The internet has opened up a whole lot of new opportunities for creatives such as crafters. You do, however, generally need to use a bit of strategy to make the most of them. With that in mind, here are three tips to help you in starting an online craft store.
Plan to open your own store
There’s nothing wrong with selling on third-party platforms such as Etsy, Amazon, and eBay. It is, however, risky to rely on them. If there are any issues with your account or with the platforms, your business could disappear, literally, overnight. Even if there are no issues, selling through these platforms can be a lot more expensive than running your own online store.
If you want to split the difference, consider buying a domain and taking out the associated social-media handles. That way you have a low-cost backup plan which will allow you to pivot quickly if necessary.
Protect your product photographs
If you’re creating unique products to sell, then you’ll need to create unique images so customers can visualize them. It’s generally best to avoid putting conspicuous watermarks on these. These often irritate genuine customers. They can also make your products harder to see clearly.
You can, however, take images that are strongly personal to you. For example, you could appear in them yourself. If you’re not comfortable showing your face, you could just show your hands. You could also show your pets, garden or local area. Obviously, you need to be careful how much you reveal. The key point is to stop other people from copying your photos.
If you’re making digital prints, then consider learning how to create electronic signature. This is just the modern equivalent of artists signing their work. It can help to deter copycats without irritating your customers. In fact, your customers may even appreciate it as it helps to personalize the product even further.
Set yourself up with a mobile office
It’s great if you have space for a proper office as well as a craft space when starting an online craft store. In reality, however, it’s probably more likely that your craft space will need to take priority as that’s where you’ll make your products. Even if you do have a proper office, you’re probably going to need, or just want, to fit in work around childcare. For both reasons, having a mobile office can be very handy.
In general, you want to avoid relying too much on your smartphone. If nothing else, using it for work will be a drain on the battery. This could leave you short of power to make or receive proper calls. Also, even the largest smartphones have relatively small screens. They’re fine for checking messages but not ideal for proper work.
If you don’t want to carry around a full laptop, then a tablet with an add-on keyboard can be a good compromise. Invest in a battery pack if you’re going to be away from the base for extended periods. Tablets are definitely better than phones for editing photos and video. The extra screen real-estate really makes a huge difference here.