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Can You Make a Living Off of Arts and Crafts?

Can You Make a Living Off of Arts and Crafts? main article image
Posted on April 1, 2022 by User

Are you a maker? Have you ever dreamed of turning your love of arts and crafts into a profitable business? 

Many have dreamed. Some have tried. A few have succeeded. Check out these tips for making your handicraft business a success.

Don’t forget to add your entrepreneurial pursuits to your resume! Does your resume accurately depict your artistic nature? Learn how to pick the best colors for your resume.

Sell Local

Many crafters start their business online but there is something to be said for selling locally. When you sell your products at local shops and businesses, some people will be prompted to buy just for the joy of supporting a local artisan. If they like your product well enough, they’ll tell their friends and come back looking for more.

How can you place your products locally? Ask to speak to the manager or owner at small, locally-owned shops. You’ll find that many such shops are already active in promoting local goods.

Selling locally is especially effective in tourist areas. If you can conform your products to the aesthetic of the region, for example, bear-themed items at national parks and beach-themed items on the coast, people will purchase them as souvenirs. If you’re setting up your own shop, look for areas with high volumes of foot traffic.

Another option is selling at craft fairs and flea markets. These events may occur annually, weekly, or monthly.

Sell Online

The online retail market can be tough to break into organically. You can create your own online store using services like Shopify, but you’ll have to invest time and money in website building, SEO, and advertising in order to get customers. It is estimated that online stores make one sale per 1,000 clicks.

That’s where established online crafting markets come in. Rather than trying to drive traffic to a brand new website, you can tap into the millions of users the site already has. 

Make Something Unique

In order to stand out in a sea of handcrafted items, try to make something that is truly unique – and usable. 

Consider an example of a failed attempt at starting a craft business. An alternative health practitioner wanted to make a line of handmade soaps with no chemical additives, using only natural products and scents. The soaps she produced were beautiful and smelled great. 

She posted them on Etsy but only sold a few bars. The problem? Thousands of other sellers offered similar products, and some sold theirs for much lower prices.

Price It Right

Consumers may be price-conscious and dismayed by the comparatively high prices of handmade items. Additionally, services like Amazon Prime have spoiled consumers to expect free shipping.

As a seller, you must balance this with the cost of materials and the time it takes to make each product. Also, when selling online, some sites have a schedule of fees that must be taken into consideration.

What can you do? Here’s an easy formula. Decide how much you would like to make per hour for making your product. Multiply that by the actual or estimated time you worked on a project. Then, add the cost of materials, website fees, and the cost of shipping. Round up to the nearest sensible price, and offer free shipping.

Believe it or not, buyers are willing to pay more for a product that offers free shipping. Always build your shipping costs into the product price.

Pack It Right

I can’t begin to count the number of Instagram videos I’ve seen gushing over the cute packaging of an item received from a shop.

How you pack and ship your item has a lot to do with the overall customer experience. Look for stylish ways to securely ship the items. Think about using branded stickers and including little “extras” – branded swag, a free sample of another item you offer, or something that’s just meant to delight, like a small bouquet of dried flowers.

Customer Service

“The customer is always right” are words to live by in the age of online reviews. Bad or even mediocre reviews can hurt sales. Decide in advance how to handle various issues, and post your return policies. Strive to go above and beyond to make your buyers happy – even when their complaints seem ridiculous. 

Post It

Create shoppable posts using an Instagram business account, for example. Take Insta-worthy photos of your products that utilize natural light. Make “lifestyle” images of people using the products. Interact with your followers through comments, likes, and direct messaging.

Instagram can be a great way to attract new customers as well. Use hashtags directly related to your item!

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