So if you’ve found this post you’re probably like me: trying to start your own handmade business and doing all the research you can to make it a success.
It’s pretty daunting. When I first thought of listing stuff on Etsy, I’d never heard the term SEO, let alone understood that there was so much work in even getting found online. You could make a full-time job out of reading all that’s been written about online business, and I’ve certainly spent a few hours doing just that. But I’ve come across a few good resources and I thought I’d share a few that I’ve found useful. Here they are:
- Are you ready to sell? This is probably the first question we should be asking ourselves. If this has started off as a hobby and you’ve started to imagine what it would be like as a job, you probably need to consider whether or not this idea is viable.
- Get to know your target market. If you’re sure this is the way to go and that there are people out there that would pay good money for what you make, you need to know everything about them. This idea is starting to make sense to me – I initially thought my market would be quite broad, but after a few months and a market stall, I’m beginning to understand that my buyers are most likely to be gift-buying grandparents with disposable income and a nostalgic love of traditional children’s toys. Apparently the more specific you can be the better.
- Pricing your handmade items. Next you need to know that you can make you product for less than people would buy it for. This can be a tricky topic and the tendency is to short change yourself when you enjoy what you do. But it won’t be sustainable as a business if you make a loss with each sale.
- Tips for your handmade market stall. I’d recommend trying a stall if only to find out more about your target market. A stall puts you face to face with your potential buyers and there’s nothing more valuable than understanding what they’re looking for – you don’t get that sort of contact in the online marketplace.
- Selling on consignment. I’m yet to get the courage to venture down this path, but I do want to give it a shot. Here you really need to have sorted out your pricing – because stores will want to be able to sell your item for twice what they paid you for it. The thought of having your own items on display in a real live shop it worth it though!
- Etsy tips. The Etsy site has its own pretty good articles, after all it’s in their best interest for your Etsy store to do well. This is a good article for all the Etsy basics.
- How to take professional photos of your handmade items. One of the key bits of advice for selling online is to have amazing photos. This article gives good advice to amatuers wanting to take professional looking photos. (Like me – yes, I use my phone!)
- Blogging tips. I started my first blog in 2004 back when blogging was considered a frivolous pastime (my blog was short lived). Now it seems every business that takes itself seriously must have a blog. Also, there’s this thing called content marketing that is supposed to entice your readers in… when did this all get so complicated?!
- Optimise your blog for search engines – SEO (or Search Engine Optimisation if you’re as new to this as I was) is all about standing out in the ocean of information on the web. Your ‘key words’ are like beacons that help people find you. It sounds pretty straightforward, but I don’t think I’ve gotten to the bottom of this one yet.
- Telling your creative origin story. The people that love to buy handmade, usually also love to hear the stories behind it. You want your story to make them fall a little bit in love with you so they want to give you all their money. Or something like that…
It’s overwhelming, I know. And this is just the tip of the iceberg of all the information out there. It’s good to do your research, but when it gets too much, I like to close the laptop and go and sew something. It reminds me that all that matters is that I love what I do.
I hope you do too.