Everywhere you go, you find information on how to do everything online; craft sales are no exception. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking traditional sales methods, however. Offline side hustles are important as well. Not only can you make money; you’ll enjoy traveling, getting to know your customers, and meeting people who love arts and crafts as much as you do. So before you upload another batch of photos, consider having your next sales event offline. Here are some tips on how to make the most of it!
1. Sell Quality Goods
We know, you’re doing this already. But it never hurts to reiterate that the key to a successful business is selling well-made products that people want. Plus, while you may be able to disguise poorly-made goods on the internet, you can’t do it when your customers can handle and examine your wares up close. Before you go on the road, make sure your product quality is the best you can achieve.
2. Market Research
Your art is no longer a hobby; it’s a business. To make it succeed, you must incorporate business skills, of which market research is one. The goal of market research is to discover if there is a demand for your product, what people expect to pay for it, what features they need, and what performance expectations they have. Do not invest huge amounts of time and money in a project until you determine that there is, in fact, a market for your money making ideas, and if you can satisfy that demand. Ask friends, family, and co-workers–everyone you know–for their honest opinions of your crafts. Attend events to determine what items are selling and which are not. As you conduct your research, be prepared to alter your craft, as well your expectations. This flexibility will serve you well in the business world.
3. Find Your Niche
As much as you might like, you don’t have the time, energy, or income to create all of the arts and crafts you enjoy. Now’s the time to find your particular niche–the work you do better than just about anyone you know. Your niche should be enjoyable, fairly economical, marketable, and unique enough to stand out and attract interest.
4. Lower Your Costs
Once you’ve discovered the money making ideas on which you’ll focus, you need to find a way to make them as economically as possible without sacrificing quality. List all the materials you’ll need to make your items, and don’t forget packing materials, labels, and packaging. Your next task is to find the cheapest source of each. This may mean wholesale suppliers or, if it’s too expensive or impractical to buy in such quantities, purchasing from light bulk vendors. If you know others who enjoy the same crafts, you can pool your resources to buy supplies, or look into joining a buying co-op. You can store your extra supplies inexpensively in a storage unit such as the Dallas self storage units.
5. Price it Right
One of the best ways to ensure your crafts are profitable is to price them correctly. Don’t just make your best guess. Take into account your supply costs, along with travel, booth rental, packaging, postage, and other expenses. Don’t forget to factor in profit; you want to do more than just break even. Search online and at craft fairs to get an idea of how others price similar work. Don’t make the mistake of underpricing your crafts, believing you’ll make up the money in volume. You may not achieve that level of sales, or find yourself unable to fill orders in a timely manner if you do. Keep in mind, also, that people often expect to pay a little more for handmade items. In a world filled with mass-produced plastic junk, the “handmade” label indicates quality. Don’t hesitate to ask for a fair price.
6. Choose Good Venues
There are many ways you can sell your crafts which do not involve a computer. Try craft shows, flea markets, farmer’s markets, community events such as Renaissance fairs, and holiday markets. As you gain experience, you’ll learn which events are the most profitable, and which to sit out. If you’re not much of a traveller, rent booth space at area antique malls and flea markets; keep in mind that you’ll often be required to work at the venue a specified number of hours per month. Home parties, such as those used to sell Pampered Chef, are a creative way to find new customers without venturing too far afield. Wherever you sell your money making ideas, be sure to take adequate stock, provide information flyers and business cards and, if you’re sold out, take an order.
7. Use Attractive Displays
As you explore flea market tables and craft mall booths, you’ll often find items laid out in a very plain fashion–or jumbled together with no organization. The first makes the crafts unappealing; the second makes them overwhelming. In either case, many prospective buyers simply move on. Show off your wares using pretty backdrops, risers (cardboard boxes covered with fabric work just fine), and clear, attractive labels. Don’t clutter your area, making it difficult for your crafts to stand out. Packaging matters. If you’re selling soaps, for example, set out samples for handling, while wrapping the bars for sale in pretty gauze, tied with ribbon. Many of your customers see buying handmade items as a luxury; make their shopping experience pleasurable.
When you choose to sell your work offline, you’re choosing to interact with people. No matter how you feel on the day of the sale, act as if you’re happy to be there. Don’t get caught sitting behind your displays with your nose in a book; customers are more likely to approach a table when it’s staffed with a friendly, welcoming vendor. Make small talk. Answer questions. People are interested in your money-making ideas. With every conversation you have, you make a connection with your customer, and it’s often that human touch which persuades her to buy.
When you work for yourself, part of you is always at work. Never miss an opportunity to market your crafts Carry business cards with you. Have car magnets or large decals made (include you contact information). Court local media, newspapers, and area magazines. Offer to teach a class at a senior center or youth club. If possible, carry a few samples of your work with you, or a small photo album, so you can share them with anyone who shows interest. Donate items to charity auctions, shelters, or fundraisers; this will get your name out in the public eye and enhance your reputation. When it comes to advertising your crafts, be creative, be friendly, but don’t be shy!
10. Get into Shops
Of course, one great way to maximize your crafting profits is to have others sell your work for you. Consider approaching local retailers about placing some of your crafts in their shops. Put together a professional sales presentation, call for an appointment, and make sure your items are packaged attractively. Don’t be surprised if the store owner wants to buy your crafts at below retail–and then adds a hefty mark-up. This is part of the business. Supplying shops can be a source of continual revenue, without the cost and hassle of travel.
Selling your crafts for a profit is a very satisfying way to earn, if not a living, extra money for the things you need, or enjoy doing. When you choose to pursue your money making ideas in the real, as opposed to the virtual, world, you’ll make friends and have adventures you may never have enjoyed clicking a mouse at the kitchen table.