How to, Sell / By Donna
/ October 16, 2020 July 6, 2021 / 6 minutes of reading
Hello Beautiful Beaders,
In this week’s blog I want to talk to you about how to sell your own beautiful beaded items. There are not going to be many Christmas fairs this year due to Covid-19 but there are still lots of places that you can sell your handmade pieces.
Etsy, Instagram, EBay and Facebook marketplace are just a few of the online sales spaces available. Etsy and ebay have seller costs associated to them, which are around 15% of the total sale price (including payment portal costs).
If you have never used these platforms then I would recommend watching a short You Tube video to familiarise yourself with how to use the sites. Click here for an example.
Once you’re all set up its time to start to list your treasure. Here are my top tips on how to optimise sales and make your pieces stand out from the crowd:-
1. Product Description – you want to make the title of your item as descriptive and eye catching as possible. List the key part of what you are selling and then embellish with either a sub-title (if applicable) or words which promote your USP – unique selling point.
For example if I was selling one of my Kumihimo necklaces I would title as follows; Handmade Japanese Braided Necklace by Artisan Designer. The key part is that it’s a handmade necklace, the USPs are that it is handmade by a designer and is a Japanese braid. If I was adding a sub-title it would say; Kumihimo Necklace by Donna McKean Smith. You can then go into more detail within the main body of your description – size, weight, care information, technique background are all great pieces of information to include.
2. Photograph your Product; We buy with our eyes so make sure the photos of your products are top notch. The most basic camera or phone can take a great product shot if the lighting is good. So make sure you shoot on a plain background which is washed with light. This can be natural light or you can set up your own lights – if doing the latter be sure to light the item from the front and sides, otherwise you could encounter lots of shadows.
Once you’ve got the ‘money shot’ (Photo that’s going to make your product sell, sell, sell!) you may need to edit it slightly. This could be to brighten or crop it. Most phones have a basic edit function which will do very well for you. Desktop computers with Microsoft software may have a programme called Paint which works great for small edits. Alternatively you can download a basic free version of Photoshop, which is a more complicated editing package but very effective. The free version of Photoshop which is available as an APP for phones and tablets is the most user friendly.
3. Price; usually the reason for selling your pieces is to make a profit, so your pricing needs to be competitive but also cover all of your costs and include what’s called a ‘profit margin’.
List the cost of all materials used in each piece, then work out how long it took you to make the item. Think about what you’d consider a fair hourly rate and then add that sum to the elements costs, i.e. If you aim to make £10 per hour and an item took you half an hour to make then add £5.
Now you have what’s called the ‘cost price’ you need to work out your RRP, recommended retail price. You can do this by researching what other sellers are charging for similar work. Don’t over price the item as it may not sell, but also make sure you are charging what it is worth. Being competitive with other products on the market is the key.
Most retailers look for a minimum of 50% margin, so if your cost price is £8 then based on a 50% margin the minimum sale price would be £12. Let’s break that down:-
Cost of materials = £3
Cost of time taken to make the item @£10 per hour; 30 mins = £5
Total cost price = £8
50% profit margin – 50% of £8 = £4
Cost price plus profit margin equals RRP = £12
Obviously that’s just an example. A lot of people work on 100% margin in which case you simply double your cost price to work out what you will sell it for. As I mentioned you need to research your competition and see what other people are selling their pieces for.
4. Social Media – a good way to promote yourself for free is to set up social media pages on which to share your products. You can create a page specifically for your handmade goods. You’ll need to think of a name for your page and use the best photo of your goods as your profile picture or a logo if you have one.
Facebook and Instagram seem to be the most productive platforms. Even if you keep your audience small it still gives you a nice space to invite friends and family to see your creations.
5. Business Connections – business networking can be really useful so be sure to make friends wherever you go, like in your local craft store! If you link with your suppliers on social media then they are more likely to reference you. Riverside Beads and Crafts customers can share their designs in our facebook group here. Remember to add #Riversidebeads or @Riversidebeads to your social media posts in order to connect with us.
6. Discounts – once you’ve established good relationships with your suppliers don’t be afraid to discuss discounts. This is especially effective with independent stores like us. For example Riverside Beads offers wholesale discounts or bundle prices on bulk purchases for customers making large monthly orders. Remember that every little helps to keep the cost price down and the profit margin UP!
7. Offline Sales Platforms – If you’re not confident online then why not speak to your local gift shop or restaurant/hotel to see if they would showcase some items for you? They will also most likely ask for a percentage of the sales price, but you can negotiate this with them.
Once Covid has been banished (it will happen it WILL) then you can also consider avenues such as craft fairs, gift parties in the home and workplace sales events.
I hope that my top tips have been useful for you guys. You all make such gorgeous pieces and I know that there are lots of people out there just waiting for them to burst into their lives. Now you have the tools to do this, so Happy Beading everyone and Happy Selling too!