traditionally used for the exterior decoration of mosques in the country, these tiles have also found an appreciative audience among foreign consumers.

Notably, countries such as the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Japan, South Korea, and Ireland rank among the top importers. This opens up opportunities for Pakistan’s artisans and business owners to export goods to new territories.

Craft export process

The global demand for homemade arts and crafts presents exciting opportunities for Pakistani artisans and business owners. However, careful planning and adherence to regulations are required for you to sell your handmade items successfully. For starters, you can familiarise yourself with the things required by your target market, which include compliance with the following:

  • General product safety: Products must meet the applicable standards that demonstrate that they are safe for consumers’ use.
  • Labelling: Labels should provide information regarding the nature and characteristics of the item, such as the country of origin and manufacturer’s identity. 
  • Special requirements: Licences, certification or compliance with additional standards may be required for specific items, such as leather goods and children’s and baby wear.
  • ISO, GB standards and test results: These will be specified by the customs authority of the destination country.

Nonetheless, each jurisdiction may have additional market-specific requirements, and it is advisable to always double-check against the official customs website before you export your handmade items.

Customs clearance

Besides ensuring that your handicraft items comply with the requirements of your target market, preparing all the necessary customs clearance documents is equally vital for a smooth export experience. Generally, the standard shipping documents are:

  • Commercial invoice
  • Proforma invoice
  • Air waybill
  • Packing list
  • Bill of Lading
  • Certificate of origin
  • Import licence or permit

When it comes to indicating the value of your crafts, you can comprehensively consider the following factors:

  • Cost of materials used: This includes the cost of supplies and tools or equipment used to produce the craft.
  • Profit markup: This typically ranges from five to 20%.
  • Labour: You can establish a fixed hourly rate for yourself before evaluating the amount of time spent on crafting each item and performing additional supportive tasks, such as preparing shipments, marketing, and web design.
  • Overhead expense: This includes additional costs involved in operating your business.

International shipping options for Pakistani handicraft

In the last phase of your export process, you may wonder how to ship your fragile handicraft goods to international markets efficiently. When exporting large handmade items, such as decorative gifts and craft screens, sea shipping may be ideal as it reduces the shipping fees, encouraging more prospective customers to make a purchase. Meanwhile, air shipping offers an express mode of delivery that brings several advantages to your business.

For example, The State of Shipping Report, 2022 showed that an overwhelming 90% of consumers believed shipping should take less than five business days. By prioritising fast and dependable deliveries, you can not only meet these expectations but also enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty, fostering positive relationships that have long-term benefits. This is corroborated by Zendesk, which shared that 81% of customers are more likely to make repeat purchases after a positive customer experience.

Empower your craft export journey with express deliveries

By picking the right logistics service provider, you not only enable your business to tap into the demand for handmade Pakistani handicrafts but also strengthen your position in the competitive market by delivering enhanced customer service. And this is where collaboration with DHL Express shines.

With our rich expertise and robust global delivery network, you can rely on DHL Express to guide you through the intricacies of customs clearance and provide shipping solutions for swift and secure deliveries worldwide. With DHL Express handling the logistics, you can concentrate on showcasing your exquisite arts and crafts on the international stage, confident that your exports will always reach their destinations quickly and seamlessly.

Open a DHL Express business account today to start harnessing the power of logistics to propel your handicraft business forward.