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This is Day 5 of the 30 Days to a Debt Free Christmas Challenge
Today we tackle – How to make money for Christmas by selling homemade crafts.
The holiday season is here and so is one of the more financially stressful times of the year. However, Christmas time can be a great time for you to use some of your crafty skills and learn to make money with homemade Christmas crafts. Everyone is looking for cute and inexpensive stocking stuffers and unique gifts to round out their holiday shopping.
Here is the best battle plan for earning some extra cash this Christmas season:
Plan in advance
Don't wait until December 24th! Start ASAP planning what crafts you'd like to do so that you can have items to sell. (Pinterest has loads of simple ideas for those of us who aren't super crafty).
Examples could include:
Think about items you would be interested in buying, ask friends, etc. Be realistic too. Your time is valuable and unfortunately is often quite limited.
I feel like I say this in a lot of my posts, but really, research is SO crucial. This is how you know what people are interested in, how much to charge, etc. The last thing you want to do is waste your precious time and money and not have a craft that would appeal to people. Keep in mind most people struggle with their Christmas budgets, so it might be a smart plan to shoot for items you could sell for somewhere between $5-$15 dollars.
Don't be afraid to browse through Christmas or holiday themed Etsy shops. If you have friends who have worked craft shows in the past, ask them what types of products they sold, or saw being sold there, what crafts seemed to be the biggest draw, etc.
Methods of selling
Okay, so you have some ideas for homemade crafts and you think you might be able to earn enough to defray your gift expenses this year. How are you planning to sell them? Consider local craft shows. Also, thanks to technology, it is even easier to find buyers for your creations too. There are local Facebook groups where you can advertise your creations. Also, etsy.com is a great option to sell handmade items!
Okay, so you might be looking at this section and wonder, how do I go about doing this part? Don't worry, it might be easier than you think! Here are some in-depth explanations of three of the best ways to try to sell your homemade crafts.
1. Local Craft Shows – Probably one of the easiest (depending on your perspective) to get your homemade goodies out there. Google craft shows in your area and see if you can find press releases of previous years events and try to track down the contact information. Sometimes craft shows are annual and repeat each year.
Often times craft shows are benefits for local charities and churches. You might want to consider calling your local humane societies, human concerns centers, YMCA, and other organizations. This is another situation where if you have friends or know of anyone who makes their own crafts, you could ask them for more information. Scope out the local newspapers and Facebook groups because often their are groups dedicated to crafters and they share upcoming craft show opportunities. Another tip would be to check out bulletin boards you see around town. Often times craft shows will be advertised via flyers and posters.
There are some considerations for craft shows though. Not all craft shows provide tables to their vendors. This is something you should find out in advance in case you need to bring or borrow one. There are also sometimes fees that crafters need to pay to reserve their spot. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but is definitely a consideration because it can cut into the money you bring home.
2. Facebook Groups – Almost every area has ‘yard sale' or ‘garage sale' facebook groups where people can post pictures of their items for sale. This is a great FREE option to get your items out there. It's nice because you can sell items to people in your local area. There are no fees for listing, no need for a registration fee at a craft show, no need to pay shipping since you are selling locally. Keep in mind that this usually does require you meeting someone somewhere to complete the transaction, so be sure to be safe. Meet in public locations, make sure people know where you are, etc.
To find the groups log onto Facebook and search “yard sale *insert name of your city/town*” and see what you find.
3. Etsy.com – Etsy.com is sort of like eBay, but for homemade and vintage items. It can be a great way to get your items ‘out there' for people to see and purchase. Etsy.com allows you to post pictures and descriptions of your items. You can set your price and shipping cost to whatever you feel is fair. You can even set up your shop so that someone could request a ‘custom' item from you. Etsy allows you to create your own shop name and select what types of payment methods you will accept.
Setting up an Etsy shop is extremely easy and is a relatively low cost endeavor. It costs .20 to list an item for 4 months. Should your item sells Etsy.com takes a 3.5% from the final sale price. Overall it is not that bad of a deal and many people find great success. Setting up a shop does not take very long at all.
Etsy has compiled a list of resources for sellers to reference when trying to their shop up and running. Check out their Seller Handbook for specific guides on getting your shop found via search engines, branding, photography, and much more. Keep in mind an Etsy shop is not that different from a standard store, you need to appeal to your buyers. Clear and well done pictures are a must, as are clear descriptions of your products.
Prepare your crafts
You need to be prepared. This can be a bit tricky. You don't want to make TOO many and risk having extras (particularly if they are holiday specific, because then they are time sensitive). Additionally, since the whole point is to earn some extra cash, you don't want to spend unnecessary money. Keep in mind, depending on how you are planning on selling your items you may need to be able to transport your items. 🙂
But don't be annoying! Don't be afraid to offer some incentives similar to those you may see in stores. “Buy two, get one free” or “10% off” work well for people looking for a deal. In terms of WHERE to advertise…well there are several fairly easy ways to advertise: Facebook/social media, flyers, and word of mouth.
You can advertise for free on Facebook. There are many groups where you can advertise what your are selling, craft shows you are attending, link to your etsy shop etc. Also, don't be afraid to research forums because sometimes they have sections where you can advertise your shops. Be sure that you are not advertising on a site or forum that wouldn't have a need for your craft. For example if you knit or crochet, a forum or website devoted to people who knit or crochet wouldn't be the best target market. Consider using Craigslist as a way to advertise too.
Free advertising is always best, but you can also print up small flyers at your local library or using your own printer. You can hang these on the bulletin boards outside local grocery stores, at your church, or other venues. Websites such as VistaPrint often have awesome deals on getting custom business cards printed. Keep in mind though that this would be a little bit of a financial investment. If you are planning on continuing to make your homemade craft year round or continue next year, it might be worth it!
Be flexible. Whether it's pricing or if someone has a specific request such as a different color combination in your craft, consider offering special orders and discounts (within reason). You might be surprised how much more inclined someone is to make a purchase if you're willing to be a little flexible.
Those strategies should take you a long way with your goal to earning a little extra money with homemade holiday crafts.
But if you're still not sure, check out some of these tips for success:
Okay, reading this might have made you give me a funny look. But hear me out. Whenever you make something into a chore, it's not fun. When things aren't fun, a few different things happen. You either don't enjoy what you're doing or you may not do as good of a job at it. Making these crafts might not earn you loads of money or be a new career, but at least enjoy what you're doing!
You could even consider working in a group with a few close friends. Make a weekend of it! This will provide great time working together and you could even earn a little extra money from your efforts!
Pick something (or several projects depending on your preference) that you enjoy making or want to learn how to do. Simple is usually better, but if it's something you like it's even better. Your best bet is a homemade craft that is fairly unique, something that you can make quickly, and something where the supplies aren't overly expensive. Oil painting is fun, but the paints are expensive, so that might not be your perfect holiday crafts!
Don't be afraid to use skills you already have also. If you like knitting and crocheting make scarves, pot holders, doilys, wash clothes, etc. Focusing on skills you already have will make sure that you're dedicating a reasonable amount of time to this endeavor.
Be realistic with your prices. Be fair, after all you've put time and effort into your projects. But if you charge too much you might not sell anything. If you aren't sure what you should be charging, calculate how much you spend on the supplies + time spent + additional fees per item you made. If you still are feeling confused, don't be afraid to research how much comparable products are selling for and see what others are charging for similar work.
Setting goals are fun and can help you feel like you are making progress. Do you want to earn enough money to pay for Christmas dinner? Make enough to pay for the new monogrammed stockings you have had your eyes on? Or do you want to shoot for the moon and make enough to pay for Christmas gifts? Goals don't need to be huge, but they can make things more exciting and give you a focus. I personally like giving myself a goal and really working hard to accomplish it!
By using the skills you may already have you have the potential to earn a little extra income this holiday season. Don't be afraid to experiment and see what you can come up with! Who knows, you might even surprise yourself!