Katie's Craft Corner: Sell your crafts

Crafting might be fun, but it can also be expensive. Maybe you’ve gotten a lot of compliments on bracelets or greeting cards you handcraft, but giving them away would be time-consuming and pricey.

The good news is selling your crafts is not difficult at all, and it allows you to build a good business reputation.
When deciding what to sell, the best bet is your “signature” craft.
Are your natural stone earrings a hit among friends? Do your floral tote bags get a lot of attention? Do a little shopping and see what others are selling. Be unique and set yourself apart from other things you see on the market.

Avoid selling items made with licensed or trademarked images. Fabric stores might be chock-full of NFL, Disney, Star Wars and other “brand” craft supplies, but these are intended for personal use only. Making items from trademarked and licensed goods can land you fines and even prevent you from selling any items at all in the future. There are ways to purchase licensing rights to sell these items, but they’re expensive. As a rule, skip using items with characters/brand names.

Make a set amount of products before you even start selling, and pick up boxes, bags, tags and anything you need for packaging finished items. Craft stores often sell packs of blank jewelry holders and boxes. Print labels off the computer using a program like Microsoft Publisher for an ultimate professional finish.

By far, the most important factor in selling handmade goods is the price. Figure out exactly how much it costs to make one of your items. Grab a calculator and receipts and be exact. If it costs you $5 to make ten bracelets, your individual item price to produce is 50 cents. In order to break even, your product would have to be priced at 50 cents. To profit, you have to charge at least double – $1.50 per item would profit you $1.

If you can’t price your item low enough to profit because of a high production cost, (like $20 to produce a tote bag no one will buy at more than $20) it isn’t worth selling. Seek out online sources for materials to see if you can buy cheaper in bulk.

Factor in your time to produce an item and try to keep it low in order to keep up with the volume you need to produce. If an item takes five hours to make and you need 100 items to sell, see if there’s a way to cut down on production time.

One of the most popular places to sell handmade items is the online juggernaut, Etsy, for good reason – their rules and processes are simple and straightforward. You set up an online “shop,” complete with a cool, unique name, then list your items. Etsy charges 20 cents per item you list, then keeps your products listed for four months. Etsy takes a 3.5 percent transaction fee off each item you sell, although this is calculated when you list so there’s no surprise fees.

Alternately, you can set up a free personal blog such as WordPress and a PayPal account and sell items at your ease and timing. Go to wikihow.com/Add-Paypal-to-a-Blog to see how to link your blog and PayPal. The biggest downside to this method is it can be difficult to generate traffic, but creating a Facebook page for your blog can help you get attention.

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