How to Make Money Selling Crafts Online
Just because you don't have a dedicated crafts room like Martha Stewart or Rosie O'Donnell doesn't mean you can't become a successful entrepreneur by selling your crafts online. In the past crafters have had to slug it out at craft fairs and farmer's markets, often meaning long hours and little profit.
All of that has changed in the last few years as a number of online marketplaces have opened that allow amateur crafters a forum to sell their goods. Crafters can now have their goods seen all over the world without leaving home, which is not only great for convenience, but wonderful for keeping a low overhead.
Before you pick up the glue gun and start buying pipe cleaners in bulk, here are my top 3 tips to selling your crafts online:
1. Avoid Ebay
I use Ebay regularly and I love it, but not for selling crafts. In my experience items that are most successful on Ebay tend to be of two categories: collector's items and new/slightly used retail items. Ebay buyers generally aren't looking for original content and that includes crafts.
If you are going to sell your crafts online it is best to find a forum that is specifically catered to crafts. Etsy.com is considered the crème de la crème, but there are a number of smaller sites that you might try including: artfire.com, madeitmyself.com, bonanza.com, and shophandmade.com. These sites will let anyone list their crafts and you get to set the selling price. Similar to Ebay, you pay a small insertion fee to list your product (.25 cents or so) and then a fee if your item sells.
2. Unique Products are Easier to Sell
There are approximately 1 gabillion people selling their handmade jewelry on Etsy. That doesn't mean some of them aren't successful, it just means that a new seller is going to have to work double time to get noticed. If you can come up with something really unique it will be easier to stand out.
For example, one Etsy crafter named "8bitmemory" started selling clocks made out of old Nintendo video games. They became a hit with techie geeks. Another crafter is selling aquariums made out of old Apple computers. It's unique, interesting, and not something you can find in every Michael's craft store.
Creating a unique product also increases your chances of becoming featured on the home page, something that all online craft sellers aspire to. Recently a couple from Hawaii became a hit on Etsy with their kitten shaped crayons. The couple's store "Kitty Baby Love" was featured on the homepage of Etsy and the couple went from selling a few items a day to over 1,000 orders in the month following the feature. The average item in their store is priced at $15, meaning the couple sold over $15,000 in merchandise in 30 days. Talk about life changing!
3. Network with Other Crafters
Once you've listed your crafts online it is imperative that you network with other crafters for two reasons. First, those who are selling crafts online are often the ones most willing to buy crafts online. Commenting in an Etsy forum or sending a "thumbs up" email to a fellow crafter could easily lead to a sale.
Another reason to network is that you increase the chances of having your crafts featured on the front page. Crafters often create what is known as "treasuries", which is basically a list of their favorite things. Etsy loves to display those "treasuries" on the home page, which is seen by over 150,000 people everyday. The more sellers that are including your items among their favorite things, the more likely it is that you will have your items featured.
Good Luck Penny Hoarders!