Learn how to sell handmade items on Amazon, Etsy, or your own custom website. Our guide offers the best ideas for selling handcrafted goods and help to get started. Find inspiration, account setup tips, and business registration options if you decide to open an online shop.
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The way we shop has definitely evolved, but shoppers are still looking for unique, handcrafted quilts, clothes, toys, and everything else under the sun. Thanks to the Internet, selling crafts online has gained huge success for crafters. Both Amazon and Etsy have millions of items listed in handmade categories and new sellers are jumping onboard all the time. Amazon has a division just for handmade products, which is excellent for drawing interested shoppers. Etsy has established itself as the premiere online source for handmade goods, which means your products are seen by millions of niche consumers. Since 70% of all shoppers look for a web presence before shopping, a custom website is also ideal to maximize exposure and draw traffic from all over the Internet.
Whether you go with Amazon, Etsy, a website, or any combination of these options, you can start selling online quickly, once your business is registered (more on that later). If you make things with your hands, it’s quite possible to sell crafts and other items for a profit.
People love all things unique. One-of-a-kind clothing outfits, custom jewelry, limited edition handbags, and so much more are popular with online shoppers. The top categories are arts and crafts, custom apparel, custom jewelry, handcrafted toys, party and event gifts, and supplies. You can even personalize to increase sales. Check out Amazon Handmade and Etsy to see the vast array of products that sell on each outlet.
The arts and crafts niche covers a huge variety of products. Custom adhesive items such as stickers and wall art are very popular sellers and can be profitable if you can keep costs low. Everything from handmade quilts to custom photo puzzles sell online, and crafters are always looking for new supply sources, so you can make money selling supplies to make things too.
The fashion industry continues to grow across the US, and this is a niche where you can be as selective and creative as you want. Obviously, you want your style to appeal to a broad market, but fashion fiends love to show off custom and personalized clothing and accents. You can personalize pretty much everything with names, designs, themes, and anything else you can imagine. Studying current trends and best sellers on Amazon and Etsy can help you develop a custom line.
We used to have to visit a jeweler to order custom jewelry, but things have changed, and online jewelry sales hit $7.6 billion in 2021, and continue to grow. Consumers can now shop online for pieces like personalized beaded jewelry, engraved pieces, custom-fit jewelry, and more. Since you don’t need a physical store to reach customers, you may be able to set up shop at home and take orders online. Low overhead means more money in your pocket.
Even in the age of video games, handmade toys and games still rule a big portion of retail games sales. Online outlets have made these goods available to the masses, so scores of shoppers turn to the Internet to find unique games, puzzles, and activities for children and adults. Gift givers like to give unique gifts, so fun handmade games and such do really well at the holidays.
TIP: Offer gift wrapping for smaller items and personalization to increase sales.
A personalized approach to parties and events is a great way to celebrate with friends, family members, and clients. Unique cards and party supplies are very popular because customers can personalize decorations, table toppers, balloons, and all sorts of other items. Holiday cards and other goods made from upcycled and recycled materials are growing in popularity, so selling eco-friendly products can increase revenues.
Almost anything you would need to celebrate a wedding can be found in categories such as Personalized Items, Favors, Decorations, and Gifts. Items like customized printed goods, favors for the big day, or party items for the bride and groom’s attendants sell pretty regularly. Cake toppers are also very popular and the more unique, the better.
Etsy has built its platform on unique and one-of-a-kind handmade items. Since 2005, sellers have been using the platform to market unique craft pieces, and the number of sellers grows daily. It only takes a few clicks to open an Etsy account and start stocking your store. Opening an Etsy store gives you immediate access to millions of niche shoppers. Their fees are reasonable and your account is easy to maintain.
Unfortunately, an Etsy store is limited when it comes to customization, so it can be a challenge to create a unique store from their templates. Etsy also charges pretty high shipping fees, which can discourage sales. If you’re not familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), it’s basically the process for drawing traffic to your store (or website). Etsy makes frequent changes to their search algorithm, which can make finding your items difficult.
Amazon Handmade is newer to the online scene, making its debut in 2015. Amazon has devoted an entire website to handmade goods and artisan brands, so shoppers are already looking for items like yours. With over 300 million buyers shopping on Amazon Handmade, it’s a great way to get access to a mass of customers under Amazon’s trusted name. Fulfillment by Amazon or FBA can make distribution fast and simple if you’re willing to pay the fees. Once your store is set up, it’s fairly easy to manage.
On the downside, Amazon Handmade’s environment is very competitive, so it’s critical to determine how you’ll stand out if you’re going to be profitable. You’ll also have to pay 15% of your sales to be on the platform, so be sure to compare fees with Etsy to make sure you’re making the most profit. Many sellers have active Amazon and Etsy stores to make the most of each customer base.
TIP: E-Commerce websites only pay credit card processing fees when items sell and you can encourage shoppers to buy directly from your site on Etsy and Amazon.
If you love working with your hands, selling your handcrafted goods online can be a fun side-hustle that can grow into a full-time business. An Amazon Handmade account can help you reach shoppers looking specifically for homemade products, increasing exposure and sales.
Artisans from over 80 countries are selling on the Handmade platform, and they offer several incentives to new sellers like having the professional selling fee waived. You must open an Amazon seller account (below) to apply to become an artisan seller. Once the application is complete, you can list products and start selling.
Amazon associates make commissions by recommending products to their audience. If you have a website or blog, you can become an affiliate and add links to your pages and posts to generate additional revenue. When your customers use these links to purchase or sign up for a trial, you’ll make money from Amazon!
You’ll have to choose either the individual or professional selling plan to get started. Since the individual selling plan charges $.99 per item (and is limited to 40 items) it may make more sense to start with the professional plan. It’s $39.99 a month + selling fees, but you can sell unlimited items. You can see a complete list of plans and fees here. You can become an Artisan for the Handmade platform once your account is open.
The following information is required to open a seller account:
The short answer is no, but if you don’t register your business in the state where you live (or operate), your personal assets are not protected from lawsuits and potential tax issues. The most common US small business structures are either a Limited Liability Company or Corporation. You can also register a trade name (Doing Business As, or DBA), but it does not protect your personal assets. Registering an LLC is the simplest business structure to start and manage, and can cost less than running a Corporation.
TIP: You can elect “Small Business” (also called S-Corp) status with the IRS to reduce tax liability and make filing tax returns easy. We can apply for you with any of our business formation packages.
In order to sell handcrafted products on Etsy, they must be designed or produced by the seller (that’s you!). Images and descriptions must reflect actual items for sale, so avoid using stock photos or copied descriptions. You can list items for $.20 each and just pay transaction, processing, and advertising fees when products sell. Read the entire handmade policy before opening an Etsy account.
You can start listing products in your store as soon as your account is open and set up. However, all US businesses must register to operate in their home state. If you want to protect personal assets and reduce taxation, a Limited Liability Company (LLC) is the simplest business structure for small businesses. Ownership and management is flexible and costs are lower than being registered as a corporation. Taxation is managed on personal tax returns, as long as you have filed a Small Business Subchapter form with the IRS. You can file a DBA (Doing Business As) to run your business under a separate name, but you won’t have the limited liability protection of an LLC (or corporation), and you can run into confusion with other businesses using a similar name.
Start an LLC for your Amazon or Etsy business with any of our startup packages
Starting an account on Etsy takes just five quick steps from start to finish.
Since roughly 70% of consumers take to the Internet to shop, it’s critical to start a business website. Even if you just use it to post contact information and share your Etsy or Amazon shop, an active site is a must these days. In addition to the handmade platforms, you can grab business from people who are searching for other options. E-commerce sites don’t have seller or advertising fees, so you just pay processing fees when payments are accepted. The amount varies by credit card service, but you can expect to pay between 3-4% on most transactions.
Keep your e-commerce site simple with a custom website package from MyCompanyWorks. Access dozens of customizable templates and launch a mobile-friendly store to start taking payment with Stripe, PayPal, and other popular merchant accounts. All e-commerce packages include unlimited products and free analytics to track performance. Find out more about our custom website solutions.
If you have handmade products to sell, you’re ready to open an Amazon or Etsy store (or both) and launch a website! There are regulations to follow, but account setup with both online platforms is fairly simple and easy to maintain. Handmade items are in high demand online, and there’s plenty of opportunity to cash in if you can make your store stand out from the crowd. Millions of items are purchased on these shopping hubs, and it’s a key place to find customers who are looking for your handcrafted pieces.
A website is absolutely critical if you’re going to maximize your customer base, so launching a site that represents your products well and is easy to use is a great way to cross-promote your Amazon and Etsy stores. Selling directly from your website saves on listing and processing fees, so it may be worth setting up an e-commerce site in addition to the handmade selling sites.
Both Amazon and Etsy have pros and cons, and both are worth the overall exposure and traffic they bring to your products. Pick the platform that seems right for you, then follow the steps to open an account. The initial costs are so low, that you may even want to try both sites to see which works best for your goods. Online shoppers search for items related to arts and crafts, custom clothing and jewelry, puzzles, toys, games, party and event supplies, and more. If you craft anything with your hands, there’s potential to start a legitimate business.
You can start a DBA, but it’s not a separate business entity and doesn’t provide liability protection. Corporations or generally for large companies or complex businesses, and can oftentimes be overkill for startups and small businesses. Most entrepreneurs find that the LLC business structure is the easiest to manage and save money on taxes, but it’s an important decision and you definitely want to form the right entity from the start. You can ask a tax professional which business type is right for your online shop.
Set up a DBA, LLC, or Corporation with our step-by-step guides for all 50 states and Washington DC. You can also save time and money when you order any of our business packages with just a few details on our online order form. We process most orders within one business day, and you can see progress in your company dashboard. Whether you’re a DIYer or select our services, MyCompanyWorks.com is loaded with helpful resources, recommended vendors, and tools to start and manage your company in one place. Make sure to follow our blog and sign up for our weekly newsletter to receive tips, articles, and ideas to run a faster, smarter, leaner startup. You can also reach our support team during regular business hours. We look forward to helping you launch your business.
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This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022 at 1:37 pm and is filed under Starting A Business, New Business Ideas. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.