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.
Wishing you many sales,
If you found this information helpful, pass it to another crafty business owner or business owner-to-be by sharing it on your favorite social media. Sharing it is also a great way to find it when you need it again!