All of your friends gush over the handmade gifts that you have made for them. They tell you that you should start selling your crafts and make some money. Maybe you’ve already thought about it, and just don’t know how or where to start a craft business. Just like any startup, it can be intimidating at first without the right know-how. But, selling your crafts doesn’t have to be difficult. It is a lot of work, yes, but there are outlets to help make things a little bit easier for you.
You used to rely solely on word-of-mouth, or by posting flyers on bulletin boards in grocery stores or local restaurants. Sometimes, cities and counties would host fairs catering to artisans. Now, thanks to the internet and social media, you can extend your reach globally.
Knowing how to use tools that sites like Facebook and Instagram offer to start selling your crafts. can expand your craft business. The better you are at using those tools, the faster and larger it will grow.
The craft industry is a collective of the craft businesses that make up this nearly $30 billion industry. Start-up costs for a craft business are usually very low, making them an easier and more desirable market to step into for many. There are many different craft businesses one can start, but the following are the two biggest categories.
Wholesalers are crafters who create their items in large quantities for the purpose of selling in bulk. They may also sell crafting supplies in bulk. Small physical businesses will often buy wholesale from crafters to resell in their own shops.
For those just starting out, wholesale crafting may be intimidating, as it requires a lot of repetitive work. It also usually requires a lot more space for your own supplies and materials. Some of the larger wholesale crafters are able to hire employees to help cut down on the amount of time it takes to mass produce their goods.
Artisans and wholesalers go hand-in-hand in many cases. But I save this category for the ones who produce their crafts at a much smaller scale. Artisans are almost always in business by themselves, or with a very small number of people. Oftentimes, these smaller businesses are run by family members or close friends. These include those that create unique, one-of-a-kind items, or limited amounts of items.
Those who work on small-scale craft businesses have more time to spend with each product, ensuring higher quality pieces.
Ways to Start Your Homemade Crafts Business
Simply making things and posting them online with a few hashtags isn’t enough to call your home-made business a “business.” Selling your crafts can be easy at times, but creating an entire business is something else. It requires a lot of work to get things started, and a lot of careful planning. Once you know where to start, though, everything else falls into place much easier. The following are some great ways to get started.
Find your niche
The craft industry is big. Really big. For anything you can think of, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of craft businesses creating those goods. A great first step to starting your homemade business is discovering your niche.
A niche is a product or service that that appeals to a small, specialized section of the population. If you make things with all-natural ingredients, perhaps a good niche to look to is vegan. There is a niche for fantasy related artwork. People who are allergic to wool can be a great niche for your alpaca yarn scarves. Once your handmade crafts have found their niche, your homemade business plan will go all the smoother.
Craft a Business Plan
This is probably the most difficult part of starting your craft business. But, once it’s done, you’ll be glad you did. If you ever feel lost or stuck, you’ll have your business plan to turn to. When I first started crafting and wanted to start a business, this is something I should have done. In order to craft your plan, first answer these questions:
- Why are you starting this business?
- What do you hope to achieve through this business? Do you have any long-term and short-term goals involving this homemade business?
- What are your monthly expenses concerning your craft? How much do you spend on materials, supplies, advertising, marketing, etc?
- What are your nonbusiness related expenses? How will your handmade crafts sustain you with these expenses?
- Does your state require obtaining a business license? Find out how much that costs if it is necessary.
Online Marketplace to Sell Your Crafts
Online marketplaces have become the new staple in growing just about any business. For crafters, online marketplaces are basically a godsend. Where once, the only a craft business had any chance of success was word-of-mouth in a close local circle, crafters can now market and sell globally. All it takes is opening up a shop on one of the many websites you can find.
Everyone knows what Etsy is. It’s basically THE outlet for selling handmade and wholesale crafts and craft supplies. It was founded in 2005 with a mission to focus on making it simple for artisans to sell handmade and vintage goods on a global scale. It grew so much and became so successful, that in 2015, Etsy shares went public. Etsy has turned keeping things simple for crafters into an art form.
You can open your own store on the website with just 20 cents. There are great tools to help you track your visitors and algorithms. For more information and to get started with your very own Etsy shop, visit the website here.
In a bid to get their hands on the rapidly growing craft industry, Amazon created their own handmade marketplace, Amazon Handmade. Its marketplace is still pretty new but has been gaining momentum quickly. Unlike Etsy, Amazon Handmade requires artisans to submit samples of their work before opening an online storefront. This is in an effort to cut down on resellers. You can apply to open a store here.
Storenvy isn’t nearly as widely known or used as Etsy or Amazon Handmade, but it’s been around since 2010. Their focus centers more on indie brands. I see it as more geared toward an edgier, artsier sort of demographic. One interesting feature it hosts is a music category; you can buy and sell digital albums and songs. From my personal experience, Storenvy doesn’t have as streamlined an interface as Etsy. One thing they do have that the others don’t is the ability to fully customize your storefront. Right here is where you can find out more about opening your craft business on Storenvy.
Other online marketplaces
The first three mentioned are some of the most popular online marketplaces you can use when starting your homemade business, but there are many others out there. Some crafters use multiple marketplaces to gain a larger following. What’s important is that you do your research to find the one or ones, that best suit your goals and your desired demographic.
Many crafters sell on eBay and have found success there. If you already know how to use eBay, it could be a good jumping-off point for your craft business.
Shopify is Facebook’s answer to the increasing online marketplace. They do, however, charge a monthly fee if you continue to use it after the 14-day trial.
Artfire has been growing in popularity, as it’s similar to Etsy. It’s run on a smaller scale,and hasn’t had the booming success that Etsy has had in recent years.
Keep your head up
Starting any business seems hard at first. Beginning any craft seems hard at first, but the more you practiced and learned, the more skilled you became. Use that same motivation towards creating your business and selling your crafts.
Are you ready to start a craft business? What sort of business do you plan to start? Leave some feedback down in the comments below!