Author Topic: getting ready to start selling -- advice?  (Read 3134 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline MacrinaGreen

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 25
    • View Profile
getting ready to start selling -- advice?
« on: May 16, 2012, 09:49:13 AM »
Hello there... newbie here.  This forum looks like a friendly place, so I thought I'd seek a little advice here.

I make jewelry, along with occasional other items that can be made from beads and wire.  I've decided to start selling.  I'm gradually building up some inventory, and even more gradually figuring out how to take decent photos.  Life is busy these days, but I want to make time to get this started.

At any rate, I've been looking at different online selling venues.  Etsy is the one I knew about and the one that gets the most traffic.  Handmade Artists, I didn't know about until recently, but looks very promising.  I don't know at this point which is the better place for me to begin, so I'm thinking of opening up shops at both sites, and see what happens.

So I guess I'd appreciate getting to know sellers here and reading your advice on getting started selling handmade items.  Y'all seem like a friendly group, and it would be good to connect with other people who are doing what I hope to do!

Offline chainmaille

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8458
    • View Profile
Re: getting ready to start selling -- advice?
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2012, 10:25:26 AM »
We have been writing a series of articles on selling tips here http://handmadeartists.com/blog/category/selling-tips/ there is a lot of info there that would be indispensable to a new seller. Hope that helps, I'm sure others will jump in with tips.

Offline Larissa

  • Reef Botanicals
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 9482
  • Act well your part, there all the honour lies.
    • View Profile
    • Reef Botanicals
Re: getting ready to start selling -- advice?
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2012, 10:31:28 AM »
Spreading yourself out is actually not a bad idea, especially at first.

Remember that at any venue, your sales will heavily depend on (1) people finding you, which means market like crazy - blog, FB, twitter, etc, tell everyone you meet what you do, get business cards made with your shop url (and if you're going to have more than one shop, it's a good idea to buy a stand-alone url as a splash page, and then put links on it to both shops so you only need one set of business cards), (2) good photos, because all you have to get their attention online is a thumbnail in a sea of thumbnails and if you get drowned out, you're done for, and of course (3) having good product.

Glad to have you and good luck!

Offline MacrinaGreen

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 25
    • View Profile
Re: getting ready to start selling -- advice?
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2012, 05:06:28 PM »
Thanks for the welcome and the tips.  I'll keep reading as I get ready to make the jump into selling.  Definitely planning on having a simple website of my own -- have the domain already.  I like the flexibility that gives.

A couple questions, if I may:

1) I've seen some negative comments around here about "assembled jewelry" -- I think that's talking about something much more basic than what I do, but then again, I do use commercial beads and some commercial findings. 

Now, I might buy a commercial chain, chop it up into inch-long pieces, and alternate those pieces with handcrafted wire links.  Or I might buy a focal piece and put it on necklace of handmade chain and wrapped beads. 

As I develop my skills, I'm making more of my components from scratch, but not everything yet.  I mean, I don't mine the copper to make the wire, and I don't blow the glass to make the beads... but neither do I buy a pre-made chain and put a pre-made pendant on it and call that my masterpiece.  Is this the right place for an in-betweener like me who is continually learning new skills?  (Although, I doubt I'll be hitting the copper mines any time soon...)

2) So far, everything that I've made with the intention to sell is my own design, but I do have permission from someone else to make her designs for sale if I wish.  If credit her and link to her website, is that appropriate here, or should I stick only to those things that I design myself?  As I said, my whole inventory so far is designed by me -- but adding couple of her lovely designs would help me practice new skills while diversifying my offerings.

Thanks again for taking the time to welcome me and help me figure this stuff out.  I hope I'm a good fit for this site -- the tone of this place appeals to me.

Offline chainmaille

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8458
    • View Profile
Re: getting ready to start selling -- advice?
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2012, 05:15:28 PM »
If you look at our terms of use here http://handmadeartists.com/terms-of-use/  we attempt to describe what we are talking about.
2.Mass produced items that are not handmade by the seller.  This includes purchasing a premade/cast charm and putting it on a premade chain.  This is assemblage, and not within our definition of handmade.

So if you buy a charm, buy a chain, slap the charm on a chain, that would not be allowed. If you put your handmade design aesthetic into the piece, that is fine.
I hope you get the point, we are not trying to keep out up and coming artists, but we are trying to keep out the mass produced sellers. As we do not believe they are handmade. So just as long as you are putting your handmade touch into your work, you should be fine. Hope that helps.

Offline MakinTheBest

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6112
  • Live everyday like you mean it!
    • View Profile
Re: getting ready to start selling -- advice?
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2012, 06:38:50 PM »
First of all welcome to the madness!  Remember, we all started somewhere so please ask away.


As Andrew said, what we are trying to eliminate is the charm on a chain, both purchased as finished pieces, with no artistic input at all.  We are looking to grow with people that put a bit of themselves into their work.


Second, as you get started, as Larissa said, you have to put yourself out there!  I am not good at it and really feel funny about it sometimes, but as the years have gone by I've found that people really want to know what I do!  We are happy to help you and will happily promote your work with you.  we have also found that by promoting others, the karma will come back to you.  We believe in working together to be seen and can't wait to check out some of your work.


Offline Larissa

  • Reef Botanicals
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 9482
  • Act well your part, there all the honour lies.
    • View Profile
    • Reef Botanicals
Re: getting ready to start selling -- advice?
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2012, 07:13:43 PM »
The talk of "what is handmade" in terms of what qualifies for this site reminds me of the statement by Justice Stewart in Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 US 184 (1964), when he said, "I have reached the conclusion, ... that under the First and Fourteenth Amendments criminal laws in this area are constitutionally limited to hard-core pornography. I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that."

A lot of it is common sense.  "I know it when I see it."  A charm on a chain, both mass produced?  Not enough.  Taking ready-made components and creating an actual new design with them?  Sounds handmade to me.

I mean, I knit.  I don't shear the sheep, pick the cotton, or mash the bamboo that forms the yarn, nor do I spin it myself.  But when I take a skein of commercially available yarn and turn it into a scarf or hat or washcloth, when I make it into something it wasn't before, that sounds like handmade to me.

Offline MakinTheBest

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6112
  • Live everyday like you mean it!
    • View Profile
Re: getting ready to start selling -- advice?
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2012, 07:19:25 PM »

I mean, I knit.  I don't shear the sheep, pick the cotton, or mash the bamboo that forms the yarn, nor do I spin it myself.  But when I take a skein of commercially available yarn and turn it into a scarf or hat or washcloth, when I make it into something it wasn't before, that sounds like handmade to me.


Though I have no doubt that at some point you will do just that just to see if you can!


Offline Larissa

  • Reef Botanicals
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 9482
  • Act well your part, there all the honour lies.
    • View Profile
    • Reef Botanicals
Re: getting ready to start selling -- advice?
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2012, 07:23:17 PM »
Ha, at one point Eric was talking about getting me a spinning wheel so I could do it!  I told him HE could learn that skill and I'd be happy to knit what he made. 

At some point I want enough money to buy some gorgeous handmade yarn, I've seen some in the HAFshop that makes me drool.  Maybe when I get around to knitting myself a scarf; Eric got the cashmere, I'll get the handmade.

We do have one cat that's ridiculously soft (the all-white one), and every once in a while Eric asks if I can knit him into something.  It's pretty funny.  It's also the cat that most triggers his allergies.

Offline MakinTheBest

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6112
  • Live everyday like you mean it!
    • View Profile
Re: getting ready to start selling -- advice?
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2012, 07:43:12 PM »
Ha, at one point Eric was talking about getting me a spinning wheel so I could do it!  I told him HE could learn that skill and I'd be happy to knit what he made. 

At some point I want enough money to buy some gorgeous handmade yarn, I've seen some in the HAFshop that makes me drool.  Maybe when I get around to knitting myself a scarf; Eric got the cashmere, I'll get the handmade.

We do have one cat that's ridiculously soft (the all-white one), and every once in a while Eric asks if I can knit him into something.  It's pretty funny.  It's also the cat that most triggers his allergies.


There are services that will spin pet hair into yarn...joked around about doing it with our Newfoundland that sheds all year long!

Offline Larissa

  • Reef Botanicals
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 9482
  • Act well your part, there all the honour lies.
    • View Profile
    • Reef Botanicals
Re: getting ready to start selling -- advice?
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2012, 07:50:05 PM »
I used to date a guy whose sister and her wife were knitters.  The wife used to spin her own yarn and made some out of my boyfriend's parents' cat, Aja.  The sister knitted a stuffed cat out of it that they called "Aja Minor."  Pretty funny.

FischerFineArts

  • Guest
Re: getting ready to start selling -- advice?
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2012, 07:30:50 AM »
Welcome to the site, Macrina! If you haven't checked it out yet, you may want to submit some of your works at http://itsbetterhandmade.com/ for some promo, too.

Offline MakinTheBest

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6112
  • Live everyday like you mean it!
    • View Profile
Re: getting ready to start selling -- advice?
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2012, 03:32:18 PM »
Welcome to the site, Macrina! If you haven't checked it out yet, you may want to submit some of your works at http://itsbetterhandmade.com/ for some promo, too.


Took the words right off my keyboard!  Any place we can get the word out helps!

Offline MacrinaGreen

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 25
    • View Profile
Re: getting ready to start selling -- advice?
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2012, 03:18:55 PM »
We have two long-haired gray cats.  We don't have dust bunnies -- we have "dust kittens."  Perhaps I can put all that fluff to a good crafty use... it tends to stick to my clothes and all anyway... :)

At any rate, thanks for all your comments.  I figured I was probably okay, but I just wanted to check... being new and all. 

I'm really looking forward to selling here.  I only have a handful of items made so far, and I'll put those up if I can ever manage to get good photos.  I'm pretty busy, and so is my husband, who is my photographic consultant.  I'm sure a lot of folks here can sympathize with the time pressure of trying to develop one's craft while still keeping on top of work and family and so forth.  How do you do it? :)

In the meantime, I want to start making some of the trickier projects I have in mind.  So far, my best stuff is all jewelry I want to keep to wear myself. ;)

Offline MakinTheBest

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6112
  • Live everyday like you mean it!
    • View Profile
Re: getting ready to start selling -- advice?
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2012, 03:58:20 PM »
We can all relate to the time crunch.  Many late nights here working after work, kids, house, and husband are taken care of so you are in good company.  As far as photographs, feel free to ask questions about that as well since we, well at least me, still cringe at all the mistakes I made in the beginning.