Many times a weekend hobby such as quilting or painting can transform into something much larger than simply making gifts for relatives or your child’s teacher and before you know it, a business is born. While a significant portion of crafters are often stay-at-home mothers searching for a way to contribute to the family income and still be available for childcare, another part of that demographic comes from varied segments of the population like career professionals. However, all have the same goal in mind; successfully marketing their products.
Welcome to Etsy
Craft shows, holiday fairs, and summer festivals remain a fabulous way to sell your handmade goods to the general public. However, if you want to reach a broader audience, it is important to advertise which is where the internet and social media come in. In recent years, the launch of Etsy in 2005 has made it possible for crafters to take advantage of all the worldwide web has to offer and broaden the scope and appeal of their wares.
Etsy is an e-commerce website which specializes in selling handmade, vintage, and other one-of-a-kind items you may not be able to find elsewhere. Buyers will find a bonanza of pieces from jewelry to handbags to wedding dresses. For sellers, it is a golden opportunity to market their specialties and potentially transform their basement craft operation into a business.
Jars by Monica
Monica Siembieda is a business woman who turned her avid interest in fashion into a blog. She is also an Etsy user who joined the website to help sell her hand-painted mason jars. Siembieda became inspired by the glassware while she was living in Texas and started out by making a Christmas centerpiece with one as the focal point.
After her mother planted the seed about selling them, Siembieda decided to put together a few designs and opened an Etsy shop. For her, it is the main platform by which she markets her unique product.
“It’s easy,” the New Jersey native explained. “I don’t have to worry about a thing because Etsy takes care of all the disclosures, taxes, that sort of thing. You can advertise or sponsor through Etsy. However, there are any helpful groups in the Etsy community that can also boost sales.”
Siembieda also sells her jars to family and friends where she mostly relies on word of mouth. However, Etsy allows her to reach a bigger audience of potential buyers. Thus far, her major highlight has been providing the stylish jars as favors for a wedding. However, she recently learned an area store is expressing interest in carrying her jars which would be a huge step in expanding her growing business.
For some like Siembieda, Etsy becomes a major avenue for marketing their wares and they are quite successful. However, others struggle and quickly give up when they aren’t getting any takers on their product.
“It’s like any business,” Siembieda said via e-mail. “You have to work at it and find ways to market/network to the right niche. Thankfully, I have a blog which helps me spread the word so that is one suggestion I would have; if you are a blogger, use this to your advantage. The same goes for social media, especially Twitter. They are all extremely important.”
Expand your Audience
If you have a great product you think will appeal to the masses and want to expand past the annual craft fair at the local church, exploring and researching what Etsy has to offer can help to spring board your hobby into a business. While you could certainly start up your own website for the same purpose, Etsy has been around since 2005 and has over 700,000 followers on Google Plus alone.
When you are starting out, it can be comforting to have a larger experienced company behind you as you are still learning the ins and outs of marketing and advertising your product. Finally, if you haven’t established a social media presence, spend some time cultivating one. Facebook and Twitter are just the high-profile options. There are so many different online networks out there and they can be an extremely useful tool for getting the word out about your wares.