Love yarn crafts? You can make a successful living doing what you love! There are many options for selling fiber arts, and there is a market for everyone. However, this doesn't mean that it's simple. You have to be prepared to find your niche, market yourself and do your best. With some hard work, you can turn your passion into profit.
Here are ten tips for selling your yarn and fiber arts crafts.
Image via Craftsy blogger Laura Mier
1. Determine what you want to sell.
People are typically more successful if they specialize in creating and selling what they truly enjoy working on. Some of the options in the area of fiber crafts include:
- Your own finished craft items. If you like to crochet baby booties or knit blankets, then this is what you'll want to sell.
- Customized finished craft items. This is where you take orders for what other people want you to make and create those items on demand.
- Your own original patterns. Perhaps you like to always design something new and you really just want to sell patterns, instead of finished items.
- Classes and video tutorials. The Craftsy instructors are able to sell their skills as craft teachers in this way.
- Supplies for crafters, like hand-dyed yarn, custom crochet hooks or knitting needle organizers. You can use your own skills to market to the yarn crafting niche.
Of course, you can combine these different things for an eclectic business, but it's best to know what your area of focus is, especially when you're just starting out.
2. Decide where you want to sell.
My dad sells sustainable urban-harvested exotic wood to crafters and woodworkers, but you won't find anything about him online. That's because he really prefers to sell at small local craft fairs, making each sale "one handshake at a time." Could he make more of a profit selling online or to large retailers? Probably, but that's not what makes him happy. Figure out what will make you happy when selling your crafts. Some of the options for fiber artists include:
- Sell your finished craft items online, through channels like Etsy.
- Sell your patterns online, which you can do right here on Craftsy.
- Sell your finished craft items in person through your own store, craft fairs, fiber expos, commissions in local stores, etc.
- Sell your patterns to websites and magazines.
- Sell your skills as a craft teacher, either online or in person.
Again, you can do it all but start small, see what works for you and adapt accordingly.
3. Learn to take good photos.
If you are trying to sell items online or through any type of print media, then you need to have good photos. People want to be inspired, whether you are selling them hand-knit finished items or a pattern to create their own project. Need help? Check out the Craftsy class Product Photography at Home with Jessica Marquez.
4. Package it all professionally.
Go the extra yard to make your items look like they belong on the shelf of a fancy boutique store. Add a personalized sales tag with a pretty font, washing information and your website. Speaking of your website, make sure that it has a professional, easy-to-navigate design. When shipping items, wrap them in lovely packaging, so that the recipient feels like they are receiving a gift.
5. Provide all pertinent information.
People have special needs. Some people are allergic to different types of yarn. Other people only want to purchase items that are made locally. Still others are concerned about buying ethically-sourced yarns or vegan yarns. Provide all of the information about your materials (including how to wash and care for them) on a tag or a flier insert that goes with the product. If you are making sales online, the information should be on your website as well.
6. Find your own signature style.
Image via Craftsy member Jennifer O.
It may take a little while to figure out what's unique about you but it's worth it to find that thing. There are a lot of sellers out there offering similar items, and it can get boring after awhile. I know when I attend a craft fair where every booth immediately looks the same, I spin on my heels and head to make my own original stuff instead.
Maybe it's your yarn choice or the characters you crochet or the color palette that appeals to you or a stitch pattern that is always present in your patterns... whatever it is, find it, perfect it and share it!
7. Perfect your pricing.
It's tough to know how to price your items. Check out Ashley Martineau's "Tips for Pricing your Handmade Goods" for some great tips in this area.
8. Collaborate with others.
You don't have to do this all alone. Here are some of the ways that you might collaborate with others to assist you in sales of your craft arts:
- Hire tech editors and pattern testers.
- Buddy up to share a booth with someone else at a craft fair.
- Join craft groups on sites like Facebook and Ravelry to ask questions.
- Connect with your local yarn and fabric stores to see if you can help each other out.
9. Study the law.
Each avenue of craft sales will have important legal things for you to know. For example, if you are selling patterns to a magazine, you might sign a contract that tells you when you can sell photos and if you're allowed to re-sell that pattern elsewhere. If you are selling finished items using someone else's crochet or knitting pattern, you need to make sure the designer allows you to do that.
If you are selling items online, be aware of the copyright laws of any photos you use that aren't taken by you. Earning an income off of your fiber crafts means that you need to report that income and there may be applicable sales tax and even self-employment taxes. There is a lot of information online about the legalities of the business and you can always consult an attorney if you're unsure.
10. Be flexible and have fun.
Image via Craftsy member StitchX
You want to do this because you love it. Never lose sight of that. If you're not having fun after awhile, stop and ask yourself what's wrong. There is a lot to learn but you can start small and you'll figure it all out as you go.
This is your own business, so get flexible and adapt it to find your needs, realizing that those needs might change over time. You might love selling finished items for one year and then decide you would rather sell patterns. That's okay. Stay in touch with your own heart and in good communication with your customers and those transitions will be okay.
Here are some more articles that might help you out:
- "Top Tips for Creating and Selling Your Own Craft Patterns" by Gayle Bird
- "How to Sell More Patterns on Craftsy (and the web!)" by Tori Lynne
- "Go Local! How to Start Selling Handspun Yarn at your Local Yarn Shop" by Ashley Martineau
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