Green hills, birds singing, the sound of the wind blowing through the tree tops, I’d always dreamed of a house situated in the beautiful country side. I wished to live somewhere remote to enjoy a peaceful life. Yet it seemed, as dreams often are, practically impossible; how would I find a job and afford to live in such an isolated location? It occurred to me that the lifestyle I wished for would only be possible if I could work from home. I discovered I could do this by turning my hobby, which was jewellery making, into a career through my Etsy shop at Bijoux Malou. I began to make jewellery with the purpose of selling it, which not only generated an income, it also gave me satisfaction as my customers appreciated my work. I currently live in a converted chapel in the green hills I had always dreamed of and my work has become something I love to do.
Many people enjoy crafts; from leather working to jewellery making and from knitting to painting. While a certain craft might be your hobby, this does not necessarily mean that you would like to, or would even feel comfortable, selling your finished items. Yet selling can be a great way to fund your hobby as supplies such as leather, wool or paint can be quite expensive. You also get a real sense of satisfaction when selling your items as other people can enjoy the items you’ve crafted. This could be to have an extra income alongside a regular job or other responsibility such as parenting. But it could even become your full time job and grow into a successful business! The first step towards selling your handcrafted items is to feel self-assured and confident about what you’ve created.
From The Items You Have Created To Starting Selling
You might feel somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer number of marketplace websites, Etsy, Ebay or Bonanza to name but a few, when it comes to finding somewhere online to sell your handmade products. However choosing the right marketplace on which to sell your items is strongly dependant on the type of item and the type of public you’re hoping to reach. I will elaborate on the pros and cons of some of the main selling venues later in this series of articles as the sellers fees and policies of these online marketplaces also vary widely.
Once you have chosen the marketplace that suits your product best, it is time to publish your items. No matter which online marketplace you choose to use, there are three vital aspects to a listing you simply have to get right if you hope to reach a wide audience and most importantly, if you expect people to actually be willing to buy from you. These are a good picture, accurate descriptions and a clear, attention grabbing title. To draw people into your shop it is important that your product stands out from the crowd and catches their interest. A vast majority of potential customers will find your products through searches and so it is important that you include the right keywords (eg. aquamarine gold earrings or Game of Thrones jewellery) in your titles, descriptions and tags. After that you are ready to open your shop!
One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they assume that once their shop is open and they have some products online, they’re done. It doesn’t stop here as this is when your work really starts because you’ll need to promote yourself and your products on social networks to bring new potential customers to your shop. Good examples of this are setting up a Facebook Page, a Tumblr blog, Twitter account, Pinterest Board or a Google+ Page. Don’t forget that online marketplaces such as Etsy are also in a way social networks on which you can connect with likeminded individuals and exchange promotions in the form of treasury lists. There also seems to be a strong relationship between regularly updating and adding products to an Etsy shop and how highly your products show in their search results so gradually expanding your shop is a better approach than quickly putting all your items online and abandoning the account until you make sales.
This was the first article in a series about turning your craft based hobby into a home business. There’ll be more articles to follow in the coming weeks which will take more in depth looks at some of the points already made here. Next week will see a comparison between the major website marketplaces for sellers such as Ebay, Folsky, Etsy, Bonanza and DaWanda. Future articles will also focus on product photography, promoting your shop and things to watch out for when selling such as scams. Follow Homeli on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to keep up to date.
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