Becoming a Handmade Marketplace Seller
A few years ago I had an online business that I ran part-time. I combined my graphic design and craft skills to create truly unique products that catered to a very niche market of high-end clients looking for shabby-chic, handmade books and invitations. My products sold all over the world through an online marketplace and I gained valuable experience in the process.
I started the business as a way to make a little extra cash and as a creative outlet for myself, and it did well. I made back my total investment plus a decent profit, and felt good about it. But as time moved on and my circumstances changed, I shifted back to focusing solely on family and out of working. The times changed again and I now run a growing, thriving floral design business that I absolutely LOVE!
I’d like to share a few things I learned about being successful in the handmade market place arena.
I have found handmade market places to be a great venue for my work, both in the past and present. It immediately puts you in front of an vast audience of buyers, which I find worth the minimal cost of using their platform. There are many to choose from: Etsy, ArtFire, Big Cartel, Amazon, Ebay, etc. Just Google “handmade marketplaces” and you’ll come up with plenty of options. You’ll have to do the research to find the one that meets your specific needs and budget.
If you already know that you plan on turning your handmade items into a business, go ahead and set yourself up as a business. It costs less than $100 to set yourself up legally, and you’ll probably take yourself more seriously. Plus, it will give you the advantage of purchasing items for your business at wholesale and being able to write off expenses.
My next advice is: Take yourself seriously. Believe in yourself and your product. Charge what you think your time and product are worth. I always charge prices on the higher end of the scale because I feel that I give a high-quality experience to my clients as well as a beautiful product that stands out from other sellers in significant ways. I may lose some sales because I’m not as cheap as the other designers, but I find my pricing naturally attracts my ideal client. You have to decide where you’re comfortable on this.
Images matter. Take well-lit, quality images of your product. There are many articles and courses online to help you improve your photography. I’ve created The Etsy Shop Owner’s Guide to Creating Great Images (available soon as a downloadable pdf) that will teach you simple ways to improve your photography, giving you better results for your handmade shop.
Learn how your handmade marketplace ranks their seller’s items in searches. You want to be showing up on the first page. Get help in the forums or from other sellers who will coach you for a small fee. It’s worth it.
Perfect your craft. Ask yourself regularly how you can improve your work. As you move forward you will have experiences that will teach you things you hadn’t realized you should or shouldn’t be doing. It’s all part of the process and growth. Make changes as needed.
Nothing beats great customer service. I find that buyers appreciate a quick response to messages. In fact, they appreciate it a lot. It also, many times, makes the difference between getting or loosing a sale. Treat everyone with respect and kindness. It’s a good rule to live by!
Have patience, but work diligently. If something isn’t working, find out what it is. If you’re committed to success, a coach can help you figure out what’s holding you back. Don’t be afraid to invest responsibly in making your dream a reality!
Enjoy the freedom and fulfillment that comes from doing what you truly love while getting paid for it!
Got questions? Comment below, or message me.