February 27, 2012
What is today’s State of Handmade? We understand many handmade artisans, crafters, and designers experience challenges in getting their product or brand “out there.” We will have a regular column aimed to tackle these issues. This post will highlight one:
With the multitude of platforms available to sell my handmade items, how do I know which is most effective at growing my business for the long-term?
Many services allow you to upload listings and sell to the general public. Of course many meet with success while doing this…but many do not, and it can have little to do with quality of their items. One thing is certain, great success with these sites requires a lot of time and maintenance. The more services to which one belongs, the more uploading, listing, and maintaining needs to be done. It can become quite cumbersome. Then there are site specific issues which can be problematic…slow loading time drawing customers away, improper SEO, poor marketing to name a few. Recently I have discovered some new online marketplaces allowing handmade vendors to connect with buyers…question is, do buyers know about these…and does the site even market to them? What are their site statistics, and are these made public? These are all things to consider.
Business 101 states there are 3 ways to increase profits: 1) Increase prices 2) Decrease costs 3) Increase volume. If you increase prices and the market can’t bear it, you are pricing yourself out and won’t sell a thing. You can lower costs in order to keep prices steady, but sometimes costs just cannot be lowered. This could be due to your volume being too low to gain volume discounts, not having the right suppliers, or several other factors. The 3rd option is increasing volume. When selling handmade items, a primary way to quickly increase volume is selling wholesale…to brick-and-mortar boutiques. Shops with a storefront. The reason is simple…you must only convert one person (a boutique owner) who may buy lots from you, vs. converting several individuals who will each buy one item.
It doesn’t necessarily mean churning out hundreds of the same item. It can mean a small lot purchase today, of mixed products, even mixed media, that turns into several similar future purchases, and a successful long-term relationship with a boutique.
It’s not a surprise I’m pointing you to Sourcing Handmade as a solution to this problem! You put your best foot forward via a handful of selected images, then we promote you. We mass market to boutiques. They don’t have to sift through thousands of vendors’ items, rather a small handful showcasing their work. Then, we play match maker. Bringing you out from a sea of vendors, and highlighting your experience and expertise. Think about it…