If you enjoy making bags, bracelets, bath bombs or anything else, why not turn your hobby into a part-time or full-time business?
There are several different ways to do this. Experiment with a few to find out which one delivers the best results for the unique products you create.
Many people interested in buying unique, handcrafted items enjoy browsing at craft fairs.
Start by selling your products at a few local fairs. Calculate your profit at each fair by subtracting your costs from your sales.
Ask other craftspeople to recommend other fairs. Once you’ve had tables or booths at a number of craft fairs over the course of a year, you’ll know which fairs are worth participating in again.
Larger craft fairs may attract many more visitors than smaller fairs, but the cost of selling at larger fairs is usually much higher. Before deciding to sell your wares at a large craft fair some distance away, calculate the total costs of doing so, including:
· Transportation costs, such as the cost of gas to travel to and from the fair, and a hotel room, if you need to stay overnight.
· The cost of hiring a booth. Which size of booth would be best for you, given the type of items you sell and the amount of stock you have? To keep costs down, hire the smallest booth that meets your needs or share a booth with another artisan who sells complementary items.
· Total additional costs. Some large craft fairs charge extra for such services as electricity, lighting, and cabinets. Find out in advance what your extra costs are likely to be. They may be a lot more than you expect.
If your costs won’t be too high and you decide that selling at a large fair might be worthwhile, go ahead and see how it goes. You’ll then be in a better position to decide whether it would be a good idea to sell at larger fairs in future.
Stores selling gifts, greeting cards, jewelry, clothing, accessories, and other items may be interested in selling your handcrafted goods.
Some stores let you place your products free of charge in return for commission on each item sold. Other stores offer you shelf space in return for a monthly fee.
Discuss the exact terms and conditions with each retailer, so that you know exactly where you stand.
Start by placing items with several different retailers, and after a few months, see which outlets have achieved the highest sales. Focus on selling larger numbers of goods through these stores in future.
The world’s largest online marketplace is still eBay. It’s a good place to experiment with selling your handcrafted goods, especially if you’ve never sold online before.
If you achieve encouraging results, continue selling on eBay and consider opening an eBay store.
If your results are less than encouraging, consider moving to an online marketplace that specializes in selling handmade items or the type of items you make, so that you can connect more easily with potential customers who are looking for unique products like yours.
Online marketplaces allow you to sell your handmade items online without investing in your own website. They handle payments on your behalf and usually take a commission on each purchase. You may also have to pay other fees, such as listing fees.
The main advantage of selling on an online marketplace is that you can reach their a large customer base of people interested in buying handcrafted products.
Etsy is the largest and most well-known online marketplace for handmade goods but it’s not the only one to consider. Other marketplaces include ArtFire, Germany-based DaWanda, and Australia-based Zibbet.
Check out each marketplace’s fees, commission, terms and conditions before deciding which one(s) to join.
As an experiment, sell on two or three marketplaces for several months to see which one yields the highest profit.
Your Own E-commerce Website
If you sell your handcrafted products from your own website, you can build your own brand and retain all the profit from your sales.
On the other hand, you’ll need to invest time and money in setting up your website. You’ll also need to make a large effort to market your products as widely as possible.
That’s why it’s often a good idea to build up a base of loyal customers by selling in other places before deciding to go it alone and build your own e-commerce website.
Try, Try and Try Again
Have fun and test as many different ways of selling your handcrafted goods as possible.
Your fledgling business is as unique as the products you sell, so you’ll only discover the best places to sell those products by experimenting a lot first.