Hi! Stephanie from Swoodson Says again, with a really fun round up of things that I think would be great to see and then sell at a craft fair or on Etsy and other online handicrafts venues. I am an avid handmade shopper, so I not only looked for things I’d buy myself but also considered how long they’d take to make, how much fabric they’d use, and if they’d make good gifts!
I think you will find some fun new ideas if you sew to sell, or maybe just some new projects if you don’t. I have a round-up of fabric scrap gift ideas that also has some great ideas too!
What makes a good “sew to sell” project?
- Supplies – if it uses small pieces of fabric or basic sewing supplies, you don’t have much of an outlay. If you are making a custom top of the range bag with real leather and high quality hardware, you’ll need to buy all of those materials up front, and then sell at a high enough price to cover those costs.
- Profit – linked to the costs of supplies above. Can you make a profit from this item? Take into account cost of materials and your time.
- Time – how long is this going to take to make? Remember that your profit over and above your materials expenses, also needs to pay you a living wage for your time. Don’t undervalue yourself and spend 5 hours making something, only to make $5 at the end.
- Shipping – can be expensive on large, heavy or valuable items. Smaller items that can go in a padded envelope and be inexpensive to send may sell better. A $15 item that costs $15 to send has less appeal than one that costs $5 to send.
- Appeal – do people actually want it? Naturally if you make things people aren’t interested in, then you won’t sell many. A beautiful embroidered fabric cover for your video cassette recorder won’t have many buyers, but a trendy bag for your iPad will have more appeal.
- Venue and audience – where will you be selling your items? Do shipping costs come into play at all? What about the local market? If you make items that might appeal more to seniors, then you won’t sell so many if the typical audience at your craft fair is young moms. Try to match your projects to the audience you expect to encounter. If you can theme your items to appeal to a particular sector, and create a co-ordinated display or store, you’ll do well.
- What sets your products apart? Are you making exactly the same products as everyone else? There’s nothing wrong with that if those are popular products and you can make them well, and make a good profit. But if you can include a special feature that sets yours apart from the crowd, even better!
For example, how many zipper pouches do you think there are for sale on Etsy? Plenty. But if you set yours apart by appealing to a specific audience, such as a Dr Who Tardis zipper pouch, you’ll be more likely to catch the eye of your buyer. So try to give your products that special unique touch.
For additional thoughts about the art of sewing and selling, please check out this post:
For more tips on how to sell on Etsy, check out this advice from an Etsy selling and marketing expert on how to get traffic to your Etsy shop.