Ever heard of someone starting their handmade business because they got cancer? Though, I am sure you must have heard the other way round.
Zeynap owns a successful handmade leather and woodcraft business in Turkey. She has customers all over the globe for her stationery and travel accessories.
The neck cancer took away her voice. But it could never take away her zest in seeing her business succeed.
Within a few years of hustling. She transformed her small business into a thriving one that has patrons worldwide. Also, her health and voice recovered with time. So, today she is an accomplished handmade artist who does not miss her previous 9-5 grind.
Of the various advantages of handmade products. The best one is that it lets you start an alternative career. If thoughts of being self-employed while indulging in your hobbies fascinate you. Then, you must read further.
How to Make a Successful Business Out of Handmade Items
Zeynap’s story on creating her handmade label Galen Leather is inspiring. It sure will make you quit your soul-sucking day job. But do not do that until you have worked on the business plan for your handmade business.
Working on the business plan helps you focus. It also helps you visualize what you would be doing soon with your handmade business.
After sorting your business plan. Then, you should move to the following:
Niche Down on Your Handmade Products Business Ideas
It is daunting to figure out how to sell handmade products. In a similar realm, it is difficult to decide what crafts to sell.
It is common knowledge that makers excel in more than one kind of crafts. So, the next logical progression seems to sell a gamut of crafts.
But you know what. That logic does not hold true for branding. Albeit stocking varied products increases the inventory count. But the more the different kinds of crafts in your store. The more will be the dilution of your brand equity.
Therefore, you got to zero in on one kind of products. So, if you are a woodworking professional. Then, instead of filling up your shop with all kinds of woodwork projects. You may stick to either product for pets, or beehives, or even bar furniture. But not all the three together.
If you are a beginner. Then, the theory of limiting the size of your shop might confuse you. It is easy to arrive on a product category by using the visual below:
Sell What You Create Best
The fun of selling what you make best is that you enjoy creating it. Furthermore, when you enjoy the process. You take less time in creating it.
So, over time that leads to a better ROI. Also, you and your store get known for that exact particular craft. That way you build a strong clientele and foothold in your niche.
You can list down 5 crafts that you are good at. Then, use the next step to arrive at the best one.
Sell Handmade Items in Demand
You should do some research to know what handmade items sell the most. For that, the bestseller search tag on Etsy is a good indicator.
Though on Amazon Handmade it is an easy process by sorting on the best seller rankings.
Then, make a handmade products list of 10 items each for both these marketplaces.
From these lists, you should look for the 5 crafts that you are good at.
If these lists include your favorite crafts. Then, you should start off your shop with those. Else, you must retrospect to align your skills with the products that are in demand.
How to Sell Handmade Products
After you have decided what handmade crafts you are going to sell. Then, the next phase is to sell them.
Following are the few options that you can consider:
Local Craft Fairs
The easiest and most common of all options is to sell at craft fairs. Depending upon where you live. You must have some local options for craft and farmers market.
Though the more developed a nation, the more options you can find such options nearby. If not, then, you can move to —–
A few years back, a physical store was the lone option for a small business. Having one is still considered ambitious since it is a big investment.
If you have a burgeoning local clientele for your handmade crafts. Then, such an investment can be fruitful.
Albeit you own a physical store, you must have an online store. Since the digital aspect of doing business has impressive growth figures. Therefore, you have to have an online store.
The few options for a digital store are —–
Your Own Store
Your own e-commerce store is the digital version of your physical store. It lets you display your creations. It lets you offer discounts, engage and build connections with your audience.
Though running a successful e-commerce store requires a learning curve. You need to understand how to market and operate it.
In case you are a newbie maker. Then, you can explore other online options before you invest in your own store.
Sell Handmade Items on Facebook
If you want to open a test store before you start investing in marketing. Then, Facebook is a good option. With almost every individual using this social network. It is a platform worth trying.
Since there is no listing fee. So, you can use its Marketplace and Pages feature to list your handmade creations.
If you do not have prior experience of selling online. Then, Bigcartel can be a good start.
You can use its free options to test out your store. You would need a blog to drive traffic to your Bigcartel store.
I used it at the beginning of my crafting career. It is a good simple and basic option.
Much like Bigcartel, Gumroad is also a good beginner option. It has a starter free plan for beginners.
Earlier it was exclusive to digital products. But now it also caters to physical products.
If you have access to my library. Then, you can see my Gumroad store in service.
If you are a handmade artist. Then, you cannot ignore Etsy. The phenomenal success of this platform is proof that it works.
But as Etsy grew, so did the issues of using the platform. Competition and frequent policy changes are their regular woes. But the latest issue of auto account debits of sellers raises concerns on its safety.
I saved the best and my favorite one for the last. Before I even start on its merits. The one point that sets it apart is its Amazon brand lineage. That means it gets massive traffic that converts.
Plus, since it is Amazon, therefore it takes care of the logistics. So, if you have a standard product with repeat orders. Then, you can set up your shipping with them. That will let you concentrate on your craft without worrying on the hassles of shipping.
Moreover, you get to enjoy the affiliate commissions by promoting your own products. This feature itself gives an added advantage to use this platform.
Tips for Selling on Amazon Handmade
Amazon Handmade is my go-to place for buying products that are artisan created.
After writing a handful of articles about handmade products. Plus, with my experience of digital marketing. I have compiled a list of hacks that can help with selling on Amazon Handmade.
Whether it is your Amazon Handmade or the Etsy store. Or even if it is your blog. You cannot do without playing by the rules of the algorithms.
Though it does not mean that you need a course in some technology class. SEO is a fancy term for a copy that best communicates with the search algorithms.
So, instead of giving tags such as “oil paintings” or “science gifts”. You can be to the point as “funny oil paintings” or “gifts for physics geeks”.
Let us admit that visual parameters bias our online decisions. Hence, you cannot expect sales unless you improve your product photography.
Because no matter how good your product looks in real. It has to impress the viewers in your store.
You can hire a professional photographer to take your product shots. Or you could learn to do it on your own.
Stellar Customer Service
This one is a no-brainer. But I still see most of the handmade artists drifting on this one.
If you think that the customer service starts after a purchase. Then, let me tell you that that is where the mistake starts.
In the digital world of selling, customer service begins the moment you get a page view.
So, from there starts the process of serving the customer. The bare minimum you can do to delight your potential customer is to describe your product well.
By that I mean the following:
- clear listings
- thorough product descriptions – materials, weight, dimensions
- all inclusions and exclusions
- options and limits of customization
- shipping and logistics information
In other words, your store and product pages should talk to their visitors. The viewer should not have any doubts after seeing your listings.
Most of the makers waste a lot of time figuring out how to sell handmade products. With the digital advancements, it has become easy to showcase your craft to the entire world.
But along comes the cons of this benefit. Some of them being the technical roadblocks. While the teething issues are the basics of doing business.
If you are clear on what to create. Then, the rest of the process falls in place.
Though it makes sense to spread out your products at every marketplace possible. But with experience, you get to realize that not all marketplaces can work for you.
Between having your own store in the online and offline settings. You must try the option to sell on Amazon Handmade. It is less cluttered than Etsy. Plus, being the Amazon brand, it comes with an added set of advantages.
If you wish to sell handmade items on Amazon. Then, you can use my resource library along with this article for making money on Amazon Handmade.
Image Courtesy: Pixabay
P. S.: The post may contain affiliate links. That means if you purchase any of the products mentioned in this article through routing via the links in this post. Then, I may end up receiving a certain monetary percentage from the sale. Though the one who purchases through the link does not end up paying anything extra apart from the mentioned MRP on the product. Full disclosures on the Affiliate Page.