You Do *What* for a Living?! Nichest of the Niche Commercial Creatives

September 14, 2016


Some commercial creatives succeed by offering a range of varied services, but many achieve success by specializing in a untapped creative niche where there’s steady demand and fewer competitors. By honing in on a highly specific segment of the market, these creative professionals get to know their ideal customer and target their marketing efforts to that niche instead of trying to be all things to all people. This also helps them build a specialized skillset that can command higher rates and boost referrals.

To help get the creative juices flowing and spark some ideas for specific niches, we’ve uncovered some niche business ideas for creative professionals.

1. Special-Interest Creatives

As customers demand corporate accountability and seek out businesses that reflect their values, many socially conscious businesses want like-minded marketers to help communicate their message. Some web designers and copywriters now market themselves with values such as veganism. Similarly, other copywriters have carved out niches writing for specific industries such as wine, ice hockey and horses and some web developers and designers cater to industries such as small law firms, restaurants and even animal hospitals.

2. Food Stylist

That perfectly swirled ice cream cone or juicy steak that appears effortless in a magazine spread or billboard probably took hours for a food stylist to make it look just so. Olga Truchan of Toronto has been in the food styling business for almost 40 years.

3. Personal Historian

For families who want their memories preserved for generations to come, a personal historian can research or interview your family and document your family stories in formats including book, video or online. The Association of Personal Historians website has a directory of personal historians that is searchable by format.

4. Muralist

Muralists create large-scale paintings indoors or out in settings including yoga studios, toy stores, restaurants, amusement parks, private homes. The website Find a Muralist contains a directory of muralists around the world.

5. Jingle Writer

Somebody has to write catchy little jingles for car manufacturers, fast food joints and other brands. A good jingle writer is versatile enough to create music in virtually any genre. South Florida-based Write Me a Jingle is one example of a company providing this service.

6. Wedding Story Writer

You’ve heard of a wedding photographer or videographer to capture visuals from a wedding, but a wedding story writer like Michelle McMurray de Lucas will document the big day in words and create a keepsake book.

7. Faux Finish Artist

Faux finish artists use their artistic skills to mimic to look of brick, distressed wood, marble or other finishes. Washington-based artist Patty Makatura has a section of her website devoted to faux finishes.

8. Fixer

Journalists who work who outside the U.S. sometimes hire themselves out as fixers, helping foreign journalists, publications and production companies find the expert sources they need, scout locations and otherwise navigate an unfamiliar location. For instance, Petra Krischok is a researcher, journalist, fixer and translator based in Berlin, Germany.

9. Kid’s Party Character

Kids love super heroes and Disney characters, so naturally some parents throwing a birthday party or other celebration for their kids are willing to pay a pretty penny to have Belle, Superman or Elsa make a special appearance. Fairytale Entertainment in Clarkston, Michigan is just one example of this trend. Meanwhile, real-life swimming mermaids like Mermaid Linden in Los Angeles or celebrity impersonators like the ones at Los Angeles-based Tribute Productions now appear at corporate events, kid’s parties and other celebrations.

10. Elopement Planner

Weddings are a multi-billion dollar business worldwide. But not everyone wants the pricey trappings of a large traditional wedding, so elopement planners help couples plan a stylish, intimate elopement. For instance, The Elopement Collective in Australia will handle all the details of an elopement or just do the boring paperwork part.

11. Pet Portrait Artist

Pet parents love to show off cute photos of their four-legged friends, so pet portraits are a natural extension of that pride. Bryce Dishongh of Coat and Tails in Austin, Texas is one example of visual artists catering to this niche. Pet photographers like Allison Shamrell of San Diego provide a similar service but with professional photos.

Coat and Tails / Commercial Creatives

An example of the work of Coat and Tails.

12. Medical Illustrator

Medical illustrators have a dual background in visual art and life science. Working with doctors, scientists and other members of the medical community, they create visual representations of the human anatomy and medical conditions for textbooks, medical journals, patient education programs and other formats. The Association of Medical Illustrators has more information on its website. Some medical illustrators get even more specific in their focus; for instance, Sawchyn Medical Illustration focuses on veterinary medical illustration.

13. Cardboard Engineer

Cardboard engineering is a specific focus within package design. London-based freelance cardboard engineer Thomas Forsayeth has been in the business since 1999, using corrugated, paper, plastic and other materials to create eco-friendly packaging for a range of products.

Thomas Forsayeth / Commercial Creatives

An example of the work of Thomas Forsayeth.

14. Board Game Illustrator

Board games have made a comeback in recent years, spurring demand for illustrators to create a distinctive visual identity for each game, including the game box, board and any playing cards or expansion packs associated with the game. Washington-based illustrator Beth Sobel specializes in board game illustration

Beth Sobel / Commercial Creatives

An example of the work of Beth Sobel.


about the author

Freelance Contributor Freelance journalist Susan Johnston Taylor covers entrepreneurship, small business and lifestyle for publications including The Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur and FastCompany.com. Follow her on Twitter.