Making and creating items as a crafter is sometimes the easiest part of any handmade business. Once you have created a product that you want to sell, one of the challenges you might now be facing is how and where to sell.
Opening a bricks and mortar store takes a bulk amount of capital and isn’t always the best option for start-ups. The good news is that in today’s world, you can create a successful craft business without needing your own store.
Let’s take a look at 7 ways to sell your handmade crafts…
Etsy is an online marketplace that’s specifically for crafters, artists, and creators to list and sell their products. With over 33 MILLION buyers around the world making purchases through the Etsy platform, it’s become a launching pad for many successful businesses.
Sellers must take into account the fees associated with selling on Etsy in order to remain profitable. The listing fees are low but apply to each product. Commissions and payment processing fees also apply to each sale made through Etsy, and if sellers aren’t careful then they could find that any profit disappears when these fees are applied.
Sellers can sync their store with a business Facebook Page, and Etsy gives sellers an online presence without the need to build their own e-commerce website. Customer payments are handled through the Etsy checkout system which again makes it a great option for anyone not wanting to build their own website.
Similar to Etsy, Ebay and Amazon are marketplace websites with millions of active sellers and buyers. Unlike Etsy though, Ebay and Amazon are open to all products which means your handcrafted items are now competing with cheaper, manufactured items.
Buyers on these two platforms are often looking for ‘bargains’ which doesn’t always make this the best environment for crafters selling higher priced items.
One of the downsides to relying on marketplace options such as Etsy, Ebay or Amazon is that you’re competing not only with other sellers, but also for your customer’s attention! Even if your customer is looking at your listing, they can be easily distracted by product suggestions and sponsored ads – there is a lot going on!
Having your own website gives you a piece of online real estate that is all about you!
Creating an online store is certainly a lot less expensive and labour intensive than a physical bricks and mortar store. If you have some knowledge and experience with technology then it you can create a website using WordPress and WooCommerce, that is completely customised to your brand.
There are beginner-friendly platforms such as Wix, Weebly and Shopify that are simple drag-n-drop website builders and provide an all-in-one e-commerce solution. There are monthly fees that apply to these options though so be sure to take into account the volume of sales you’ll be making and what features you’ll require.
Setting up a stall or table at your local markets is a great way to get your products in front of real-life customers, especially if you’re starting out. Stall prices can range in price, but you also want to be considering the overall ‘type’ of market to ensure it matches your product. Customers visiting a market that’s mainly fresh produce are very different customers to those visiting a market that’s primarily made up of craft vendors.
Markets are a great way to create brand awareness first and foremost, and a successful market day cannot always be reflected by the amount of sales made (or not made). Chat with market goers, have business cards or flyers on display and invite people to take one, collect email addresses for building a newsletter list, and consider offering free samples if applicable to your item.
Facebook and Instagram have become a handy tool for creating income – whether you are a business or not! Facebook Marketplace allows any Facebook user to list items for free. You can upload photos, enter a product description, choose your price, and set your general location.
While the majority of buyers on Marketplace are great, be prepared for some ‘time-wasters’ and low-ball offers. Another potential downside to this method of selling is that unlike a website where you can keep a level of anonymity, you are dealing directly with people via your personal Facebook profile on the Messenger app.
Alternatively, if you have a Facebook business page then you can share your products via posts, or create a Facebook Shop where customers can browse all your items at once.
Instagram can be used to promote your items and you can direct customers to a link in your bio (to your website, Etsy, eg) or simply invite them to direct message you.
Many established boutique stores, salons and cafes invite local makers to display their products and sell on a consignment agreement. This means that if the store sells your product to their customer, they will withhold a portion of the sale before passing along the remainder to you.
Alternatively, some stores may opt for a small weekly payment from you in return for displaying your items rather than a % of the sale price, or may even ask you to work in the store as ‘payment’.
As with local markets, selling on consignment is a fantastic way to put your product in front of real-life customers and build your brand.
A pop-up shop is a temporary retail space in a vacant store or shopping centre kiosk that can be a great option for small business. Offered on a short-term basis and often at reasonable rates, a pop-up shop is yet another way to put your products in front of real-life customers. It can also be a great way to collect some market research and ‘trial’ whether a permanent retail space is something that your brand needs.