There are SO many things I want to tell you, because starting a place to sell handmade items online is super exciting and I am really passionate about helping you get it right. On the other hand, I don’t want to overwhelm you and some things are more important than others when it comes to your handmade products and selling online. That’s why I’m sharing these TOP 6, most important tips and things to get you started selling your handcrafted goods in an online store or Etsy shop. Ready? Let’s dive in!
1 – Change your mindset about your handmade business
Tip number one is to change your mindset. This isn’t some sort of woo-woo advice. It’s actually really practical. Yes, it starts with a mindset shift that you have to make in your head, but it is really going to impact the number of sales that you might make when you sell online. The idea here is that you have to stop considering yourself as a hobbyist or a crafter and really embrace being a handmade business owner and handmade product designer.
The reason this matters so much is it will help you realize that it’s not going to be just about creating handmade products, but you’re also going to have to work on some business and marketing stuff (like 80% of the time). It will also help you enter the online marketplace and position your handmade goods shop and brand your business accordingly. We don’t want people to look at your online store and think: “oh, this is just a cute little crafty, DIY homemade shop”. We want them to look at your product listings and look at your online store thinking: “this is a handmade designer brand”. I honestly can’t emphasize enough how important this little mindset shift really is and the consequences it can have on the branding and marketing strategy of your handcrafted goods down the line.
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2 – Niche down your handmade items
Tip number two is: you need to niche down. That’s something I keep working on with members of my community. It really is hard at first because you might be multi-passionate and love to create a lot of different types of handmade products. The reality is that when you start selling so many different items and most importantly styles of handmade items in your shop, you confuse potential customers and they don’t understand what your online store is all about, often leaving your shop without purchasing anything. To avoid losing these sales, you want to really niche down on the specific type of handmade products that you’re selling and the specific customers that you’re selling it to so that you can have a cohesive online store (or Etsy shop) and a cohesive brand.
3 – Follow trends in handmade goods
Tip number three is to follow trends and do some research when you sell your handmade crafts. It’s something I covered in a previous blog post about what craft you should sell online. The idea is that you can only sell handmade items that people want to buy. I know it sounds really obvious, too obvious almost for me to be writing it, but it’s true. You can’t just create a craft product and try to sell it in an online handmade marketplace without making sure that customers are actually looking to purchase that handmade item. To sell crafts online successfully, you need to follow trends and do some research to make sure that you’re entering the marketplace with product listings that people are actually wanting to buy. Again, to see how to study the trends, click the blog post about what handmade craft to sell online.
4 – Try not to sell OOAK items
Tip number four is – and I’m not going to make many friends with this one – is to try to avoid selling only only “one of a kind” handmade crafts in your online store. Think about how to sell handmade product collections. The reason I’m saying that is not because it’s impossible to sell one of a kind handmade items online or to run a really successful handmade business doing so. It’s because it’s so much harder. It’s harder because it takes longer to:
- create each handmade product as each product is different;
- take pictures each time of this product to sell online;
- write the new listing and your product description;
- to find new tags that you’re going to add all these product listings.
It’s a lot of work for just one online sale and you’re going to have to do that over and over again. It’s fine to have a couple of one of a kind handmade items so that you can test the waters and see what’s working and what’s not, but if you want to scale selling handmade products online, it’s best for your business to have a product collection made of ready to ship handmade goods that you can have stock of.
Creating handmade product collections also helps people buy more than one product when they place an order with your business because you have matching handmade items. If you are selling me this wallet for example and you have a matching bag, I might be tempted to buy the two together so that it looks really nice. Same with selling me a plate and a mug that make a cohesive set that I could have in my kitchen. It’s good also because it makes your brand and your online store or Etsy site more cohesive, which people really understand better than landing on an online handmade store that sells all sorts of different things. It’s also easier to market, and lastly, it helps you cut down on your cost of arts and craft supplies because you can buy things in bulk rather than each individual item needing different material and elements.
5 – Price for profit
Tip number five is: you need to price your handmade goods for profit. This is a big pain point for many makers and artists who start a new business selling handmade items online. Thinking about sales numbers, money, and spreadsheets is not necessarily the most fun part to think about as an artist. You really need to take the time to understand how pricing to sell crafts works though. You cannot have a business if you don’t make money, and we don’t want you creating handmade products 80 hours a week for $20 profit per month. I am serious, I see so many makers or artists undercharge their handmade items. It is a vicious circle spiraling down to complete overwhelm, and your Etsy shop/handmade business never growing and it never working out. I’m not saying that to scare you and sound dramatic, but you need to understand how pricing to sell works. You need to price for profit. I have a blog post all about pricing your handmade products and a free calculator that you can download to help you with that.
6 – Invest in product photography to help you sell handmade products
The last tip, tip number six, is to invest time, money or both in product photography of your handmade goods. I can’t stress this enough. Product photography is literally what is going to make sales for your online business or Etsy shop. You can work as hard as you want to get people to visit your website, but if your product photography isn’t professional enough in your listing, customers aren’t going to buy your handmade goods. It used to be easier and “good enough” was truly good enough a few years back, but now with the rise of Instagram and visually based social media platforms, we’re just looking at beautiful pictures of stuff all day. Our expectations as customers are much higher than what we had 10 or 15 years ago and so your product photography to sell handmade crafts really needs to look professional. That means then yes, you might need to lock yourself in your office for a couple of days and try to figure out how your camera works and learn about photography. Or you might need to invest into working with a professional photographer, but do not settle for “good enough” with product photography. This is really the difference between business owners who make a few sales here and there and sellers who are killing it with their handmade shop. I have a blog post about the top 5 handmade product photography mistakes I see and how to avoid them if you want to start learning right now.
That’s it for today, I hope this helped. Make sure to leave a comment below and let me know which tip you found to be the most useful. I’d love to take the conversation in the comments just below!
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