Now that you’ve taken the plunge and decided to start selling your handmade creations, where can you sell them?
Most popular places to sell your handmade products
Locally/Word-of-Mouth: When first starting out, your friends and family make great customers! It is not uncommon to give a gift to a friend or family member, and have them return to you to ask you to create something for them to gift! Pros: Friends and family want to see you succeed, and will often pass on your information to their friends. Cons: Friends and family often want items made for really cheap – remember to take into account your time, supplies, and talents. Costs: Free! Don’t forget to give your friends and family members business cards.
Locally online: Most areas have local “Buy and Sell” groups either through yahoo.com, facebook.com, or others. Pros: It’s usually free to list in these groups. Cons: With region specific groups, you have a limited market. Cost: Free.
Craft shows/fairs/co-ops: These types of sales require you to bring items to a location and set up a display with other crafters. Pros: Potential buyers can see and touch your items, and meet you in person. Cons: Depending on your location, craft fairs may be hard to find. Also, it is a lot of work to haul items to a place, set up a display, and take it all down later. Some craft fairs require submitting products for sale before acceptance into the show, while others require you be legally set up as a business – so be sure to get information in advance. Costs: Range from a few dollars for a local crafts fair to $1000’s for well known shows.
Local stores/boutiques: Local boutiques will often accept items to be sold in their store from crafters. Arrangements are often made based on a commission or consignment model. Pros: Local stores can increase your exposure. Cons: Dealing with store owners can be difficult. Make sure to have your agreement in writing. Costs: Vary from store to store.
A website: A stand alone website that you create (or you pay to have a web designer create). Pros: Low amount of overhead costs for selling items. Cons: Time consuming to set up, there is a constant need to promote your website to drive traffic to it, and sales are often slow (or non-existent) until your website is well established. Cost: Free to $1000’s.
Etsy.com: Probably the most well known and popular marketplace for handmade items online. Pros: Lots of buyers, and easy to set up, relatively inexpensive. Cons: Lots of competition, and many shops may offer items similar to your own. Finding a name that isn’t in use for your etsy shop can be difficult. Cost: Setting up a shop is free, and each item listed is $0.20 for four months (or until sold – whichever comes first). For items that sell, etsy charges 3.5% of the item’s sale price. Additionally, payment processing costs may apply.
Facebook.com: The terms and conditions of Facebook prohibit selling items on your personal page, but you can set up a business page where you can offer items for sale. Pros: Facebook is the largest social media network online. Selling on Facebook is well suited to people that have a large amount of friends that will help support the new business page by liking posts and sharing them. Cons: Facebook is constantly changing their algorithms for pages, which means the posts you make from your business page may only be shown to a small portion of people that “like” your page. Most recently, Facebook is pushing for business pages to pay for ads on Facebook to receive exposure. Cost: Free – although there are apps that can make selling on Facebook easier available for a cost.
Instagram.com: Instagram is hot for selling handmade goods right now. With appropriate use of hashtags and high quality images, many handmade sellers are doing well. Pros: Fast and free. There are third party apps available that can make selling goods easier. Cons: Instagram is not designed for selling specifically. Instagram moves fast – you’ll need to post multiple times per day to be successful. Cost: Free.
Artfire.com: Artfire is an artisan marketplace that was built by artisans for artisans. In addition to handmade items, you can also find artisan goods, fine art, supplies, and more. Pros: Large marketplace with lots of buyers. Cons: Lots of competition, and other stores may offer items similar to your own. Cost: There are no per transaction or commission fees taken from Artfire. Stores cost between $20 and $60 per month.
Ebay.com: Over the years, ebay has evolved into a wonderful place to sell items. Handmade items don’t do as well as they used to on ebay.com.
To be most successful, I recommend combining several of these elements together to create an entire brand around the products you sell. This gives you a large audience of potential buyers. This idea may seem overwhelming at first, but remember to start small and take it one step at a time. The first step to selling your handmade items is setting some goals for your new business, so read on.