How to make a profit from your craft
Filed under: Shopping & Deals
Websites including Folksy, Etsy and Not on the High Street allow designer-makers to sell their wares and give shoppers easy access to a wealth of handmade goodies, but how do you achieve selling success?
The online handmade marketplace has burgeoned in recent years as an accessible and affordable route to market for millions of artists, designers and crafters around the world. However it's not quite as simple as uploading a photo and hoping someone will buy your wares. We grilled James Broadwell, founder of Folksy.com to share his secrets to selling success.
Whatever level your handmade business is – high-end, semi-professional or simply a hobby – it is crucial to creative innovative products that will wow your customers. Competition is stiff so it is important to set yourself apart. "Research existing sellers and their products to figure out what you can offer that is new and fresh," says Broadwell.
Invest in photography
"Poor photography is one of the biggest barriers to achievng sales success," explains Broadwell. "There is no point having great products if they aren't displayed in the best possible light." This doesn't been you need to splash out on a photographer or expensive equipment – just dedicate time to taking clear images that show off your hard work. Style your products in a well-lit setting and take several images to display your wares from different angles.
Sharing details in your personal profile, such as your ideas and inspirations, is a good way to build a connection with customers. "If products have a story behind them always include it in the description," advises Broadwell. "We all like things that have a interesting history or an element that is personal to the designer or maker. It all contributes to the personal shopping experience that people appreciate about buying handmade."
Go the extra mile
Good customer service is one of the key reasons why shoppers enjoy buying handmade so it is crucial to go above and beyond their expectations. This makes shopping so much more of an experience, which will lead to repeat custom and great word of mouth. "Take time and care with packaging and engage with your customers," advises Broadwell. "Is it for a gift, for example? Is the recipient male or female? This interaction shows you care and makes the customer feel special."
Engage with social media
The chances are that your competitors are engaged with social media though sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, so it really does pay to dedicate time to this powerful (and free) marketing tool. "It's not a case about shouting the loudest or most often," says Broadwell. "But it is important to be interactive and not just post when you add new products." Build relationships will fellow creatives in your field, share ideas and consider writing a blog to build a community around your craft.