I have been selling my handwoven items for some time now online. I have a website where I display some of my products and this continues to be an effective method of selling for me.
I realize that as crafters/weavers/handspinners, many of us are looking for alternate ways to sell our work, in addition to selling at craft fairs. The internet is a good way to do this and recently there have become more avenues to promote your work. Here are a few things that I have discovered.
Firstly, start with a good website that is hosted on a reliable server. Purchase your own domain name. The cost of domain registration has come down in price so that it can be quite affordable.
Build a good quality website. Have a clear, easy to navigate menu system so that users can find their way around your website. Use good quality photos of your work.
Set up a Paypal account so that it is easy for the user to order your items and to pay you. Note that Paypal has a standard return policy so allow for this. I make it a rule not to spend my Paypal earnings until I am sure that the customer is satisfied and isn’t going to return the item.
In order for your website to be found, make the website search engine friendly. Use appropriate keywords on each page that describe what the page is about. If you are featuring knitted socks, then use keywords that describe the socks: knit socks, hand knit socks, knitted socks, wool socks, etc.
Also use text to describe the socks, what they are made of, what makes them special.
Use “alt” tags on all images so that search engines can understand what your image is. This will make the images more search engine friendly and will allow them to show up on Google image listings.
Also to help your website get noticed and show up in Google it is a good idea to also promote your work on other websites.
Facebook now has an option to set up a Page for your business. You will first need to set up a personal Facebook account. Once you do this there will be an option to Create Page.
As an example, I have set up a Facebook Page for my Paivatar Yarn business. I use this to showcase my products and what I am making. I post photos of my work as I dye yarns, card, spin, felt and whatever I happen to be working on.
I also post links to the other website sales outlets that I use – Folksy and Etsy.
Once you have your Facebook Page set up there is an option to link it to your Twitter account, so that when you add a post to your FB Page, a Twitter is sent automatically to your Twitter followers.
Etsy.com is an online marketplace where crafters can post their items for sale. Etsy charges a fee of $.20 per item and the item is listed for 4 months. If you have a successful sale Etsy charges an additional fee of 3.5% of the sale price.
If you join Etsy it is helpful to also become part of a team that can support you and help to promote your products. In return you are expected to also help other team members. Find out what the team rules are and follow them.
Paivatar Yarns on Etsy
I have some of my work listed on Etsy.
Folksy.com is similar to Etsy but is the UK version. In order to take part you have to be a crafts person who is living in the UK.
Paivatar on Folksy
Since I now live in the UK I am concentrating more of my efforts on the UK version of Etsy – supporting local crafts.
Folksy fees are slightly higher – they charge £.20 to list an item and a 6% fee on a successful sale. However they have an annual payment option of £30 per year, for unlimited number of items. Depending on what type of crafts you produce, this could be a money saving option.
Folksy also has a member forum. I have found them to be very friendly and helpful in supporting each other. So be sure to get involved.
When you post your craft items on these or similar websites, be aware that there is a lot of competition as many crafters are actively involved. In order to be effective it is best to post a new item each day or every few days as new items are added on a continual basis.
The more exposure that you are able to get for your website, the more successful you will be. There are some other avenues to help you to achieve this.
Pinterest.com is an online bulletin board that allows you to ‘Pin’ anything that is of interest to you. It is much like a giant scrapbook or a pin board where you can add your pictures. When Pinterest first started you had to be invited to join. Recently they have opened it up so that anyone can now become a member and start pinning.
When you come across a photo or image online that you like, you can ‘Pin’ it to add to your own Pin Board. The image appears on your Board with a direct link back to the original website. Other Pinterest members can view your boards and if they also like the item they can ‘repin’ it to their own board. The photo link goes back to the original owner’s website.
Allfiberarts on Pinterest
I have a Pinterest account where I pin photos of things that I have liked and also use it to list some of my own work as well. I browse through other members listings and repin or Follow ones that I find interesting.
I am sure that everyone has heard of Twitter. The idea is that you can send short Tweets to your friends – about your latest thoughts, ideas or cool things you have come across.
I must admit I haven’t quite mastered the art of tweeting and twittering so I let software tools do it for me. For example, when I post a new article to this All Fiber Arts website, the WordPress software that I use, automatically sends it to my Twitter account to forward it on to my Twitter subscribers.
My Facebook Page has the same feature turned on, so when I post to FB, it tweets it on for me.
Craftjuice.com is an interesting website that I discovered recently. It is designed to promote handmade crafts. The Crafts are divided into several categories.
General crafts, Paper crafts, Beads, Pottery, Fabric, Knitting, Crochet, Metalwork.
You have to complete an application form with links to your website and products that you have for sale. It can take a few days to get accepted.
Once you have been accepted complete a short Profile page. To add a new craft item, Click on Submit a New Craft Item.
Provide a url link to your website, or to Etsy, Folksy or wherever you have this product listed for sale.
Add a photo and a short description of the item.
When you have submitted this, the item will appear in the Upcoming Crafts section of the website.
Craftjuice members are allowed to vote on the items. Once you have 5 votes, the item moves into the Popular Items section of the website.
The item then is also tweeted to Craftjuice Twitter subscribers. And Craftjuice sends out a monthly newsletter to its subscribers listing items with the top votes. Craftjuice currently has over 8000 followers so it’s a great promotional tool!
Please be sure to acknowledge others work and if you like it, Like it, Share it, Vote for it, Pin it. Pass the good karma on.
If you know of other good websites for selling or promoting crafts, please let us know by posting a Comment below.
How to Sell Crafts Books
The Handmade Marketplace, 2nd Edition: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and Online
Etsy-preneurship: Everything You Need to Know to Turn Your Handmade Hobby into a Thriving Business
The Everything Guide to Selling Arts & Crafts Online: How to sell on Etsy, eBay, your storefront, and everywhere else online
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Selling Your Crafts on Etsy (Idiot’s Guides)
Etsy, Folksy and the mania for making crafts
An article by the BBC about the rise in popularity for handmade crafts.
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