What Do You Like To Do?

Almost everyone has a hobby.  Have you ever considered selling your crafts or artwork?  There are many ways to make your hobby profitable.  

I make candles and other products aimed at making my home smell good.  I started out making them for myself because it was fun.  Then I started giving them to family and friends as gifts.  Then I decided to take it a step further by turning it into a business.  I started at a flea market.  It was a very slow start, and I learned a lot in year that I was there.  Then I did one festival, and it was amazing, and a lot more fun, so that is my current niche.  I'm working on setting up shop in my garage, and doing other small scale advertising things in order to build up more awareness of my product and find more customers.  

I highly recommend the festivals.  The major start up expense is buying a canopy tent.  After that, the hardest part is the setup and take down.  If you aren't ready to buy a tent yet, craft shows that are inside are a good option.  You'll just need a couple tables, and some nice signs and displays.  One of the most important things to remember is that how you display your products is almost as important as the items themselves. Show them in a way that adds value.  Handmade jewelry looks better in jewelry boxes than it does just laid on a table.  Even better if you can get a glass case.

If your hobby is more informational rather than producing an item to sell, consider starting a blog.  My blog is going to be more aimed at people who sell a product, but I will also eventually include some resources for information or service based hobbies.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Setting Prices

This is probably the hardest part when you start selling your crafts. The first thing to do is look around at other prices. With as much scent as I put into my candles, I consider mine to be of similar quality to Yankee Candles. However, I absolutely wouldn't expect anyone to pay the same price. I also looked at what other crafters were selling their candles for. I smell their candles, I look at their set up, I determine if they're a serious business crafter with "an image" or just a small scale crafter. Personally, I don't compare my candles to soy candles at all because I use standard paraffin wax. I also don't compare my candles to the crafters who make them look like little pies and stuff. It's not my market, so it isn't comparable. So, standard votives, tarts and pillars are what I look at. There aren't many out there. At least not at the venues I'm at. And when I do find them, I feel that my quality is much better. So, my prices are typically about half of what Yankee charges. Which tends to be more than other crafters.

Another thing to consider when you price your products is how much time and money you put into them. If you can't at least double your cost, then it probably isn't profitable enough to be worth your time. Remember, your expenses aren't just covering the cost of your materials. It's also covering your time, your booth rental, tables or other items you use to set up your booth, cost of items that break or otherwise become unsellable from circumstances that just happen, electric that you may use to power equipment to create your product, packaging, etc. You need to cover all of those costs and still have something left to count as profit.

Some items you may be reselling because they go along with your craft. For me, these include candle holders, incense holders, fragrance oil/tart burners, and things of that nature. Sometimes it's difficult to set prices on these things because you can find such good prices when buying in bulk on the internet. Something may only cost you fifty cents. You may feel weird marking it up to five dollars. Again, look at other prices on similar products. How much does Michael's or Walmart sell the product for? How does the quality compare? Are you adding value to it? (another post to follow about adding value.) Again, generally speaking, you want to be able to at least double what you paid for it. (Don't forget to add shipping costs.) But don't under price anything. If it's underpriced then you run the risk of people thinking it's not worth much. You want to create an image of your products being special. After all, you likely put a lot of hard work into them.

One very important rule of thumb . . . it is much better to over price something then let someone bargain you down a little. You can always lower your prices if your experiences determine that you need to. It's very difficult to raise a price if people are used to getting your item at a lower price.

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