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Selling craft and homemade goods

There is a growing trend to make and try selling craft and other homemade goods including baked goods, at the local market. You can even try selling non-perishable crafts online!

It can be a fun and social way of making a little extra money, but it does require time and good planning to pull it off successfully.

What craft should you make?

The perfect craft for you to try your hand at making and selling depends on a number of things – your skills and abilities, the market you’re trying to sell to and the cost of making the item (and more importantly, the ability to make money from the sale!).

Here are some tips to help you find your perfect craft:

  • Look around – what’s selling at your local market, what’s popular at the best market in town, what’s selling on eBay (check number of bids and prices). Get some ideas of what seems to work in the real market place.
  • What is your strongest skill when it comes to making craft? You may really enjoy baking, but if the end result isn’t palatable then you’re going to struggle to make sales! So determine what you are REALLY good at.
  • What are you passionate about – the opposite of the above, there’s no point choosing a craft to sell if you just have no interest in making it! Pick a craft that you are good at and passionate about.
Hopefully from the above 3 investigations, you can identify a craft you can do AND one that has appeal with buyers.

But it takes more than just making more of the same craft – even if you are really good at it.

Craft that sells well is:
  • Professional in its presentation – the craft item needs to look like it’s been made by a professional (even if you’re not) so that the buyer is proud to put the item on display or use it. Items that look like they’ve been thrown together in your sleep just won’t sell.
  • Popular, useful and durable – popular and useful items that look like they are going to last without falling apart are always a seller.
  • Unique – something that sets your craft apart from everyone else’s. Perhaps it’s in the way you present your home baked cookies (in a ‘designed by you’ paper bag or box) or a stuffed toy with a twist, it NEEDS to be a unique design. Google your craft for ideas.
  • Well targeted – for example, if your market is in an area with lots of dogs, then selling well made and presented dog and pet related products is probably going to be successful.
  • Priced well – not too cheap (to be nasty) and not too expensive.
Here are some ideas for successful craft.

Make a PLAN before you make your craft

To be successful at selling craft, your products need to be priced well, easy to make and therefore cost and time effective. And you need to have a strategy for making your craft, promoting it and selling it. And the best way to work that out is to prepare a PLAN for your craft selling activities.

Your plan should consider:

What you need to get started…
To get started you will need a ready supply of craft making materials – which means you’ll probably need to outlay some cash to build up a decent stockpile of resources. Try to minimise costs though, by buying in bulk and using recycled materials where possible.

And then it’s just a matter of getting started!

Set regular craft making sessions to build up a stock for sale – you don’t go to the markets with only one ragdoll! So get cracking and make a stockpile of items to sell. As soon as you have enough items to stock a market stall, then it’s time to sell.

Finally, make sure you have boxes and bags to transport and package your products. And have a plan for getting your product to market – can you carry them, or will you need a car trailer? And make sure your items are protected from damage during transport.

What your craft costs to make and how much to sell it for.
Homemade goods and craft cost money to make (in the form of ingredients and materials, as well as simple things like electricity and market stall hire), but more importantly they take a lot of your time – which also has a value.

So, add up the cost of all the ingredients and materials you use to make your goods – this is the break-even cost of the item, and you need to be able to sell it for more than this amount to make a profit.

By comparing your goods with other you will be able to get a feel for how much you can charge for your goods – is this more than your break-even cost? What profit will you make? Is this acceptable given how much time you’ve invested in making the goods?

If this all sounds reasonable, then great! But more often than not, you’ll find that selling crafts and homemade goods is more about covering the costs of a favourite hobby than making serious money.

Promoting and selling your craft.
Like all good businesses, you will need to market and promote your products. To do this you need to consider:
  • Where are you going to sell your craft?
  • How are you going to display your items and what display materials do you need to take with you?
  • How often are you going to sell items – are you going to be a weekly market regular, or just a once a month appearance?
Promote your craft by making posters to hang and cards to hand out if this is allowed in the market. Tell people what you are doing and ask your friends and family to let others know that you have craft items available for sale.

Develop a sales pitch. You know your product well – so be prepared to describe it. Write down words that you think best describe each of your craft items so that you can practice these in advance. Use a dictionary if you cannot find words that create a visually appealing image in the buyer's mind. Choose words relating to color, shape, texture and ease-of-use or ability to make the owner of the item feel happy.
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