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Thursday, March 4, 2010

From Craft Addiction to Craft Business: Part 2

- Note: This is part 2 in a 3-part series on the business of craft with 
special emphasis on the local Juneau market.  Find part 1 here. 
So, you're a crafter with a product that you know is fantastic (because the orders from friends and family keep rolling in), and you want to take the next step and sell to someone you don't know. You've answered some of the questions from part 1 of this series (the who, what, why and when of selling) and you're ready. What's next?

Where to sell your products?
There are three large markets that are accessible to local artisans, and a crafter might choose to participate in one, two, or all three. Online stores, local boutiques, and fairs and markets make up the bulk of how a crafter can get his or her products out to the greater public. For this column, part 2 in this series, we'll focus on online sales, with a particular emphasis on the crafter's marketplace known as Etsy.
Online Selling: Etsy
At www.etsy.com they boast "Your place to buy and sell all things handmade" and they do not lie. In this online market, crafters can create a free "storefront" to sell products at a 20-cent listing fee and 3.5 percent of all sales. Etsy provides a venue that reaches both a worldwide market and our local market through their "shop local" feature.

About 20 Etsy shop-owners call Juneau home, and a few shared their insights for the newbie business-owner in the areas of display and pricing.

Etsy is a simpler setup than most online stores. According to Anji of www.RubysHill.etsy.com, "Etsy offers a great alternative to a typical online store and adds the bonus of a committed following." The basics of any shop on Etsy provide a banner, an "about me" section and an area for your product listing. Because this is the only view a customer will have of you and your products, it is important to be thorough and engaging.
A listing on Ruby's Hill Etsy Page - note the thorough and engaging image and description

"After looking over other crafter's shops, I was able to pinpoint certain things that drew me in and made me want to incorporate those aspects into my own shop," notes new seller Kelsey of www.CreativeTides.etsy.com. "For example, I love pictures of items that are taken outside and have interesting backgrounds. So I spent a day outside with a friend taking different photos of each pair of my mittens."
Kelsey of Creative Tides shows how product images can be enhanced with outdoor shots and good composition

Etsy provides free tutorials and discussion forums for learning how to improve your photos, banner and sales. Also, plenty of Etsy shop-owners sell packaged designs for banners and logos if you don't have Photoshop, the program recommended by most Etsy-ers.

A huge hurdle for crafters is determining how much their products are worth. Because each item is handmade, pricing can become very personal and less business-like. A smart idea is to create a pricing formula like Vicki of www.CustomTeddys.etsy.com who notes, "[My] formula includes the price of all the materials used on the item, plus hourly rate, plus listing fees and percent that will go to Etsy. If I am so inclined I will add a profit for myself onto the item."
Vicki uses her custom pricing formula for all her bears, even 3" tall Pepe

Also, Tristan of www.AlaskaRocks.etsy.com mentions checking similar items for pricing on Etsy as another tool for getting fair market value on your products.
With such a variety of products Tristan of Alaska Rocks compare-shops to determine pricing

Creating consistency across the board when creating any new business is important. Whether you intend to sell online, in stores, or at a market, consistency in quality, pricing, and appearance of your product are all important. Stay tuned for the third installment in this series to see how your work on an Internet storefront translates into marketing, display and pricing in the local scene.

Find the article originally published by the Juneau Empire here . . .

1 comment:

  1. I love how many different people you brought in for this! The different ideas and great. Thanks so much for the informative post, I'll be linking.


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