Friday, July 24, 2009

Handmade Crafts- A Business or A Hobby? Part 1

I have had a few people ask me about selling crafts, both online and at shows and while I'm certainly no where near an expert on the subject, I thought it would make a decent subject to blog about too....

Many years ago, I worked for a local boutique and the owner allowed me to make summer-type handmade items to sell and they went over quite well. Of course, the business plan was already in place and I had free reign as to what I made...all at the owner's expense, but it was a profitable venture. Unfortunately, life happened and I moved on and eventually came to a crossroads where I could begin making handmade items again... but this time, I was the boss footing the bill.

I started selling my handmade items (scarves at the beginning- in the on Etsy and added handmade jewelry to my shop after a few weeks..and the realization that scarves weren't going to sell in 90+ degree weather. My husband and I read all the threads on Etsy, learning how the site operated and how to maximize the site in hopes of making sales and money.

It became quite clear that there were two types of sellers on Etsy... those who treated their shop like a business and those who had a shop, but as a hobby. I had/have dreams of supporting the family with a handmade business, so we chose to run our shop like it was a business. We began to learn how to promote properly, (and online promoting seems to be a facet of the business that will always be an ongoing learning experience) worked harder at improving my shop and began doing shows to promote my business locally.

Promoting your online business is an every day adventure. We think it is imperative to promote everyday... to do something each and every day. Even on the days we plan on taking the day off, one of us will log on the Etsy site and promote, relist or add a new item to the shop...anything to put the shop and it's items in front of potential customers.

I already mentioned that doing local shows was part of my business plan. In my next blog update, part 2 of this subject will delve into how my business plan has changed regarding handmade shows, what type of shows I look to take part in and how my online business has morphed into what it is today.

'til next time...


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