Are Custom Products Worth It in Your Craft Business?

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Today’s post is to get you thinking about the products you offer in your Silhouette or Cricut small business – and the time it takes you to process each order. I’m asking you to think about whether or not custom made or personalized products are worth your time in your business. For the purpose of this post, custom products are defined as orders where the customer chooses what goes on the product and you create one, unique product. (Example: 1 personalized tumbler cup or 1 personalized tee shirt.)

To start, let’s take a look at the process of creating a custom or personalized product.

Process for Custom Products

  1. Make a sample of the product (which you may or may not be able to sell) or create a mockup of the product.
  2. List the product online.
  3. Get an order from a customer.
  4. Make a mockup of the product.
  5. Wait for customer approval.
  6. Get customer approval or make changes as desired by the customer, possibly wait for customer approval again.
  7. Create the product and mail it to the customer.

And don’t forget about the customers that don’t specify their customization and you have to chase them down to get their order; or even the customer who incorrectly enters their desired customization and blames you for the error. In the event that the customer returns the item, it is unlikely that you’ll be able to resell it to another customer.

Now, let’s take a look at the process for selling a ready to ship product.

Process for Selling a Ready to Ship Product

  1. Create the product.
  2. Photograph and list the product for sale.
  3. Get an order from a customer.
  4. Package and ship the order.

Are Custom or Personalized Orders Worth It?

I can’t argue that the customization and personalization niche is huge (think large brands like Things Remembered or Personalization Mall). However, for one woman (or one man!) operations, this niche may not be as profitable unless you can sell at a high price point and large profit margin or you can sell hundreds of products. If you are a one person business, it can be more profitable to work assembly line style and create many ready made products at a time. If you browse Etsy, you may notice that many of the largest online shops do not only sell custom made or personalized products.

Unfortunately, I can’t decide if custom orders are right for your business – but I hope I got you thinking. Does your business sell only custom orders, only ready made products, or a mix of both? Let me know in the comments, and read on for an alternative approach to selling on Etsy.

 

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Are Personalized or Custom Products Worth It in Your Silhouette Portrait or Cameo and Cricut Explore or Maker Craft Business? By cuttingforbusiness.com.

14 thoughts on “Are Custom Products Worth It in Your Craft Business?”

  1. In my case it downed on the price of paper. I have to really look for sales at michaels, hobby lobby, joanns, or buy online. I don’t want to overcharge too much for a banner because then people won’t want to buy. Paper can get expensive! Lately I have been having orders from previous buyers and they tell me way ahead of time what they need so I have time to shop around which is great. I love your blog!!!!

    1. Hi Cate! (It’s nice to see you on CfB!) Yes, paper can be really (really!) expensive! That’s great that you are getting advanced notice from customers! Thanks for your kind words!

  2. I have just started making signs and at this point I really only have one customer who is ordering custom made signs to add to her wreaths. As i design these signs I add them to my Etsy shop making them available to others. I guess time will tell whether or not other wreathers are able to find a use for these signs. If they start selling, custom signs will be worth offering.

  3. I make handmade greeting cards, ready made and custom made. I also make event stationery which is as you know, customized. My ready made products are a bit cheaper but orders for those do not come through out the year. Orders for customized products come in every month, so depending on how long it takes to produce, the prices vary. This helps pay the bills, at least.

  4. This is so on point. I was just talking about this last week when I decided to add vinyl products to my shop. It’s so costly to offer custom items when you’re a one woman operation. To me its more profitable to come up with designs that are unique to your shop. I would say that personalized items might be best for a big job like say a book club or a wedding party or a repeat custom who brings you a steady flow of business. I told myself that this year its about working smarter not harder. Great post!

    1. Awesome comment Shantel! I love that you are planning to work smarter, not harder! That’s something that every small business owner should strive for, as they already wear so many different “hats”. Thanks for stopping in! Christine

  5. Most of the items i make are custom orders; however, i have tons of ideas that i would love to create but i would like to have some ways to create mocks for them instead of having to make so many items and let them sit there. Any bundle of mock ups graphics you can recommend to do this? Thanks in advance.

  6. I charge an hourly fee for custom designs above the cost of my product, which is stated in my policies. The customers that want “something for nothing” fade away, but those who understand the process and value custom work hang on and buy. I’m ok with that, and my customers that end up buying are quite satisfied.

  7. Julie Quattrucci

    Good question! Being different is important but knowing your numbers is critical. My question is in Silhouette, how do I take a picture of a finished product, isolate it and put it into the mock up? This is different than taking the file and adding it to an existing product like a t-shirt or mug. Thanks!

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