Starting to sell your craft creations can be a daunting step, but for many of us, it’s something that turns out to be enjoyable, rewarding and fun.
So you’ve been making things for a while and you’ve reached the point where you’d like people to part with their hard-earned cash in return for your stunning creations. This is the situation that every seller of hand-made items has experienced at some point and of course, we are no exception.
This is not a complete guide to setting up a craft business, but is a collection of a few of the tips that we have gathered along the way
Have a range of items to give potential customers choice. Your range should also include lower priced items as well as higher priced ones.
Try to be consistent in the kind of items you are selling. (For example, avoid selling knitted items alongside wooden toys – unless you can do it in a way that they fit seamlessly together. Many craft fair organisers will want to ensure that there is a good range of stalls and you may be rejected or told that you can’t sell certain items.
This can be a tricky area. You must cover your materials cost plus your time plus profit. Don’t forget your “hidden” costs as well – things like electricity, tools, stall rent and travel.
Starting Your Planning
- Visit local craft fairs as a customer to see what other crafters are doing.
- Decide what you want to make
- Make it
- Book your first fair(s) – but don’t start out with a big, expensive event. Use www.stallfinder.com to find local events.
Where shall I go for my first sale?
Look for a small local event.
- Girlguides, Brownies or Rainbows
- Your local church
- Community centre
- Sheltered housing complex
may have a spring, summer or autumn fair.
- A half-day sale is probably as much as you’ll want to do for a start.
- Check that the table rent is affordable.
- In the early days, try to stick to events with fairly flexible booking arrangements. (Pay on the day)
- Don’t be disappointed if you don’t take much money on your first few fairs.
When you book, don’t be afraid to ask how many other sellers will be selling similar items to yours. In the same way that good craft fair organisers want a wide range of stalls, you don’t want to be surrounded by lots of other stalls selling similar items to your own. However, don’t be afraid of some competition; every crafter will be different.
Your first few fairs
- Network with other stallholders
- Be prepared for setbacks and disappointment and learn from them
- Take careful note of feedback from customers – and non-customers
- Be prepared to change the items that you stock
- Experiment with different ways of setting up your stall
- Keep a written record of your sales
- Feel great the first time your takings exceed the table rent.
It’s never too early to think about using the power of social media and the internet to promote your craft selling.
Set up a Facebook Page and a Twitter profile and use them only for your craft business. These are both free, although advertising options are available later on. Find some training – and keep an eye on the online marketing gurus. (Links)
It’s much less important (and almost certainly expensive) to try to set up your own ecommerce website at this stage, but keep it in mind for the future.
Above all, enjoy your crafting and selling, and whether you keep it as a part-time interest or turn it into a full-time business, get some business advice. Once you start making profit, you will be liable for tax. You also need to consider insurance. As you get better known you may also need to establish copyright protection for your designs.
If there’s another tip for crafters starting selling that you’d like to add to this, please leave us a comment or contact us.
(This post was updated on 29/1/16)