The wonderful thing about selling crochet items is that you get to do something you love and have people pay you! Cha ching! But once you cross the line of crocheting for pleasure into crocheting for business a lot of questions and problems need to be addressed. Don't worry! I got ya covered. I talk about the things that I feel are super important to think about before starting out.
and tutorials? Sign up for The Friendly Newsletter
*I also want to mention that what works for me may be very different for someone else! Hopefully this article can give you some food for thought, but as with anything on the internet take what you like and leave the rest! ha!*
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!
Before you decide to sell, I think it can be helpful to understand what you really want out of it. Do you want to support your yarn habit? Are you really wanting some extra money for date nights, or a new pair of shoes? Or are you hoping to help pay some serious bills?
How much time do you really have to devote to crocheting for profit? Are you willing to make time sacrifices? Are you wanting to make whatever you want and then try to sell it or are you willing to take orders? Do you love it enough to do all of the time? Are you looking only to make money now?
These are some questions to consider as you continue reading!
How do I price my blood, sweat, and tears??
This is a struggle. Unless you have lightening fingers, crochet usually takes a lot longer than anyone who doesn't crochet understands. So how do you price your time fairly? In reality, it is up to you. You need to be the one who decides how much it is worth. It is YOUR time. It may be helpful to see what others in your area are charging. Consider your experience and the skill your item needs. If it is helpful for you, I try to pay myself $10 an hour.
Say you are wanting to sell a hat. The hat took about $6 in materials. It took you 2 hours to make. So if you are paying yourself a $10 wage, then charge $26. Pretty basic math!
Another way that is popular is to figure out a cost of materials and times that by 3. So that $6 hat would sell for $18. If you are a quicker crocheter then this comes out in your favor! Or if you take a little longer or get interrupted ALL THE TIME then this may make a fair price for your potential customer.
But sometimes projects are just not easy to price like that. For example when I am selling my dolls it would be really hard to find a buyer that would pay me that hourly wage! So I have to do a little give and take. I usually figure out about what it costs to make one and times it by or 4 or 5. But the most important thing to me is that I feel like I am fairly compensated. If I am happy to get a certain amount, then it is worth it. (It helps that I love doing it!)
At the end of the day, don't short charge yourself and your talents.
People Be Crazy
It is a sad, sad truth. But there are crazy people out there. And when you open yourself up to pricing something you make and putting it out there, those crazies flock. Some people will not want to pay the price you have determined as fair. "I could get that at Walmart for $5!" Many people do not want to pay for handmade quality. And that is okay! Let them buy their cheap hat! Let them blow off steam! But don't let them get you down. They are not your target audience. Because on the other hand, there are GREAT people out there that will pay you what you are worth! It may take time and marketing but it is worth it to find them! Don't let the haters get you down ;)
Show me the money!! No. Really. Show me.
Especially if you do not know the person (and sometimes if you do!) make sure you have some form of payment before you begin, or before you ship if the item is already made! It is a sad, sad, thing when people back out but you are 3 seasons of Friends into that afghan they wanted. Some people charge potential clients the total cost of materials so they are at least covered on that level. Or half the agreed upon price. Oh yeah, and make sure you talk about a price. Don't surprise them with how much it is AFTER it is made or shipped! It is a little awkward for me to quote a price (especially with family or friends!) but you will be on better terms if you do BEFORE. Trust me!
Hi! Hey! Hello! Want to buy my stuff?
Where can you sell it? I think there are 3 great places to consider!
1. The Book of Face (or Facebook, if you don't like my weird sense of humor)
A great way to start is through the Power of Facebook. Join local garage sale groups and advertise! Make a few great things and take some good, well lit pictures and share them with a price estimate. Be sure to follow what is on trend or in season. My best sellers were always character hats for children (need a few ideas? I have some of my favorites here!). I would share a photo and after a time I would start to get requests. That is when I made a Facebook page to showcase my work and hopefully get repeat customers! One of the advantages of a set up like this is you have more flexibility, more opportunities and the option to save money on shipping, since it is mostly local. As you may deal with strangers REALLY make sure that you receive some form of payment before hand!
2. An Etsy shop
This is much more work than the more casual Facebook. The Etsy world has a lot of other crocheters trying to sell their wares. That competition makes it harder for people to find YOUR awesome stuff. But there are things that you can do to give you an edge.
Invest in learning how to take good photos. People are window shopping on Etsy, and you want to stand out! Search for what you are trying to sell and quickly browse, noting the pictures that stand out. What about them made you stop? Then try to incorporate those things into your pictures! You want a nice clean backdrop. I actually get poster board from Hobby Lobby for all of my pictures! The most important thing is good lighting. Natural lighting is the best! You want your pictures to be bright and show everything that you need the buyer to see. I used my phone camera at first, but upgraded to a DSLR and it made a big difference. Always use what you can, though!
Have very detailed listings. If people don't understand what size it is, or what it is made with, or have any kind of question, they will most likely move on. Give them all the information that you can. Since they can't actually touch and hold it, you need to tell them EVERYTHING. Be clear about shipping and return policies as well.
Decide if you want to make ready to ship items or do orders. A ready to ship item is something that is already made, that you can ship off the day it is bought. An order is usually a picture of something you already made and then they pay you and you get to work! There are pros and cons to each. Ready to ship is nice if you want to make whatever you want! But maybe it won't be a huge seller. So then you are stuck with it for a long while. An order may be more stressful and you may find yourself making many of the same thing. But that is not necessarily a bad thing... Just a decision you need to make!
One last piece of Etsy advice... Be unique. What do you offer that is different from everyone else? My biggest seller BY FAR was this flamingo hat. I wasn't going to list it because it was a little too different... But that is what people wanted! I think I was one of the very few that offered anything like it so when they searched, there I was! But you don't even have to be that specific. I think it helps to have a focus. You make baby gift sets, or amigurumi, or hats, or womens scarves... But make your shop cohesive.
(Use this link to sign up with Etsy and we can both get some free listings!)
3. Craft Fairs
I talk about my 15 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Craft Fairs here and that shares a lot of my best tips! But I will talk about the pros and cons a little bit. One of the things I liked was working on things in my spare time months before. I could make as much or as little as I wanted. Then my only really busy time was right before and during! I didn't have to worry about shipping items or collecting payment from an email... They paid me there and took it!
But sometimes craft fairs can be a little iffy. One will be great and everyone will be buying! Then next one nada. Nope. Zilch. Do some research before you commit!
You want to make things that will sell at different price points. Usually little things like key chains or baby hats do really well and make almost more than your bigger ticket items! And be smart about the area. Don't sell bulky scarves in Arizona.
How do you feel? Have more questions? Come join my Friendly Crochet Club over on Facebook and ask them!
if you are looking for some inspiration!