Many of us have gotten into crafting hobbies over the last few years, but not everyone knows what it takes to sell crafts online.
Though it can feel like a daunting prospect, selling crafts online is a fun challenge that can often turn a profit!
Step One: Decide What To Make
Before you sell your crafts online, you’ll have to decide what crafts you intend to make!
If you already have a craft in mind – something you’re good at or enjoy making, great! But maybe you’ve got a handful of crafty hobbies and aren’t sure which one to start with. Or, maybe you want to find a new craft that you can sell online.
Crafting From Stuff You Already Have
You can start by checking out our list of ideas for crafts to make and sell. If none of those work, try looking around your house for unused crafting supplies or things you can recycle or upcycle into new and exciting – not to mention marketable – craft ideas.
In fact, if you find a bunch of unused crafting supplies, you can turn right around and sell those, without having to do anything more.
Many people don’t want to overspend on new supplies when getting into a craft, and that’s totally understandable! Try a craft using materials you can get at a secondhand store, or ask around to see if anyone in your community has unused craft supplies you can try your hand at.
Learn A New Craft
If you’re still stuck, see if there are any crafting classes in your area where you can learn a new skill and find the supplies for a craft you can turn into your own little sales empire. Or, see if a friend can teach you their skills in something like knitting, beading, or clay.
You can also check out books and guides that can get you started with a new type of crafting. These even let you get a celebrity to help you out, like Martha Stewart, Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler from Parks and Recreation and Making It, or TLC’s While You Were Out top designer Mark Montano.
If videos and online communities are easier for you to learn from, there are plenty of options for those hoping to learn a new craft online. Check out Skillshare, which has hundreds of video classes on everything from embroidery to flower arrangement. Or, try Creative Live, which lets you buy a subscription and access their massive library of crafting classes at your own pace.
Step Two: Find Your Niche
Once you’ve decided on a craft to get started with, you’ll want to figure out what your niche is, if you’re going to try and sell your wares.
Having a niche means that you’re making something unique that people can’t find anywhere else, which is a great benefit of handmade crafts. But it can be hard to figure out how to make your crafting work stand out, or to determine what your personal niche can be.
One great way to find your niche is to ask around among your friends and loved ones. Ask what types of styles you’re known for, and what sorts of aesthetic they think of when they think of your work. Are you famous for colorful, glittery, maximalist work? Or do people think of you when they want something rustic and homey?
You can also think about a seasonal niche you’d like to fill. Are you a go-to for spooky Halloween themed fun, or for spiritually inspired Christmas crafts? Wedding crafts are also in high demand, so if making things with a bridal theme inspires you, consider crafting for weddings and bachelorette parties.
Another good way to identify your niche is to see what other niches are out there, and whether you can recognize one that hasn’t been filled yet. Search on crafting sites like Etsy for things similar to what you plan to make, and see whether a certain type of item or style is under represented.
Step Three: Know Your Worth
One important aspect of selling crafts online is making sure that you’re asking a fair price for your crafts. Many people are worried about setting the price point too high, which can turn buyers off. However, pricing your product too low is equally dangerous.
One problem with setting a price that’s too low is that customers may be suspicious of the quality. Instead of being excited to find a great deal, they will wonder why your item is so much cheaper than anything else they’ve seen.
Another problem with a price that’s too low is that it undervalues the time, work, and supplies you put into your crafts. Selling crafts online shouldn’t force you to operate at a loss, and that includes for things that can be hard to price out, like your time.
Even if you enjoy all the time you spend making your crafts, remember that you should still take that into account when setting a price. Think about what you would charge as an hourly rate for your work, then estimate how long it really takes you to make something.
When calculating time spent on making something, don’t just limit it to time at the crafting bench. Keep in mind the time you spend packaging and shipping, maintaining your online storefront, and shopping for supplies.
You also need to account for the money you spend on materials and shipping costs. Understanding what really goes into selling crafts online when it comes to financial investments is critical to a successful endeavor.
To better understand how to price your crafts to sell them online, do the same thing you did when looking for your niche – poke around to see what other crafts are selling similar work for. That will give you an understanding of the price range and what customers expect to pay.
Step Four: Set Up Your Workspace
Although many of us crafters like to set up in a comfy spot, maybe in front of a favorite TV show, selling crafts online requires a bit more preparation.
You’ll want a clean space where you can create things that is free of dust, smoke, and pet hair – that way you can advertise your crafts as coming from a clean, smoke free, and pet free environment, making them more appealing to people with allergies or sensitivities. Plus, you don’t need Fluffy or Spot knocking things over or getting in your way!
As with any workspace, it should be comfortable for you. Not all of us can have a full time craft room or work station, but do your best to make your crafting workspace a cozy place where you feel inspired. Set up decor that you like, make your crafting tools and supplies easily accessible, and get enough light to see what you’re doing.
You’ll also need somewhere that lets you stage and prepare things for shipping. Make sure you have room to lay out packaging and boxes, and keep everything organized if you have multiple orders.
Since selling crafts online is also an online business, you’ll want a workspace where you can set up your computer and manage your online storefront, communicate with clients, and track orders. A comfortable setup for computer work is key to any successful online venture.
Step Five: Choose Your Platform
Selling crafts online requires you to have an online website where potential customers can see your items, understand their specifications, and communicate with you if they have any questions.
Online Craft Marketplaces
The best options for selling crafts online have robust searching and tagging features as well as reviews and comments that let you leverage word of mouth benefits for your online business.
Perhaps the most well known platform for selling crafts online is Etsy, where billions of dollars each year are spent by people on handmade crafts and vintage items.
Etsy makes it easy for people to find your crafts with their searching, tagging, and browsing system. They also help with shipping and offer payment security.
However, the convenience of Etsy comes with a cost. Etsy charges a small fee to post a listing, and requires sellers to pay a percentage of their earnings back to them. If it’s worth it to you to share a small cut of your earnings to a website that provides all the features and functionality you need to sell crafts online, then they’re an excellent option!
If you want to take advantage of a pre built marketplace like Etsy, but want to try a different platform, you have a number of options! Check out Artfire, which charges a small fee as well and also provides support and promotional help. Or, try Shop Handmade, which lets you post listings for free and set your own sales and promotions.
For those who want more control over their online craft sales business, you can build your own website that includes a storefront. Web services like Squarespace and Wix let you set up your own “ecommerce” website, with a unique domain, where you can sell your crafts online. It’s a bit more work, but you have more control over the look and feel of your website.
Local Networking Sites
Since these sites are not set up with storefront or ecommerce options, you’ll need to put more effort in to posting listings and communicating with potential buyers to arrange payment, shipping, or pickup. This method also keeps your business more local by blending online sales with local communities.
We don’t recommend using these networking sites as a primary way to sell crafts online, but there are some types of crafts that are most commonly sold on these platforms.
If you’re making crafts that fall under a specific niche and are bought by people who prefer to shop on networking sites, you may have a lot of success here.
Step Six: Name Your Business
Selling crafts online is a business, and like any business, yours needs a name!
Some people like to keep things simple and descriptive by using their own name and a short description of their crafts.
Using alliteration and finding a way to connect it with your name is a great way to come up with a name. Something like “Lisa’s Resin Creations” or “Anna’s Awesome Beads” is perfect if you’re going for simple, clear, and descriptive.
You can also choose a name that really captures the aesthetic you’re going for, and lets people know what they’re in for. For example, “Barnyard Baubles” will be very different than “Graveyard Gifts.”
For someone shopping for country wedding decorations, or someone looking for spooky skeleton earrings, the choice is immediately clear!
Naming your business is a good way to add a personal touch to your online craft selling business. Consider naming it after a pet, your favorite color, or something that inspires you as a crafter.
Ask for help from friends and loved ones, who can suggest clever concepts that capture your crafting sensibilities.
Check out Etsy’s official tips for naming your online store, or look through some examples for inspiration. If you’re really stuck, you can get a list of options by using a name generator for online shops!
Step Six: Put Yourself Out There
Once you’ve set up your storefront for selling crafts online, the next step is to market yourself! No one can buy your crafts if they don’t know about them, so you’ve got to make sure people can see your awesome art.
A great way to do this is through social media. Make an Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook account with the name of your business, and follow artists and creators who do similar work. Be generous with retweets and comments, and let people know you’re excited about this world.
More people will see your social media posts if you use the right hashtags. Look at the hashtags that other people in your crafty niche are using, and include yourself in searches and feed recommendations by using those hashtags.
Be personable, charming, and real. Don’t spam people or ask repeatedly to be featured. Just talk about who you are and what types of crafts you’re selling, and make genuine connections with other sellers and creators. Share ideas and tutorials, and even funny bloopers or failures from your crafting attempts!
If you have friends and family that use social media, ask them to post links to your online store, with little reviews about your crafts and how they use or enjoy them.
Another way to promote your online craft selling business is through paid advertising and marketing. Consider trying out some low cost facebook ads and reading about what other online craft sellers are doing to market their businesses.
Once you start making sales, ask your buyers to help you out with word of mouth testimonials and reviews.
Step Seven: Customer Service
Everyone has a nightmare story about a terrible customer service experience – make sure your online craft business isn’t one of them! Selling crafts online is an ongoing effort, and takes more than building up an inventory and setting up a storefront.
Packaging and shipping
The most important thing, when it comes to selling crafts online, is to make sure everything you sell gets to the buyer quickly and in good condition. Make sure you have a good system for shipping and tracking orders that protects your investment.
Packaging is also critical to a good customer service experience. At minimum, the packaging should protect the item and ensure that it arrives in the same condition that you sent it out.
Visit your local post office to get a sense for what’s available in terms of boxes, packaging materials, and shipping insurance.
Attractive packaging that’s fun to open isn’t a requirement, but it’s a great way to please customers and enhance your business. Brightly colored paper, hand written notes, and even tiny free gifts add a personal touch that will keep customers coming back for more.
Packaging is a great way to use leftover supplies, like bits of yarn or melted beads. These little extras can keep your packaging on theme without requiring an investment in more supplies!
Timely, polite responses to customer questions can make or break a relationship. Even when people are confusing or difficult, remember that all online interactions can make their way into the public discourse, and you don’t want to be known for rudeness or unresponsiveness.
A good way to connect with customers is via your social media profile, but you can also use the commenting and messaging functionality of your ecommerce or marketplace platform.
Offering custom or personalized options for the crafts you’re selling online is another great way to invite connection and communication, if that’s possible for the craft you’re doing.
If you have a positive interaction with a customer, reach out afterwards to request that they leave you a high rating or a good review! Keep those relationships going and working for everyone involved.