Selling your own homemade crafts can be the casual extension of a beloved hobby or turn into a full-time job. Good planning and an understanding of your options will help you to make a profit and provide a good experience for customers.
Creating a Product
If you aren't sure what you want to sell, do some research as to which crafts are within your interests, skill level and ability to resource.
- Look at what materials are available for reasonable prices in your area.
- Decide how much you want to invest in your craft. Some crafts need expensive, specialized equipment.
- Consider making materials for others to refine into finished crafts. For example, you could sell hand-dyed wool rather than a finished blanket.
You'll have to be able to produce your items at a reasonable quality and consistent standard every time. Remember to factor in the time needed to learn or improve your skill-set to a professional standard.
Where you sell your products depends largely on your target audience. Find out where potential buyers shop, and you will know where to sell your goods.
- A store on an online market or auction site, such as Etsy or eBay, is easy to set up, but you will be one among millions of other sellers.
- Your own website will reflect your brand completely, but it takes time, money and expertise to set it up and run it.
- Craft fairs are an excellent means of exposure, but they can be expensive, time-consuming and require the ability to sell in person.
- Selling your crafts in established local stores and galleries is ideal, but it can be difficult to find a willing vendor.
Many people end up selling their crafts in multiple places. They might place a few items on eBay, as well as on a website with a full gallery, and still make occasional trips to big craft markets.
No matter how exquisite your items, they will not sell without good marketing. This doesn't necessarily mean traditional advertising.
- Word of mouth is the best way to generate sales. You can create it by exceeding expectations and giving customers the best possible experience.
- Use social media as a means to connect with people. It can be a wonderful tool, but should not be used to spam potential customers.
- If you are selling or advertising your items online, good photos can make the difference between a best-seller and a flop.
- Targeted advertising is much more effective than a scatter-shot approach. Figure out where your customers go and what will intrigue them.
Even casual craft sellers need to have a grip on the business side of things.
- To determine pricing, first investigate the selling prices of similar crafts for sale in your area or at an online marketplace.
- Determine how much it costs you to produce a single item. Take into account everything that goes into production, including packaging materials, marketing time and costs and production time. Once you have a base figure, and the average price of similar crafts nearby, you can determine the mark-up price.
- Start slow with your inventory. Don't spend excess money or space on items until you have a grip on how well they are going to sell. Market research can help with this, but experience is the true teacher.
- Make it easy for customers to complete a purchase. Get a friend to go through your checking-out process to ensure you've set it up properly.
- Check your legal obligations regarding tax and business licensing with your local Department of Revenue.
Often, items intended for children, or as cosmetics or consumables, will have very strict laws surrounding their sale. Make sure you are aware of these before you start selling.