You love to knit and crochet and give the things you make as gifts. At this point, everyone in your life has one of your blankets, sweaters, or hats. Your family and friends. Your UPS guy. Your neighbor. Your neighbor’s baby. Your other neighbor’s baby.
At a certain point maybe you’ve had the thought, wouldn’t it be great to sell some of my stuff instead of always giving it away?
The short answer is yes, you can launch a crafts business — in fact, there are a lot of ways to do it. But that doesn’t mean it’s simple. If you want to knit yourself a little business you need to find your niche, market what you make, and work hard.
Here’s how to turn your passion into profit.
1. Find a Sales Focus
You’ll be more successful if you specialize, at least when you’re first starting out. Some of the things you can sell include:
Things You Make
If you especially enjoy crocheting baby booties or knitting blankets, make that your thing.
You produce items on demand based on what the buyer wants.
Maybe you love creating new designs, so sell ’em!
Hand-dyed yarn, custom crochet hooks, knitting-needle organizers: You can use your own knitting or crocheting savvy to market these things to other crafters.
Sell your skills as a craft teacher, either online or in person.
Whatever you do, you need a website that’s professional-looking and easy to navigate.
2. Decide Where You Want to Be
Some makers really prefer small local craft fairs, making each sale “one handshake at a time.” Sure, there’s more potential to reach a larger audience if you sell online or to large retailers, but that may not be your goal.
Figure out what would make you happy. Some of the options for fiber artists include:
You can sell crafts and patterns through sites like Etsy.
Sell your stuff at craft fairs and fiber expos or through commissions in local stores. Or go all the way and open your own store!
Crafting Websites and Magazines
This is a terrific way to find a broad audience and get exposure.
You can eventually do it all but start small, see what works for you and adapt accordingly.
3. Take Great Photos
If you’re trying to sell items online or through any type of media, then you need to take good photos. People want to be inspired, whether you’re selling them hand-knit sweaters or a crochet pattern.
4. Package Professionally
Go the extra mile to make your items look like they belong on the shelf of a fancy boutique. Add a personalized sales tag with a pretty font that includes washing information and your website address. When shipping items, wrap them in lovely packaging, so the recipients feel like they’re receiving a gift.
5. Provide All Pertinent Info
Some people are allergic to different types of yarn, or only want to purchase items that are made locally, or are concerned about buying ethically sourced yarns or vegan yarns. Make a tag or a flier insert with all the information you can give about your materials. This info should be on your website as well.
6. Find Your Signature Style
It may take a while to figure out what’s unique about you, but it’s important. I know when I attend a craft fair where every booth immediately looks the same, I spin on my heel and head off to make my own stuff instead.
Maybe what makes you original is your yarn choice, the characters you crochet, your color palette or the stitch pattern you always use. Whatever it is, find it, perfect it and share it!
7. Figure Out Your Pricing
It’s tough to know how to price your items. Check out our article on pricing handmade goods for some great tips.
You don’t have to do this all alone. Here’s how to find help:
9. Learn the Law
Each avenue of craft sales has some legal guidelines you need to know about.
For example, if you’re 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’re 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’re selling items online, be aware of the copyright laws for photos you didn’t take.
Earning an income off your fiber crafts means there may be sales tax and even self-employment taxes. There’s a lot of information online about the legalities of the business, and you can always consult an attorney if you’re unsure.
10. Have Fun and Be Flexible
You want to open a crafts business because you love it: Never lose sight of that. If you’re not enjoying it, stop and ask yourself what’s wrong. There’s a lot to learn, but you can start small and figure it all out as you go.
This is your own business, so be flexible and adaptable, realizing your needs might change over time. You might love selling finished items one year, then decide you’d rather sell patterns. That’s okay. Listen to your gut and communicate well with your customers and you’ll not only survive, you’ll thrive!
Looking to sell quilting and sewing patterns.
would love some links on howto start!
I’m a member but have not saw a class yet don’t have any idea how to get the class
Hi Gloria. Thanks for joining! To view the full-length videos, you will need to login to your membership on the website with your email address and password. Here is a link below to watch a short video on how to use our site: https://www.craftsy.com/faq/ Thanks!
Every tip is so helpful especially that part of finding one’s signature style. It makes one’s work to be unique. Still trying to find my feet though
Beautiful Bespoke Handmade Crochet and knitted Gifts for Her!
What if you don’t want to turn your hobby onto a business but just sell what you make. I don’t want to be an entrepreneur or online marketer because finding a niche item means you have to make it over and over again which eventually sucks all the joy out of something we do because we love it. Etsy and the cost of international postage has become so expensive of late. I don’t know what the answer is. Since the virus craft fares aren’t really an option.
Your own Facebook page, local craft fare and carboot sales. Just a thought.
What is a carboot sale?
A carboot is the British term for car trunk
American in England here. 😀 Car boot sales are flea markets. The “boot” is the trunk of the car. When I first came to the UK ” Car boot sale” elicited images of people selling boots out of their cars. Lol ! The good of the car is called the ” bonnet” btw.
Frances, if you are interested, I have a site you may post your items on to sell. I don’t charge fees. Believe me, I get ALL that you are saying. Take a look at it , read through it, and give me a call if you are interested. ThePurpleSquirrel.online (not.com) My toll free number is listed there. -k
if you are selling, you are already a business. to sell anything requires a business license, tax resale license, DBA license and others depending on your state, county and city, which each require a license.
here are the laws I mentioned https://startingyourbusiness.com/do-i-need-a-business-license-to-sell-crafts-at-craft-fairs/
I sell my crafts on Etsy. The way I handle their fees is decide on a base price. Then I add all of their fees to the base price, no matter if they apply yet or not. Their sale fee (.25 + 3%) is the most important to be sure to add, as well as their .20 listing fee because it gets charged at every sale. Then I weigh the item as if it’s just been sold and use Etsy Calculated shipping. I also be sure to add whatever discount code I have that’s the largest and that’s how I get the over all price. Etsy doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s only expensive if you don’t adapt and price to make a profit. I suggest going to YouTube and look for Starla Moore. Her videos are fantastic and so is her FB community. She’s a leading expert on Etsy and even works at Erank, so she can give us insightful information at one of the highest degrees possible. If you end up still not being interested in Etsy, FB has a way to create a shop. You’ll still have to be mindful of laws, but you’d have a bit more control.
Now, apart from Etsy and your own website, there is nowhere to sell hand-knitted items. And then Etsy is already turning into an Amazon with a Chinese factory product.
Unfortunately that is very true. Etsy has become the only widely known crafts marketplace, and average customers often aren’t even able to see whether it’s a Chinese factory product or a real hand-made item. Plus Etsy has come up with more and more unfair restrictions and rules (e.g. enforcing free shipping to be boosted) that it is very difficult to stand out
Etsy dropped promising preferred placement for offering free shipping. But then they come up with other ridiculous ideas.
That’s not fully true. Amazon has a handmade option. However, it’s harder to get an account going, and the customers there are used to Prime, so they’re a bit more difficult than Etsy customers.