8 things to get right when you start selling craft online
If you want to sell your handmade crafts, where should you start? What are the most important things to get right? We asked established Folksy seller Joanna Hurdley from CecilyMae Handmade to share her tips. Joanna has grown her brand by carefully crafting her products, style and even her product photographs, and has now sold more than 400 lovely things from her Folksy shop. Here are her top tips for getting started when selling craft online…
What do you think are the most important things to get right when you start selling online?
Share your tips at the end of this post!
1. Choose a good name for your business
Pick a name that suits your product but try not to be too limiting. If your business name is Claire’s Cushions, you’re going to have trouble later on if you want to branch out into dolls or quilts, or anything but cushions! Pick something relevant and short. My business – CecilyMae Handmade – is named after my eldest niece. It’s short, suited to my brand, and relevant. Use Google to check the name isn’t already taken and make sure it’s available on the different social channels too.
2. Carve out a making space
Have a designated table space where you can leave your things out, half finished if needs be, and come back to them – even if it’s just a big tray that you can put on a table. If you need to keep getting your things out and putting them away every time you want to work, you won’t! If you can only grab ten minutes to do a little job, you don’t want to be spending that time getting ready and packing up. You MUST be able to just sit down, do it, and leave it for next time.
3. Open a shop and start a blog
As well as having your own shop on Folksy where you can sell you work, start a blog where you can talk about what you’re making and share tutorials, or behind-the-scenes insights. Blogs are so, so easy now to do yourself, you don’t need any experience, and they are a great way to reach more people. Pick a template site (I use Wordpress) and you can just upload your photos and text into the template. There are usually hundreds of templates to choose from which are easy to use, and the websites themselves are either free or very cheap to run. Think how much you use the internet to research crafts and how-to tutorials – you need to BE one of those blogs, not just be READING one of those blogs. It’s so easy! There’s no excuse.
4. Be professional
Treat your business, even if you only do it for a couple of hours a week, like a proper business. Don’t work in your pyjamas! Keep on top of your accounts, get yourself a logo and make sure it’s on all your packaging and communication. Your customers need to know this isn’t just a hobby, and that you are a genuine business. If you treat it like it’s a serious business, you can charge serious prices.
5. Make shopping with you special
People need to know that buying something handmade from you is a unique experience. Put care and thought into everything you send out. Include cute things in your parcels that make your packaging memorable. I give away free postcards which have one of my designs on as well as my contact information. The customer can then send these to their friends as well – free advertising!
6. Don’t undervalue your products
Don’t undervalue your products. If things aren’t selling, don’t reduce the price. That just makes customers think there’s something wrong with it. Would you expect to buy a good quality car for £50? No, and neither would your customers. Buying handmade is a treat. If people want something cheap, quick and easy, they’ll go to Tesco. From you, they want something special and unique and if you don’t charge enough they won’t think they’re getting that. If someone wants something they’ll buy it, whatever it costs. If they don’t want it, you can’t give it away. Have confidence in your product and value it at a price that reflects the amount of care, work, thought, attention and effort that has gone into it, never mind the materials!
7. Sell at different price points
Sell at different price points. I sell products ranging from £2 to £120. Someone might love one of my papercuts but not have the budget for the original, so instead they can buy a print of the work for £15. It gives people an option. Everyone can afford something. You’ll sell 50 cards for £2 in the same time as you sell one original special work for £100, but that’s ok. They might get a little bit of something that they want to start with and hopefully come back to buy something more expensive next time.
8. Keep your shop fresh
If things aren’t selling, stop making them and try something else. If things sell well, design variations of them. I print all my designs on to cushions, prints and cards – again, it gives people options.
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