How to make serious money selling your crafts online
This post was last updated on December 21, 2022.
As a crafter, there's nothing more satisfying than witnessing someone admire an item that you've poured your heart and soul into making-—except maybe getting paid for it as well.
Craft shows and marketplaces like Etsy are great ways to gain experience and exposure, but they’re hard work and don’t always yield the desired results.
Lucky for you, there’s another way to start selling your handcrafted items that provides more control, freedom, and opportunity. No matter what eCommerce business idea you have in mind, the online market is ripe for craft makers of every kind.
This guide covers everything you need to get started. Learn how to turn a hobby or existing business into an online venture that yields extra cash, flexible hours, and the opportunity to be your own boss.
How to sell your crafts online
01. Decide what to craft
When deciding what to craft, you have two options: learn something new, or stick with a craft you already know.
If the former applies to you and you’ve already mastered a craft, you’re off to a great start.
If the latter applies to you, no problem. Start by researching what types of handcrafted items are trending by checking best-selling items on marketplaces like Etsy or Amazon's handmade category.
Select a product that tickles your fancy, then dig more into the process for creating it, as well as the competition and the overall business opportunity. Ask questions like:
What materials and equipment are needed for your craft?
How much time do you need to produce each item?
How much does an item cost to produce?
What other business costs should you consider?
What’s the competition like online? (And, who’s already doing it well?)
Why are consumers choosing to buy these items, as reflected in their feedback, questions, and/or search histories?
What is your break-even price?
Are there special licenses, laws, or regulations for your craft?
Keep in mind that when it comes to handmade items, how you feel about your work is often reflected in your craftsmanship. It’s not uncommon for makers to quickly burn out if they’re not passionate about what they’re doing (or aren’t clear about the “why” behind their work).
Keeping all this in mind, here are some popular craft categories to explore:
Printable or digital planners
Pre-made craft kits
Pet treats or outfits
02. Determine your target audience
Aside from picking a craft that interests you, it's essential to define your target customer and what solution or value your item provides.
Who you choose to target will affect the following aspects of your business:
The type of product or features you highlight
The materials you use
Marketing and advertising strategy
For example, “groovy fashion” designer Carmen Christine sells a variety of handmade fashion pieces, all from funky textiles from the 1960s and 1970s. Christine targets young adults that love sustainable vintage fashion. Everything from her logo and product choice (e.g., headbands and tote bags), to her copywriting and site branding (which features bright colors, playful icons, and colorfully decked-out models) are all tailored towards this audience.
In the same vein, you’ll want to target a specific audience that you know well in order to enjoy an easier time developing your products, your pricing, and your marketing strategy (among other things). Develop an ideal customer profile or buyer personas to help you think more from your customers’ perspectives.
03. Develop your brand
Your brand is much more than just a name or a logo. It's your company's vision, values, voice, style, image, personality, and quirks—all wrapped into one.
Learn more: The ultimate guide to eCommerce branding
Defining who you are as a company is the first step to creating a cohesive brand image and connecting with consumers on an emotional level.
Identify the purpose and vision behind your brand. Carefully think through your unique selling proposition (USP)—your core differentiators—and incorporate it into your branding.
For instance, if sustainability is a top priority for your business, create a plan for using sustainable materials when crafting and/or packaging your items. You could also commit to sending a portion of your profits to support a non-profit organization and/or subscribe to other long-term sustainable practices.
Once the wheels are in motion, you can start thinking about your visual identity, voice, and other brand elements that reflect your commitment to this cause.
04. Choose your eCommerce platform
When you first start an eCommerce business, there are two core channels that you’ll likely consider selling on: marketplaces (like Etsy) or a branded website.
Both have their advantages, but starting out with a branded site provides advantages such as:
Complete control over your branding, messaging, pricing, and overall user experience
Higher margins due to low subscription fees and zero listing fees
Full access to the entire customer journey, ensuring optimal user experience and retention in your funnel
Ownership over your sales and customer data
Professional business features to help you drive sales and grow your business
If you’re using a full-service platform like Wix, you’ll be able to easily expand to marketplaces without duplicating your work, plus gain a central command center to manage your omnichannel operations
It’s therefore wise to create a site that represents your brand in all its uniqueness, then use marketplaces to supplement it with additional brand exposure and sales. Note that most sellers who seek Etsy alternatives (as an example) do so because they’re frustrated by the lack of control and rising fees.
When choosing an eCommerce platform to host your site, consider the following:
Ease of setup – If you don't have a developer handy, look for a platform that includes professional, mobile-responsive templates and easy-to-use editing tools that don't require coding skills.
Security, speed, and reliability – Look for an eCommerce platform with a proactive approach to security, ensuring your content and customer data remain safe. You’ll additionally want to check that your platform is set up to scale with your business, e.g., can it handle an influx of traffic without crashing? Does your site load quickly? Does it perform well on all devices?
Back-office tools – The best eCommerce platforms offer much more than a website builder. They offer the tools, automations, and app integrations necessary for running your business smoothly. They should help to simplify your work across catalog management, inventory management, marketing, and more.
Multichannel tools – Look for a platform with direct integrations into key sales and marketing channels, including social channels and marketplaces where your customers shop. This will save you from hours of manual data entry, and keep all of your inventory and product data connected across channels.
Support – While support is often an afterthought, you’ll benefit tremendously from having a support team within reach. Make sure that help is easily accessible via chat, a self-help knowledge base, and other convenient channels.
05. Build your eCommerce store
Setting up your eCommerce store is relatively simple when you use Wix’s eCommerce website builder.
In case you didn’t know: Wix for eCommerce is a feature-rich, secure platform with 24/7 support and built-in tools for processing payments, tracking performance, managing multichannel campaigns, and more—all for one low monthly price. Plus, there are hundreds of apps available in the Wix Apps Market to enhance your online store further.
Simply start by creating a Wix account and following the below steps. Note: you can create a Wix account for free and upgrade to a paid account only once you’re ready to start accepting orders.
Pick a design and make it yours - Choose from 500+ designer-made templates. Use Wix’s drag-and-drop editor to customize your site to fit your brand. Make sure to check the mobile version of your store too and make any adjustments as needed.
Add products to your store - Upload your product details, including high-quality product photos. Handlebend, for example, infuses lifestyle photos throughout its site to help shoppers visualize how their copper creations would look inside their homes. Handlebend also includes videos and detailed product descriptions on every product page, leaving nothing up to the imagination when it comes to the quality of its products.
Tell your story - Whether through an "About Us" page or your overall website copy, share your company’s origin story, values, and/or mission. For instance, candlemaker Coal and Canary shares its beginnings on an “Our Story” page, plus weaves its personality and values throughout its store. The company even spotlights staff members on its homepage, allowing customers to see the face(s) behind the brand. By being genuine, authentic, and vulnerable, you can build stronger emotional connections with your customers.
Make your policies clear - Write detailed explanations of your shipping, return, and exchange policies, including any return shipping expectations and fees. Paper artist Sena Rusa clearly documents her policies in a no-fluff "Store Policy" page. Similarly, you’ll want to display your policies in an easy-to-find location so that your customers aren’t surprised by anything post-purchase.
Set up payment processing - Make it easy for shoppers to purchase your handmade items, no matter their preferred method of payment. Wix Payments allows you to accept major debit/credit cards, Apple Pay, Afterpay, and other popular methods. With Wix Point of Sale, you can additionally expand your business beyond one venue or platform and accept payments wherever you go.
Launch your site - Connect your site to a custom domain, and publish it for the world to see.
06. Drive traffic to your business
Finally, it's time to start promoting your crafts. Focus on the one or two marketing channels that resonate most with your target audience. As you get more familiar with these channels, incorporate more tools and methods into your eCommerce marketing strategy.
Some techniques to try:
Get social - Present your brand on major social platforms, particularly those that cater to shoppers and handmade enthusiasts, like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Regularly post new, original content to build up your community and take the time to actually engage with your network.
Create a blog - Adding a free blog to your site and regularly updating it with fresh content can help to build up your credibility and improve our site’s search engine visibility (aka “SEO”). Of course, a blog is a long-term commitment; we don’t advise starting one if you don’t have the time, resources, and/or passion to manage it.
Launch ads - Paid advertising can supplement your organic marketing efforts by helping you reach new audiences quickly. Consider advertising on social media, search engines, and/or marketplaces. With Wix, you can easily set up Facebook Ads and Instagram campaigns powered by Wix’s AI capabilities.
Utilize email marketing - Email is not yet a lost art. It can be an effective medium for drawing attention to your new products, promotions, giveaways, customer feedback, and more. Moreover, you can use Wix's fully-integrated email marketing services to automate a full-cycle email funnel to keep both prospective and returning customers engaged.
Attend local events - Spread the word about your business by attending local fairs and events (or hosting virtual workshops and live events). Showcase your crafts and invite your attendees to join your mailing list to receive information on any upcoming sales or product drops.
Reward yourself for your hard work
As a crafter, your online store is an expression of your creativity as much as it is a way to earn some hard-earned money. As you dive into the world of eCommerce, have fun with it. Remember to stay true to your initial vision for your crafts while acquiring new customers and fans.
Allison Lee Editor, Wix for eCommerce
Allison is the editor for the Wix eCommerce blog, with several years of experience reporting on eCommerce news, strategies, and founder stories.
Marketing Writer, Wix eCommerce
Brielle is a Colorado native with a passion for innovation and helping to mobilize entrepreneurs. Brielle is a marketing writer for Wix eCommerce, which powers over 700k online stores worldwide.