I have been a crafty person for as long as I can remember. My earliest memories are of being at my maternal grandparents’ house and making something with my grandma. If it was a craft, she could figure out how to make it. She instilled the value of handmade in me at a very early age, and I carry that value with me to this day.
I can recall getting knit slippers and flannel pyjamas each Christmas, that she lovingly made. My older sister and I were also blessed with clothes that Grandma made us. My sister was fortunate enough to have a quilt made for her as well. Grandma started one for me as well, but then got sick and couldn’t finish it. I still have the unfinished top stored away, and will finish it one day. My younger sister wasn’t exposed to Grandma’s creativity as much as I was, and didn’t get to enjoy near as many handmade things as my older sister and I did. Sadly Grandma passed away when she was only 65, after battling cancer for many years.
Those lessons stuck with me, as did my appreciation for the time it takes to make a gift. As I get closer to my fiftieth birthday, I want to be able to earn a steady income from my creations. It takes a lot of time and dedication, but it is possible. I am guilty of not marketing as much as I should, so lack of regular income leaves no one but me to blame. I do earn when I put in the effort, so I know the possibility is there.
I have been making things for most of my adult life. Grandma taught me how to knit, sew and crochet – with the latter being my favourite. I am trying to teach myself how to knit socks (as mentioned in a previous post), but so far I have only perfected yoga socks.
Earning money from your crafts can be done a variety of ways, but I will list the five that have worked for me over the years.
- Direct Sales. This is the fastest way to earn some money during the holiday season. Set up a table at a craft fair or farmer’s market, and show off your work. It is good to have items in different price ranges, as not everyone will be looking for high ticket items. No matter your price, be sure the quality is evident. People don’t mind paying top dollar for a well-made item.
- Online Shop. This is one of my favourite ways to sell my crafts. I have an Etsy Shop, and currently have over 50 items listed. As I like a variety of crafts, my shop is filled with handspun yarn, crocheted items, craft supplies and patterns. Plus, as a writer, I have an eBook about earning with crafts listed. As a sideline, I also have writer services listed. I was paying to have some items promoted, but am currently testing the amount of sales without paid promotion. After an evaluation, I realized I actually lost money on several of my promoted items.
- Create Patterns. If you like the challenge of creating your own patterns, but aren’t too keen on having a large amount of inventory, sell PDFs of your patterns. You can list them on Ravelry, Etsy or your own website. I have sold several patterns in my Etsy Shop, and I anticipate that number to increase as I continue to design. Depending on the complexity of the pattern, I generally list them at either $4.00 each, or $8.00 each. By giving customers the option of buying your designs, they can make them in the colours of their choice. A little note here: I encourage my customers to make and sell the items they make from my patterns; I just don’t allow the pattern itself to be sold or given away.
- Teach a Class. If you don’t mind being in front of a camera, this can be a great opportunity for you. I am a little camera shy, but have created a couple of classes which I have on Skillshare. They are not recorded with professional equipment, but have received positive reviews. They can’t be all that bad then, right? The link will take you to my Spinning Class. If you’re not sure about the camera, you can teach your skills to others in your community. The nice thing about teaching local is you may be able to help someone else with their own home-based craft business.
- Craft Shop. If you’re one of those people who enjoys crafting, but don’t want or have time to sit at a market, then perhaps taking your inventory to a craft shop is the answer. When my children were little, I used to take some of my creations to a shop in a neighbouring city. I paid a set amount for the space each month, and the shop took care of all of the advertising, staffing and insurance. I would receive a cheque in the mail at the beginning of the month for any items sold the previous month. I liked the concept, and have written a report on how to do it. I do wish I could set something up like that in our town. It would help the local economy, and give local crafters a place to sell their wares.
As I said, this list is only a portion of all the ways you can earn money with your crafts. They are all methods I have experience with, and will help you develop a plan to sell your creations.
The photo is of a basket I crocheted and filled with yarn for display purposes. Said basket has a matching round one, both still available.
Now for the fun part: Have you ever sold your crafts? What worked, and what didn’t?