How to Make Money Selling Handmade Goods and Crafts
Once you've perfected a DIY, whether it's a handy handmade heating pack or hand-tossed bowls from your pottery wheel, you may want to find a way to monetize your passion project. Making money on your craft can be tricky and it almost always takes a little time for things to take off. If you are willing to put in the work though, it is more than possible to make money while doing your favorite DIYs.
Etsy is a very popular parent site where small, hand-crafted companies can sell their goods. On Etsy you can find everything from art prints and fresh hive honey to custom burp cloths and handmade jewelry. If you can make it, you can probably sell it on Etsy.
Etsy works by allowing you to set up your own digital storefront. You choose the name, you pick what to sell, you determine the prices. There is a minimal fee attached to selling items on Etsy called a listing fee, but it is very small.
To succeed on Etsy you will need to do something to set yourself apart. It helps if you set up social media profiles for your little store and connect those accounts to Etsy. Taking great pictures of your product will also help your products sell well. Great customer service goes a long way on this platform too, because potential customers can see reviews of your shop and how many sales you've made.
Etsy Pro Tips: Invest in a basic SEO course to learn how to best use SEO on your Etsy site. There are even Etsy specific SEO training. SEO (search engine optimization) can help boost your listing and bring more interested visitors to your shop.
If you've got a little bit more internet savvy and are familiar with hosting sites like WIX, WordPress, or Shopify, you can start your own online storefront. Running a storefront this way takes a lot of time in the beginning but maintaining it only takes a little time each week, give or take a few hours depending on how successful the store is.
Make your website robust to increase the time people spend on your website. Include informational pages, behind the scenes peeks, and customer review—in conjunction with the products that you are selling. Good images go a long where here too and consistency is key to create a brand vibe that gives your company consistency and legitimacy. If you can't afford to hire a product photographer, give it your best DIY try.
Pro Tip: Create a Facebook and Instagram profile to connect to your account. This scores you points with the Google algorithm and brings in another avenue of customers.
Sell on Instagram
If you want to sell only on a social platform, go for it. Instagram is a great place to sell your crafts because it is visually driven and you can use relevant hashtags to increase your exposure. Use great images and calls to action in all of your captions. Believe it or not, you are your most valuable asset for selling on Instagram. Get on Instagram stories and show your face, share your story, and give people a regular peek at the product producing process. If you're comfortable with it, share small bits of your personal life on your page as well. Even a post or two sharing about yourself makes you more trustworthy as a brand.
The one trick to selling on Instagram is the payment process. Since there is no built-in payment structure like on Etsy or a website, you may need to use Venmo or Paypal, and keep track with a tax software for tax purposes.
Instagram Pro Tip: Collaborate with bloggers who have a similar audience to you to get exposure for your product. You can do a giveaway with them or exchange free products for posts and stories. If you don't have a big marketing budget, try finding people who are willing to TFP (trade for pay).
Craft fairs are a fun way to get out and sell to people who love handmade items. These fairs and trade shows happen on a local and national level. Usually, you need to apply to be a vendor at these events several months in advance and you will need to pay a fee to join.
It's important to set up a nice display that looks professional, conveys who you are as a business, and draws people in. At a craft fair you are competing directly with other crafters (some of whom may be selling similar products to you) and you need to find a clever way to stick out.
Pro Tip: If craft fairs aren't your thing, ask a local boutique if they would be willing to sell your products in their store. You could sell your products to the boutique at a discounted rate and make money that way or you could earn a percentage of each sell you make through them.
When starting out, don't be afraid to get scrappy and think outside of the box. If you find a way to sell that works for you—run with it. You are your greatest business asset.