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Hi! I’m Lucy. Chardonnay and vintage finds lover, founder of the handmade jewelry brand bel monili *and* your new guide to making your handmade business WORK online.
So you’ve decided it’s time to get your beautiful, unique creations online so people around the world can purchase them? That is awesome and amazing! Congratulations! I know it seems like a HUGE undertaking, but I’m here for you, and I’ve got what you need to start selling your crafts online.
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Let’s get this party started!
Before you get started, take a look at what you’re making (or what you want to make), and think about how it will sell online. Can you ship it easily / affordably? Is it something you think people will want to purchase? Will you enjoy making a LOT more of them if they become popular?
Simplicity is the name of the game when you first start selling online. It’s better to have a small, cohesive collection rather than a “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” game plan.
When selling online, the more specific you can be, the better. You want to be known as, “that artist that makes the really colorful vases”, or the jewelry maker that creates beaded necklaces with antique enamel brooches (that would be me!).
You may think the more you offer the better, but it actually will have an adverse effect on your business. And we don’t want that!
Yes, I know – “brand” sounds a bit icky. But again, it goes back to being instantly recognizable in a vast sea of online sellers.
Take the time to think about your brand. It’s more than the colors you use or your logo. Branding is more about who you are, what you make and the vibe of your creations. For example, if you make handmade kid’s toys, your branding might be very different from a jewelry artist that uses recycled instrument materials.
If you already have a logo and branding for your business, you can use it online as well, of course. That is actually the best way to go, so your customers will instantly know it’s you when they see your logo. Consistency is key!
If you’re starting from scratch, you can create your own logo on an app such as Canva, or you can go to a website like Fiverr and have someone create one for you. Give them the colors you want, the vibe and intention of your brand, and even font requests if you have them.
Then, build your brand with fonts, images and the tone of your brand’s voice. You want a cohesive look and feel whether you’re in person at a craft show, or online.
Here comes the fun part! You need to decide where online you are going to sell your items. There are several options:
This is a choice that’s personal to you. I feel that having your own shop on Shopify is the best option, but it is much harder to get traffic to your business.
By using a marketplace such as Etsy, you get the benefit of millions of people going to that site every day – BUT, you’re also competing with thousands of other artists.
Read more about finding the right website for your online business:
Remember, your online customers cannot touch or see your items in person, so it’s up to you and your photos to be their “eyes and hands”.
Take the best photos you can, from all angles. Lighting is the most important factor – make sure you have great light, without a lot of shadows or reflections.
Get close up to show textures, and include “lifestyle” shots that show your creations as they would be used.
If you make jewelry, take pictures of someone wearing it (even if it’s a selfie).
If you make art, show it hanging on a wall.
If you make pottery or kitchen items, show them being used.
Product photography is one of the hardest yet most important parts of selling your items online. Don’t let it paralyze you, though! Just take the best pictures you can for now, and you can always work on them as you go. (The pictures I took when I first started are SO different from the pictures I take today!)
When you think about your pricing and selling your crafts online, you’ll need to consider a couple of things that you don’t need to worry about when selling in person: shipping and packaging.
Shipping costs are the necessary evil of selling through the Internet. And depending on the size and weight of the items you create, it can be a considerable cost.
Once you have created the items you want to sell online, think about how you’re going to package them. Will you need extra padding, or something to keep it from breaking? Can you ship it flat, or will you need shipping boxes?
Take your packaging materials and your products, and put them all together. Then weigh and measure the packages so you can get shipping costs from the provider you will be using. Most sellers use either the United States Post Office, UPS or Fed-Ex. Each one has different costs and times for delivery.
You can also look at sellers who sell items similar to yours, and see how much they charge for shipping, and which shipping services they use. You want to be competitive with your shipping charges.
Most customers do not like “padded” shipping costs. Honestly – most customers these days want “free” shipping. I say “free” in quotes because you will put the actual cost of shipping into the price of the product, so they aren’t really getting it for free.
But some products are small and aren’t expensive, so adding shipping costs to the price might make it too pricey. You’ll need to determine which way is best for your unique products. Maybe you can split the shipping cost – add a little bit to your product prices and then charge a small shipping fee.
Yes, you need patience, persistence and focus as much as you need great photos and a website! Most sellers do not hit “open” on their website and get instant sales. You will need to share your website with the world – tell everyone you know, post on social media, maybe even purchase some ads. And still – it will take time.
Learn to listen to your customers, but also trust your instincts. Stay focused and remind yourself that you can do this! There is enough room in the handmade space for everyone – you just need to keep positive and don’t be afraid to try something new.
I’m so excited for you to get your business online and see your sales climb! If you are serious about being a handmade business, you cannot afford NOT to have an online shop. Follow the steps I’ve outlined above and you’ll be on your way to sharing your wonderful creations with a worldwide audience.
I know this is a LOT of information. And to be honest, it’s more than can be covered in one (or several) blog posts.
That’s why I created my signature course: Get Online, Grow Online! It is designed for makers who want to sell more and hustle less. I’ll teach you how to set up your online shop, how to create a brand customers will remember, and how to become a social media rock star!
The course is jammed packed with EVERYTHING you need to start selling your crafts online. And Get Online, Grow Online is opening for enrollment in June!
Get on the waitlist now (click or tap here) and I’ll email you when the doors open.
Make 2022 the year that you finally build a business you love!
After running bel monili (my handmade jewelry business) for 10 years, I launched Bloom in 2019 to create a community where handmade business owners could learn, grow, and support each other in this wild venture of small business ownership. Welcome to Bloom!