You've decided which type of craft you want to sell, and have decided on an item or two. Now to figure out where you're going to sell them.
Below are a few suggestions as to where you can sell your items. Bear in mind selling your items almost always costs money up front, plus some additional expenses you probably didn't anticipate.
If you want to sell from home, the first thing you must ascertain is whether zoning laws, bylaws and such allow you to run a storefront in your dwelling and if so, whether it's permissable to use signs. You must also decide if you really want strangers coming into your home at all hours. Do you have an area separate from your main living area, or could an area be adapted? This might be an option if it doesn't require you to spend a large amount of money. Renters, you must also be careful you're not breaking your lease if you decide to go this route.
Selling to those people you're already acquainted with is a common first step into selling your crafts - sometimes the only one you want or need. Someone at the office wants us to make a baby quilt just like the one we gave to the coworker who recently became a new mom. An inlaw would like to us to crochet an afghan like the one we have in our rec room, to give as a gift to another relative. Your daughter's friend wants a cool tote bag like that, too! It goes on and on.
This is probably the most casual way to make money from selling your crafts. You can enhance your opportunities by letting people know you're willing to do this if they ever need or want anything handcrafted for them. You might also consider buying or making personalized "handcrafted by" labels to attach to every item you make. Free advertising. :)
Craft fairs and similar events are the only way some crafters sell their wares. Some swear by it, some swear they'll never do it again. I suggest you speak to people who've participated in these types of venues to get their opinions and thoughts on selling this way. Try speaking with someone who has craft skills and interests different from your own - to ensure their feedback is as unbiased as possible. If you know of no one, attend a show or two and strike up a conversation with an approachable looking vendor.
There are many things to consider - what's provided, costs (flat rate or percentage), hours, advertising, who handles the cash, who handles the sales tax(es), etc. Find out all you can before committing, and definitely before siging an agreement to rent a space or a table, etc.
The same considerations must be taken into account when deciding to sell on consignment. The shop owner traditionally takes a percentage of the selling price, but they may also charge a minimum amount for simply having your article on display in the event it doesn't sell. There are also miniature craft malls, where you rent a small cubicle of space from the merchant to sell your items. These establishments are wall to wall crafts. Great fun to browse, but I personally tend to find the same items over and over again. And you pay the rent whether you sell anything or not, often for a minimum period of a year. They do handle the cash and sales tax for you though, and can take credit cards and debit (cash, cheque) cards - a great convenience. Again, consider it carefully before signing up.
Selling through custom orders is similar to selling to those you know, only normally it's to people you don't know. Aside from getting the word out, getting a good reputation, and perhaps building a portfolio of you work, you must ensure you don't get in over your head financially. It's common for the crafter to ask for a down payment when the order is taken. Some buyers think this is a bad sign, that the crafter cannot afford to purchase supplies without receiving some money from them first. I like to think of it as a display of the commitment of the buyer to purchase the finished product.Be sure to put the order in writing and have both parties sign and date it. Be sure it covers everything you've agreed to and those events which might occur that could effect the cost, delivery date, etc.
Ah, on the internet you say? Well, why not? Just about everything else is. Many of the points covered above apply to selling on the internet as well. Be forewarned though, your costs may far outweight any income to be gained, especially until your presence is well established.
Update: More and more people are selling items on the internet, some are even making a living at it! To find out the wherefor's and howto's, please visit the applicable site below:
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