Many consumers are interested in purchasing items that didn't come from a big-box store, and that don't look just like everything their friends and neighbors have. Handcrafted items are a pleasure to own and talk about, and they're especially fun to give as gifts. The result is a mountain of opportunity for creative types of all kinds, whether they're lifelong crafters, people who've recently discovered a passion for working with their hands, or entrepreneurs with a keen eye for sourcing and selling others' handmade gems.
If you've developed a skill for crafting or collecting something that's unique, here are some tips for how to sell your items online and turn that passion project into a successful business.
Source your crafts
First, decide what kind of crafts your online shop is going to sell, whether you’re making them yourself or sourcing them from elsewhere in your community. Here are some ideas for how to identify your craft-shop specialty.
Handmade by you: Selling crafts you created yourself lets customers connect not just with your products but also with you as an artist.
Medium or material: Ceramics, glass, paper, needlework, textiles, wood, stone, metal — there are many materials you can choose to focus on as a creator or seller.
Region or time period: Select a specific geographical region where you can support local artisans, or pick an era like 1970s vintage house crafts.
Shape your aesthetic
It’s important to develop consistent branding that aligns with the crafts you sell. For example, if you make bright statement earrings, you’ll want your online store to match that aesthetic with bold pops of color and sunny icons. Your logo, website, online store, product photography, and even your business cards should be branded to match the vibe of your crafts.
Creating a consistent aesthetic can make it easier for customers to remember you in the long run. You want people to feel like they have a personal connection to your brand, so that the next time they see bright statement earrings like yours, they’ll immediately look for your sunny logo. Good branding encourages one-time buyers to become longtime customers and increases the chances they’ll spread the word about your craft business.
Lean into what’s unique
Part of the charm of selling crafts is that no two pieces are identical. The natural and unique details are what make them stand out. Use your product descriptions to highlight those differences, making variation a selling point instead of a liability. Point out identifying or unexpected details, and be as specific as possible about sizes and dimensions regardless of whether you’re making your crafts yourself or sourcing them elsewhere.
Say you’ve commissioned a set of handmade ceramic plates from an artist, and you know there will be some variation in size—list a range of possible dimensions instead of a specific measurement. Then make sure your product descriptions update automatically everywhere you list your crafts for sale. If you have a Squarespace website and a profile on Etsy, for example, you can create an integration to import your inventory including product names, images, reviews, and prices. That way, you can be confident that every unique detail will be clear and visible anywhere you sell your crafts.
Post your policies
When you’re running an ecommerce business, take extra care to make sure customers know your store policies before they make a purchase. If someone purchases a digital gift card to your shop, for example, make it clear that they shouldn’t expect a card in the mail. You should also explicitly state how gift cards can be used on your ecommerce site—clarify whether they apply to all the products you sell, or only certain categories.
When you’re selling crafts, some customers may not immediately fall in love with the unique differences that appear in every item. That’s why it’s a good idea to make your policies and promises easily accessible on your website. In your return policy, clearly state your return window and the reasons you will or won’t accept a request for a return or an exchange. Managing your customers’ expectations can help them truly appreciate the unique aspects of each item and be excited to own a one-of-a-kind creation.
Ready to start selling your crafts online?