Many artists feel making money from their crafts is a pipe dream. We firmly disagree. In today's modern world there are more opportunities than ever to be paid for doing what you love -- you just have to know where to find them. Whether you be a knitter, painter, sculptor, or any other type of artist, this article will walk you through seven ways to make money from your crafts.
When I'm looking for a unique gift, Etsy is one of my first stops. It's easily the best-known online marketplace for makers of crafts. Artists here sell everything from embroidered dish towels, to crafts made out of recycled candle jars, to handmade jewelry. Their website is easy to navigate and intuitive for both buyers and sellers to use.
If you're a crafter, you can set up an Etsy store in mere minutes and start listing items for sale. Etsy charges $.20 to list an item for up to four months. You'll also need to pay a five percent commission and a processing fee of approximately three percent for each piece you sell through their website.
Facebook allows you to set up a business page to show off your creations. Lately, however, Facebook has changed their algorithm to focus less on posts by businesses and more on posts made by your friends and family. This means the people who like and follow your business page will be less likely to see your posts appearing in their feed. You can pay for their advertising to get around that, but there are also a few things you can do for free, many of which are just as effective as paid advertising.
The vegetables are fresh, the people are friendly and farmers markets are perfect for buying local and supporting your community. But farmers markets are for more than just produce -- many allow local artists to sell crafts, too. To find out if this is the case in your community, check out your local farmers market online or give them a call. Be sure to inquire about the cost of the booth to make sure it's feasible. Fortunately, most farmers markets only charge a nominal fee.
In most communities, farmers markets run once a week during the spring and summer months. Many allow you to reserve booth space on a periodic basis, which means you don't necessarily have to commit to the entire season.
Your crafts might be beautiful, but let's face it. It's not likely that Walmart will be stocking them any time soon. It's hard to get your foot in the door with big retailers, and even if it weren't, the price they're willing to pay per unit will probably put you out of business. Luckily, there's a far easier way to get your crafts into a brick and mortar store. Local boutiques and consignment stores are often open to working with new artists in the community.
The best way to find an arrangement like this is to check out your local stores in person to get a feel for what types of items and crafts they carry. If you feel yours would be a good fit for their store, ask to make an appointment with the manager or owner. Keep a few pieces of your work stashed in your car just in case they're available to speak right then and there.
Many artists sell their crafts at flea markets and street fairs. The rental fees for booths tend to be reasonable, and there are many people who attend these events specifically to look for crafts and unique gift ideas in a fun and festive atmosphere.
In addition to selling your crafts, flea markets and street fairs also present a great networking opportunity. Be sure to walk around to the booths of other vendors to introduce yourself. Ask them where else they sell their work. Be prepared to swap strategies and email addresses. Most artists genuinely enjoy helping each other and being part of a local crafting community.
Fiverr is another online marketplace, but people market themselves offering arts-related gigs and services. Artists might offer to use calligraphy to hand letter wedding invitations, design a logo for a new business, or hand paint portraits of pets.
It's up to you to decide what services you want to offer and how much you want to charge. But they call it Fiverr for a reason -- most people keep their services around the $5 mark, at least when they're starting out, and increase their rates their rates over time when they've built up a significant number of positive reviews. The trick to making money on this particular site is volume, so you'll want to list services you can perform quickly. The best way to get ideas is simply to browse the website and get a feel for the services being offered by other artists.
It is free to advertise for gigs on Fiverr. The website collects a 20 percent commission from every sale.
Handmade at Amazon is similar to Etsy, but it's new to the scene and (as of now) not nearly as popular with buyers or sellers. So, why did I include it on this list? Because it's Amazon. They have a history of tweaking and tinkering until they get things right. If they want to enter this market badly enough, they'll find a way to make it work. Don't count them out.
However, this market is much more exclusive than Etsy as well. Handmade at Amazon is selective about which artists they allow into their program. According to their website, it takes about half an hour to complete your application, and approximately one week to hear back. There is also a note to that you'll need to have images of your product, your workspace, and production process available to submit your application.
There is no charge to list your crafts on Handmade at Amazon, but the site does retain a 15 percent referral fee out of every sale.
Regardless of where you decide to sell your art, there are a few tools you should have to help your crafting business get started:
High-quality, high-resolution photos are a must if you're going to be selling your crafts online. Remember, visitors to your online store won't get a chance to touch or see your crafts in person before they decide to purchase. The only things they have to sway them into making a purchase are your photographs. Make sure your photos show your work in the best light possible, and that the background is clutter-free and equally attractive.
Business cards are must for anyone who expects to be taken seriously as a professional in any industry. Pass them out to the other artists you network with, give them out when people visit your booths and staple them to the packaging of every piece you sell. How else are people supposed to find you if they want to purchase again?
If your customers purchase online, you'll automatically receive their email address. For people who visit your booths, have a sign-up sheet available. Send out periodic emails with pictures of new creations, news about upcoming sales, and a schedule of events you're scheduled to attend. This will keep your crafts fresh in their mind the next time they're looking for a special gift.
Most artists have to spend money for their materials. On top of that, they often need special tools to create their crafts with. It's important to keep track of these expenses when you're pricing your items to make sure you aren't losing money on your sales. Be sure to factor in the cost of your booth, consignment fee, or online market price commission. This may mean that the price of your goods might vary slightly from location to location.
Artists are special. You are part of a group that makes something out of nothing and creates crafts from passion and love. But that doesn't mean you can't get paid for them, too. Whether you're looking to earn a few extra bucks for groceries or want to eventually replace your full-time income, it's possible to earn money from your crafts. People do it every day. Why not you?
You create beautiful things. And you deserve to be paid for your work.