Sell handmade products
Do you create and sell handmade products? Whether you have your own website or sell your handmade products on sites like Etsy or ArtFire, one of the challenges you might face is to get your products in front of your customers.
There’s social media, trade shows, craft fairs, email marketing – and the list goes on! How do you know what to focus on to get the most return on your time? I’m a huge fan of doing more of what’s working, rather than re-inventing the wheel, so once you figure out a strategy that works to sell handmade, you should stick with that.
We reached out to successful entrepreneurs who sell handmade products, either on or off Etsy, and asked them to share their best tips with us.
30 tips to sell handmade products onlineWhen handcrafting a product, consistency can be a challenge. It’s important to work out all of the potential kinks before marketing a product, this includes packaging and shipping. Your packaging should compliment your product, protect it and be durable enough for retail shelves. The reality is if you don’t do these things it can kill your product right out of the gate. – Thanks to Ellen Cagnassola of Sweet Soaps
Get your product in front of as many people as possible and offer a variety of options within your specific line of products. For example, I create custom portrait paintings for weddings, newborns, memorial services, pets, families, and business/organization founders (and more!) It is one product (portraits), but offering many types. – Thanks to Arlissa Vaughn of Special Event Painter
Find a team of people who love your product, offer them an attractive monetary incentive and have them sell at local events that relate to your product and target market. – Thanks to Lisa Riedel of Corky Kouture Collections, LLC
My number one tip for selling unique, one of a kind products online is to take plenty of good, honest pictures. The pictures set the expectation that the customer has for the product that will show up in the mail. It’s important to set that expectation and then meet it. You know what your product is, what it looks like and how it is made. Try to look at the pictures of your product from your customers point of view with out all of that bias. When you think about it your customer is really buying the picture. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million. – Thanks to Jeremy Pellani of
My best tip for selling my handmade and one-of-a-kind products online is to make sure you take high-quality, hi-res photographs of the product so that your customer can get a sense of the quality of the product. Using social media to interact with people who have great influence or websites that focus on handmade or one of a kind products is essential. There is a growing focus on locally sourced and produced consumer goods which should be leveraged to your benefit. Using local media outlets, such a neighborhood print and online news sites, is a great place to start. Share your story and your passion for your product, your brand and your vision. – Thanks to RJ Diaz of Industry Portage Co.
Promote they are handmade, and one of a kind. Make sure to provide the buyer with information on how they an acquire more at another time, or if they want to refer a friend, how they can do that. Make sure to also ask for their email address or to friend you on Facebook so you can stay in front of them with new products as they come out. Social media is extremely important, and the cheapest way of keeping your brand in front of your customers. – Thanks to Hanh Tran of The Hanh Collection
Be extremely passionate about the problem you are trying to solve for your customers when you are selling handmade. This adds to the credibility of your product or service, and engages a potential customer on a personal level. The problem I want to solve is teaching Excel keyboard shortcuts for Mac users in the easiest way possible, and my solution is described on the website in full detail. A potential customer first needs to understand the problem, but showing your passion for your solution will turn a potential customer into a paying customer. My ultimate goal is to increase the productivity of individuals and businesses so that they can succeed in their own businesses, and your job as an individual is to get this goal or passion across to your customer in the easiest way possible. – Thanks to Al Chen of KeyCuts
SafetyBunns donates samples for trials throughout the USA and Canada, making connections via LinkedIn networking groups dealing with seniors/handicap in all capacities. Word of mouth is our number one seller. SafetyBunns, non-slip pants is a win/win situation for everyone– keeping residents safe, warm and comfortable, families can rest assured, lessen caregiver injuries and decrease nursing facilities workman’s compensation claims and law suits. Keeping everyone healthy and wealthy!! – Thanks to Barb Przybylowicz of SafetyBunns®, LLC
Include a lengthy product description (at least 200 words) that has all the right product keywords when selling handmade. A detailed description gives our customers more confidence in the product (which, in our case, is a business document). I think it creates a perception of higher quality. Having product keywords ensures the document shows up in the site’s internal searches and helps with SEO. All this leads to higher sales. – Thanks to David Tang of Flevy
Tell your story! No one has a better story about how they got started, the process to manufacture their products and why they do what they do than handmade artisans. Is this a technique passed down from your grandmother? What tools do you use? Did this start as a hobby that grew and grew? What trials and tribulations did you go through in your journey and how did you overcome them? Remember that your story will be retold by your customers – whenever someone compliments your piece, or if it’s given as a gift, it will become a conversation starter. So spend time making sure it’s a good one, and tell it every chance you get. – Thanks to Alexandra Ferguson of Alexandra Ferguson
Whether you’re selling to a passerby at a farmer’s market or a buyer for a retail store, what separates your stuff from most of what’s out there is the thought, energy and effort embodied in EACH product and when you’re a small company with a beautiful product it shows, but only up close and personal. So here’s our tip: get out there and bring your product to people – let them touch it, hold it, feel the weight and texture that separates it from the mass-production we have all grown accustomed to. This isn’t to say mass production is evil, rather, it’s allowed us to live, as a whole, in a way our ancestors would have never thought possible BUT, in a world where things are made in the millions a day and an individual product may reach the shelf without ever being looked at by another human being, YOUR handmade product is all the more precious — be proud and show it off — in person; it’s the biggest advantage you have. – Thanks to Michael Galea & Catherine O’Sullivan of Wee Rock Toy Co.
Get the product out in the marketplace as much as you can, which means a combination of internal promotion (newsletter to customers), public relations (pitching media) and advertising (in print, online and radio). Much of this depends on developing relationships with each entity and listening to their needs. For example, our customers – we produce personalized romance novels made one-at-time – suggested we start offering e-books and we became the first customized book company to do so. Now 20% of our business is comprised of e-book sales. – Thanks to JS Fletcher of YourNovel.com
From a digital perspective Email still drives about 60-70% commerce transactions so collecting your customers email is extremely important for optimizing interactions with existing customers. To help your product be Discovered the pictures above all need to be of stellar quality and then utilize Pinterest to help your product get discovered. Only about 1 in 1000 Pinterest pins go “viral” or have over 100,000 interactions. So it’s a blend of Quality and Scale. Of course you can use an affiliate company like SeQR Pay to sell your product for you in which the affiliate will take 10-25% of the transaction. – Thanks to Bryan Colligan of SeQr Pay
My suggestions are two fold: take great pics that speak to human eyes, and do your best to describe and position your products in a way that speaks to search engines. Handmade-loving-humans are your customers but sadly they can’t find you without the help of search engines. As to the great photos, make sure to get a normal view that shows the scale and use of the item at a glance, and also a detailed close-up. For making your products findable, use Google keywords to see what phrases people are searching for. For example “recycled jewelry” brought back more results than “recycled necklaces.” Then make sure to use those terms in your description and in your URL. When you are determining your pricing, try to foresee if you want to sell wholesale or not. If so you will need to multiply your comfortable price time 2 – 2.5. It sounds painful to give more than half of the sell price to your retail partner, but it could be worth it because they have access to customers who don’t know you exist yet. Talking with retailers about price points is also a great way of getting a second opinion on what your item is “worth.” You might be underestimating what a customer would pay for your handmade item, and a retailer’s opinion is invaluable. – Thanks to Betsy Kaufman of Near and Far
Establish your presence in the social media world. Grab your company or product name and begin to post information that people in your niche find helpful. Answer questions, refer to information and sell minimally. It’s not about YOU… its all about your community. – Thanks to Chris Melton of Joint Mechanix, LLC
To start with, keep a limited product line(build a niche) and focus on the presentation and branding of your products. Never ever compromise on quality of the handmade products that you make or are getting made. Quality check them at various stages – since handmade products provide a lot of flexibility to do so. Then comes the most important part – getting your products in front of potential buyers. If your target market is a mix of different segments – then prioritize and conquer one market segment at a time. For instance, I am starting a range of handmade accessories for women. To start with, I am launching my store for the Wedding Market – focusing all my energy on building and designing accessories for weddings and focusing my marketing efforts on just the wedding market. – Thanks to Anjum Gadhok of Fair Intentions
My handmade items are an outgrowth of my graphic design work, so I am, needless to say, a big fan of a good presentation, with branding and a professionally designed line sheet. I also have a “one-sheet” that is easy to attach to email inquiries — a kind of “pared down” line sheet that shows sample products and a blurb in one glance. The other tip, which is harder, is really believing in your own creations. – Thanks to Jean Roth of Rotem Limited Edition
The best way to sell a handmade or one of a kind product is by first yielding the power of social media, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Google + and twitter but do not push it, the other important thing to do is target those who really need this product and not try to get the whole world to like it, and finally be patient and focused. – Thanks to Nasser Mahamadeen of SSS Trade LLc.
The best tip I can offer to sell handmade one of a kind items is to make your product stand out by using branding and marketing. If you develop a brand for your product, it will help people gain familiarity and brand recognition for your product vs a competitor. It also helps to use marketing tools, signs/handouts/website and social media to grow your audience. I love selling my handmade/one of a kind items at local farmers markets, art fairs, green festivals and through my website. Find your niche market and start promoting yourself and gaining brand awareness today! – Thanks to Holly Slawter of Fiddlebump’s
Do you sell handmade products and have a tip you’d like to share? If so, leave a comment below. And if you are looking for even more tips, here’s another great post to help you sell more of your handmade products.