I touched on selling crafts online briefly in my last post but I thought I would discuss a few platforms/options individually. Third-party platforms provide a great low-cost outlet to sell your handmade crafts online, but ultimately having your own website allows you to develop more of an independent brand. There’s always a lot to think about.
I think Etsy and Folksy are a great way to start a business. Like with any online business though you should be driving your own sales by doing marketing and PR. Depending on your product some people may buy after discovering you by chance but to build a sustainable business you need to draw buyers in yourself. – Noisette Marketing
Both these points need to be considered when you embark on selling online you can’t just set up a website/shop page and orders will come flying in **sigh** if only it was that easy! It takes time, PR and marketing and a lot of social media to develop a customer base and get your brand name out there.
Where Can You Sell Your Handmade Crafts Online?
Etsy is a huge worldwide site. You are charged a fee to list your products and a 3.5% fee once it sells all fees are paid on a monthly basis through credit card or PayPal. You can integrate your Etsy shop onto blogs/websites via Etsy Mini which is useful in keeping your own brand and identity but ultimately driving traffic to your shop facility. There is a whole page of FAQ which I suggest you read before embarking.
Etsy is hard work and trying to get known is one of the major problems. I haven’t sold anything on there yet but ever hopeful. Etsy seems to like quirky type products and I’m not sure my current range fits in. Working on some new products for Etsy. – Caroline Watts Embroidery
Etsy has played a huge role in my business, it’s straightforward, drives a lot of overseas trade and has increased my customer base which allows me to concentrate on developing new products. – Graces Favours
Folksy also charges a fee to list your products which is 20p and 5 % commission once the handmade item sells, fees are paid once a month via PayPal. Folksy is however just for UK residents only to sell. I would read through their support pages too.
Folksy, you do have to continually upload but you can also ‘join in‘ with the marketing, i.e I wrote a Folksy Friday blog for the site profiling my favourite shops, that was on the front page for a week. You can also join their forum and chat with other crafters. I feel it’s a lot more proactive and friendly. Plus their support staff are very efficient, I emailed them a query and had a response the same evening. Recommend Folksy over Etsy, you do have to keep on top to stay on top, but there doesn’t seem to be the same fight for the top spot. – Dufflebobble Crafts
Folksy has an excellent newsletter too, which I actually subscribe to. There’s a lot of useful information regarding driving traffic and social media which can be taken forward on any platform.
Boasting Free for life Shop, Free crafters Blog, Free Domain ie: http://yourshop.misi.co.uk, Low commission of 3% on sales, 20p per listing no matter what the quantity, Misi really does seem like a great starting point.
I would give Misi a miss. I was on there but it was so badly run and neglected that I moved to Folksy. They are much more proactive there with their advertising and I’ve had loads of sales. – Bubs Bears
Sell Your Handmade Crafts Via Your Own Website:
Building your own website with a shop facility, Create (which I used for Charlie Moo’s) is easy to use you can choose to pay monthly or yearly a subscription package which varies from £3 to £36 per month depending on your business need. You need to take payment fees into account ie. PayPal, google checkout etc but having your own website does allow you to develop more of an independent brand. You can also look at adding a WooCommerce shopping cart to your WordPress site.
Remember when pricing your item to add in the fees otherwise it will eat at your profit.
Read through all the information for each site and make yourself a list of pros and cons for each. Also work out the prices you would have to sell your products at for each site. This will help you to make the best decision for your products.
If you sell or create digital services/products including knitting pattern downloads, online magazines, music and stock photographs (this list is not exhaustive) make sure you are up to date on #EUVAT and that you comply so you aren’t paying VAT across the EU.
Please do leave a comment below with your own feedback or suggestions. I’d be really interested to hear about your experiences.
For more information on running a craft-based business check out my book – Crafting a Successful Small Business: Making, marketing and merchandising
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