The cottage industry of arts and crafts is in full swing. Beading, antiques restoration and re-sale, sewing and small craft and decor projects are hugely popular. Here are a few tips for making money from your hobby.
Choose Something Unique
There are thousands of kit-projects and ideas in craft magazines out there. Some people buy a kit and attempt to sell the assembled product, but for crafters, half the fun of owning a kit-project is putting it together.
Make a niche for yourself. Look for good ideas and suggestions out there, but in the end, the idea that will sell best is something people can't just pick up at Hobby Lobby.
Local craft and antique fairs are one way to connect your product with a buyer. A booth or table space at a fair is available for a fee, which goes to cover the cost of advertising and facilities. Often the attendants will also be charged an entrance fee, and if that's the case organizers want to make sure that they have a lot of variety to offer their customers.
Before you purchase your space, ask questions about the audience that the event attracts. A well-established event that caters to buyers and vendors from out of town will probably be a better venue for your larger more expensive items than a church or school operated fund-raising event.
If you buy space at a school craft fair, or a fundraiser that draws families with small children, you'll want to choose projects that you can sell for under thirty dollars, whereas at a larger even you'll find buyers for your $100.00 and beyone items.
For a monthly fee and a percentage of sales, you can stock a booth in a consignment store. The benefit to this is that many crafters and antiquers have enough items to fill a booth, but not a whole store-space.
Signing on with a consignment store will give your products exposure to the public while keeping costs down, since more people are paying toward the expense of keeping the shop open.
Use the Internet
If you don't market your crafts from a personal blog or online crafter's site, you are well behind the times. Ebay allows you to auction off your items. Others, like Etsy.com connect you with a web of other small-business crafters, giving you a network of entrepreneurs and potential buyers.
If you blog regularly, consider listing the address on your business card, and using the site for marketing your crafts, and sharing your ideas and patterns.
The most successful craft blogs contain plenty of pictures of recent projects, along with more personal posts about family activities. The idea is to share ideas and patterns, swap projects with online friends, and be involved in an online community with people who share your interests.
When attending community events, or stocking your consignment shop booth, keep plenty of business cards on hand that point people to your blog and Etsy sites. Your online presence is the cheapest and easiest to maintain, but fairs and other community events are ways to boost your online profile, and to make local potential buyers aware of your products.