Friday, August 8, 2008

Online Craft Profits

With my crafted items (baskets, whatsit bags, scarves etc.), I am making a moderate amount, probably in the range of $12 - $17 per hour. Those are all machine knit and take a minimal amount of time to produce. My best place to show & sell the baskets is at Craft Fairs. I almost always sell out of them and they range in pricing from $5 to $35 for larger ones. They're no filled, I leave that up to the customer. They are decorated only. This is one example of my larger basket. It is oval in shape and measures a good 10" across, 7" deep and 6" high. Perfect for a lot of gift giving which is why I have that size. When I first started out selling my knit and starched baskets, I had tons of small ones, figuring they would be more of an impluse buy. Not so! I kept receiving custom orders for large baskets and when I started displaying that size at craft fairs, sales took off like a rocket! The larger baskets do fairly well online, but the small ones ($5) sell like crazy. Then, a repeat customer will often come back to buy the larger ones later on.

With my original designs I sell to other machine knitters, those are making a very good wage for me. They're constant sellers on my websites and I add new items all the time. They're also ePatterns, where the machine knitters download them. I'd cleared this with Lori (Thanks, Lori !!) at Etsy before listing any of them since some sites don't allow ebook stuff. I was thrilled to find a wealth of talented designers who were marketing their ePatterns on Etsy! I try to have something for each season year-round in my patterns and it has really helped to give a decent profit margin.

Over all, I'm making a fairly good wage off of my knitting machines and hand knits as well as my newest line of Cross Stitch patterns (also ePatterns). I try to target market the Cross Stitch (like the one at the left) to Renfaire folk, SCA, Historical etc. They are the most likely to consider purchasing these patterns. Some are extremely large, like the Celtic Harp and the others are much more suited to banners or an addition to clothing. But I also have Cross Stitch for the standard seasonal market such as Halloween and Christmas. This gives me a much broader range and a better profit margin.

The profits are good ... until you factor in the odd and end knitting machine I buy or when I order large amounts of yarn just 'because' I have to have it!! .

Many times, I see listings with lowered prices that don't really have much of a description and I try to have good descriptions of my items. Poor or incomplete descriptions and dark pictures are a sure way to NOT sell your items online. Especially on Etsy since there is a good deal of competition for most types of items. Buyers scan the listings and only have a small thumbnail to look at as they go down the list of items in a specific category. So if your pictures are not going to catch their eye, you're not going to catch the sale.

Pricing can also be a factor in sales, which in turn will impact your profit margin. If your prices are too high, buyers may do the 'double-blink-I'm-clutching-my-wallet' mental notation, then move on to other listings. And if your prices are too much lower than your competitors on whichever site you sell at, there is a possibility the buyers may skip over your items, thinking "Oh, nice low price, but it must be made of cheaper materials." and they go on to the next listing. Or if you're displaying at a craft fair, they go on to the next booth.

As crafters, we know that a lot of our time and effort which goes into making such lovely items is not compensated well. We know that going in to the whole crafting world. But our love for the craft keeps us plugging away and sometimes selling at a profit, sometimes selling at a loss. Each individual item you produce should be priced on its own merit. Just because you have earrings that sell fairly well at $10 a pair which have silver plating as their key element, doesn't mean the same design in earrings with STERLING silver needs to sell for the same price as PLATED silver! If you do have different components (i.e. Jewelry's Silver, Copper, Silver Plated, etc.), have different sections in your shop so those who are looking for sterling will easily find it ... and purchase!!

I do different hand-knit scarves for craft fairs as opposed to the ones I sell online in my Etsy Store. The more expensive yarns (Alpaca, mohair, etc.) are displayed at craft fairs. Not online. I make up swatches of the various yarns I use for craft fair scarves so they can do the touchy-feely thing. THAT sells scarves!! My hand-knit scarves are in plastic bags so they don't get soiled at craft fairs. And I get my pricing, too. With specialty yarns, I have a general rule of $1 per inch. So a 50" Alpaca scarf is $50.

Find some of your own 'general pricing rules' and try your best to stick to it.

~ Marge ~


SecretMe said...

sounds like your doing really well congrats!

~Marge~ said...

Thanks. My website and the craft fairs are a good solid income. But it took me many years to work up to that profitability.