How to Sell Crafts: 7 Secrets to Success 

Want to sell crafts you’ve made? You’re in the right place! I’m going to share some secrets on how I sold my own handmade items, but first I want to tell you a bit about myself.

Hi, I’m Krista. I am the owner of vintageandrestorebyk.com and author of this blog krista-howard.com.

I sold handmade treasures (and currently have my own product line) for over six years now with much success.

The success from my creative business helped me leave my near six figure 9-5 corporate job and I am now able to work for myself. I love every minute of every day and I want you to have the same!

I’ve recently been contacted by many of my readers who are struggling with how to sell crafts successfully. I realized I had a lot of knowledge about what it takes but I never shared it with them all in one place before.

So I decided that’s what this blog post is going to be about. I’m going to share my secrets that helped me sell crafts so you can start making money with your creations too!

Join me as I share the top 7 secrets to successfully selling crafts.

Sell Crafts

**This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase using one of these links.  However, I only recommend items I personally love. Thank you for your support of my creative business!**

How to Successfully Sell Crafts

  1. Define what your brand stands for (ie: the values) and stick to it in all you do.
  2. Make a little bit of what everyone wants and a little bit of unique to your brand product.
  3. Find a network of like minded craft sellers and business owners
  4. Develop streamlined processes that can be duplicated
  5. Be selective with how and where you promote your brand. In other words, don’t do ALL. THE. THINGS.
  6. EVERYONE under the sun will give you advice and opinions. Don’t listen to them (most of the time)
  7. List last, but ironically most important – take care of YOU first

Define your Brand’s Values

It does not matter how big or small you want your craft business to be. If you want to sell crafts and make any kind of sustainable income, you need to treat it like a real business.

If you just want to make a couple craft items every now and again to sell, the rest of this post may not be of much value to you. But if you wat to make any kind of part-time, full-time, or consistent side hustle money from selling crafts, keep on reading.

To sell crafts successfully, there’s a lot to building your entire brand identity and we’ll save some of it for another post.

Brand values specifically are incredibly important.

If you don’t define what your brand stands for, you’re doomed to sell product that doesn’t line up with who you are.

That could mean low-quality items and nothing unique. It also means not being in control of your own destiny when it comes to how much money will come from selling crafts online and/or locally.

Your products represent (and should reflect) a combination of who you are as an individual and what purpose they serve those around them.

Defining your values is the first step in answering these types of questions:

  • What is your “why” — why did you really make and sell crafts?
  • How are your products made (ie: sustainable materials, locally sourced, etc…)?
  • When a customer makes a purchase from you, how do you want them to feel?
  • How do your products help make your customers lives better?

What do your values mean for how you sell crafts:

Do they require a lot of customer service and love to make the sale complete (ie: handmade)?

Or, are minimalistic in nature where it’s all about the product (ie: vintage items)?

There is no right or wrong answer. It just matters that these decisions align with who YOU want to be. As long as it does, anything can work!

As you start to answer these questions, your brand values will start to shine through.

Product Development & Creation

To sell crafts and make money it starts with an idea. This is usually a product idea that is something you enjoy creating.

One thing I learned early on selling my handmade goods was not everyone wanted exactly the same things. So I had my hands full making sure there were enough products out there so everyone could find something they liked.

Vintage And Restore By K started as a furniture painting business. As it grew, I realized my customers wanted more than just the piece of furniture. They also wanted the home décor accessories to go with it.

That’s how I got into making handmade home décor and upcycling thrifted décor. I discovered the home décor items that sold the best and “mass produced” them (meaning built them in our workshop) to be as efficient as possible.

I also wanted to sell quality products with a unique point of view. So, what did I do?

I made sure that there were some “mainstream” items in my inventory (ie: the most popular colors, shapes, sizes), but then ensured that there was an item for everyone on their list too.

If someone is looking for red earrings and you only have blue ones in your shop – guess who’s losing out? The customer!

But if you stock one craft supply store favorite AND one specialty product just from them — both are happy campers!

Yes, if you plan to sell crafts online, it may take more time to ship two different things instead of shipping once per order…but sometimes people will be willing to pay a little bit more for a tiny thing that’s perfectly what they’re looking for.

To recap this section in a sentence: make a little bit of what everyone wants & make unique items too!

Sell Crafts

Find a Network of Likeminded Business Owners

What does it mean to sell crafts? It means you need to know what your customer wants. And in order to do that, you need a network of other small business owners who also sell handmade items.

A group of craft sellers can teach each other how they make their products; the best ways to promote themselves on social media; and where they get supplies (since smaller shops often carry things others don’t).

Plus, there’s nothing like getting feedback from someone with experience about whether or not something will sell.

This is invaluable information for any seller trying to sell crafts successfully.

Because let’s face it: if we’re building our own little empire at home, why not sell it to the world?

I’ve built so many invaluable relationships with other like minded handmade business owners.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out Facebook groups.

Search for things like: handmade business, craft sellers, Etsy sellers, etc…

Active local handmade business Facebook groups tend to have a lot of value, but they can be harder to locate.

If you will sell crafts at local markets {LINK} get to know the other vendors. Some of my closest relationships stemmed from the vintage markets we sold at.

Develop Processes that can be Duplicated

My advice? Start small while testing ideas and develop streamlined processes that can be duplicated so when an item sells well enough, it’s easy to make more of them quickly.

Other tips for developing process include:

  1. Write down the steps you go through in your production or listing each product separately (exact ingredients/materials). This will help sellable products get made faster because all the details are there from the beginning. It also helps with staying organized if you know exactly where everything is – no guessing required which cuts back on time spent looking for things. A list also provides ways to continually produce sellable crafts.
  2. Keep a list (inventory) of what items sell the most so you know what to make next. You can either do this in a spreadsheet or on paper – whichever is easiest for you. The great thing about keeping track of things like this? It helps keep from making the same product over and over again which saves time and money! And it also ensures that if there’s something specific someone wanted, they’ll be able to find it because all the details are right there when they start scrolling through your website/Etsy shop/etc…
  3. Label everything as well: containers used for materials, different colored yarns, etc… Anything with more than one color should have its type listed (ie: “blue yarn” instead of just “yarn”). And if you sell items that require a lot of assembly, make sure to write down the step-by-step instructions on how to do it.

The more time spent upfront means less time wasted later!

Develop a Process

Be Selective with how your Promote Your Products

With the ease of do it yourself website design and lists of way to promote your handmade products via social media, promotional opportunities are virtually limitless.

A huge word of caution: do not try to master all social media channels.

It’s better to focus on one or two so you know them really well. It’s also important to choose the platform(s) where your ideal audience is.

For example, I focus on Pinterest and Instagram. I have a business Facebook page and used to have a business Twitter account, but neither bring much value to my business.

So, I deleted the Twitter account and only post on Facebook when I write a relevant blog post.

You may decide TikTok and Snapchat are best for your business. It’s a decision only you can make.

Focusing on a one or two platforms will help your content be more engaging and authentic instead of feeling like a sell-it-all advertisement that gets boring after awhile.

Also, when it comes time for promotion: don’t over promote! It can get frustrating if people see the same thing too many times.

All that said, my most valuable business assets have nothing to do with my social presence.

So what brings the most value to my business? My email list and a solid SEO strategy.

In fact, both my Instagram and Pinterest bring me the LEAST amount of website clicks. They have their valuable purpose and that is why I keep them. But true ROI is minimal.

So, don’t fret over having to be on every social platform. Find what works for you and run with it.

BTW – what works for you in the beginning may be none of the social channels and only focusing on selling your handmade items locally.

That is totally fine too. You are only one person and you have to be realistic about what you can do.

Promote your craft items

Politely Plug Your Ears to Unsolicited Advice

I love my friends. I love my family. Heck, I even love the check out ladies at our local thrift store.

But loving someone and loving their unsolicited (and often uneducated) business advice is two different things.

You will learn along the way that everyone seems to know “exactly what you should do”.

They have the best intentions, because they love and care about you. And they think they have the absolute best solutions for you (spoiler alert: they don’t).

I’ll never forget the look of shock people expressed when I told them I pulled my product line from Amazon.

They simply could not believe I would “kill such a great opportunity”.

I mean, because having your product line on Amazon guarantees immediate insane piles of cash coming in, right? (no, the answer is no).

As the saying goes: if it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. And I don’t see everyone selling on Amazon.

Having my product line on Amazon created so much headache and did not feel true to what I was trying to build as a hands-on creative business owner.

I only had to have a few thousands dollars in sales to learn that selling on Amazon was not in line with my brand’s values. So I pulled it. And it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

To this day, I still cringe when I hear someone starts a sentence with “You know what you should do….”

So this is your warning: be very selective with who you share your business related challenges with.

Save it for your next business owner networking event or for an upcoming mastermind session.

Sorry to say, your friends and family (specifically the ones who have zero experience with running a business) should not be your go-to for business advice. But they are still great for loving, supporting and sharing a good laugh!

sell crafts

Most Importantly: Take Care of YOU First

To successfully sell crafts week after week, day after day, month after month, year after year (you get the point), you need to take care of yourself.

If you don’t take care of YOU– that’s when burnout sets in and your craft business is at risk of failure.

Develop a morning routine that promotes positivity and sets you up for a productive day.

Take Care of Your Body (aka: get some fresh air).

Get outside. Take a walk, hike up a mountain trail or go rock climbing… whatever floats your boat!

Getting outdoors helps us become present. It provides grounding energy which may help lower anxiety levels; and it can improve moods by increasing serotonin levels.

Don’t feel like you need to go on a hike? No worries! Just find one thing you can do each day to reconnect with nature. Do this and your craft business will be sailing smoothly in no time.

You’ll need to be productive and efficient with your time. You should have systems in place that allow you to sell crafts on autopilot so you can enjoy other parts of life.

If running a business isn’t something that excites you, sell crafts as a hobby. BUT still treat your hobby as a business.

While you may not need to do so much upfront work for a hobby business, make sure you still validate your ideas, build your brand and get a marketing plan in place.

How to Sell Crafts Online

Selling your crafts online is not as intimidating as it sounds. You can sell on your own custom built website (my preferred method) or on websites like Etsy or Amazon Handmade.

Developing your own website is cheaper in the long run but it may take more time to build up an audience. This is why some decide to sell crafts on known platforms like Etsy or Amazon before creating their own website.

I started on Etsy then moved to my own website about a year into selling online. This path may look different for your business.

The benefits of selling crafts online:

  • Not having to transport your inventory to stores and markets
  • Sales can happen ANY time of the day (my favorite sales are ones that happen when I’m sleeping)
  • You can make products in smaller quantities, or even as the order comes in which helps save on materials cost

The drawbacks of selling crafts online:

  • Getting the shipping calculated correctly, without losing money
  • Ensuring items are shipped safely
  • Additional shipping expenses to consider
  • No matter where you sell, building an online presence will likely take more time than selling locally

sell crafts online

Where to Sell Crafts Locally

To sell crafts at local markets or boutiques, you’ll need to build or purchase displays for your products. Since you’re just starting out, you will want to use caution on how much money you spend.

Search around Pinterest for booth ideas. Follow my Pinterest board here for inspiration.

There will likely be some fees involved when it comes time to sell crafts at craft fairs or local boutiques. Keep those fees in mind and when planning.

We’ve attended a variety of markets and have paid anywhere from $175 for a 10×10 booth to $1,250 for a 10×10 booth.

Do your homework to make sure a market is worth the cost before investing your time and money.

Pros of Selling Crafts Locally:

  • High likely hood of “instant gratification” (ie: make sales right away)
  • You can talk with customers face to face and learn more about what products they love and what they are looking for
  • The amazing relationships you build with customers and other like minded business owners

Cons of Selling Crafts Locally:

  • Upfront cost of displays and booth fees
  • Transporting your displays and inventory
  • Can become very labor intensive
  • Flat out exhausting at times

Sell Crafts Locally

How to Sell Crafts Frequently Asked Questions:

Below are a list of common FAQs I’ve received over the years as a creative business owner. I hope these help you

– How do I decide what I want to sell?

Start by making pieces you love and enjoy. Check around Etsy and at local boutiques to see if similar items are selling there. This could be an indicator that there is an audience that will buy your products.

Use caution though, if you’re seeing similar items ALL OVER the place, it could be an indicator that the product is oversaturated and the competition may bee tough.

– How do I get started?

I suggest looking at your hobbies or creative passions. If you love sewing then start there! You could work on being a seamstress or sell your handmade clothes online.

I love to turn trash into treasure and create beautiful spaces, which is why I started with painting furniture.

– What are the best tools I need?

This will depend where you decide to sell crafts, but here are few tools that I used in the beginning and still use today!

Canva, Mailchimp, Adobe Lightroom, QuickBooks Self Employed, Shopify, WordPress, a professional camera (using your Smart Phone to start is perfectly OK).

– What do I start with?

I recommend starting small and simple to get your feet wet in this field of work before you invest money or time into it. You could try making a few items to sell locally and expand from there.

– How do I know when it’s time to expand my product line?

I recommend watching the market to see what is in demand right now and then adjust your products accordingly. Also make sure to have an inventory of items that you can sell in bulk.

– How much does it cost to list my handmade crafts?

It varies depending on the site or platform you want to use. Places like Etsy, Amazon and Facebook Marketplace (when shipping, not for local pickup) usually have a listing fee and/or take a cut of your sales.

If you want to sell from your own website, there is usually a monthly or annual fee. On average, I’d say the fee will equal out to $20-$30/month. Plus, there is typically a transaction fee that goes toward credit card services. It’s typically minimal.

– What are some things I should watch out for when selling online?

Photos are KEY if you are selling online. Make sure to have a great photo for each listing!

Don’t let shipping cost surprise you and price your items accordingly.

Successfully Sell Crafts Conclusion

If you want to turn your passion into profit, it’s absolutely doable!

To recap:

  • Look at your local markets before investing time or money into selling online
  • Be very selective on who’s advice you listen to!
  • Start off small with a few items that are simple and can be duplicated
  • Keep an eye on the market for product trends so that you can adjust accordingly
  • Create great photos for all your listings
  • Don’t blow the budget on product displays and booth fees
  • Price items accordingly so that you’re not surprised with shipping costs and still turn a profit
  • Make time for YOU every single day.

I hope you enjoyed this article and that these tips/advice help you get started!

 

Until next time,

Krista

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