In previous articles, I covered how to improve your crafting skills and how to decide which items to produce. If you have already followed this advice, you should already be well on your way to building a successful business. Now, I would like to take a look at another critical step in the process – deciding how and where to sell your handmade items online.
If you missed the first two articles in the series, you can find them here:
Step 1: How to improve your crafting skills
Step 2: Deciding what handmade items to create
Now let’s return to the discussion of where to sell your handmade goods online.
So, you’ve brushed up on your skills and decided what you would like to make. Now what? How can you sell your crafts online and, perhaps more importantly, how can you find an audience that is receptive to your products? The good news is that this process is easier than ever. Let’s explore a few places that you can sell your handmade crafts.
Etsy is one of the largest and best-known online marketplaces for handmade items, with over 1-million active Etsy shops and $1.35 billion in 2013 sales. From a consumer perspective, Etsy has a mixed reputation. On the one hand, customers like the range of products that the site offers. On the other hand, there are plenty of stories out there about people who received mass-produced items or had a bad experience.
If you’re looking for a place to get set up quickly, Etsy may be a good option. But, as you gain experience and build a reputation for yourself, it may eventually be better to sell directly from your website.
Shopify is another site that allows you to sell your handmade items online. They offer plenty of tutorials to help you set up your store. In addition, they seem to have more customization options than Etsy. So, if you want to build a brand around your crafts, they may be a better way to go.
Once again, the main benefits to using a platform like Etsy or Shopify are getting set up quickly and having access to their audience. As you build your reputation, it probably makes sense to sell directly to consumers on your website.
Handmadeology is not an online market – it is a site dedicated to helping you get better at selling your crafts online. For example, they have an entire section dedicated to Etsy tips. If you decide to sell your handmade goods through Etsy or Shopify, I highly recommend that you visit Handmadeology to learn how to increase your sales.
When you first start selling your handmade goods online, you may want to go with one of the “out of the box” solutions like Etsy of Shopify. But, as you build an audience, you will almost certainly want to sell directly.
There are a few reasons for this. First, selling directly allows you to build relationships with your customers. You can add them to your newsletter, entertain them with articles and show them that you are a real person. Second, you will be able to keep more money from every sale. Sure, it’s harder to get set up, but, it will be worth it in the end!
Are you already successfully selling your own handmade items online? Which of the sites mentioned in this article have you tried and what was your experience? What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about selling their own handmade items? Please add your comments below.