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You started your handmade business with the encouragement of your friends and family. You paid for a pretty logo, planned your range, agonised over pricing and spent longer than you care to admit daydreaming about how “doing what you love” was going to be the key to financial security. The only problem is, most weeks you’re not hearing the merry ring of sales notifications on your mobile, you’re hearing crickets.
You start worrying that you’re the problem, which opens up a whole other can of worms! People say your prices are too high … no they’re too low. Your fabrics are too quirky … no they’re too mainstream. You should be on instagram … no snapchat … no facebook … have you heard of *insert next big thing*.
But one of the things I don’t see people talking about much, when it comes to flatlined sales, is finding new markets for your handmade products, so that’s what this blog post is going to delve into.
NB: Finding new markets for your handmade products is a topic that I first wrote about in One Thimble Issue 3 and parts of this blog post are taken from that article. Image above is of the Darling Daisy Bag by Molly & Mama from One Thimble Issue 12.
Where to sell handmade products?
There’s lots of different places that you can look at selling your handmade products. The places most people think of, are online markets, social media and physical markets.
But because of the volume of people selling in those venues it can be easy to feel disillusioned and invisible, especially when you’re starting out.
A simple google search will bring up a heap of blog posts with 20+ online market places to sell items that you might not have considered, or heard of before. It’s definitely worth checking out some of these places and considering whether your handmade items will be a good fit. But if you’re wanting to come up with somewhere totally new to sell your handmade items – keep reading!
How to find a new market?
- Think about who your customers are or who they could be.
- Brainstorm the places where those people spend time and where, when and why they’re likely to spend money. The key here is to be specific and try to think outside the square. It doesn’t matter if you end up with a huge list you can whittle it down in the next steps. If you’re interested in wholesaling your items add stores to your list.
- Research how to go about selling to people in those places. If its a business or physical place where you wish to sell, find out who makes the decisions, who should you ask to speak to, what times of the day/week are good to approach.
- Consider if your product line needs to be tweaked to be more appealing to people in those places. Are there additional product compliance requirements that you need to ensure your products meet?
- Approach those places &/or implement any marketing changes. Be very clear on what you’re wanting from them and also what you’re offering (win/win). Be polite. Be prepared to leave samples, information and contact details for them to get back to you. Be prepared for knockbacks.
Deb from Deb’s Dolls Clothes, introduced me to the idea of thinking outside the square when finding a market for your handmade goods. As well as selling online she also sells her dolls clothes direct to childcare centres. To make sure her dolls clothes would be appealing to childcare centres, Deb found out which range of dolls most childcare centres stock and made sure she was making clothing to fit those dolls. She considered the age and dexterity of the children at the centres when choosing the range of clothes she’d market to the childcare centres.
I hope this blog post has had some “ahha’s” in it for you and that it’s given you some ideas on standing out in the crowd.
Wishing you every success with your handmade business.