When you say “make money with crafts”, most people can think of only one way to do it – to make your crafts and set up shop in the mall or marketplace. If you’re a hobbyist, stay at home mom or dad and you just want to earn a little extra on the side to supplement your household income, setting up shop may not be ideal for you. However, the good news is that in today’s connected world, the traditional brick and mortar way of selling your merchandise is NOT the only way to do it. Many people DO make money selling their crafts and using their crafts skills in many interesting ways. Here are 11 ways people make money with their crafts and crafting skills, in the hope that it sparks your entrepreneurial spirit and helps you to think out of the box.
1. Sell Directly To Buyers
The first and obvious way to make money with your crafts is to make them and sell them directly to your customers. You can sell them by setting up a stall or kiosk at your local flea market, marketplace or mall. Alternatively, you can sell your crafts to friends, family and acquaintances. This isn’t the most effective or profitable way, but might be great for you if you’re just starting out and want to get a feel of the value of your crafts and how much demand there is for your merchandise. This is often the path many crafters take before they end up setting up shop. There are many ways to market or sell your crafts to friends and family :
- Use your crafts or wear them on family outings to show them off. When anyone asks you about them, tell them casually that you make and sell them, then casually let them know you have items for sale if they’re interested.
- Post your crafts on Facebook or social media.
- Carry a catalog of your crafts along in your purse and be ready to whip it out to show off your work. Remember – don’t be pushy.
- Give them as gifts. Paste your business card or sticker on the side of the box so friends/acquaintances can contact you if they decide to buy them as gifts for others.
- Offer to sponsor your crafts as prizes or souvenirs for your local church fund-raising event or charity. Again, remember to attach your business card or sticker on the craft.
- Sell them at your local charity event or church fund-raiser.
2. Supply To Retailers & Resellers
Very often, crafters produce their works of art as a hobby or part-time while they hold full-time jobs. Setting up shop may be too big a step to take or they just don’t want to go in that direction at all. In this case, you could sell your crafts to retailers and resellers. These include kiosks, stores, flea market sellers and anyone else who in interested in re-selling your crafts. There are basically two ways retailers will take your crafts merchandise :
- Resale – They agree to pay the complete price of whatever amount of merchandise they order from you. Then they resell them to their customers. This is not often the preferred choice for re-sellers because they take on the risk of not being able to sell stock which they have already paid for. Because of this, more often than not, resellers and retailers will prefer to take your merchandise on consignment.
- Consignment – When you supply your craft merchandise on consignment, you ship your products to the reseller, who resells them and only pays you for the merchandise that they sell at the price you quoted to the reseller. They have the right to return any unsold stock if they choose to.
3. Sell Online
Online marketplaces are very popular these days, with literally hundreds of websites offering everything from niche specialty items to general merchandise. Many people have found success by purely selling their products online. While most online marketplaces do have listing charges, some do offer sellers a free store and services. You’ll need to experiment and research the online marketplace that you’re interested in listing your crafts for sale and is a right fit for your brand and niche. Here are just some of the huge number of online marketplaces available :
- eBay.com – probably the most popular online marketplace in the world.
- Amazon.com – one of the giants in online marketplaces.
- Sears.com – the famous retail giant offers an online marketplace where you can list your products for sale.
- Buy.com – an expansive online marketplace that receives a lot of traffic.
- Newegg.com – the second largest online only retailer in the U.S. now has its own marketplace.
- Etsy.com – the largest online marketplace for handmade and vintage items.
- ArtFire.com – a free marketplace geared toward sellers of handmade products.
- Offeritem.com – free marketplace offering sellers a free online store and shopping cart.
- Shophandmade.com – marketplace especially catering toward handmade items.
- Zibbet.com – marketplace for handmade goods, vintage items and crafting supplies.
- Atomicmall.com – offers set price and auction options with zero listing fees.
- Sell.com – a marketplace for varied items organized in a classified ad format.
4. Be A Reseller/Middleman
Usually crafters are great at their craft, but not so great at the marketing and selling aspect of their trade. However, there are those who find that they excel at the marketing side of it and end up not being able to produce their crafts fast enough to supply to their reselling network. If you have a network of other crafters who need help selling their crafts, you could buy their crafts and resell them to your network. You could also buy your crafts wholesale and resell them to your network of resellers.
Another way to supplement your income is to put together craft kits for specific projects. You’ll source or make the individual material or components for a craft project, write a step-by-step instruction sheet, and pack each package with the necessary items. For example, you could put together cross stitch kits that include the cross stitch pattern instruction sheet, cross stitch cloth cut to the specific size, needles, the appropriate colored thread and a photo of the what the finished item is supposed to look like. Or you could put together :
- Basic candle making kits.
- Batik painting kits.
- Children’s birthday card making kits.
- Embroidery kits.
- Any other craft kit that’s easy and affordable.
There are countless types of kits that you can put together to sell. In order to sell your craft kits at competitive prices, you will need to source for your materials at wholesale prices to keep your costs low. Remember that your packaging also adds to the cost. If you’re making small quantities, then you could get by with printing your packaging and instructions on your home color printer, but it would probably be more cost efficient to have them printed by a printer once you have a larger volume of orders to fill. You’ll sell them at your local knick-knack shops, craft stores and children’s art centers or kids activity corners at the mall. People who buy such kits will likely be moms looking for activities for their kids, or organizations running fund-raising events and ordinary folk who just want a creative way to pass their time.
6. Teach Your Craft – Classes
Crafters who are really enthusiastic and passionate about their art usually find themselves giving tips and pointers to others all the time. If this describes you, then you should consider teaching others who want to learn the basics of your craft. Charge a fee based on the level of difficulty or number of lessons – much like paid baking or cooking lessons. You’ll need to source for a place where you can run your classes, have adequate materials for each student and prepare your teaching and student notes for each lesson. If this is not possible, some crafters find that it’s easier to hook up with a local craft or art shop to offer to run classes for them. That way, they don’t have to bear the administration and marketing costs, plus they get to leverage on the store’s location, facilities and customer base. The store will take on the responsibility of getting students and marketing the classes, while you just teach. Of course you will need to come to an agreement on how to split the income from these classes. The store obviously also gains from such a relationship because you are allowing them to leverage on your skills and experience to offer more variety, value and service to their customers.
7. Teach Your Craft – Write an eBook
One of the great things about the internet is that your customer base is the whole world. There are lots of folk who love crafting but are too busy or don’t live in areas where they can attend classes. To cater to these folk, you could write an eBook and put it up for sale online. The best thing about ebooks is that you don’t have to print and keep copies of them in stock. They just reside in a server in your web host or online store provider and when someone purchases it, an email is sent to them with a download link to the ebook. Popular places to list/advertise your eBook would be eBay, Etsy, ClickBank or Craigslist. Of course, if a customer chooses to buy a physical copy of the book (some people love the traditional feel of books), you could either have a limited number of printed copies in stock or print them to order. Another way to increase your revenue would be to bundle Craft Kits together with your eBooks.
Keep your writing concise and your instructions clear. Where possible, always include clear photos to accompany each step of the process you are writing about in you eBook. It might take some effort to write your first eBook, but the effort will be worth it. Once you’re written it, it can last forever and you only have to edit it as and when you think an update is needed. Another great thing about eBooks is that you can place countless number of links to websites, videos and stores that either feature you, your craft or products that are promoting as an affiliate.
You can also produce short, simple eBooks to be given away free. This is an especially effective method to encourage people to join your mailing list (if you have a blog or website) or if they purchase any craft kit or product from you.
8. Teach Your Craft – Create Videos
One of the greatest benefits of YouTube to the world is its millions of videos that teach you how to do stuff. You can learn to do almost anything under the sun by searching for a video on YouTube. Never underestimate the power of a viral video to promote yourself, your talent or your business. A very good example is the phenomenal success of Korean hip-hop artiste Psy, who gained worldwide fame and made lots of money with just one video called “Gangnam Style”.
You can make money by starting a YouTube channel dedicated to teaching your crafting skills. Don’t think that teaching your craft skills on YouTube will jeopardize your income. Think of your YouTube channel as part of a network of revenue streams that complement each other. In your video descriptions, you can place links to your blog, online store, social media pages or affiliate links. As you continue to build your YouTube video presence and people start to link to your videos as a valuable resource, you’re also building your reputation as an expert in your crafting niche. This increases the likelihood that someone will contact you about business opportunities related to your craft. If you have a Google Adsense account and you allow Adsense advertisements on your video, you could also make money every time someone clicks on that ad. Again, never underestimate the power of those videos as an effective medium to teach, reach out to potential customers and as a platform to advertise and increase your revenue.
9. Blog About Your Craft
These days, it’s crucial to use the power of the internet to increase your earnings potential and build your network. If you’re passionate and enthusiastic about your craft, one of the best ways to share your passion is to blog about it. Start a blog and write about your craft and how you go do it. You’d be surprise to find out there are lots of people who are interested in your learning about your crafts and the skills needed to do it. Don’t worry about not having enough content to write about. You can always include other crafts as topics in your writing. You also don’t have to confine yourself to just writing about your craft. You could start a personal blog and write about almost anything. Research has found that people are more likely to click on blog links and buy products recommended by bloggers they trust, so adding your personal touch to your blog helps set it apart from the millions of blogs whose sole purpose is to push products in front of their readers’ noses.
Don’t be afraid of the internet and technology. These days, setting up a blog can be as easy a clicking a few links and buttons. You could even start out by getting a free blog to help you get your feet wet. Then just dive in and start writing about your craft! As you get more experienced writing and managing your blog, you’ll find that blogs and website are invaluable earnings boosters for any business. These include :
- Contextual advertisements (advertisements that are based on the topic of your blog post).
- Affiliate earnings from products that you recommend via your blog.
- Your eBooks and craft kits that you offer for sale on your blog.
10. Be An Affiliate
As a crafter, you know that you can only produce so much by yourself within a given time frame. You could hire additional staff to produce more merchandise, but that also means added costs and administration headaches.
What if you could earn a commission selling stuff related to your craft? Well that’s what affiliate marketers do. Many companies that sell their products online often have an affiliate program. What you would do is search for companies that sell products and supplies related to your craft and join them as an affiliate. They will then provide you with pre-set designed advertisements that you put on your website, eBooks, advertisements, articles and such. These links will include a unique ID to tell the company’s server that you are the one who has recommended a particular customer to visit their website. If that person makes a purchase, you will be recorded as the affiliate and receive a commission for that sale.
Now imagine if your mailing list and blog readership came up to five thousand people. Every time your write a new article, blog post or eBook and you include those affiliate product links with your unique ID, and just one to two percent of those readers click through and make a purchase, that’s at least 50 sales. Now multiply that by $3 commission per sale, that would make a nice total of $150! This is of course an ideal situation as it does take time to build up the readership of any blog or website. Being an affiliate allows you to sell practically anything and everything related to your niche.
11. Get Sponshorship
If you’re recognized as an expert in your craft, you could contact companies that supply your craft materials and ask if they’d be willing to sponsor your work by providing you with free materials to be used for your craft. In return, as you teach, blog and create craft projects, you will obviously use their products. You will likely be required to use their products exclusively in your videos, photos etc and display their logo prominently where it is noticeable, but if you already use their products and find them to be the best, it’s a small price to pay for free materials right? You could avail yourself to teach at product demonstrations or offer to endorse their products in your videos. This is all about relationship, presentation skills and how you market yourself. Companies want someone who can sell their image as well as their products.
Hopefully, this article has opened your mind to the possibilities of making money with your craft and crafting skills beside opening a stall or kiosk. Think out of the box. Go online and do some research – there’s always another way, another angle to make money with your set of crafts and skills. You just have to equip yourself with knowledge that will hopefully ignite that creative spark in you. Then, work on turning that spark into a flame. Plan your work and work your plan!
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