WORK-LIFE BALANCE / NOV. 27, 2015
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Get Rich: A Guide to Selling Your Crafts

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Ever since Etsy was created, more and more creative, like-minded individuals have been taking advantage of their crafty skills. What was once an enjoyable hobby, can now be a lucrative business opportunity. From knitted quilts to welded sculptures, crafting is a big business. In the United States alone, crafting is a $30 billion industry.

See Also: Etsy Opens Doors for Crafters

When you first think of being an entrepreneur, embroidery and glass art may not come to mind. Why is that? If you’re skilled at a specific craft, there’s nothing holding you back. Turn your passionate skills into cash. Despite what many view as a sustainable and successful business, there’s an immense demand for simpler, handmade items.

The craft industry is booming and if you’re prepared to jump aboard, you could potentially work from home – enjoying whatever it is you’re passionate about.

How much do you charge? Which crafts are most profitable? Where do you sell them? Here’s your guide to making money crafting.

How Much Do I Charge?

When deciding on setting a price, you need to view your crafting as a business. What is your overhead? How many hours do you need to put in a week? What is the cost of your materials? Don’t just pick a number out of a hat and then settle on that price – you need to plan.

Start by conducting some market research. What are similar items being sold for? Whether you search online or you observe sellers at craft fairs and trade shows, you need to get a general idea of the going rate. Calculate your total cost, factoring in anything from marketing to a contingency. If your product appears to be too high in cost, you’ll need to make some adjustments.

Which Crafts Are Most Profitable?

When it comes to crafting, it’s tough to pick a ’most profitable’ craft, simply because there are so many niches and variables involved. With that being said, it appears that cake making, homemade jewelry, and sewing are all on the rise.

Unless you have a specific idea in mind, focus on crafts that will yield a high profit margin and that are different. You may make the best soap in your State, but if you’re entering a highly crowded market without effective marketing and exposure, you may find that your sales will be low.

Also, remember this – in order to make a decent living selling crafts, you need to offer what your customers want, not what you like to make. Sometimes, crafters become wrapped up in their own personal interests, without considering the potential demand for their creations.

Once you decide on a profitable niche, you need to focus on how fast your crafts can be made. If you want to take crafting seriously, you’ll need to be realistic in terms of how many items you can produce a week. If the demand is there, set a target each week. If you sell homemade jars of jam for $6 each and you’re able to both produce and sell 120 jars a week, you’ll be in good shape.

Where to Sell Your Crafts

Once you have crafts ready to sell, you need to decide the direction you’d like to take. Where are you going to sell your items? Will you focus on retail or wholesale? If you run a retail business that means that you will be pushing your own product. Whether you’re at a craft show or selling online, you will be making the items and selling them.

This is ideal for many crafters, the only issue is – if you’re selling, you’re not crafting. If you require daily production, this could be an issue. In this case, many opt to sell wholesale. This way you’re not dealing directly with the consumer. You will sell your items for less, but will receive large orders.

This will depend on your profit margins and production needs, as wholesale will require you to drop your price. What you would have sold in retail for $40, will more than likely need to be sold to a wholesaler for $20. They will order x-amount and then turn around and sell them for $40.

If you would’ve sold ten items at a craft show for $40, that would have been $400. In comparison, a wholesaler may buy fifty at $20, yielding $1000. Of course, you will need to do what makes sense for you and your crafts.

Interestingly, most crafters prefer retail even though wholesale markets tend to be more profitable. If the demand is there and it would be more profitable for you to focus on production, wholesale is something which you should consider. Since so many choose the retail route, however, here are some of the places you can sell your crafts:

Etsy

Whenever you read guides on making some extra cash, you often come across Etsy. This marketplace allows individuals to sell their handmade goods. The best part, it’s free to build an account and start earning some money. For each item you list on your storefront, Etsy charges $0.20 and then when it sells, they take a 3.5 percent commission.

If you are considering selling items on Etsy, browse through storefronts to get a feel for the most successful individuals/businesses. Whenever posting, ensure that you take great pictures. This will help you push your crafts as they’ll be more visually appealing. Also, try to make your store as cohesive as possible. Since it’s free to open as many stores as you’d like, keep items organized and properly categorized, Meaning, if you’re selling soap on one storefront, open another to sell your knitted goods.

Your Own Website

An e-store will allow you to take 100 percent of the profits and build a loyal following. Whether you just set up an e-store or utilize a blog as well, once you build traffic, you can take your listings off of other sites that take a cut, such as Etsy or Ebay.

If you’re going to create your own website, you’ll want to do a little research. Become familiar with SEO, Google Analytics, and social media. If you want to reach a large audience, you’ll need to put some work in. If interested in this option, the following articles will assist you:

Craft Fairs and Shows 

This can be a great way to network and meet fellow crafters. Depending on your location, you will more than likely have options. Find a craft fair or market that fits your crafts and the consumer you’re aiming to sell to. If you don’t sell much the first day, don’t fret. In many cases, you will need to build your brand and that can take some time. This is why you need to bring a stack of business cards.

If people seem interested but do not want to make an impulsive buy, give them your info. That way, they can visit your website and hopefully purchase an item in the future. As you meet new people, build a mailing list. If you find that people aren’t willing to give out their email address - offer an incentive. You could create raffle based on the number of people who enter. Once they provide their email, they’ll be entered into a draw. The winner will receive one of your products. 

See Also: How to Run a Successful Craft Business 

If you’re a creative and driven individual, there’s no reason why you can’t get a piece of the crafting pie. Start small and as you learn more, branch out into other opportunities. Whether you sell part-time or create a company that provides a full-time income, this industry is booming and full of opportunity. Happy crafting!

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