I first became interested in the do-it-yourself world about four years ago. I discovered a few crafting websites and became even more interested in the e-commerce world of selling handmade items online. I have watched, researched and studied what other people have been making and the community is certainly growing and expanding.
My first suggestion is do some research. Take a look on the search engines and find what other people are selling and where they are selling it. A popular website for selling handmade goods is www.etsy.com. Etsy has helped many artists developed a huge fan base and have overwhelming success. Of course, if your items do not stand out it is easy to get lost in the masses of coaster and cozies.
Figure out what you are good at making and fine-tune your skill. Make a list of what makes your items stand out from the rest. For example, you could have superb design, a keen sense of color combinations and use high quality products. Good craftsmanship and original designs are a winning combination and will be a huge key to your success.
There are so many marble magnets out there that I almost find it hard to believe that people still sell these. They were a hit, a couple of years ago and the market is simply saturated. You have to stand out, be yourself, and most of all have a high level of creativity.
Another good idea is to start developing your first line. Have brainstorming sessions with yourself or with a close friend. Find out what appeals to you, and what you want your work to say about you. Pick up magazines and books for inspiration. Collect images and colors that you want to incorporate in your designs.
In the beginning stages of your work it’s a good idea to develop your contacts. A good way to do this is by starting a blog. Record your projects, thoughts and inspiration and get people involved in your online shop reveal. One way to get your blog popular is by leaving comments on other blogs to get the word out about yourself. Writing on forums is another effective way to bring traffic to your blog and eventually your online shop.
During the creation process of your line, begin to think about packaging and shipping. Learn how much it will cost to ship various items and keep the shipping cost fair, a lot of customers will turn away if they feel that your shipping cost is much higher than it actually is. Packaging can really help your business. So many times I’ve bought items from sellers and was really astonished at the care they took in sending their products. A thank you note and decorative paper can go along way with repeat customers.
Some other aspects of your business to consider are the visual aspects of your site and photography. Make sure that your blog, store and advertisements have banners and logos. Make sure that they go together visually and are appealing to look at. When taking photographs of your products avoid putting them on the floor or on your bed as these are not the most flattering back drops to high light your products in.
Get creative, take your stuff outside or find visually unique and appealing places in your home to arrange your items. For example, if you make handbags consider hanging them from a tree or putting them in public places to make a nice background. Make sure that your goods are the center of the photograph and do not get lost in the background. Use high quality and high resolution photographs for best web results. When choosing models, please consider that a lot of people may turn away from hats on a models head or shirts on someone’s body. Perhaps you could use sample items to display on people to show what it will look like on someone, but make it clear that the item they will be getting has never been worn.
Considering your models appearance is also important, it may be a bit superficial to think that people would judge your work based on your model, but would you buy clothing from a regular store that used models that looked dirty, sweaty or that the clothes did not fit properly?
Finally, be confident in your work and always remember that the devil is in the details.