We cannot get enough of writing on the subject. How you can create a great craft idea, concept and subsequently the product itself, that people will love to buy. You can read some of our existing posts on the subject like: How and where to sell your crafts and 7 steps to choose the perfect craft to sell.
Who Is The Successful Online Seller?
Crafters from a wide range of skill & experience enter the arena of online selling. Some of them are seasoned entrepreneurs while others have no experience of selling their art and craft what so ever. Both can find selling online to be equally gratifying.
What makes a best selling craft?
There is a market for all kinds of art and craft online. Traditional crafts sell as well as contemporary ones, fine and as well as the rustic kind, in all kinds of practiced art like sewing and woodworking and everything in between.
There are, however, certain examples and business models that have a proven track record of success. Let’s look at some of these models. You can include them in your online selling strategy to get better results.
Quality Work At The Right Price
First things first, offering great quality. You don’t really have a choice here. People expect it because that’s what they are looking for and because so many crafters already sell fabulously made items online.
Have a look at some of the popular shops on Etsy or the trending items and you will know this to be true. So you need to deliver quality both in terms of material and workmanship. How are you going to do this?
Take frank opinions from a couple of trusted family members and friends. If you feel that your work is not right up there, do something about it first. You can take classes and workshops, buy books, join online courses and practice to improve your skills before selling online. Believe me, it will be well worth the effort.
The other thing to do is using high quality raw materials, the best that you can afford and sell at a desired price.
What is the right selling price for your craft?
The right selling price for your craft is subject to a couple of more factors, such as demand, competition and production speed.
A common view is that you should make and sell a craft at a reasonable cost, keeping the competitors in mind, in order to sell successfully. I don’t always agree with this tactic.
If your craft takes time to make, is of exclusive quality or only available in limited quantity, then the premium pricing model can work great for you. Premium pricing also depends a lot on how much branding work you have put into your craft. Read more about how to brand your business and craft in 7 straight steps.
Deliver A Message With You Craft
Successful crafters usually have one thing in common. They have some kind of a message or a story going on. The message is either behind the scenes or it is expressed by the craft design itself.
Behind the scene message can be many things. It can be the artist’s inspiration, a story behind creating the craft or the profile of the crafter itself.
On the other hand, the craft itself can deliver a message that speaks to the sentiments of the buyer. For example, retro designs speak of classand nostalgia. Colors and themes promote different moods like serenity, joy, calm, etc. Whenever a craft appeals to people at an emotional level it sells better.
This is a trend with the online craft sales. The story behind the craft and the crafter is just as important as the craft itself. People are influenced by the crafter as much as the craft itself.
This is one of the reasons for the success of hand made crafts is this. They come with a message, a story and a personal touch.
Handmade crafts are all about being novel, warm, comfy, colorful, and personal. So try and work with themes and express something through your craft.
An Original Idea. Got One?
Don’t let this scare you. An original idea for a craft does not mean something that has never been done before, seen before and hear of before. It could just as easily mean your own spin on existing crafts. We see it all the time.
A common craft gets a symbolic touch when the crafter uses their own unique sense of colors, design or workmanship to make it different. If you actually have one of those “never seen before” kind of idea and it actually clicks with the buyers, yes, that’s a goldmine right there.
But most of the time you do not have to re-invent the wheel. Instead, work on making your craft novel and better so that it can stand out.
Believe me, this is important. Do everything you can to create uniqueness in your art and craft even if it means delaying the launchof your online business for a few months. You will be glad you did.
Working Around A Primary Product
We don’t expect you to make just one kind of craft to sell. But you have to start somewhere. So you begin by playing to your strengths. What do you like working with the most? What are you the best at? Treat that as your primary product and build around it.
This is where the concept of a niche also comes in. All the available study and proof points towards the fact that working in a riche is profitable and the fastest way to succeed.
You do not want to be all over the place. You want to narrow down your target market. You want to be as specific as possible with what you do. It works. Learn more about how to make a niche craft.
This concept may seem to go against making more sales. But it does not. Working in a niche gives you a great brand image, limits the competition, allows you to stand out, and target more people in a particular segment.
The end result is a more streamlined business and more sales.
Working in a niche is also not about limiting your product line. In fact, once you start working in a niche, you start discovering other closely related and profitable niches to branch off into. This is called the “corridor principle.” As you walk along the corridor, door of new opportunities open on either side. Lets talk about that now.
Expand Your Product Line
Having numerous items for sale increases your chances of making more sales. There are 2 main ways of doing this. By making different versions of a craft i.e. different sizes, colors, prints etc., and by making related products.
We have already spoken about the important of working in a niche. Your crafts create your identify as a crafter. You do not want to confuse your customers. So specialize as much as possible and find related crafts to make.
Having multiple items to sell is good for business in many ways.
When you have big crafts and small crafts, expensive crafts and cheaper crafts, different variations of colors and designs, etc., you have an impressive inventory when you first start selling online, that appeals to a broader customer base. Many people like to try a crafter and the product quality by buying something small and reasonably priced. Allow them to do this.
Variety helps in ‘branding’, a powerful business concept, which is why it is important to plan and brainstorm your product range. Do not attempt this haphazardly as it will confuse your customers and effect your business negatively.
Read more about why branding makes more money for your business.
Here are a few tips to help you plan your project expansion.
- Expand Price Range: Have expensive as well as cheaper crafts in the offering. People have different budgets and they also like to buy something less costly to try out a business.
- Duplication and Repetition: You will find that some of your designs, prints, color combinations, themes etc. do well and better than others. Try using the same formula on multiple products. The same print or theme might work the same magic on another craft as well.
- Customer Feedback: Is there anything that your customers ask for that’s not already in your inventory? Sometimes input from your customers can be a source of new ideas for product expansion.
- Follow Trends: For one reason or another, trends happen. For a short period of time, certain products, designs, colors and prints because popular. This happens with online sales as well. Browse Etsy.com/trending to view crafts that are hot selling presently.
Another very informative blog to visit is artfire.com/nosh. Nosh is a blog that speaks about seasonal trends for colors, prints and much more. And then there is your trusty search engine. Use pertinent search phrases regarding latest trends and popular crafts online. If you think any of the trends work with the niche you are in, get into it for a boost in your online sales.
- Do more of what you love. If there is any particular part of job that you specially enjoy, do more of it. If you enjoy hand painting, paint more items, if you like embroidery, embroider different items.
- Make Sets and Combos. Think of making combo offers with your craft. What matches and compliments a craft? A scarf to go with a bag, a napkin to go with a platter and so on. People will thank you for thinking this one through for them and you will be thankful for the extra sales.
- Focus on your most profitable crafts. A majority of small businesses experience that in spite of the variety of crafts they offer for sale, a handful of them bring in the most amount of revenue. This is likely to happen with you as well. If it does, devote extra time and attention to developing your most profitable crafts. Create more variety and choices/promote them further/price them better.
- Brand and create for special occasions. People love to buy crafts for special occasions, be it the holidays, festivals or personal celebration. Create specially branded crafts for special occasions and they are bound to do well. Think weddings, birthdays, graduation, Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving etc.
Market Research: Is You Craft Going To Sell?
Market research is important to developing a craft to sell. It is the much needed pinch of common sense and practicality to what may otherwise be a completely emotional decision making.
Working with crafts is all about doing and making what you love. No amount of market research should change that. But it does point you in the right direction. And it does tell you things beforehand.
Just because you love what you make doesn’t mean that it’s going to sell. Usually market research shows how to do both: make what you love and sell equally well.
There are 2 broad parts to market research.
One is the research bit where you explore the competition, check on latest trends, look for ideas etc.
The second half is testing your craft in craft fairs, online and with family and friends.
All of this combined give you a fair idea of how to develop your craft to be sales worthy. You can read a lot more about how to do market research.
That’s it for this post of developing your art and craft to sell. Do post your comments and questions below.
Work with what you love. Research it. Test it. Be open to feedback and suggestions. Be patient. Expand your products slowly. Watch for sales and feedback before you invest serious time and money. You can easily test your crafts on Etsy and ArtFire. If something doesn’t work, move on.
Stay true to your creativity and let your crafts reflect that uniqueness.