10 Ways to Turn Crafts into Cash

Whether you knit, crochet, make jewelry, paint, do woodworking, embroidery or countless other arts and crafts, you've probably daydreamed about the idea of quitting your day job and turning your hobby into a business.

Is that really possible?

Yes, it is. But it's not a fast or easy process. That's not to say it's not worth trying. Here are ten ideas to get you started.

10 ways to turn your handmade crafts into cash
1. Open an Online Marketplace Shop

If you already have a stash of handmade items that you are ready to sell, there are lot of websites that will help you set up shop. Etsy, Storenvy, Zibbet and ArtFire are four of the more popular venues for crafters right now and they can help you reach customers worldwide.

Each marketplace has their own fee structure and benefits. (See my Handmade Marketplace Options comparison.) With a few pictures and product descriptions, you can get started in any of these marketplaces without having a lot of technical background.

2. Create Your Own Website

This option may be a little trickier for people who don't have a lot of computer skills or can't invest money to hire a web designer.

The benefit to selling from your own website, as opposed to a marketplace, is that you don't have to pay any listing, sales or subscription fees. Over time, those fees can really add up. However, managing your own website also means doing more promoting on your own.

3. Sell at Craft Fairs

There are lots of places to sell your items besides online. Most communities offer a variety of different craft fairs, both large and small. They can be held at parks, schools, churches and more. Vendors are usually charged a flat fee for a booth space. To help you choose your first craft fair, research and visit different fairs to see if there are items similar to yours and in the same price range and look for lots of happy customers browsing the booths.

Craft fairs usually require you to set-up your own space, be in attendance during fair hours and process your own transactions. If allowed, it can be helpful to have a booth with another crafty friend. Then you can split fees and work your booth together. It’s also worth participating in the same fair more than once. Customers who visited your booth without making a purchase the first time, may remember your product and be looking for you the next time.

4. Sell at Farmers Markets

Weekly farmers markets aren't just for foodies. A lot of farmers markets also accept a limited number of antique and craft vendors. Although you will still need to set-up your own space, the time commitment and booth fees are often less than craft fairs. Again, customers will begin to seek you out if you are a regular vendor.

10 ways to turn your handmade crafts into cash 5. Sell at Consignment Shops and Boutiques

Local businesses are frequently willing to sell handmade items on consignment. If you have a favorite fabric, yarn, bead, book shop, plant nursery, or fashion boutique, talk to the owner about consignment options. Gift shops at local tourist attractions may also sell the work of artists on consignment.

Consignment fees are usually a percentage of the item price and can be higher than the fees associated with online sales. However you do not have to spend time setting-up a display, promoting, shipping or processing customer payments.

6. Sell at a Cooperative Shop or Gallery

If you live in a larger town, you may be able to find a cooperative market or gallery. Cooperatives usually maintain a permanent shop location with regular hours of business and are stocked with items created by their members. Members of the cooperative are typically required to work a certain number of hours at the shop each week and either pay a flat fee or percentage of their item sales to the cooperative to help fund the group’s business location and marketing fees.

There may be an application process to join the cooperative. This ensures that the products sold are a high quality and help the group maintain a diversity that is pleasing to customers.

7. Take Custom Orders

Whether you promote yourself online through social media or by old-fashioned word of mouth, let people know you are willing to create custom orders. It can be deeply satisfying to work one on one with your customers to create the perfect product. (And, you don't have to keep a complete inventory in stock.) 

10 ways to turn your handmade crafts into cash
8. Teach Classes or Workshops

If you know enough about a particular craft that you are able to sell your handmade products, you have a skill that others may want to learn more about. It can be as simple as offering knitting, sewing, crafting lessons to individuals or small groups at their home or yours. Local craft supply shops may also be willing to pay you for your teaching services.

9. Design and Sell Patterns or Kits

Many people who appreciate fine handmade items would rather create them, than purchase a finished product. If you already design your own projects, write down the instructions, chart out the stitches, draw the templates and sell your patterns. Or you can include the necessary materials for the project with your pattern and sell it together as a DIY kit.

10. Start a Blog

Share your designs, experience, inspirations and projects on a blog. Again, this one probably requires some technical and communication skills, as well as a significant time investment. If you are passionate about your craft, it can be very rewarding way to share your knowledge with the world. As your blog grows, you will be able to participate in a variety of affiliate and advertising programs to support your creative storytelling.

There’s no get rich quick plan for turning your hobby into a successful profession. It’s truly a labor of love that takes time, effort and a little luck.

Do you have other ideas or experience for transforming your hobby into a business? Share them in the comments.



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The Chilly Dog: 10 Ways to Turn Crafts into Cash
10 Ways to Turn Crafts into Cash
Whether you knit, crochet, make jewelry, paint, do woodworking, embroidery or countless other arts and crafts, you've probably daydreamed about the idea of turning your hobby into a business.
The Chilly Dog
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