How to make money from crafts?

This is a question asked very frequently by those who make handmade goods.  Some craft artists have the desire to turn their hobby into a business, but not all.  It could also be more about having a way to pay for more craft supplies.

Regardless of the reason why you want to make money from crafts this post will provide you with my personal ideas, hints and tips.

Profit or Not?

First of all it is important to ask yourself if you want to make a profit from your crafts.  If you want to turn your hobby into a business it is vital you are making a profit.  If however you want to get some money back from things you have made so you can buy some more supplies, its not so important.  Most people simply have the idea they want to make money from crafts without taking this distinction into account

What to Sell?

There are a huge number of products to choose from when you decide you want to make money from crafts.  Some of the most popular items that sell include various types of jewellery, soaps, candles, bags and decorative pillows.  However it is important to remember that selling popular items like these involves a lot of competition.

My advice with regard to what to make is to go with something you love to do.  Also try to be very creative about the designs.  Often the best tactic is to aim for more of a one off style.

Where to Sell?

Various options exist now with regard to where to sell your crafts.  There are so many in fact it can be a little overwhelming.  My advice on this is to focus on a small number of options initially and work on how to promote those options to your potential audience.  Some people make the mistake of thinking if they list items on a website or if they sell at craft fairs that they are not involved in promoting.  Every craft person is responsible for promoting their own items regardless of where you sell them.

Some of the most popular options to consider are:
  • Craft fairs – If in the UK, craft calendar is a good resource to check for local fairs.
  • Craft shops – Some craft shops are happy to display goods for sale for a small commission.  It is best to just ask in local shops if they offer this.
  • Local events – Many local events offer a limited number of spaces for craft sellers.  It is often worth ringing event organisers to ask if they are providing craft spaces.
  • Your own website – Although this is a popular option for craft artists to explore it tends to be less successful than expected.
  • Writing a blog – This option tends to be a lot more successful than a static website.  If interested in this you might like to read How to Start A Blog; Practical Steps and Advice.
  • Ebay – Can be suitable for some craft products, however craft specific platforms tend to be a better choice.  If trying Ebay you might like to read Working with a New Ebay Account
  • Craft specific platforms such as Etsy or Folksy – In my opinion these are much more successful than a personal website or non craft specific sites like Ebay.
  • Facebook page or group – These can be very good platforms for selling craft products.  If considering selling on Facebook you might like to read 12 Ways to Reach More People on Facebook
  • Pinterest – I would say Pinterest is perhaps the most popular social media platform for those making and selling craft products.
  • Twitter – Some craft artists report quite a lot of success with Twitter, however if using this platform it is important to connect with the craft community on there.

Whichever option you choose I would say the most important aspect of this is to go with the options you are most comfortable with.  Each of these involve a large learning curve – it is not enough to simply take some photos or show your goods to people.  Learning how to promote the goods you make will make the difference between being able to turn a craft into a business or not.

Pricing

As someone who has made and sold crafts I would say pricing is perhaps one of the most difficult things to make a decision about.  If it is too low not only are are likely to not make a profit but you are undervaluing your work.  If it is too high then you can find it difficult to make sales.  When you are pricing items remember to:

  • calculate the cost of the raw material used for the item
  • take into consideration how long it takes to make
  • look at the prices other people are charging for similar items
  • include costs of packaging or display items
  • consider overhead costs such as fees for listing items, website costs or craft fair costs
  • add an amount to cover paying tax on sales made

Do Not Copy!

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about making crafts to sell is the fact that you can spend a very long time working on a project to make it unique only to have it copied by someone else.  The main piece of advice I have for anyone wanting to make money from crafts is to do your own thing.  Don’t just copy something that others have made.  Not only is this not advisable from a business perspective, because the chances are it won’t sell for you.  It can also lead to being shunned from the craft community.  Remember that people who make crafts can provide a lot of support and advice, and they can be some of your best customers too 😉

If you have found this post useful please feel free to share it with others.  Thanks in advance to those who do share it, I always appreciate your help in reaching a larger audience!

Ellie xx

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