How To Make Money From Your Craft

There is a video to go with the article on this page. Click here to see the video.

You are talented.  You can create wonderful items from your craft and you would like to earn some money selling them. There are various ways you can take advantage of your talents other than just selling directly to friends and family. This article (and video which goes with it) will help you get started.

First of all, you'll need a home on the internet somewhere. This might be a website, a Facebook page or your Ravelry profile page.  These are just some ideas but you can look into all sorts of other places too, like Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Crochetville, a YouTube channel, there are many more.  It is highly recommended you have an account in several places, even if most of them point people back to the place where you are most active.

Pictures, descriptions, commissions

Let's talk about promoting your items. Good quality pictures are extremely important with good lighting, trying to get the colour of the item accurate. Give as much detail as possible including measurements and materials used (i.e. fibre content).  The more information you are able to give the better. Let people know if you take commissions and what the choices are regarding colours and sizes.  You don't need to spend a ton of money to get good pictures.  Natural lighting is excellent of course; cheap cameras and cameras on mobile phones will still provide good quality photos. Etsy is a great place to set up a flexible purchasing arrangement where customers can not only buy finished items, but also (if you wish to set this up) can also ask for specific commissioned items.

Pricing items

How do we price our items and work? This can be an extremely difficult question and one of the ones I hear most often. The first part of the calculation is relatively easy because you need to cover your costs.  Take into account all the materials you've used and any expenses such as postage (which you may have to quote separately on a site like Etsy). Beyond that, here are some of my rules for deciding on a price -

  1. If I've used part of a ball of yarn, I'll include the price of the whole ball of yarn. e.g. 2.5 balls used, price of 3 balls charged.
  2. Decide on a sensible price per hour for my time making the item. Multiply that by the number of hours it took me to make.
  3. Often the amount calculated from #2 above is higher than people would be prepared to pay, but charging double the cost of materials often comes out at a sensible price.
  4. Income from the sale of your items needs to cover other expenses. Some of these can be spread over time and can include the following - travel expenses, business cards, packaging/gift bags, tools of your trade, cost of table at fairs, Etsy fees, price labels, printing, website costs and buying patterns.

Setting up your "home" on the internet

As mentioned earlier, there are many places you could have as a base and you might gravitate towards Facebook, Ravelry, Etsy or your own website or blog as your main place of activity. If you are undecided, try asking yourself where most of your customers and community are based? If they are mostly in a particular place, that makes it easier. Here are some useful links.

Lots of other general tips

Investigate selling at local craft fairs.  Check out the page about selling at craft fairs (link on the left).  Most local schools near me do a Christmas craft fair and you do not have to have links at the school to be a seller at the event. You have to enjoy this type of selling.

What can make a major difference is doing lots of different types of selling and promotion. For example, having an etsy store, selling at craft fairs, selling/promoting to friends and family.  As you get more successful, you could narrow the number of avenues – especially if the etsy shop takes off (for instance).

Can you take advantage of getting an income in several places from one item?  Here's an example I used in the video - there's a hat I made when developing a pattern which gets pictured for the pattern. The same hat is shown in a video which has adverts played on it. The hat can also be sold. That's three sources of income from one item.

Maybe you currently have the time to expand the number of online and offline places you can promote and sell your items.

Use YouTube to help you make money and this doesn't mean you have to sit in front of the camera or even work out how to set up your account to have adverts showing at the beginning of your videos. You can show pictures of your finished items with text in the video or in the description box explaining where to contact you or promoting your website and where you can be found online. I have a video explaining how to use YouTube's simple editing tool to create videos from pictures or video clips - click here.

There used to be a "tip jar" available on YouTube for creators to collect donations from viewers. This may not be available to everyone to set up, depends on your country.  I will investigate this further and update this page when I find out.

Patreon has become a popular way to help YouTube creators fund their business.  A Patreon account can be set up with different levels of rewards for donators and is totally in control of the person setting up the account.  You can choose exactly what those rewards might be - extra videos just for them, giveaways, anything you feel is suitable and fits in with your work schedule.

Check out Clare's video (bobwilson123 on YouTube) where she talks about how she's set her Patreon account - click here.

There's an online company called "Famebit" which helps connect sponsors to video content providers. To find out more - click here.

Think about creating your own community (e.g. a group on Ravelry) and/or get involved in existing communities in your field.

Last but not least - keep it manageable, you still need time to make your items