Here's How to Sell Handmade Goods

Category: Shopping

Handmade one-of-a-kind goods are all the rage these days. If you make anything all by yourself, whether it’s jewelry, baby clothes, or a custom wood carving, someone out there wants to buy it. But finding that buyer can be difficult, and closing a deal successfully is hard work. Read on to learn about the best places to sell your hand-crafted items...

Places to Sell Your Stuff

There are many sites that help artisans sell their makings and manage their businesses. Which one to use, or whether to use multiple sites, depends on your business skills and temperament. Here are a few of the most popular sites among makers of handmade items, and some tips on their strengths and weaknesses.

eBay seems to be an obvious choice. But eBay’s fees and policies applicable to sellers heavily favor high-volume resellers of manufactured goods. Sure, there are “handmade” subcategories for jewelry, clothing, musical instruments, and other classes of goods, but the vast majority of eBay shoppers don’t care if a thing is handmade or not. Originally a pure auction site, eBay now offers fixed-price listings as well.

eBay gives you a worldwide marketplace, but it's one of the pricier ways to sell online. For most items, sellers get up to 50 free listings per month, but you pay a percentage (usually 10%) of the selling price. Here are the Ebay seller fee details.

Selling your handmade goods

Craigslist charges nothing, but has some important limitations. It's basically free classified advertising in dozens of local markets. Craigslist is great if you want fast cash; just advertise, meet with a responding buyer, hand over the goods and pocket the money. But be careful! Always meet in a well-lit public place, preferably with security cameras, like a police station parking lot. Don't accept checks from strangers. I would encourage you to read Scammed on Craigslist! before you engage in this marketplace.

Etsy is the leading marketplace for makers and buyers of handmade goods. In fact, you are not permitted to list an item for sale in Etsy’s “handmade” category - by far the most populated with items - unless you made it with your own hands or directly employ the person who did. This strict “purity” of the handmade/artisanal ideal draws ardent fans for whom price is a secondary consideration. Etsy’s fees recognize that a) most artisans don’t have much money, and b) it can take a while to sell a unique, artisanal item. Only $0.20 buys you a listing for four months. If you sell something, there's a 5% commission and a 3% payment processing fee. In contrast, eBay’s listing and sale (final value) fees can be 8 to 12% of an item’s price. Creating a listing is easy and straightforward. Etsy hosts many help files, seminars, and other educational opportunities for non-professional sellers.

Other Marketplaces For Your Goods

Shopify promises to provide sellers with "Everything you need to start an online store and sell online." The drag & drop store builder helps you quickly create an ecommerce website and requires no technical skills. Shopify also helps you manage your online sales and offers discounted USPS shipping. Shopify Basic costs $29 per month, plus credit card processing fees of 2.9$% plus 30 cetns per transaction. Over one million small businesses and entrepreneurs are currently using Shopify.

Bonanza has a more costly and complex fee structure than Etsy. However, various special offers for sellers run frequently. One advantage offered by Bonanza is that they will push your listings to other popular sales channels, such as Ebay, Google Shopping, Bing Ads, and their network of affiliate bloggers.

Facebook Sale Groups are popular and effective marketplaces for handmade goods such as jewelry, clothing, and collectibles. You can start a Sales Group of your own. Just follow the procedure for starting a general discussion group, then enable its sales features. Facebook also offers the Facebook Marketplace, where the focus is more on selling individual "garage sale" type items, such as clothing, furniture, lawn equipment, and other odds and ends.

You Design It, They Make it

If you've come up with a blockbuster idea for a graphic design, there are sites that will help you sell it on shirts, hats, coffee cups, calendars, mouse pads and other items. CafePress, Zazzle, VistaPrint are a few examples. Upload your design, pick the product(s) on which it will appear, and set your price. You can set up your own online shop within these sites, and list multiple items for sale. When an item is purchased, the company produces it on demand and then ships it directly to the customer. They deduct the wholesale cost of your shirt, mug, etc., and send you the balance.

The beauty of this type of online store is that you don't have to manufacture the items, or even ship them. You also avoid the hassle of collecting payment, which would involve getting a merchant account to accept credit cards. Merchant accounts can be expensive, requiring you to pay both upfront and monthly service fees.

Do you sell anything online? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Here's How to Sell Handmade Goods"

Posted by:

16 Dec 2019

I believe the eBay info in this article is out of date:

Up to 50 fixed price and auction-style per month with no insertion (listing) fee.

eBay sold PP and buyer payments can be made using eBay's own payment center or PP, but PP payments end fairly soon.

But yes, there are fees involved for the seller.

As a buyer we look to eBay for out of print books, used books and unusual items no longer available in stores... and we find them at good prices most of the time.

Posted by:

16 Dec 2019

Sorry, my complete thought did not make it from my brain to the post above:

But yes, there are fees involved for the seller --- but there is no payment unless the item sells, so no lost money if it doesn't sell, like there used to be under the old fee system.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sorry, I forgot that sellers now get up to 50 free listings per month.

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