Those who love their job are widely envied. Who wouldn’t want to be paid for doing something that makes them happy? If you are a keen hobby crafter, the chance of generating an income from your past time could be tempting. If you are one of those gifted people, for whom everything they touch turns into some kind of crafty treasure, then perhaps you should be selling your creations. Here are some helpful tips for those considering taking the leap into a craft hobby business…
Before Etsy launched in 2005, selling handmade crafts was a strictly face-to-face affair. But Etsy, the US e -commerce website saw an opportunity to exploit the massive fondness for handmade, craft items, by connecting small hobbyist sellers with interested buyers. Etsy gave makers their own personal store front for their goods and for a fee listed all items for sale. Etsy took off in a big way and today it is still the go-to place for people seeking one-off, handmade items unavailable on any High Street.
If you are a crafter, and haven’t already checked out Etsy or some of its other competitors, take a look and make an assessment – if you want to make money from your craft, can you really afford not to have an online presence? As well as somewhere to sell directly to the public, create buzz around your products on social media with dynamic Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr accounts. Setting up your own blog with regular updates and interesting craft articles will drive traffic to your Etsy page and should generate sales.
Many craft businesses evolve gradually from small time operations, but as demand grows and people get to know your style, things pick up. It is tempting to over extend yourself at the beginning, splurging on art and craft supplies at every turn. Be strict about spending on materials and seek out the best sources for art and craft supplies in terms of cost, quality and speed of delivery.
Face to Face
The traditional route for crafters turning a profit from their hobby was the craft fair. Forget outdated images of draughty village halls and a few wobbly trestle tables spread with knitted baby bonnets, these days craft fairs have an air of cool that pulls in the hipster crowds. Whether it’s a craft fair, farmer’s market or festival you’re selling at, the appeal of an item that has authenticity and a unique handmade quality should not be under estimated. And if you choose your craft fairs well and secure pitches in good locations with a discerning clientèle, your profit margins will be healthy. Take a tour around the leading craft fairs before you commit, learn what sells, see what is popular and what gets overlooked, and check out the prices and ranges of crafts that compete with you directly – this will help inform your sales strategy.
Another avenue where craft hobbyists can make a few quid is on the kids’ party circuit. Hosting craft parties, either in your home or at the party venue is a growing trend among parents looking for original ideas for their children’s celebrations. It is up to you to plan a project at an age appropriate level, take the equipment and materials along with you and then manage and direct proceedings on the day. If you love children and crafting, it could be your dream job! Be sure to have some business and contact cards made up for distribution to other parents you encounter at such events. Once you have held one or two successful craft bashes word will get around and parents will be clamouring for your services.
Which crafts are the best money generators? The most popular and profitable crafts are those that involve a high level of skill and equipment to make, such as art and craft glass. Premium prices and profits can be secured with craft glass that sells well. Other craft products worth considering include pottery, metalwork, leather and enamel work, wood, mosaic and textiles. Those keen on card making and paper crafts should focus on the exclusivity and originality of their creations to create sales traction. Items that are personalised or customised can be priced at a premium, so ensure there is a way of incorporating such detail into your work. Anything made to order or bespoke, is invested with exclusivity – and people will happily pay more for such enhancements.
When does a craft hobby become a business? The answer to that question is entirely up to you, but if you have the energy and the demand is there – why not turn a fun pastime into a profitable sideline? Who knows where it could lead.