Part 2 – Where to sell your items
Following on from Part 1 where we discussed the basics you need to turn your hobby into the business of your dreams; we’ll now look at places where you can sell your products. In this guide I will look at the main places in the UK that you can sell your items. This is by no means a complete list; it will give you a great starting place.
All the information is correct at the time of writing although I will try and add updates where possible, please drop me a comment below if anything has changed dramatically after reading this blog.
Selling your Products on Social Media
It is always good to have a social media presence and you can use these sites to promote your products and tell people about you and your brand. There aren’t many businesses these days that don’t at least have a Facebook page. This blog will focus on Facebook as it is the platform I have been using the longest.
It is against the rules on Facebook to sell products as a business on your personal page so you will need to create a business page. This is quick and easy to do, you need to have a personal page to be able to have a Facebook Business Page. From your main Facebook page you have a Create button on the top toolbar (or you can click this link here) and this will guide you through the process of setting up a Facebook business page. There are lots of different things you can complete here, and I won’t go into specific detail in this blog, maybe a subject for another day. Facebook as a platform has created a whole wealth of information on the different products they offer and details about creating a Facebook business page is here.
Once you’ve created your page you can download the Pages Manager app for your mobile where you can quickly snap images of your makes or what you’ve been up to and share them with your likers. If you update your page name you can share your page link with everyone and invited them to like your page, use the @ sign followed by your business name to tag your page.
As well as a business page there are a whole host of groups on Facebook for advertising, selling and buying craft items. Just a quick search for ‘Handmade’ or ‘Craft’ will reveal a huge selection of different groups you can join. A word of caution with these groups though… and this is my opinion and observation… A lot of the people in these groups are ‘Hobby’ sellers, they aren’t running a business. The pricing levels are usually way off and far too cheap, or they are producing items for fun and not looking to make much (if any) profit. These sites are great for showcasing your products. There are lots of posts where people request items so you can post a picture of one of your makes with a price and a link to your business page to increase your visibility.
My advice would be that you take the opinion of others in these groups with a pinch of salt. In very simplistic terms, a lot of people who buy on Facebook are expecting something for nothing. Be proud of your items, stand by your pricing and let your quality speak for itself.
Selling your Products in Online Stores
There are sites on the internet that are set up to allow you to sell your products on their platform and sell in exchange for a small fee. You will probably have used some of these; ebay, Etsy or Not on The High Street. Each platform charged a different amount for you to sell on their site. The lesser known sites are a bit cheaper whilst the bigger ones will charge you more. Please do make sure you take this into consideration when pricing your items, you really don’t want to be all excited at your first sale only to find out that you lost out once the fees are taken off. Most of these sites charge their fee on both the listing and the postage cost so remember that P&P costs include postage and packing.
Some sites have an application and approval process whilst others will let you set up shop immediately. It’s worth doing some research on each of them to see where best your products fit, check out their Social Media presence and see if there are seller support groups online that you can join and see what people think. Here is a list of the ones that are the more popular ones (there are others):
|Not On The High Street||https://www.notonthehighstreet.com/|
|The British Craft House||https://thebritishcrafthouse.co.uk/|
|Handmade in Britain||https://www.handmadeinbritain.co.uk/|
|Handmade on Amazon||https://services.amazon.co.uk/handmade.html|
|All by Mama||https://www.allbymama.com/|
*This is my affiliate link for Etsy – if you sign up via this link you will get 40 free listings, and so will I
To stand out on these sites you need good product images, I would urge you to spend some time looking at the imagery on these site and tone yours to match. You don’t need to spend hundreds on a new camera, you can take some beautiful pictures on your phone and there are some great photo editing apps you can download.
If you choose to sell on a few of these sites you need to be aware that you cannot use the same descriptions on each, this will cause them to ‘fight’ against each other in the rankings on Google and could prevent people finding you. Also bear in mind that you will be spending time updating and adding new products to each of these sites and this could become quite time consuming. My advice would be to pick 1 or 2 and focus on those or choose 1 and build your own website.
Selling your Products on your own Website
Having your own website is a great way to showcase and sell your products but might be a little bit daunting for someone who is not familiar with web design. There are 2 main parts to having a website, the domain name which is the bit after the www. and where you build your site or where it is hosted.
Firstly, you need to find a domain name, hopefully when you were researching your business name you will have investigated as to whether anyone else has your business name by Googling it. There are quite a few places online that you can register a domain name, I use Reg-123 as they are a UK company and have great customer support. They have a search function where you can add the name you want and search to see what is available, you can go for a .com a .co.uk or a .uk. These are probably the best 3 if you want to sell your goods as they are ending that people expect.
You should expect to pay between £0.99 and £15 a year for them and it is good if you can pay for 2/3 years at a time, this way Google knows your domain is one that will be around for a while which is great for SEO (more on that in another blog, perhaps!). Next you need to decide how you want to build your site.
There are 2 main options; a specific eCommerce platform or something that you can build yourself. The eCommerce platforms tend to be a bit more expensive but they have everything in one place, usually have great support and are easy to get your site up and running in a few days. The platforms where you build it yourself take a bit more effort but are a lot cheaper, so it just depends on your confidence and how quickly you want your site live.
Ecommerce sites are places such as Create.net, Shopify and Wix; although if you Google search you’ll find a few different ones. There are positives and negatives for each, I have used Create and Shopify in the past and found both to be great platforms – Create is a UK company which is nice. Spend a little time looking into what their sites offer and whether it fits you needs, have a look at other sites you like and if you scroll to the bottom you can usually see what platform they are built on. I would advise not to go for one just because it is cheap, this is your little window on the world and where you will direct customers to buy your items, so it is worth spending as much as you can afford.
If you go down the route of building your own website then you will need to find a hosting company; there are a few main ones that you may have seen advertised such as 1and1 or GoDaddy. I have personally opted for a smaller UK company Birch Hosting and they have been superb (this is an affiliate link and I do earn a few pennies if you sign up to them). Again, do some research, a quick google search will give you some feedback on their quality. Some things to look out for are whether or not the provide a free SSL (this ensures people can be confident your site is secure, the little lock before your web address) and good support services especially if you are new at all this. The best way to build your site is using WordPress, your hosting company should have an option to install it and then you are able to build your site from scratch exactly how you want it. There are loads and loads of tutorials, videos and websites that can help you, if you’re selling product then you need to install a selling plug in such as WooCommerce.
Although there is a monthly charge for a website, the overall costs will be much lower than using an online store like Etsy so it’s a good idea to have one or at least be aiming to build one soon.
Selling your Products at Local fairs
This option is something that I didn’t consider when I first started selling my products, it has taken me quite a while to build up the confidence to sell my products to real human people, face to face! But in this age where there is massive competition on Facebook, on selling platforms and you must work super hard to get yourself seen, this can be a good route to go down.
There are some great Facebook groups where you can find stalls in your local area, either dedicated craft fairs or local school fairs. You do need to consider the price point of the items you make. If you’re going to be selling at school fairs then you need to think about having items that can be purchased using pocket money. This doesn’t mean sell yourself short but maybe this isn’t the location for you. Or perhaps you can tweak your product to create a cheaper version. If you make handbags, could you make little purses that are a bit cheaper? If you make jewellery could you do some smaller simpler versions for kids – bear in mind any warning you may need to add to your packaging when selling to children.
Craft fairs are great locations as they usually only allow 1 or 2 of the same makes and usually require you to have made the product yourself. The people attending are usually crafters themselves, so they understand the value of the items you are selling. These can range in cost from £30/40 to £200 depending on the location and duration of the event, some of these can go on all weekend.
There are lots of things to consider about doing fairs, you will need to build up stock so you will need somewhere to store it. You also need to think about how you take payment, so you may want to consider a card reader as well as being able to take cash.
One thing I cannot express enough, what ever route you go down, is that it takes time and effort. You cannot expect to set up a Facebook Page, a web shop or a website and people magically find you. It’s almost a job in itself marketing yourself and it will take time to build a following. But it is so worthwhile when you start seeing those orders coming in, when you sell something to a total stranger the feeling is amazing!
Have a mooch about on Facebook, this is a great place to start and get some feedback on your products. You can start selling instantly with a PayPal account as you can email people invoices and they can pay you securely, just remember to include fees in your pricing!
Author: Emma Hannay, owner of Stamped With Love
Emma has been running her business for nearly 5 years and has come from a sales background. She creates beautiful hand stamped jewellery, keyrings and keepsakes from her home in Havant, Hampshire. They are all lovingly personalised with your own text and are available at www.stampedwithlove.uk or on Etsy at www.emmastampedwithlove.etsy.com