A wise man once said, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” That wise man was Mark Twain, and I couldn’t agree more! So often, we’re afraid to try new things because it seems like the end goal is completely out of reach.
When I started needle felting way back in 2006 (time really flies, doesn’t it?), I would have never imagined I’d be here today. At Bear Creek, we’ve built an amazing community with crafters like you, adding more sheep and friends along the way.
Whether you have aspirations to buy sheep of your own one day or would just love to add a little extra money to your household, you’re in the right place! I started the “Make Money with Your Crafts” mini-series as a way for aspiring professional crafters to gain inspiration and start making an income from their designs.
The beautiful thing about the internet is that there is space for all of us. If you want to get super-niche and only needle felt anime characters, there’s a market for it! If you’d rather design custom pieces for your customers, there are more than enough people out there who would be interested in having something unique to call their own.
As a crafter, one of the easiest ways to start making money with your pieces might be by setting up shop at a local fair, a community organization, or by reaching out to your friends and family. But if you’re looking to broaden your reach and access diverse groups from all over, Etsy is a fantastic choice!
If you don’t already know, Etsy is an online marketplace specifically for handmade or vintage items. So, to put it simply, it’s an oasis for creators and customers who love great craftsmanship, dainty details, and customized pieces.
As your small business grows, you’ll probably want to explore different options off the platform. But to build your brand, create a community, and get your pieces in front of more eyes, Etsy is a wonderful starting point.
Before you sign up to sell on this platform, I want to leave you with a few tips that should help you feel comfortable using the marketplace. I can’t wait for you to start your journey.
Get Down to Basics
The first step is getting your shop set up. First, you’ll have to make an account, and this includes some basic information so potential customers can find you.
- What’s the name of your shop?
You don’t have to think too hard about this. As long as it’s not something totally confusing, your name won’t affect your ability to make sales. However, whatever name you choose, make sure it’s something you’re going to want to keep even if you move off of the platform (so your fans can follow you to your personal website or another marketplace).
- Do you have a logo?
Once again, you don’t have to worry about hiring a professional for a logo, yet! You can easily create a logo of your own. Head to Canva, a free resource that allows you to create beautiful logos and designs—no graphic design experience needed.
Now that you have your account setup, it’s time do some research! Before you pay to list items, first, you’ll want to see what the going rate is for products similar to what you’re selling.
Because there are so many sellers on the platform, it’s incredibly competitive. This means that you’ll have to price your items just right if you want to attract any buyers.
Here are a few things to consider:
Profit margins- How much does it cost you to make the goods/buy your supplies, etc.?
- Time- How much time does it take you to create this kind of piece? You’ll want to make sure the price reflects your efforts.
- Competitors- Do your price points match those of your direct competitors? If your competitors are lower, are they offering the same quality as you? If they’re higher, should you consider raising your prices?
- Shipping and handling- Because you are the Etsy shop owner, that means you will be handling all shipping processes. This includes buying boxes, wrapping paper, and even thank you cards, as well as the time and gas money it will cost you to reach the post office. You should also consider these factors before creating a price point.
After you’ve got a good hold on this information, start itemizing your pieces. Consider adding discounted rates for customers who buy more than one piece at a time.
Now it’s time for the fun part…posting your products on the platform! While there is a small fee to list items (and another fee for items purchased), you don’t need too much money to get started.
I would recommend starting with your absolute best items, the ones you think will be top-sellers. After you’ve tested the water, you can invest more money in listing and boosting your products, so more people view them.
The pictures that you take for your Etsy account are essential. As I mentioned above, you don’t have to get too fancy or have professional photo skills, but you would certainly benefit from a quick Youtube tutorial that teaches you how to take excellent shots on a smartphone.
These are a few tips you should keep in mind:
- Your product should always be the focal point of the picture.
- Place your product in front of a clean background, preferably a contrasting color. A simple white wall is often a great choice.
- Snap the photo where there’s lots of natural light! In fact, try to limit your photo sessions to the daytime. Dark photos or pictures using a flash do not do well.
- Don’t add filters and tons of edits to your images. After all, you want your customer to receive exactly what they see in the picture.
- Try out different angles, and play with your levels until your photos become aesthetically pleasing.
- Practice before you post!
I’m so excited for you to join this awesome community of creative crafters. If you’d like to uplevel your skills, I’d love for you to join the Bear Creek Felting Academy!
With a library of informative tutorials, tips, techniques, and tools of the trade, along with feedback from me, you’ll have everything you need to reach your crafting goals! So, are you ready to join us for some fun, even more laughs, and a whole lot of needle felting? Click here to get started.