I've been selling handmade longer than I have been blogging and although I am by no means an expert I do have quite a bit of experience. I have done my fair share of trial and error when it comes to selling online and have recently branched out to start selling at craft events and selling wholesale. I get contacted and asked questions about selling on a weekly basis so I am starting a series called-
I am going to be picking a topic for each week and posting about it each and every Sunday. These are the topics and dates I have lined up so far -
- October 14th - Starting A Shop
- October 21st - Pricing Items
- October 28th - Taking Payment
- November 4th – Bookkeeping
- November 11th - Product Photography
- November 18th - Using Social Media for your Business
- November 25th - Creating Community
If one of these subjects pops out at you please mark your calendar or you can sign up to receive the exclusive 'I'm a Mompreneur Now What?' email which will go out every Sunday evening with links to the newest installation of the series and other tips and blog posts I come across throughout the week! Sign up for the email HERE.
Onto today's focus--
Even if you have a shop set up already you might find this information quite useful. Maybe you have been selling locally to family and friends, have a facebook page, or have thought a lot about opening a shop but just haven’t taken it ALL.THE.WAY yet. If any of the above scenarios sound familiar than read on sister!
There are three questions that I suggest you ask yourself before opening the 'doors' of your shop. What? Where? Who?
I'm hoping that if you are interested in this series you have some sort of idea what you want to sell. The possibilities really are endless, but I suggest you refrain from selling a bunch of random items and put one line of related items together to start out. By ‘related’ you could sell items made with the same supplies, all the same type of item (hat, tutu, etc.) or targeted to the same demographic. A few good examples of shops with a focus are Isshou no Yakusoku and My Sweet Knittings. Both of these shops have a main focus with an array of options within.
It is best to be able to have options, so when you start your shop I would suggest having a minimum of 20 items to list at the beginning and then you can grow from that. If a person goes to your shop and you only have three items listed they will usually decide to try another shop. Wouldn’t you do the same if you walked into a new shop down the street from your house and they had three pairs of sunglasses for sale? Odds are you aren’t going to LOVE any of the sunglasses they have and you will leave empty handed.
It is important to know who you will be selling your items to and who you are making them for. Knowing your target customer is important because that helps to determine where you should advertise and who you should be wording your item titles and descriptions for. Pretend you make hair bows for little girls. You have to remember that little girls will not be buying from you – their mothers, aunts, and grandmas will probably be among your most frequent customer, BUT in most cases they will be buying what the little girl likes (Minnie Mouse, Dora, the color pink, or whatever the current trend might be). When you advertise or make your item titles and descriptions you will want to use phrases like ‘dress your princess,’ ‘dress your little girl,’ or ‘Dora bow’ just to give a few examples. Now pretend that you make deer antler key chains. These would be for men and there is a good chance a man may purchase from you, but women are more apt to use online handmade marketplaces than men so it is a good idea to use description tags such as ‘gift for him’ or other phrases a woman may use to find an item for a man.
I have done a blog post comparing and contrasting the most popular online marketplaces already (Storenvy, ETSY, and Big Cartel) and you can find that HERE.
If you read that post and you are still up in the air let me break it down a bit more for you - If you have any sort of following already (maybe you are selling locally and people come to you often by word-of-mouth or you have a Facebook page with a following) then go with Storenvy! If you are starting with NO budget then again you can try Storenvy. However, if you are starting out without a following and do have a small budget for listing fees (around $15 or so) I would suggest starting on ETSY because of the amount of traffic their site gets. With that being said, keep in mind that depending on what you are planning to sell the ETSY market may already be saturated with similar items making it harder for yours to be found. This is when good photography, item titles, and descriptions comes in handy (posts on this coming soon!).