A craft business can be a great way to make some money, whether you do it as a side-line to your existing job or you do it for an income while you are between jobs or a stay at home parent.
There are all kinds of crafts that can sell well, from hand knitted clothing and toys to upcycled second-hand items, candles, jewelry and decorative pieces for the home. If you are looking for inspiration for crafts you could add to, or base your business around, your existing product line-up, there are some great ideas at diyformula.com.
Selling Crafts Online
Of course, once you have made some things you want to sell, you need to decide how to bring them to market. You can sell crafts in person at local fairs, but chances are you will want to also be able to sell online. There are two main ways of doing this. One is by having your own ecommerce site, and the other is by selling through sites like eBay or Etsy.
The Pros and Cons of Selling on Existing Platforms
When you sell your crafts on sites like Etsy, you have the advantages of the site’s existing infrastructure. The site already has secure payment mechanisms in place, and already has a very large audience. You also benefit from their search facilities, which will direct people looking for something similar to your product to your listing.
However, there are downsides to this too. It can be difficult to really create a brand identity in this way, as people tend to see individual items rather than exploring your whole shop. Equally, you don’t have as much of an opportunity to really engage with shoppers:
Another downside is that your products will be listed alongside other similar products from other businesses. This introduces an element of competition if you are making something that a lot of other people make too, like candles or jewelry. If you are making something more unique and unusual, you may not have the competition, but people may not think to search for your item. On your own site, it can be showcased so that visitors will see it without specifically searching for it.
The Pros and Cons of Selling from Your Own Site
The disadvantages of selling from your own site really center around the fact you’ll need to gain an audience for yourself. Setting up an ecommerce site and a blog you can use to market your business isn’t difficult or expensive from a technical point of view, thanks to third party ecommerce platforms, but you will need to learn to do things like social media marketing, email marketing and SEO.
If you can do this, however, you can attract an audience that will be more likely to be repeat customers, and who will be able to explore your full range and your more unusual items, without other people’s products there too.
Some people use both approaches, so you don’t necessarily have to choose, but in general, if you have the time to put the work in, running your own site can be the better option once you have a substantial number of items to sell.