Do you make beautiful handmade craft and want to take it to the next level?
Do you want to start selling your precious handmade goods? Get them into the big wide world of retail and start making an income from your hard work?
Selling your wares through established online marketplaces is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get your product out there, generate sales and increase your profile. You can reach potential customers worldwide without having to worry about driving traffic in your direction as the company is doing all that for you, while you take advantage of their already established following.
Compare this option to setting up your own website which is either costly or extremely time-consuming. Do you really want to learn web design and search engine optimisation when you can sell through online market places who have already spent a large budget on generating customers and marketing for you? They’ve often also researched the Ts and Cs, refund policy and postage so you don’t need to spend hours ruminating over every tiny admin detail…
While you get on with MAKING.
Let’s look at a few of the main online shops and how to go about selling through them.
Bear in mind that with all of them you will need:
- A thorough understanding of your brand, product and customer
- Professional looking photography
- Well written and accurate company and product information
- Accurate and well researched pricing
- and you will still need to work at marketing yourself on social media to keep ahead of the game.
Let’s look at Etsy, Not on the Highstreet and The Big Cartel.
It’s really easy to set up with step by step instructions and a detailed Etsy sellers’ guide found here packed full of useful, well researched information from shipping to legal advice and pricing to branding. There is also an Etsy community where you can connect with other makers and join or watch a streaming workshop or attend one of the organised events. You have less control over the general design layout however than Shopify and The Big Cartel.
- No monthly fees
- Automatic payment deposits
- Secure transactions
- Great community offering creative, business-minded support
Officially the UK’s number one curated online market place NOTH have a huge following, a thorough selection process, advertise through TV and a hardcopy catalogue as well as online and charge a joining fee for the privilege. They offer a high level of assistance and guidelines, a sellers community and are very easy to use.
Not on the Highstreet offer:
- Wide spread marketing campaigns
- Over 39 million visitors annually
- Supportive community of makers and entrepreneurs
Big Cartel is very user-friendly and offers a lower price range than their competitor Shopify including a free starter option. You also have the option to link your shop with your choice of buttons/ links in the side bar which is great for advertising your social media. Big Cartel don’t market your shop for you like Etsy and NOTH.
Big Cartel offer:
- Monthly flat fee
- four price plans to choose from
- Use their ready-made themes to create your shop front or if you’re brave, tweak the code
Before you choose your online market place:
- Is the site right for you and your product?
- Do they have what you sell already?
- Will your product fit in?
- Do they have a large following with good marketing and promote their artists well?
- Look into the charges/ refund & postage policies and arrangements around paying you.
Useful links and further reading:
The Design Trust have many extremely helpful articles like this one here on setting up a craft business.
For more detailed information read this book by Claire Hughes called ‘From Passion to Profit – Start Your Business in 6 Weeks or Less!: A step-by-step guide to making money from your hobby by selling online’. It’s great for taking the ‘confusing’ out of product selling.