It pays to know where to sell. Online platforms for craft sellers charge anywhere from a tiny commission or per-listing fee to significant membership fees. Before diving headlong into a craft-selling endeavor, know the lay of the land, understand who charges what and spend at least a few hours comparing the different sales sites.
Find an Inexpensive Retail Solution
Using Etsy is simple and straightforward. There are no upfront fees except a 20-cent listing fee for each item. Once an item sells, you pay a 5% transaction fee. On Shopify, you pay a $29 membership fee and 2% transaction fee but no listing fees. Amazon’s pricing situation is a bit more complicated, but most professional sellers end up paying about 13% of an item’s price as a sales commission as well as a $39.99 membership fee. Remember, online selling platforms change their prices and conditions often, so be sure to check out not just the three mentioned above but others before you decide on your main selling channel. A tip: if you’re like a lot of crafters and want to start small and test the waters, consider either Etsy or Shopify. They tend to have very low expenses for new sellers of homemade crafts.
Locate Your Consumer Base
Finding your audience can be one of the most challenging aspects of selling homemade crafts. Too often, sellers spend too much time on creating items and not enough on the marketing side of the business. What are some of the smartest ways to discover who your customer base is? You’ve probably heard of Google AdSense and similar pay-to-play marketing channels. They can be effective ways to generate profits by paying for clicks or paying direct commissions for referrals. Don’t forget about other marketing strategies though. Using social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook is a free way to get your wares in front of people. Experiment with several marketing methods until you find one that is a good fit for your customer demographic. If, for example, you sell primarily to elderly customers, social media might not be the most effective approach. Or, if most of your customers are college students, then flea markets likely won’t be a place where you’ll make the bulk of your sales. After you build a loyal customer base, remember that young and old buyers often want to be texted or messaged about special bargains. In fact, nine in 10 consumers report that they’d prefer to be contacted via a text or messaging app.
Take Excellent Photos
Take a series of top-quality photos of all your products. If you don’t have the ability to do this chore yourself, hire someone to do it. Clear, interesting pictures are everything in online selling. Spend a few minutes at a site like Etsy or Amazon and look at how a few of the top craft sellers present their wares. They invariably have beautiful photos taken from multiple angles. Do this task right, and you’ll have a much better chance of earning a profit.
Use Free Samples to Fine-tune Products
Don’t go overboard here, but when you come up with a new product, give a sample to a few testers whose opinions you value. Of course, this technique works best if your items are small and not too pricey. But even if you sell homemade quilts, assemble a go-to group of five or six people who will give you honest critiques of anything you show them. You can use their feedback to make changes to an item or decide to completely revamp it before selling it to your larger following.
Don’t Neglect In-Person Sales Outlets
Remember that there are places other than the internet to sell crafts. Places like flea markets, local art stores, yard sales and various face-to-face marketing channels can be lucrative outlets for building up your customer base, especially when you’re just starting out.
As with so many other businesses, when it comes to selling homemade crafts, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. A lot depends on how much time you’re willing to devote to the pursuit, what kinds of items you want to sell and who the competition is in that segment of the market.
If you’re looking for supplies for your next DIY crafting project, check out our selection!