Where and How to Sell Your Hand Knits

By Sarah Johnson

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How many of us have been to a craft fair, seen other hand-knit designs for sale, and thought, "Gee, maybe I could make money with my knits, too." Other people sell their knits, so why can't we? Well, maybe you can!

Hand-Knit Designs

If you want to sell your hand-knit designs, there are several possible outlets.

  • Etsy is, of course, the premiere Web site for selling handcrafted items, including hand knits. eBay and other smaller sites are also options.
  • Research local stores and boutiques that sell items from local artists. In my hometown, we have a store that sells only handmade items.
  • Local craft fairs or festivals. Many of these events are open to all comers who are willing to pay the fee to rent booth space. At most such events, the vendor is responsible for providing the table and tent or paying an additional rental fee to rent one.
  • It is also possible that your local yarn store might sell hand-knit designs.
  • Sell your patterns on Craftsy! We proudly support indie designers and would never charge a fee or take a commission off the sale of your designs. All you need to get set up is a PayPal account, a PDF file of your pattern, a photo and a description.

The real trick to selling hand-knit designs is to make your work stand out from others, while charging a price that won't drive customers to think, "I could make that myself for less."

Make your work look professional by adding tags that advertise your catchy business name. Web sites like Vistaprint make it easy to order inexpensive business cards and tags that will give your hand-knit designs an element of legitimacy as a retail item.

Even your home computer can be your source. Most word-processing programs now offer all kinds of templates. If you have a home printer that can print color and card stock, you can print out a sheet of tags at a time. A hole punch, some yarn and a small safety pin are all you need to make your hand-knit design look commercial.

If you're selling online, a good photo is essential to make your item stand out.

Photography of Hand-Knit Designs

Which set of arm warmers would you be more interested in buying?

To learn essential product photography techniques to show your knits in the best light, be sure to enroll in Shoot It!.

As you get started, it's a good idea to focus on just a few designs that you know you can produce easily and flawlessly (or mostly flawlessly). Also have some stockpiled items before you begin so you will be able to satisfy initial customers and start building good reviews online and through word of mouth.

Making a signature item is a good way to set yourself apart from other sellers of hand-knit designs. Also, be mindful of copyright concerns. Making your own signature pattern is the safest way to go so no pattern writer will claim royalties on your sales.

To get your charging right, it is important not to get too extravagant with yarn choices. Making a sweater with yarn that costs $30 a skein is going to mean you have to charge a high price just to break even. While it's important to pick a yarn that will attract buyers (cheap-looking items don't sell), it's equally important to keep in mind how that yarn will affect your pricing. The Craftsy yarn shop offers bulk yarn purchases, which can help you get set up with good yarn at a great price.

As a final note, don't forget about the law!

You will be responsible for paying sales tax, so remember to calculate that in your pricing. It may be tempting to try to fly under the radar, but the trouble you'll get if you're caught isn't worth it. In some states, you may need to get a permit to sell hand knits. Your local Secretary of State office is the place to contact to learn the rules of your state.

There are plenty of Craftsy knitting business basics classes that will help you perfect your technique, refine your business strategies, and make retail-worthy hand knits in no time!

Have you ever thought about trying to sell your hand-knit designs?

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