Saturday, 27 June 2015

Selling arts and crafts, when are you ready?

Aaahhh, craft supplies!

You have been having fun with balls of wool and you figured out to crochet. Paper and card call to you like sirens and you stay up late to make cards and painting a pretty picture makes you very, very happy.  Does that mean you can start selling your creations?

Are you ready to sell your crafts?

You could try, but unless you are super talented  it takes time to develop your skills. Jumping in before you are ready would lead to disappointment and discouragement. Nothing would be more discouraging than having people pick at your work because your stitching is not up to scratch or your brush skills leave something to be desired. The more you do the more you learn so keep going! You may have incredibly creative ideas but your implementation may not be up to scratch yet. Ask a honest friend to tell you where you need to improve, don't be afraid of constructive criticism. Practice makes perfect, so enjoy making gifts and cards for friends and family to develop these skills.   As you get better people will start asking you to make some items for them. When that happens you may have reached the point where you are ready to sell to the general public. It is worth remembering that strangers are more likely to be critical of your work so be prepared to still get some criticism!

So now you are ready, you have a number of pretty items to sell. Now what can you do to make your items more saleable?

Always finish your items neatly  Quirky items are great and loved by many but make sure you still finish items tidily.    Don't leave threads hanging or let the cats sleep on your work. Nobody wants to have a stained, cat fur covered tablet case.  Also make sure that seams will stay put and don't come undone with a little use. (Test run your product!)

Stains and cat hair are not attractive.

When you have straight edges in your work make sure you cut straight lines with the aid of a ruler and sharp scissors or a rotary cutter, Because a raggedy edge to your work where it is meant to be straight is distracting and off putting. When mounting prints, artwork and photographs place things straight and central (unless you specifically mean them to be offset). It looks far more professional if you get the picture mounted than just popping it in a frame.

Package it beautifully  To attract buyers your project has to look beautiful. Your packaging has to be spot on. If you sell cards make sure the cello bags are the right size ( these come in many, many sizes)  A card that sloshes about in a bag to big for it just does not have the edge. Also people like to see a small sticker or stamp on the card with your logo/name.  You can buy these from for example from  Moo Cards or Vista  or you can have a personalised stamp made with your business name like the ones here 

These will be useful to if you sell other items too. For example jewellery looks much better in a pretty box. You can "brand" your box with the stamp or sticker too. Plain boxes can be "jazzed up" with washi tape or ribbons.  For a rustic look raffia or twine can look great.  You'd be surprised how often customers will actually comment on how something is presented. Lots of great ideas to be found in the internet like here   Also Pinterest is a great place to get ideas for packaging.

Get your prices right   One of the hardest things to get right is your pricing, worthy of a article of its own.  Make sure to price all your materials but don't forget to pay yourself. Value your own work and the skills you have applied.  Don't forget you are the designer and the crafts person who made the items, don't undersell yourself.

All of the above go for any selling method. If you sell on-line something else has to be considered

Photograph it clearly and in focus  Nothing is more off putting than dark, out-of-focus photographs. This is your shop front when you sell on-line. Because people can't actually touch your items you need to give them the second best thing. Good clear photos. Make sure you include a sharp close-up. 

As you can see many of these points can be looked into in much more detail.  The next blogpost  will look at the challenges with each of the different selling platforms.   Please feel free to share any gems on selling you have found. 

Happy making and selling!