Making things is one of the most fashionable things to do at the moment, with skills like sewing, knitting, carpentry and jewelry making all seeing something of a renaissance among people who want to own their own unique pieces that they have the pleasure of saying they made themselves.
Hobbies That Become Businesses
Of course, some people are more talented at their chosen crafts than others, but for those who develop their skills well, there is always a market to sell the pieces made by craft hobbies as a business. Most people who do this do it as a supplementary income, or as a means of making money while at home raising kids, but for some it can become a whole new career! If you are a hobbyist crafter or are already selling crafts but want to do more, then here are some ways to make more sales.
Don’t Restrict Yourself to Online Sales
While sites like Etsy and eBay make it very easy to reach potential customers with your crafts, you may be entering a more competitive market than you need to by limiting all your sales to these well stocked marketplaces. Because on eBay and Etsy you can sell to people all over the country and indeed the world, it can seem like an endless sea of possible customers, but remember that unless you make something very unusual or with a very strong theme, you are likely to be competing with thousands of similar crafters. If you design jewelry or sell upcycled clothing, for example, you’ll find the competition immense. This doesn’t make it a bad idea to sell here, but to get the most sales you also need to look at selling opportunities that are more local.
This can mean selling at craft fairs, festivals, street fairs, or even allowing local shops to stock your collections. You can even get stalls at things like school or church community events where you can show off and sell your handmade pieces. Because locally you will have far less competition and people are often inspired to buy crafts on a whim as they browse at these kind of events (where they may not search for them online), you are likely to experience way more interest. While there is usually (but not always) a cost to have a stall at an event, this is usually a small, acceptable one and as long as turnout is good, you will get plenty of exposure and hopefully sales! If you have any friends or family at local schools or who attend churches, youth clubs or other community groups, ask them to keep you informed of any sales or events they are planning so you can see about going to them as a seller.
Making Local Sales Even More Effective
Selling via local events or shops can not only help you shift items, but can also help you grow repeat customers and fans who may later buy products online. Make sure you give out a business card to anyone who is interested in your wares, or who purchases something, and make sure this includes all the details of your website or online stores. You should also make the experience of buying from you as easy as possible. Invest in credit card readers so you can accept payments other than cash (this is especially important if your items are expensive things like furniture or high end jewelry), allow people to reserve items to collect later in the day, and make sure you offer the best in customer service if there are any problems!
It can also be wise to use the events you go to to make sales to network. You may meet other local crafters you can collaborate with to cross sell complimentary products. If, for example, you make jewelry that fits in the same sort of taste as her range of upcycled dresses, you could start recommending each other’s products online, giving each other website back links, or even sharing the cost of stalls at future events and running them together to sell both or your products! This is not only a good way to make friends and boost sales, but can also help you find out about more events or places to sell, by getting more integrated into the local craft business community.
Selling your crafts can be a fun and rewarding may to make money, so why not take your business out and about locally and make even more sales than you do online?