Creating handmade crafts often starts as an enjoyable hobby, but skilled crafters can take their efforts to the next level by selling their products. Craft shows, local markets, festivals, and other similar events were traditionally the primary avenues for sellers to reach potential customers directly.
Today, online selling opportunities provide people who love crafting with an incredible method for connecting with more shoppers around the entire world. The ability to sell online also allows these crafters to generate more revenue on a more consistent basis as a result.
In this article, we'll take a look at the steps to follow if you want to begin your own adventure in online sales selling handcrafted creations!
1. Decide what crafts to sell (brainstorm ideas)
When choosing what to sell online, your goal should be to strike a balance between your interests, market demand, and your crafting abilities. Start by evaluating your passions and skills—consider what you enjoy creating and what you're good at. Research the market to identify trends, popular items, and gaps in the market that your creations could fill. Analyze your potential competitors to understand what's already available.
You'll also want to think about the people in your target audience for your creations. Who are you trying to reach? Tailor your products to cater to their preferences and needs. Factor in the cost of materials and the time required to produce each piece to ensure your pricing is competitive and profitable. Finally, test a few different things to make and sell initially to gauge the response and adjust your offerings based on customer feedback and sales data.
For a bit of inspiration, here are five popular types of handcrafted pieces that you can make and sell online:
- Handmade jewelry: Design unique necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings using various materials like beads, gemstones, wire, and more.
- Candles and home fragrances: Make scented candles, decorative candles, or even personalized candles. Offer a range of delightful scents to attract buyers.
- Handmade clothing and accessories: Sew or knit clothing things like scarves, hats, baby clothes, or custom-designed t-shirts and tote bags.
- Handcrafted home decor: Create decorative goods such as wooden signs, pottery, wall hangings, and personalized home decor pieces that people can use to beautify their living spaces.
- Pet accessories: Design and sell handmade pet accessories like pet clothing, collars, toys, and even pet-themed home decor. With the growing pet-loving community, these things have gained popularity for their uniqueness and customization options.
2. Create your handmade items to sell
Now that your crafting vision is clear, you're ready to start creating your future offerings. You'll first want to identify what materials are required and then get to work on procuring them. As you embark on creating your initial inventory, gauge the extent of your production.
To source your crafting materials, you have various options at your disposal. Local craft stores offer a wide range of supplies such as beads, fabrics, paints, and more. Online marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon, and eBay provide a vast selection of materials that can be conveniently ordered and delivered.
Wholesalers and bulk suppliers offer discounted rates for purchasing larger quantities. In addition, repurposing pieces from thrift stores or using natural materials can add uniqueness to your creations while being eco-friendly.
It's prudent to adopt a measured approach to crafting initially, as product performance can be unpredictable. Begin with a modest inventory, monitoring sales in the initial months. Once you've gauged demand, you can adjust your inventory strategy accordingly, maintaining a suitable stock level that aligns with your sales trend.
3. Choose what platform(s) to sell your handmade crafts online
Whether you’re just starting to brainstorm craft ideas to sell on the internet or are eager to expand your existing business, there are numerous online platforms from which to choose. Some of better known than others, but just like if you're looking where to sell digital products other than Etsy, there are plenty of options for where to offer your handcrafted goods for sale on the internet.
Some people might select a specific website to conduct most or all of their business through. However, others may find that branching out to maximize all of the opportunities available to them works best for their business.
These are among the leading platforms that you may want to take advantage of if you’re curious about how to sell handmade items online.
No matter if you’re a beginning entrepreneur or several years into your business, a great option for where to sell your handcrafted creations is your own website.
When you build your own ecommerce site, you’ll generally have more control over how your online store looks and how you conduct your business. If you decide you’d like to start your own website to sell your products, you’ll need to choose an ecommerce platform.
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Etsy is among the largest and best-known online marketplaces for craftspeople, artisans, and others to showcase their offerings. It's easy enough to use that most people can set up their online shop in a few minutes.
Listing handcrafted goods individually for sale is equally easy. Note that Etsy charges a per-item listing fee of $0.20 along with a 6.5% transaction fee when you make a sale.
In addition to most sellers not needing to put in much work to set up a shop on the platform, Etsy’s robust popularity may also be tied to its wide range of product categories. Whether you’re selling handmade coasters, jewelry, home décor, or something else, you can carve out your niche on Etsy.
Amazon Handmade debuted a few years ago as a direct competitor to Etsy. With Amazon being an ecommerce giant, its Handmade platform gives people who wish to sell their handcrafted wares acces to potentially millions of interested buyers.
Unlike Etsy, Amazon Handmade doesn’t charge a per-item listing fee, so there’s no cost to establish your online shop. It does, however, charge a 15% commission fee per sale.
Compared to Etsy, Amazon has a more significant application process to go through before you can start selling on the web.
However, Amazon’s algorithms don’t change as significantly or as frequently, and this can help you to maintain or increase traffic to your online shop more easily.
If you prefer to produce artwork or designs rather than other types of crafts, Spoonflower could be the right option for you. As a designer, you can post all of your artwork on Spoonflower at no cost.
Next, shoppers are going to be able to browse through all of the designs that you’ve created. They’ll then choose from wallpaper, pillows, fabric, and other products that they want to place their selected designs on.
Designers receive at least a 10% commission on all sales with their designs. Selling more designs over time may qualify you for a higher commission rate. Because of this payment structure, there’s no overhead to begin making money from your designs via Spoonflower.
Cratejoy takes a different approach to connect people selling handcrafted creations online with shoppers. This is a subscription box service that makes it easy to establish repeat customers with recurring sales for the length of the subscription period.
If you have a large inventory, you can create boxes that contain a different selection of your products for each monthly delivery.
Many people, however, sell do-it-yourself craft kits with instructions. These boxes may then contain a business card or other marketing materials so that traffic is driven to the artisan’s website.
There’s a monthly fee of $24.99 to list things on Cratejoy, and you'll be charged 1.25% plus $0.10 for every transaction. Nevertheless, many sellers appreciate the ability to build a dependable stream of income from subscriptions that they can project for the next several months or longer.
Note that shoppers can find other products besides craft boxes with do-it-yourself supplies and instructions on Cratejoy. The platform also features items in categories including women’s clothing, bridal, board games, music, coffee, skincare, and more.
If your creations relate to these or other available categories, you could get creative with your subscription box ideas to connect with potential buyers.
If you're a craftsperson based in the US, aftcra is a great option to check out.
Through this site, you can sell anything that you’ve made by hand inside the US. As a marketplace devoted purely to selling handmade goods, aftcra doesn’t accept things from resellers or vintage merchandise.
You can list all of your handmade products on aftcra without paying any listing fees. It’s important to note that all items must have a list price of $10 or more, though. When you make a sale, aftcra will take a 7% commission.
Bonanza isn’t as well known as some of the other platforms listed in this article, but it’s making a solid name for itself. With this site, you can link your Bonanza account to other sites, such as Etsy and Amazon.
By listing your craft products on Bonanza, you can take advantage of tremendous exposure to your products via affiliated bloggers, Google Shopping, and more.
Keep in mind that Bonanza isn’t dedicated purely to handmade items. Your creations will be competing against mass-produced goods. These may even include products from some well-known brand names.
While this can seem intimidating to home-based artisans and crafters, competing directly with brand-name products can give your products added clout and unique appeal.
Another place to sell items that have been made by hand is iCraftGifts. Here, you'll find everything from jewelry to knitted items, handmade clothes, décor, and more.
The iCraftGits platform is smaller, but it’s also well-established. It offers a wide range of support services and benefits that are specifically designed to help artisans be successful.
If you opt to open an account on iCraft, you can choose between three plans, with monthly fees ranging from $10 to $15. All plans include an unlimited number of interchangeable listings and a free or discounted domain.
The primary differences between the plans are the commitment timeframes. You can choose a month-by-month plan without a long-term commitment, or you can select from plans for 6 or 12 months at a discounted rate.
In addition, while a seller using iCraftGifts won't need to pay a per-listing fee or a commission fee on transactions, there's a one-time registration fee of $25 that's required.
Based in the UK, Folksy touts itself as an online crafts fair. Unlike many other platforms, Folksy has both a blog and a forum for its crafters to interact with each other.
These features combine to offer an active online community. You can sell a wide range of handmade goods as well as arts supplies and other items through Folksy. However, note that you must be based in the UK to use this solution.
Two plans are available when you opt to sell your products on Folksy.
The basic plan is ideal for those who want to try the platform without a major commitment. It gives you three free listings, and you’re responsible for a 6% commission on sales and a nominal fee per listing.
The Plus package gives you unlimited listings for a monthly flat fee of £7.50. It also comes with special features, such as the ability to import listings from Etsy and to set featured items.
4. Price your products
Pricing your handcrafted goods accurately is crucial when entering the online market. Begin by calculating your costs, which include materials, labor, and overhead. Factor in your desired profit margin.
Research your competitors to gauge the market rate for similar crafts. Avoid underpricing, which can undervalue your work and deter profitability, or overpricing, which might discourage buyers.
An effective pricing strategy ensures you cover costs, generate profit, and remain competitive. Incorrect pricing can lead to lost sales or unsustainable business models. Consumers appreciate transparency, so clear pricing builds trust.
Regularly reassess your prices as costs and market dynamics change. Balancing affordability with the perceived value of your creations enhances your chances of attracting buyers, sustaining your business, and fostering growth.
5. Photograph your crafts
Photographing your crafts effectively is paramount when venturing into online sales. High-quality images give potential customers a clear understanding of your products' details, quality, and aesthetics. Here are some elements to consider when taking photos of your creations:
- Lighting: Natural light is best. Avoid harsh shadows or glaring reflections. Use diffusers or whiteboards to soften light.
- Background: Opt for a clean, clutter-free background that complements your craft. A plain backdrop, rustic wood, or textured fabric can enhance your craft's appeal.
- Focus and details: Ensure that your creation is sharply focused. Highlight intricate details that make your product stand out.
- Angles: Capture your craft from various angles to provide a comprehensive view. Show different features and dimensions.
- Consistency: Maintain a consistent style for all product photos. This helps produce a cohesive and professional look.
- Editing: Use photo editing software to refine brightness, contrast, and color balance. Avoid overediting, ensuring that photos accurately represent your product.
- Scale: If possible, include a prop or reference object for scale.
- Multiple Shots: Offer a variety of shots, including close-ups, full views, and potential uses.
Great product photos build trust, reduce uncertainty, and entice people to make purchases. High-quality visuals communicate craftsmanship and value, increasing the likelihood of sales in the competitive online marketplace.
6. Get the word out about your brand
Marketing is essential when launching an online crafts business. It distinguishes you from competitors, establishes credibility, and fosters customer trust. Promoting your brand establishes a recognizable presence, helping you connect with potential buyers.
A strong brand narrative and consistent engagement foster customer loyalty, repeat business, and word-of-mouth referrals, essential components for long-term success in the competitive online crafts market.
Fortunately, there are numerous ways to go about getting the word out about your brand and letting people know that it exists, such as the following:
- Social media
Utilize social media to market your online craft brand by creating engaging profiles on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Share high-quality images and videos of your crafts, use relevant hashtags, and interact with your audience through comments and messages. Run targeted ads to reach larger audiences and collaborate with influencers in the crafting niche to expand your brand's visibility.
Launch a blog sharing your crafting journey, techniques, and inspirations. This can help position you as an expert and draw in readers interested in your crafts.
Share DIY tutorials, crafting tips, and behind-the-scenes insights. Showcase your expertise and establish yourself as a trusted resource in the crafting community. Link your blog posts to your product pages to drive traffic and boost your brand's visibility.
- Email marketing
Employ email marketing for your brand by building a subscriber list through your website. Send regular newsletters featuring new product launches, crafting inspiration, and exclusive offers.
Use captivating visuals and persuasive copy to engage subscribers. Segment your list to deliver personalized content and encourage repeat purchases, fostering a loyal customer base.
- Customer reviews
Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews, enhancing your brand's credibility. Showcase these reviews prominently on your site to build confidence in your brand. Positive feedback and good reviews highlight the quality of your crafts, a great way to entice new shoppers and boosting your brand's reputation.
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
Increase your brand's online visibility with SEO. In addition to creating valuable, craft-related content on your blog, your SEO strategy should optimizing your website by using relevant keywords in product descriptions, titles, and meta tags to attract organic traffic.
Furthermore, you'll want to work on improving site speed, ensuring mobile-friendliness, and earning backlinks from craft-related websites to enhance your search engine rankings and attract new consumers.
7. Keep an eye on trends and adapt your seller strategy
Staying attuned to trends and adapting is crucial for any business. Begin by following industry blogs, social media accounts, and attending relevant craft fairs or exhibitions. Observe customer preferences, emerging styles, and materials gaining traction.
Regularly update your craft offerings to align with current trends while maintaining your unique touch. Flexibility allows you to cater to changing consumer demands and tap into fresh markets. Adapting also enhances your brand's relevance and competitive edge, keeping you ahead of competitors.
Neglecting trends may result in outdated offerings that fail to resonate with modern consumers. By continually evolving and incorporating popular elements, you can attract a wider audience, sustain customer interest, and ensure your crafts remain sought-after in the dynamic online market.
Is selling crafts online profitable?
Selling crafts online can indeed be profitable due to the global reach of the internet. With low startup costs, you can access a wide customer base. Unique, handmade items attract niche markets, allowing for higher pricing. Effective marketing, quality craftsmanship, and customer engagement foster brand loyalty, driving repeat sales and sustainable profitability.
Online selling enables artisans like you to make money doing something that they love.
You can more easily connect with people who appreciate your talents and develop a loyal base of customers. Many online sellers also appreciate the ability to work around their schedule and from their homes.
However, there are some challenges that you’ll need to overcome in order to be successful.
For example, you need to find a profitable niche that is aligned with your skills. You also need to ensure that you can consistently produce high-quality products at a speed that keeps up with orders.
Tapping into the right marketplaces can yield tremendous advantages. Depending on your chosen platform, you could benefit from access to a large customer base, assistance with marketing, educational opportunities, forums, and more.
Take time to carefully research the fees, benefits, and other features of each platform before you spend time uploading your products and creating your online store.