If you’ve ever wanted to start selling crafts online and would love to make extra income out of it, or even turn it into a full-time job, I’ve got the steps you need to follow below.
There are a few things you have to do before you start selling, but each one is manageable and will increase your changes of success once completed.
Selling Crafts: Most Common Questions
Before we get started, I wanted to cover some basic background information.
Here are the most common questions that pop up?
What craft should I sell?
Before you start making things at random, you should look to see what actually sells online first.
Check out what’s popular on Amazon Handmade right now for some ideas to start.
I recommend reading our breakdown of the Etsy best sellers. You’ll get a good idea of what some of the more popular craft items are and how much they sell for.
After all, you want to be sure you have an audience first.
Where is the best place to sell crafts online?
Etsy is arguably still the biggest and best platform online.
This e-commerce site has been running their ship for years and have the means to help new sellers easily get set up and selling their crafts.
The other bonus is that it’s one of the most well-known places to buy crafts so there’s a steady stream of customers flocking to the site.
I have a detailed guide on how to get started with Etsy if you’re interested.
Etsy isn’t the start and end of selling crafts online, however. There are other ways and stores available online that will help you sell your handmade items. I list the various ways and sites for you later in this article.
Do I need a business license to sell crafts online?
To start out with, you’ll probably be operating as a sole proprietor.
This often means that you don’t have to register for a business license right from the onset. If you have people working for you on your crafts, however, then you will most likely have to register as an LLC.
But this all depends heavily on where you’re located. In general, you do need a business license whether you sell online or from a brick and mortar business. So it’s best, in this case, to consult your local laws and/or an accountant.
Some regions won’t require a business license if you sell to customers that are located outside of the country. But many countries or states (if you’re in the US) require that you collect sales tax from the items you sell, which means you will have to register your business.
Some sellers on stores like Etsy change their business names on the platform to be more unique. Nothing wrong with that, but you may need to register a Doing Business As (DBA) even if you’re not required to get a business license.
How do I start an online craft business?
Starting an online craft business can be as simple or complicated as you want to make it. The easiest way is to set up your own store on an already popular e-commerce website. But you can also take the easier (though sometimes more rewarding) route of setting up your own e-commerce website.
Another way to start an online craft business is to simply use social media.
You can start building a community around your crafts business through your chosen channel and sell your products directly to them.
How to Sell Your Crafts Online
1. Sign Up For an Account on a Popular E-Commerce Site
First-time crafts sellers love e-commerce stores like Etsy because it’s easy to set up, there are no start-up costs, and there are plenty of prospective buyers already roaming the site.
Here are the 5 top e-commerce store alternatives to Etsy where you can start selling your crafts right now:
Even if you’ve never browsed it before, you’ve probably heard of eBay.
It’s one of the longest-running e-commerce sites on the web. Of course, they won’t help you market your products and people don’t necessarily go on there to buy crafts.
But it’s still a good option if you want to potentially reach plenty of people.
Amazon is one of the largest brands in the world and attracts millions of visitors each month.
They’ve set up a special category for selling handmade items and it’s free to list however many items you want. However, your application has to be approved first and Amazon takes 12% of every sale.
You’ll also have to pay $39.99 per month to retain your membership.
This site focuses on hand-made items and craft supplies.
They also offer buyers the option to post “wanted” items if they want to have something specific made. ArtFire has a few pricing plan options.
There’s generally a per-item listing fee with a limit to how many items you can list, a monthly subscription fee, and they take 9% of the final cut.
Unlike the other stores on this list, Folksy caters specifically to crafters from the British Isles.
It’s a great opportunity for Brittish crafters to get their handmade items out there with a bit less competition from the rest of the world.
Folksy has a ‘Basic’ subscription that charges per listing fee and takes 6% of sales, and a Plus subscription that doesn’t charge per listing but also takes the 6% cut as well as £5 per month.
ArtYah is small and independently run but has a lot of heart and actively listen to their sellers.
The site is also popular and there are plenty of success stories from sellers on the site.
Like Etsy, they also focus on crafts, art, and antiques.
ArtYah charges $0.10 per listing and takes a 3.5% cut for every sale.
2. Create Your Own Website
Working with popular e-commerce stores is an easy way to get started with selling your crafts online.
But having to abide by their rules and paying them a monthly fee can be chafing.
At some point, you will need to move off of the major platforms and transition into your own online store.
Creating your own web-based business isn’t as hard as you might think, though.
There are plenty of tools, advice, and tutorials out there that will help you set up your online crafts store even if you’re a complete rookie who hasn’t heard of the term HTML before. Shopify is one great option here, and there’s also IndieMade.
The Google Merchant Center can be a great help in this regard too.
They provide you with the tools that are necessary to help get your business off the ground and keep track of how it grows. Many people who want to sell their crafts online look to Google tools like Adsense, Google Analytics, Google Shopping, and Google Checkout to help them with running the more technical aspects of an online business.
One essential cog in the machine of a successful e-commerce store is a great blog.
Blogging has many benefits, but two of the top ones are helping your customers (which helps you) and getting your page ranked higher.
3. Run a Successful Facebook Page
It’s entirely possible to run a crafts business entirely from a Facebook page.
A website will add legitimacy to your business, but it isn’t necessary if you build up trust with your page followers. This method is especially forgiving for those who sell as a local business, as people are more likely to trust that they’ll get what they order from you.
Like Google, Facebook has a lot of tools that business owners can use to reach their audience and analyze their growth through their Facebook for Business Program.
Opening up a business page on Facebook also grants you access to the various features they provide, like live-chat, reviews, the ad center, publishing tools, and ways for customers to get to know you.
One of the best things about creating a crafts business page on Facebook is that it’s completely free to set up and you have a platform that billions of people already use.
Plus their advertising system lets you reach people in their whole audience network, including Instagram and various Google Play apps.
4. Utilize the Power of YouTube
This might not seem like a legitimate way to start selling crafts online but YouTube has many faces and crafts is definitely one of them.
All types of crafters have uploaded thousands of hours of videos around crafting and their crafting businesses. The key here is to make entertaining videos and strategically reference your craft business and ways people can buy your products from you.
You’ll still need an online storefront where they’ll be able to order the crafts you create.
But the advantage here is that you don’t necessarily have to rely as much on getting traffic to your website from other means. Freeing you up to focus on creating the best and most unique videos and crafts you can.
Of course, utilizing both YouTube and Facebook in addition to an optimized web page is a surefire way to set yourself up for success. The more avenues you can use to reach potential customers and get your amazing crafts out there, the better.
The Crafty Bottom Line
There’s a lot of information here, which might seem overwhelming. But the great thing is that you aren’t limited to just one choice.
If you decide to sell on Etsy and other stores in addition to running your own e-commerce website then you’re fully free to do so.
Making the most out of each platform that is available to you is what will spell success for your crafts business in the end. The other great part about this is that you aren’t reinventing the wheel here. Plenty of other sellers have had success with their own sites and online stores like Etsy, and you can learn from them.