By January 13, 2015 19 Comments Read More →

Best Advice Ever

college-adviceI’m sure you remember your days of hesitantly listing your very first product for sale, or setting up for your first craft show.  You try to remember everything you wanted to say or bring and inevitably forgot something important.  Over the years, those of us that have stuck through the highs and lows of selling have learned, often thanks to trial and error, what works and what doesn’t and now I want to ask you to help your fellow artist just starting out!

What was the best piece of advice you ever received regarding selling handmade crafts or what was the one thing you WISH someone had told you in the beginning?

Share your answer in the comment section and to show my appreciation to those that are willing to share their experience with others just starting out, on Friday, January 23rd, I will randomly select one comment as the winner of a free month of advertising on Its Better Handmade.  I will contact you via email and set up your ad on the sidebar of IBH for all to see.

So, let’s get started, what advice would you give others just starting out or what was the best advice some generous mentor gave to you in the beginning?

Kimberly

About the Author:

A life long crafter, I found my passion in painting on glass, especially toasting glasses for brides, as well as chainmaille jewelry in between chasing my two boys to various sports events and clubs. This passion for handmade led my husband and I to start the www.HandmadeArtists.com and our passion for getting other handmade artists seen no matter where they sell led to acquiring It's Better Handmade! My hope is that by working with other creative people more buyers will come to understand the true value of handmade.

19 Comments on "Best Advice Ever"

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  1. Sally says:

    Don’t forget to pay yourself! Your time matters!

  2. Sally says:

    Don’t forget to pay yourself! Your time matters.

  3. Amy Chapman says:

    Don’t playdown your products out of modesty.

  4. Larissa says:

    Oh geez, I wish I’d been more hesitant about my first listing… because of the advice I’m about to give: Photos. If you have any web presence at all, you need amazing photos. Pay attention to cropping backgrounds, composition, color, lighting. Spring for and invest in a real light tent and some lights. It’s worth it; you’ll get decent photos even without a pro camera. And don’t be afraid to use photo editing software: color correct, crop, sharpen, clean away dust. You took the time to make the product. Take the time to make it look as great as it is.

  5. Neva says:

    My daughter said: “Mom, your costumes are so beautiful. You need to sell them to other moms that want quality clothes.”

  6. Lily Lily says:

    Take your pictures on white backgrounds. Photos matter, retake them if necessary and list things just to see if people like it. Some of my fastest sales were on items I swore no one would buy. Some of the ones I thought would go quickly were slower for other reasons, prices, right occasion. List dimensions and give a feel for your item. Use all your tags on whatever site Tumblr, Etsy.com, etc. to help people find you.

  7. Amy Spadoni says:

    I love what I do! My advice is, don’t fret over what you think others may want. Make what you see, create your vision, without worrying if anyone else will like it. I would think “what does everyone else like”, “are these colors ok?” The things I sell the most are things I loved making. Your work will reflect that. Without a doubt. At the same time, I learned listening to others about their color schemes or style is important. I go through magazines of anything modern and I ask myself, “How can my rustic crafts fit in this home?” I learn a lot just by asking myself to think outside my comfort zone. yet, I stand my ground by making things i would only want in my home.

    • Kimberly Kimberly says:

      Congratulations Amy, you have won the free month of advertising! I will be contacting you through your shop shortly with all the information you need to get your ad up.

  8. Good Pictures. White backgrounds help, tagging correctly, having an item that is in demand or needed, pricing correctly, good descriptions (they aren’t there in person)& patience.

  9. Carlos Alvarez says:

    I think the best advise would just be really to enjoy the things you do and also have balance in your life. If you enjoy what you do, you have enough motivation to keep moving forward! The balance will help diversify you skill sets as well.

    Great article Kimberly – thanks for posting it.

    Carlos

  10. Sarah Dutko says:

    The best advice I’ve gotten has been to find something to make your product STAND OUT! When I first started, I was looking at what everyone else was selling, at what was popular, and I tried to make the same things. Not surprisingly, I just got lost in the shuffle of all the other thousands of identical products. Once I started coming up with my own ideas and unique designs, instead of what I thought “would sell”, people began to sit up and take notice!

  11. Alisa Erkes says:

    The best advice I got when I was new was that having a handmade business was going to take a LOT of work. It wasn’t a thing where you could throw up a few things and people would flock in to buy everything you made.

    Alisa @ Allie’s Handmade Blankets

  12. Truthfully, it was difficult to get much advise when I first started out. I ended up meeting some of my networking friends by seeking the same answers they were, and helping each other out as beginners. I made attempts to post on a few groups some things that i had learned, in an effort to help out other new crafters, but i was quickly shut down because my post was “inaccurate, in the wrong format, in the wrong group, or, my favorite, promoting my business, because I tagged myself in the post” lol. I AM STILL LEARNING, most importantly, I am learning which groups and groups of people to AVOID because the negativity is everywhere. Brush it off! You are doing what YOU LOVE and sharing that love and beauty with the world! We are here to encourage each other, so feel free to ask questions! if you dont get an answer, or the answer you are looking for, TRY AGAIN! Pick different times of day or week, that may help. ASK ASK ASK! Learn as much as you can! There is great advise in these groups and most of the answers you are looking for can be found right here with your fellow crafters. The new and the seasoned.

  13. Melinda says:

    My best advise some up. First make what you love because in three months are you wanting to jump and make that item find your passion. Second do not loss your sell in building a business faith family and a time out must be there or resentment, overwhelm, resentment ect will follow. Learn were each dollar is going so you know what is supplies, the government and yours. Take bright pictures and the best way natural light or buy a natural light bulb. Last but not least never stop learning your craft, there are always new and better ways of doing stuff. Enjoy

  14. Leann Knauff says:

    The best advice I ever heard was so simple and true. “You are not Wal-mart.” I have used that in everything I do, when I feel overwhelmed I just remember I am ONE person not a million I cannot make everything or sell everything there is to sell. You have to pick your niche and stick to it instead of floating into different things just find what you are good at and stop trying to do everything!

  15. Melissa says:

    The Best advice was to listen to your customers, especially potential customers looking for products or ingredients that you don”t currently carry. They are the best sources of inspiration and can spur you to create something that will be a huge hit.

  16. Sara White says:

    The best advice I EVER received was from a little elderly lady that was set up next to met at a craft fair in a school gym, she was the only thing that kept me sane in that loud little gym that smelled like teenage feet…
    She told me to never give up and to create what I love, don’t bother trying to follow the fashion trends because they will just change. Pick your own style that speaks to you and ignore the people telling you that it will never sell or that you have to make whatever is popular with the kids that week.
    That was 11 years ago and I’ve come a long way as a jeweler, I keep her advice mind when designing new pieces and sure enough it sells!

  17. Amanda J Brown says:

    The best advice is to relax, have fun, and be you. It is easy to be nervous (especially the first time out). You are wondering how people will perceive your hard work (and, of course, if anything will sell). You must have fun overall. There will be moments that are not fun (like when something goes haywire on you ~ but take a deep breath, smile, and relax). If you are not having fun in the long run, it is simply not worth doing (and you need to find something else to do). And, finally be you. You are your brand. You are your items. You are your business. Many items sell because of you. People see who you really are, and they will then be able to understand your style and personality. That style and personality transfers to your items. Think of a time that someone has told you a story about how they got something. Maybe they got it on a vacation (that was memorable mostly because of the entire experience) or maybe they got it from someone that was a unique person. That is what you are trying to create ~ a memorable and lasting impression on your customer. I have many items that I have bought at sales, fairs, and even mom and pop shops over the years that I remember the experience like it was yesterday because of something memorable that was completely unique to the seller or shop.

  18. When I first started out, I didn’t personally know anyone who was selling their own handmade products, so there was no one to share their real world advice with me! Now that I’ve had an Etsy shop for a couple of years, I really wish someone had warned me about just how tough the jewelry market is, just how difficult it is to make your products stand out in a sea of similar items.

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