By Juanita D MoenGautney
The idea of selling your crafts seem appealing to you? It did me. I bought book after book on selling your crafts online, selling at craft fairs, selling via mail order, you name it and I bought it. I started to think I must be a dunce. Here I have all of this information and I feel like I am in information overload and still don't know where or how to start selling my crafts.
I took a step back and decided to write down what I thought was important from all of these books. Here is my list:
1. Check out the competition, see what they are selling and at what price.
I knew that I wanted to sell fabric and my crafty things that I make. I also knew that I wanted to reach as many people as I could, so that meant online selling. I took my list and started at number 1. "The Competition".
I looked at several online fabric websites, such as eQuilter.com, quiltinaday.com, and some local fabric shop websites as well. I looked at the type of fabric, the price per yard, shipping time, refund policies, what other offerings they had and I also read how they got started (some great insight there). I wanted to know what made each site standout. Was it the font, the colors, ease of use, the variety of items, the information given about each item? After gathering all of this information I was ready to move on to the next item on the list.
Number 2. "Where to Sell" - I knew online would work with what I wanted to do, but how about the Craft Fairs? I went to our local Quilt A Fair and walked around, checked out what was selling and what wasn't. I also talked to the proprietors to get some insight on their business. I talked to the sponsors of this event to find out what size the booths are, what the price was for a booth, what percentage the sponsors wanted out of the gross sales for the weekend, when they hold the fairs and if they had an online presences as well. After gathering this information I decided this would be something that I would check into doing after I got my online business up and running first.
I needed to find out more about selling online. I checked out several online hosting services. I chose Yahoo Small Business. It looked like a good fit for me to start with. Now all I needed was fabric and handmade items to sell. But first I needed to tackle Number 3 "Business License".
In our local college they were offering a course on how to start your own business. I called and got registered. This was being offered by a lawyer who works mostly with setting up new companies. I actually got to work with her one on one. I told her what I wanted to do and she handed me a paper asking questions about my business, like Business name, sole proprietor or LLC, start date, things like that. She said I would need to get a Business license and she could help me get all of that setup. She would also put together the necessary information so I could open up a bank account for my business. There would be a small fee for all of this, but I was willing to pay.
After I got my Business License and State Sales Tax License, I was all set to get my bank account set up. Once that was completed I realized I needed a credit card so I could purchase the fabric at wholesale. After the business license was created, I started getting credit card advertisements. I chose one, filled it out and sent it in. In about two weeks I received my card.
I was on my way. I contacted some fabric suppliers and they sent over their representatives. I got to see hundreds of fabric samples. I picked out the ones I wanted and the yardage amounts. They setup my accounts and sent me fabric. Once the fabric arrived I was able to start building my website. I have also sold some of my stuff out on eBay. My next step will be to get an account setup on Etsy.
It took a little while, about a month, to get everything setup so I could start selling, but it was worth it. Then I started to think what is next. Ah yes, Number 4 " Other Resources or Mentoring". I started to search the internet and found the Small Business Administration website. Here they offer all sorts of help. They even have videos.
So, if your interested in selling your crafts, just take a page out of my helpful hints and get started. It can be as easy as 1-2-3.
About the Author:
My name is Juanita Moen-Gautney and I have been sewing since 1968 and quilting since 1977. I gained my passion for quilitng and sewing from my grandmother.
My website is http://www.needles-n-quilts.com Come see all of the Unique Fabrics for Your Creative Projects.
Follow me at http://needles-n-quilts.blogspot.com/
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