Five Steps to Take Before You Sell Crafts Online

Fun and creative business cards
Fun and creative business cards are an important supply to have on hand when you start to sell crafts online. Include one in every package to remind your customers where they bought that awesome product!

Opening an online store for your handmade goods can be a daunting process, but it can be made much simpler by preparing ahead of time.  Getting your packaging, inventory, business cards, and more ready now will pay off later.  Read these five steps for a jumpstart before you start to sell crafts online:

1.  Set Up Your Online Accounts

Before you start selling online on any site (whether it's your IndieMade site or a marketplace like Etsy or Artfire), you must first register and set up an account. Think carefully about your business name before you commit! If you're launching your own independent website and want your own personalized domain name, check first to make sure the URL you want hasn't already been taken. You don't want to get attached to a business name and later find out someone else is using the web address you need.

Most marketplaces will only allow one of each username, so it's a good idea to go online and register to reserve your name (or to check if it's even available) before setting up a shop there.  If you're using a marketplace, the number of letters allowed for your username might be less than your company's name, so brainstorm a few abbreviations that would work for your handmade business. 

Fill out the all the appropriate information for your site or storefront before listing items. An About Us profile page and clearly written store policies help build customer trust and let shoppers know the person behind the crafts. (Not sure what your store policies should include? Click here for some ideas.)

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2.  Create Products

This might seems obvious, but in order to sell your goods you need to make lots of them!  Spend some time on product development and production until you have a small collection or two complete and ready to list online.  Opening a new shop is the perfect time to ask friends or family for their opinions on your products.  The items that get more positive responses and comments are perfect to start selling online, and you may even get some advice to improve your handmade goods.

3.  Order Packaging Supplies

Do a test run and try out a few types of packaging for your craft products until you find the right size and materials. You can even try to mail a friend a sample item, to see how it arrives and make sure your packaging is sturdy enough to withstand post office handling. This will also give you a sense for what it will cost to ship your items, so that you can charge accurate shipping costs to your customers. Once you’ve decided how to ship your crafts, order more of these supplies in large quantities to save money and time.

4.  Develop an Inventory System

In a previous post I explained the importance of an inventory system.  Now is the time to start one for your finished goods and materials — before everything gets hectic and it is put aside. You'll thank yourself for having this system up and running when you're busy making sales!

5.  Make Business Cards

After you have everything settled — but before making sales — create beautiful business cards.  This way you can send them along with your order as well as giving them away to people you meet.  Include all of the info about your new online handmade business — the website address, email, and any other contact info you'd like to include. I prefer cards with an image side and a text side, but it's different for every seller.  Business cards can be made online or at your local printing company.  Both will require a completed digital card image, so have that all ready before sending them to be printed.  (Click here for some great tips on designing business cards that your customers will save and remember.)

These tips will help you get an organized start to selling crafts in an online setting.  You can then focus on making more products — and money! 

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