Doing crafts as a hobby can be remarkably therapeutic. For some, working with their hands to create various DIY projects can be a fantastic source of stress-relief from their day jobs. For others, it’s the thrill of learning and creating new things out of a particular skill.
Whether it’s woodworking, sculpting, knitting, sewing, felting, or other similar crafting styles, there is something special about putting a creative vision to reality. But when someone feels that they’re skilled enough to turn what was previously a hobby into a new business, that’s a different approach altogether.
When it comes to turning hobbies into businesses, the online world has plenty of opportunities. Boldly share your skill and start selling crafts online by finding the right platform with this pricing. A platform can be a social media site, online selling platforms, to even standalone websites. Etsy, one of the largest platforms for handmade crafts, had reported up to 2.5 million active sellers in 2019 alone, with sellers coming from all over the world.
People love to buy handmade crafts. For every person that enjoys creating something new, there’s always someone else willing to buy it. There’s a reason that the crafting industry is worth $41 billion. Think of a craft and there’s surely an audience: from unique, customized jewelry to miniature terrarium kits.
So, how does someone get started with online craft sales?
Before getting started on that online storefront, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind to ensure that the foray into the crafting world goes off on the right foot.
Anyone with a brick-and-mortar shop will tell other aspiring entrepreneurs that location is a cornerstone of getting high sales. The same is true for online shops. The right market spot can make or break a store, and the same goes for online sales.
There are many different places and platforms to start an online store for handmade goods, so it’s essential to carefully assess each one.
Make sure that you’re aware of the full costs of the marketplace – these may include items such as a listing fee, item sales fees, delivery fees and restocking fees. These fees may be a flat rate or a percentage and it’s important to factor these in to the cost of your product so that you’re not out of pocket.
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Another thing to look for is if the marketplace is actively advertising which will raise awareness and bring more customers to your online storefront, or will you have to drive traffic to your store yourself? While you have more control of who you target if you run your own marketing campaign, this can be time consuming and take away from the time you have to actually make your products.
A platform may be popular, but you have to ask questions first:
- Does it have the right features for the products?
- Are there excellent benefits for sellers?
- Does it have the right audience?
If it’s popular but not the right fit, don’t do it there. Facebook groups are an excellent way to find out more information about a specific platform and whether people would recommend it, or issues they may have had with it.
Also, take a look at the platform through the eyes of your potential customers and make a few test purchases from similar stores. Take note of how easy or difficult the process was – how many checkout steps were there? Were the shipping costs clearly explained at a convenient time rather than all the way at the end of the checkout process?
You want the simplest process as possible so that your customer completes the sales process and don’t abandon their cart because of too many screens to go through or unclear pricing. If a customer does abandon their cart, does the platform give you any way to re-engage with them such as sending a reminder email or a coupon?
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A significant social media presence can make a difference for a hobbyist about to start selling their crafts. Building social media pages for the products so a potential audience can see finished products drums up interest, especially if colorful photos are involved.
Social media pages even allow merchants to integrate their pages with direct sales or sales platforms, making the transition even more accessible.
Not only will sharing your products on social media drive people to your site, they can also cross-share your items which greatly enhances your potential reach.
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One of the biggest mistakes that novice sellers can make is to attempt to sell everything they can, especially when there are numerous popular items. Niche down and find a centerpiece product. If there is absolute confidence in the production of this item, the product will come out better crafted and of higher quality.
Turning out a quality product can draw more people towards a seller. Once the seller has established a niche with that item, they can start expanding the product line.
Additionally trying to produce too many products too quickly can easily lead to burn out – and that’s not something you don’t want to face just as you’re starting out.
Buyers come back to an online storefront if they love the brand’s identity. Before a seller can get started, they have to know what they want their store to be known for.
- What kind of brand would the target market be interested in?
- Is the store elegant, professional, or casual?
- Should the approach be quirky or clean?
If the brand identity is a hit, it stays on the buyers’ minds.
It’s a good idea to come up with a set of brand guidelines at the start of your business journey. Brand guidelines are essentially a set of rules that covers who your audience is, your core values and brand identity (typefaces used, sizing, spacing etc.) Make sure that all of your social media accounts follow your brand guidelines in order to create a cohesive and easily recognizable brand across all platforms.
Regardless of what a seller may think an audience likes, it’s vital for craftpreneurs to remain faithful to what made them love the hobby in the first place. Feigning appearances to go with the trend might end up draining a merchant of the love of the craft. The identity of the store and brand should be what made the seller want to start it.
Crafts can be an extension of a person’s interests and identity. Selling handmade goods is an expression of the love of art. By striking the right balance between being a merchant and being a hobbyist, what was once a stress-relief activity can grow into a burgeoning business appreciated by all.