Selling your crafts

(26 Posts)
Whatsthekey1 Tue 22-May-18 14:07:56

Hiya! Does anyone make a side living from their crafts? I’ve recently started sewing again and although i love doing it, i’m a minimalist and don’t really need much more in terms of clothes, cushion covers etc. I do have a job but it would be nice to have money for extras. Just interested in whether it’s worth dipping my toes into setting up a market stall, ebay or any other ideas anyone might have.

OP’s posts: |
InDubiousBattle Tue 22-May-18 14:16:17

Have you thought of approaching any local shops?

AjasLipstick Tue 22-May-18 14:16:51

I work in a gallery/shop where we sell artisan made goods etc.

I've also managed lots of craft shows.

It's a steep learning curve for many people but if you make things which people like, then you can make profit.

A good tip is to check Etsy out for similar products to those which you make and look to see the number of sales each seller has can check their reviews too.

Some things just don't go...for example, I recently accepted a number of cotton shopping bags which I knew wouldn't sell but the owner of the building was pushy because they were made by her sister...they didn't sell at all, as I knew they wouldn't due to the fabric choices.

She'd made them well...lined and neatly done but the prints were very unattractive and old-fashioned (and not in a good way).

What we find sells well, is useful items. If someone sees something they can use in the kitchen for eg. then they can sort of justify the frivolity of buying such a thing.

So, some wooden cheesboards we have...which are etched with mandalas...they go like hot cakes. Well made, well priced....great gift.

As you sew, you could look at bags of course, zipped purses, childrenswear. Aprons just don't go. Nobody uses them and they know they'll end up shoved in a cupboard somewhere.

Whatsthekey1 Tue 22-May-18 14:22:39

Thanks for the helpful replies. At the moment i generally make things i can give as gifts so lots of baby quilts or personalised make up bags but i love making clothes. I hate synthetic materials so made myself a whole wardrobe of cotton tunics, trousers and dresses. I’ll have a look at Etsy and see what is popular on there.

OP’s posts: |
speakout Sun 27-May-18 08:11:27

Hi, I make a full time living selling crafts.
I sell mostly on ebay and Amazon, and supply a few outlets worldwide too.
It is possible.

BetterEatCheese Sun 27-May-18 08:32:51

What do you make @speakout

I make quilts and bunting etc but have struggled as I think people are shocked at the price for a memory quilt or bear. Even bunting when personalised is a lot more that people are comfortable paying. I'm torn. I tried to make a living but really couldn't.

Grandmaswagsbag Sun 27-May-18 08:37:21

Interested In this too. I make all my dds clothes and everyone is always telling me I should sell them, but it’s the sizing more than anything that puts me off! Sewing patterns are such random sizes that I don’t think you can advertise items as an age. Maybe by height?

speakout Sun 27-May-18 10:43:36

I make pagan and witchcraft items.
I am a practicing witch so have a background in this type of work.

Whatsthekey1 Sun 27-May-18 11:29:41

@speakout Amazing that you can make a full time living. I definitely am not aiming for that but some money would be nice. Out of interest how many hours a week do you work?

OP’s posts: |
speakout Sun 27-May-18 11:31:19

I work around 18 hours a week.
I earn more than my OH who works full time as an IT network engineer..

Grandmaswagsbag Sun 27-May-18 11:41:44

That’s amazing speakout. What a dream. Do you mind if I ask do your items have a high markup? Or do you aim to sell more items for less? I’m wary as making clothes is time consuming so I think it would be hard for me to sell them at the price I’d need to make it worth while.

speakout Sun 27-May-18 11:46:58

I make in large batches and have ways of minimising my time. The actual materials are low cost, some even foraged from local woods or grown in my garden.
The cost is related to the added value .

RavenLG Sun 27-May-18 12:07:27

Speakout - You things sound right up my street. I would love to check them out if you could DM a link (or place one here if it's allowed).

My dad retired a few years ago and has started making wooden items (he's a joiner by trade) and selling on a market stall on a Saturday (he's not clued up enough for online selling despite me trying to help!). Things like wooden toys, ornaments, bird boxes etc. He's also started doing pyrography items.

I'd say what Lipstick said what spot on. He's had a learning curve as to what people will buy and what he likes to make. He has a very finished style, but that's not in at a moment it's more unfinished 'rustic' looking things. The really cool toys he loves making (like wooden play kitchens with pans, wooden eggs, bread etc.) get a LOT of attention, but don't sell where he is based. Cheap tat (like swords) that is easy to knock out goes quick but he gets no pleasure from doing that, but he did a steam engine festival last year and sold the stuff that is more expensive and actually took orders for the kitchen set. Knowing your audience is definitely key. That being said, if you're just making things because you like them and as a hobby, I can't see the harm in just popping them online and seeing what sells?

I would love to work a sewing machine fwiw but I have no idea! I have an ancient a donated one upstairs but don't even know where to start! lol

withouttea Sun 27-May-18 12:30:09

@speakout you sound very much up my street too. I'm a silversmith - currently I sell in my existing friendship network but looking to expand. I make nature-based designs. I was thinking of trying Etsy, anyone used that?

speakout Sun 27-May-18 12:36:56

I'd rather not give too much away if you don't mind- the market is competitive.
What I will say- is that if you can make a uniform product - not just a one off you will increase your ability to sell dramatically.

So withouttea it may seem dull to produce the same identical item many times this is an easy way to have a listing on Amazon for instance.
I make identical items many times over- but I sell thousands of them in a year.

speakout Sun 27-May-18 12:46:19

In fact - just been looking at my stats- I have sole 12000 individual items in the past 12 months.
80% of these have been on Amazon and ebay- a 50/50 split on both sites.

speakout Sun 27-May-18 12:59:43


withouttea Sun 27-May-18 13:10:34

Thank you @speakout - it's generous of you to give pointers. Well done on your success, it's good to know it can be done.

I think you've nailed it - making lots of things many times is efficient. I think I need to decide to get mass producing - or get REALLY expensive and exclusive (maybe only make two or three of an item). In which case I maybe need different websites to sell through.

Lots to ponder.

speakout Sun 27-May-18 13:24:20

withouttea it costs nothing to test the water.

You could make a test piece of jewellery and launch it on Amazon or ebay- an item that you know you can easily reproduce. Take some good photos and create a product listing on Amazon- see who bites.
I am constantly looking at new product lines- some don't seem to work, others are a runaway success.

It costs nothing to list on Amazon, and only a small amount to list on ebay.
Having said that 30% of my business is repeat sales, so my own web site is necessary soon.

Grandmaswagsbag Sun 27-May-18 14:10:23

I tried Etsy before Xmas for handmade cards and a few other handmade decorations. No success. I felt it was a bit of a scam as there is soooooo much of each item on there that you are unlikely to get any views on your page (I hardly had any )and you have to pay to list (admittedly not much) where as on eBay you list for free and only pay when you sell. It’s a bit less risky. However not sure if it’s right for very high end expensive items??

speakout Sun 27-May-18 14:17:35

I have never tried etsy.

I get the impression there are more sellers than buyers on that site.

withouttea Sun 27-May-18 18:40:09

I know what you mean about the number of sellers on Etsy! It's really, really hard to stand out.

I think it's worth giving a few sites a go, and see how it goes.

Thank you smile

TheMonkeyMummy Sun 27-May-18 18:45:44

Fwiw, I buy from Etsy. I love the homemade feel. I never buy from EBay.

TheMonkeyMummy Sun 27-May-18 18:46:01

And I found other artists on Facebook

soulrider Wed 30-May-18 16:39:34

12,000 items in a year whist spending 18 hours a week doesn't sound like typical handmade stuff - less than 5 minutes per item.

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