Where And How to Sell Your Crafts

The secret to success behind any business is to be able to sell. So when we encourage our subscribers to start selling their own art & crafts, the questions on their mind is “How do we do that?”

The selling experience can be broken down into 2 stages.

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Stage 1: Point of sale, which is the location you are going to sell your crafts from i.e

  1. Your own studio, 
  2. Through your e-commerce website, 
  3. Through other stores and retailers, 
  4. Auction sites like eBay 
  5. Other e-commerce stores like Etsy, 
  6. At craft fairs, 
  7. Through consignment with friends and family.

So in a nutshell, we have already spoken about WHERE all you can sell your crafts.

Stage 2: The promotions and advertising. How to sell involves getting your sales message across to potential buyers. For that you need some kind of a promotions method. It does have to be anything elaborate or expensive. But depending on the ‘point of sales’ you can use different effective strategies. Lets talk more about that a little more.

Here are some common promotion methods for your craft business:

  1. Word by mouth. 
  2. Flyers and Posters. 
  3. Online ads. 
  4. Newspaper and publications ads. 
  5. Free samples.

Selling from your studio/workplace

Since you have a nice setup at home to create your crafts, it makes sense to have some space from where you can sell from as well. The reason is that many people are liable to want to buy from you locally. If you have friends and family to get the word around about what you do, you will find that they can be a pretty good source of steady and paying customers.

You can supplement your customer base by posting flyers and posters in key places where you expect your target customer is going, i.e. toy stores, men’s clubs etc. depending on your craft. Similarly you can place advertisements in local publications that your kind of clientele could be reading.

“Selling locally from your own establishment is usually the easiest and the least expensive way to sell your crafts.”

Selling Locally

For many people it makes the most sense to start a craft business locally. Finding ready customers around you is easier and quicker in many situations. Consider your situation. Have you been crafting for sometime now? Do you make an art or craft that is appreciated a lot?

If you have earned praises from people around you for what you do, you have most likely also heard them say “ Why don’t you sell this!?”  

If this scenario sounds familiar, you are in a strong place to make your first couple of sales. You are also strongly place to get known by word of mouth publicity. All you need is confidence and perhaps a change in your outlook.

You need confidence to believe that you can create a piece of art or craft that is desirable, coveted and wanted by people, enough that they are ready to pay for it. Once you can muster enough belief in your work and put it before a critical audience, you are ready to sell.

The change in outlook is simply about taking a new look at yourself and your skill. You have always loved making your art or craft. But you have never thought you can make money from it. Or you have thought about it but believed it was going to be difficult.

Things are a lot different than they were a few years back. Handicrafts, art and homemade products are more popular than ever before. People cannot get enough of them!

People are buying locally and from independent artists even more than they are from large brands. Tell your family and friends who are already appreciative of your work that you are starting a business. Let things take off from there.

I know someone who bakes. She gets enough orders for cakes, muffins, biscuits and what-not from friends and family and friends of friends. She is pretty well know locally. Enough so that she has enough work for the size of the business she wants to run.

The 2nd example I have to give is of a local designer and dressmaker who works from a home-based setup. She has become popular locally and also with people from out of town, who come to get custom jobs done from her. Her niche is working with embroideries.

Selling on your e-commerce website

You cannot really ignore the call of selling anything online these days. Especially crafts when people all over the world are going bonkers over handmade stuff and ready to pay top dollar for it online. With a little enterprising and a learning curve you can setup your own blog and website.

Selling online is not as easy as it seems. First of all you have to get the site created. That means choosing a domain name, setting up web hosting and designing it to your liking. There is a lot of work involved with taking great pictures of your products, uploading them, writing great descriptions, dealing with customer queries and making sure the shipping takes place on time.

But if you are ready to learn, this is a great way to do business. And to make it a little easier for you, you can sell on eBay and Etsy to begin with. Let’s talk about that next.

Selling Your Crafts On eBay And Etsy

We have already written a great deal about selling your crafts on eBay and Etsy. Both these platforms save you the hassle of creating and maintaining your own online platform. You need concern yourself with taking pictures of your crafts, posting them along with great descriptions and be ready to ship them out when the orders come in.

If you plan to run auctions, you can run up the expectation and demand for your craft by running a campaign with your contact list. Anyway, read more about this here:

  1. How to auction your crafts on eBay. 
  2. How to sell your crafts on Etsy.

Selling At Craft Shows and Fairs

Craft fairs are a wonderful place to generate fast and a large number of sales, to tie up with other crafters, to get a sneak peak at the competition and to expand your knowledge overall about the business.
Here’s what you need to know about selling your crafts in craft shows.
 
Lets now talk some about the promotional methods.

Using Word By Mouth Promoting

 Word by mouth advertising costs you nothing, is very effective and I personally know crafters who have built entire successful businesses based only on word by mouth. This is specially ideal for small business owners who want a limited and select clientele coming to them. A recommendation goes a long way in establishing trust. I have also learnt that people who are referred to your business are usually very well targeted. They are ready buyers, and given the vote of trust from the referral, they convert into sales easily.

Selling to Family and Friends 

Well, this is where it all starts for most of the small businesses. Friends and family are the first ones to buy your things and then go about spreading the work about your crafts. They usually end up sending many people your way.
This is quiet a chain reaction. Its free and one of the most powerful methods of business promotion. So even if you have to give a few things away for free to begin with, don’t hesitate!

Flyers and Posters

Do you know where your potential customer is to be found? For example, if you make baby clothes, you want to put up flyers in toy stores and baby day care centers. If you are a woodworking making rish mahogany cigar cases, you need to put up flyers at the local gentlemen’s club. Flyers and posters are a very cheap and effective way to advertise your craft business. You can even hire someone at fiverr.com to distribute them for you for $5.

Placing Ads 

For both local and online businesses you can place advertisements online and in the local newspapers and publications. Putting ads online requires you to learn how the ad programs for Google and Bing work. They are know as Adwords and AdCenter respectively.
Teaching you how to create online campaigns is beyond the scope of this post. You can either take the help of a customer care representative to set up your first campaign or you can read this great book that will tell you everything you need to know about advertising on Adwords, including some great tips and tricks that many people do not know about.

More ways to promote

Other ways to advertise include running your yellow pages ads or posting on community boards. You can also leave your business cards and/or flyers in fabric shops, beauty salons, grocery stores, resource centres, senior centres and cleaners.

Think out of the box of you need to. Figure out who could need the craft you are offering. Let’s assume that you are into sewing and knitting.

In that case you could also to the local theatre if you are good at stitching costumes. Leave your contact number in schools for the time when they need to have have costumes made for the dramatics club. They might also want sports uniforms stitched.

Try the classic way of posting ads in classifieds. You will have to run this ad regularly and on a periodic basis for it to have a substantial effect on the popularity of your business.

 

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