Tips for Selling Crafts by Lisa McGrimmon

There are plenty of good methods for selling crafts. Here are a few tried and true methods and some things to consider about each method.

Selling Crafts Online

If you plan to take your craft business online, you may do so either through a third party site (that is, a site that is not your own, like Etsy or eBay) or through your own site. Some of the benefits of using a third party site are that it's usually easy to set up your own store; you won't need to learn about designing your own site. Also, popular third party sites like eBay or Etsy already have traffic coming to the site, so there are potential customers already on the site.

Keep in mind though, if you sell your crafts online at a third party site, there will be plenty of competition on the site. You will need to work to direct customers to your store; therefore, selling crafts online on a third party site does not eliminate the need to work at bringing traffic to your online craft store. Also, when you sell your crafts on a third party site, you are subject to rules of that site. If rules change, it could have a massive impact on your business.

If you decide to sell your crafts on your own website, you'll need to learn how to set up and market your own site. There are plenty of great tools out there to help you do that; it's just a matter of sorting through the hype to find the excellent service providers. When you own your own site, you own your own traffic and you control your business. You won't be dependent on a third party or subject to their rules. Once people get to your site, you won't be competing with others who are selling similar products. You'll have full control over what customers see when they visit your site.

Selling Crafts on Consignment

Selling crafts on consignment is usually a matter of being brave, professional and assertive and networking with store owners who have a customer base that is a good fit with your products. When you arrange a consignment agreement, keep in mind, this person will be responsible for promoting and taking care of your items, so you probably won't want to enter into a consignment agreement with just anyone. Be sure to build a good relationship with the store owner, and clearly define the terms of the consignment arrangement at the beginning of your relationship.

Selling Crafts at Art and Craft Shows

There's a huge range of venues that would fall under the classification of art or craft show. Everything from small shows at your local high school to massive, big venue shows.

Small community shows can be a good way to get some experience selling at shows without risking a lot in terms of booth fees. You can develop your displays, network with other crafters and discover how your target audience reacts to your products. Often crowds are limited at these shows, and people are frequently looking for bargain items, so you may find it challenging to sell higher end items at small shows.

Larger juried shows are harder to get into. It will be important to create an excellent application package including unique products, a great craft display booth, and great photos that show your products and your booth in their best light. These shows typically draw bigger crowds and it is generally easier to sell higher end items at the better juried shows.

Selling Crafts at Home Parties

Home parties can be a low cost, high reward way to start selling crafts. Aside from your hostess incentive, you won't have selling fees to deal with, and there will be no competition from other crafters. You may choose to offer a traditional sales party in which you demonstrate and sell your products. You may also consider, depending on the type of craft you make, offering teaching parties where you teach techniques used to make your crafts, charge guests to attend the party, and also sell your items and perhaps supplies to make the craft you taught. Both approaches to craft home parties can be fun and profitable.

There are plenty of ways to turn your hobby into a profitable craft business. As you try different methods for selling crafts, you'll quickly discover what works best for you, your work preferences and your products. Not all venues are right for all craft businesses, so it's wise to try a few approaches. With experience you'll discover exactly who your target market is and how to reach them.

Author, designer and career counselor Lisa McGrimmon publishes Craft Professional an in-depth guide to selling crafts.

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