Turn making things into making money
If you enjoy creating unique items then you may be able to turn your hobby into a profit. People are increasingly looking for unusual or handmade items rather than mass-market goods. This puts those who have a skill for making such items in a great position to earn extra money. The growth of this sector has meant that plenty of websites now exist with the aim of helping individuals to sell their crafts. In this post we will direct you to some profitable craft ideas and the best places to offer your wares for sale.
Type of job: Creative
Skills: You will need some form of creative skill in order to items that people want to buy. However, you may be able to ‘think outside the box’ on this one and create desirable products even though you wouldn’t normally consider yourself ‘creative’.
Hours: Very flexible. You are in complete control of when you make your items and for how long. The exception to this is if you sell items ‘to order’, in which case it will be your customers who determine when you need to work.
Equipment: Variable. The type of equipment you will need will entirely depend on the type of product you are making. There are some craft items which will need very little in the way of raw materials. Think felt Christmas decorations for example (pro tip – decorations don’t need to be just for Christmas!).
Pay: What you earn will depend on both what you make and what you sell. Potential profits are very high, but we would suggest you err on the side of caution and buy minimal raw materials until you are confident that you are able to sell your finished products.
What type of craft items make a good profit?
There are numerous craft items which have proven to be great sellers. Some mainstream ideas are:
- glass items
- knitted / crocheted goods
- jams / pickles
- bags / purses
- and many, many more!
Despite the wide popularity of the ideas above, you may actually find that you make more money, or gain more enjoyment, from making things which are less usual. You may even think of a new design idea that has never been done before. Some recent ‘newcomers’ to the craft shops are:
- pallet tables
- decanter light fittings
- petrol can lamps
- slate plates
The more unusual your item the greater the potential to make a big profit, as there will be less competition. However, it is also true that the less mainstream your goods are the less certain you can be that there will be a market for them. It may be that the best approach will be to choose a more mainstream product range with a few more unique items thrown in.
Best websites to sell craft items
Once you have made your craft items you will of course need to sell them in order to make any money. A good starting point would be to look in your local area for craft fairs and markets. Attending these fairs can be a great way to find out what other people in your area are making and selling, and whether your goods stack up against the quality of other products. However, the downside is that you will have to pay a fee to have a stall, and this will be payable regardless of whether you actually sell anything.
Instead, there are lots of websites which specialise in the sale of handmade and craft items which you can use and just pay a commission on your sales. There are so many to choose from that it’s impossible to list them all here, but some of the best ones are:
Etsy is perhaps the best known online maketplace for handmade goods. There is a small listing fee of just $0.20 and then a 3.5% transaction fee once you make a sale. Payments are sent to you by PayPal so it is easy to receive your funds. Setting up your online ‘shop’ is easy and they provide you with lots of free tools to make your store attractive and drive customers, as well as in-depth guidance on how to be a successful seller. We would suggest you set up an Etsy store as a starting point, as well as using at least one of the other websites we list below. The reason for not using Etsy on its own is simply that it has become a somewhat crowded marketplace, so you may find a lesser-known website to actually be more lucrative while you are gaining sales and reviews.
Bonanza is an online marketplace that lets you set up your store and list items for free. It is widely used and the big benefit is that it has google integration which provides for its listings to show up in the google ‘shopping’ search. This can be a huge plus once you become more established and your products gain popularity. It also offers some helpful imaging tools and a ‘product sync’ system which automatically updates based on the other websites you sell on. Again, the commission is 3.5%, with a minimum of $0.50, but there is no listing fee. The site is modelled on eBay, so isn’t specifically tailored to crafts and handmade items.
Unlike Bonanza, Shopify is tailored to selling handmade crafts online. The website offers a professional solution for sellers, with pre-designed website templates, secure online ordering and inventory tracking. Shopify is a great option if you want to take your crafts business to the next level. You can even integrate selling on Amazon through your Shopify account. There is a 14 day free trial, then a monthly fee. This fee starts at $29 per month for a basic account, which should easily be powerful enough for a start-up seller.
Not On the High Street is the go-to place for unusual gift buying in the UK. It provides stock from a wide range of sellers including a large number of handmade or crafted items. If you are making unique gifts then we highly recommend you apply to list your items here.
Folksy is a UK based craft selling website which claims to have over a quarter of a million visitors per month. They focus on crafts and handmade items so you can be sure that its visitors are keen to purchases products like yours.. Their fee structure is competitive, with their starter package costing just £0.15 per listing and then a 6% commission. If you have a lot of items for sale then you can avoid the listing fee by taking a £5 per month subscription.
Tips for selling crafts online
- Make sure you don’t spend too much on materials before you have tested the market for your goods.
- Spend time taking the perfect photos. Ensure that there is no background clutter and your items are well presented in clear, bright lighting.
- List a mixture of products. It’s best to include a few unique or novel items as well as a larger number of tried-and-tested products.