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National Park jobs Gardening into cash Sell handcrafts online
 


Make extra money selling your handmade items
Handmade pottery Two obvious places online to sell your handcrafts are Ebay.com and etsy.com so let's start with them, then move on to other sites to sell your beautiful handmade items.

Left, pottery by All Fired Up  on sale at a weekend street fair in Los Angeles
 

Good ol' Ebay

On Ebay.com your handcrafted item will be listed among other similar items--some good, some awful, some made in factories. You will not have the benefit of showing your items in an attractive setting unless you open your own store on Ebay. Your items will just be part of a gigantic list. In my opinion Ebay is similar to an online Thrift Store with some great deals if you dig deep enough, but not the best place to showcase your work. Most of the millions of customers shopping on Ebay are looking for super bargains, so you have to price accordingly. You pay their fee if the item sells.

Etsy for crafts and vintage

The shoppers on etsy.com, the largest online site for handcrafts, vintage items and art/craft supplies, are seeking something unique and appealing. They are less price-sensitive and, better yet, all your handcrafted items will appear together in your own very attractive  'shop' instead of a mass listing of similar items. Etsy has a very international flavor these day.  It charges a few cents for each listing and a 3.5% fee when an item sells.

Bonanza for the unusual

 Bonanza.com prides itself on being the site for "everything but the ordinary.'  Some items are handcrafted, many are not. As with etsy, sellers set up their own shop and, with a few clicks, can automatically import their listings from etsy and Ebay. There is a monthly fee for the shop, but if you simply list your handcrafted item, it is free. There is a 3.5% fee on items that sell.

handblown glass beads

Icraftgifts is smaller and select

Canadian-based icraftgifts.com is exclusively for handmade items. No vintage. No manufactured goods. That means their shoppers are more likely to be looking for what you are selling on this attractive site. 

They charge a $25 one-time membership fee and then $5 to $15 per month depending upon how many items you list. (For the $5 monthly fee you can list up to 50 items!) They have some interesting extra features: they give you statistics for your shop so you will know how many people are seeing your items and automatically send out a tweet on Twitter when you list a new item.

Australian-based Zibbet.com sells to customers around the world. You can list up to 10 items for free.  For listing as many as 50, the fee is $9.95 and for that you get your own shop, too. There is one other level called 'Pro', if you have even more items to sell. 

block seller at fair Some crafters supplement their online website with sales at outdoor markets during the summer.
 
How to create a "Night Garden"
to enjoy on warm evenings.  (Plant it now!)


Some other choices

Amazon now has handcrafted listings, but it may not be a particularly good first choice.  Amazon really focuses on new, manufactured goods and books. You may, however, want to set up your own independent store on Shopify.com, bigcommerce.com, or volusion.com. These three specialize in low-cost, turnkey e-commerce sites. They are easy-peasy to set up, no programming knowledge required. All you have to do is upload your photos and write a description. There are other sites, such as Weebly or Wix, that offer e-commerce, too.

The downside of setting up your own independent online store is the challenge of attracting enough visitors and potential customers to your site. Most experienced online sellers recommend starting on one of the big sites like etsy or Ebay or Bonanza, then later, after you develop a following, setting up an independent site.

What to say and show about your handcrafts

Before you list even one item you should comparison shop for similar items. Notice the styles, the sizes offered, the prices, the quality of the goods and any shipping charges. Then, take a careful look at their photos and the descriptions. This is your competition.

Your description should be very detailed including size or exact measurements, weight or washing instructions, if applicable, materials used, and color or colors available. You should also note if an item can be special ordered in a different color or size.

Also be sure to post excellent, well-lighted photos of the items from all angles, especially from the front and the back. Show close-ups of all details. You want your customers to be happy, not disappointed, and eager to tell their friends about you and to order more.

Promoting your handcrafted items online

Because the internet is so enormous now, becoming visible to potential customers is a major challenge.  Obviously you are going to tell everyone you know that you have set up an online store to sell your handcrafts.  And some of the sites where you can open a shop will promote your items at least once. To this promotional effort you should add tweeting on Twitter.com or posting on Instagram.com to attract more potential customers to your online shop.  Do this at least once every day. You can also find people on the Fiverr.com site who will promote your new shop for just $5.  You may also want to develop an email list of customers so you can contact them with special offers or new product introductions. 

Good luck and much success! 

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