You know artists who paint extremely well. You know creative minds who can give fashion a new name. You know home cooks who can give restaurants a run for their money.
In fact, you even know jewellery makers who make funky and trendy earrings. Or perhaps, you’re one of them.
But you know what’s sad? You know your worth, your talent and your expertise. But the world is yet to recognise.
Appreciation from your loved ones is only going to fuel your passion. But, appreciation from the world is going to turn this passion into a full-grown business.
And we’ll give you the perfect guide to get started.
List products on a marketplace like Amazon/Flipkart Sell on Instagram/Facebook Make your own e-commerce website
- Steps to help sell products online
- Pros and Cons of Selling Handmade Items Online
- How to Price Handmade Items
- Where to Sell Handmade Items Online
Steps to help sell products online
The world of e-commerce has gone from being a new player in the market to a giant hub of everything under the sun. From clothes to makeup to accessories to home decor, everything can be found online. But what helps you the most is that a majority of the things that are sold online can also be handmade. And if you have expertise in that, you have a wonderful business opportunity.
Find your expertise
In order to sell products handmade by you (or your staff) online, first, decide as to what you are going to manufacture and sell. If your product is unique, on top of being handmade, chances of getting noticed are higher as consumers constantly want something new or offbeat. However, if your products are not entirely unique, make sure that they have a special touch, a touch of your authenticity to differentiate them from others in the same category.
To give you an example: Rajasthani craftsmen came together to sell clothing specially embroidered in their native designs. Once they finalized the products they would embroider on, their price range and their style, all they did was explore different platforms to sell. What started as a stall in a few exhibitions turned into multiple ecommerce stores where they currently list their products. As a matter of fact, even textile experts from Gujarat started selling everything from clothing to everyday objects but with their special Ajrak print to stand out from the rest.
Decide on manufacturing or procuring
In order to sell handmade products, you don’t necessarily have to make them by yourself. You can also procure them from skilled craftsmen and native experts while using your resources to list them online, advertise, sell and share the profit. All you need to do is find the perfect craft/art/print/style that is handmade and easy to extend in a variety of objects.
Build your team
One must also know that e-commerce is known for fast selling. And knowing that handmade objects take time to be made, the customers are usually more patient. However, that patience eventually runs out and you can be left with angry customers if you don’t figure out a way to produce and stock more. Hence, it is important to make sure that your business doesn’t depend only on you for dealing with every aspect. Hire more people and train them to either assist you or take over some elements of your business on their own.
Make your own website/register with an existing marketplace
To sell online, having a website with payment integration, customer redressal options and all the backend of an e-commerce store is a must. Depending on how small or big you wish to start, you can either make your own e-commerce website or list your products on marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Qtrove, etc. or you can simply do both! Amazon Karigar is exclusively meant to sell handmade products. However, even making your own store is no longer difficult with the likes of Shopify to help you set it up in a few hours. Just make sure that you always choose your own unique domain name, so that it doesn’t affect your business when you switch e-commerce store partners from Shopify to maybe another one.
Let’s give you another example: Many beauty brands started off by selling their products via Nykaa for better reachability and lower costs. However, with their products becoming more popular, they also started hosting their own e-commerce stores where customers can’t be distracted by competition and no vendor eats into their profits.
Partner with a store, make your own store or do both. The choice is yours.
Describe and advertise your products
While most businesses think of advertising as a luxury expense that they immediately cut to reduce cost, it’s actually a necessity. Big brands become big brands because of the successful and constant advertising. And for you to break into the clutter with handmade products, you already have an upper hand. Being handmade and not machine-made, you can capture the attention of your customers with advertising across social media platforms. Digital advertising/marketing comes with its perks. You are not blindly spending money on an ad to show to lakhs of people of which only a few hundreds are relevant. Digital marketing helps you define your target audience very well in terms of age, demographic, delivery radius, lifestyle and more. Hence with lesser spending, you can reach the perfect audience. Also, make sure that you describe your products and their uniqueness to retain the customers who come to your website.
Select a third-party logistics partner
You’ve made your own e-commerce store and you’re all set to advertise your products. However, you’re getting nowhere if your idea of deliveries is to manually deliver the product. This is only possible when your delivery radius is extremely small or your product needs to be hand-delivered, for eg: cakes. So to make sure that your products are delivered safely, properly and quickly, select a suitable third-party logistics partner to handle everything – pick up, processing, packaging, and delivery. However, when you partner with an existing marketplace, they often provide order fulfillment services through their own logistics chain. One of the biggest examples of this is Amazon Fulfillment Services that is available to all vendors who list their products on Amazon.
Pros and Cons of Selling Handmade Items Online
Uniqueness of items:
While machine-made items ensure uniformity, handmade items lend a touch of authenticity. Because every handmade item is unique. Even skilled craftsmen who make the same products from time to time considerably improve their craft and churn out every batch different from the previous one. This helps products easily stand out. More so, handmade work is always considered original which further helps it differentiate itself from its competitors in the market.
Easy customization and change:
A machine-made setup works in only one way and i.e., how it is programmed to manufacture products. However, handmade products give you the freedom to take up customized orders with ease. From embroidering names to carving special symbols, artisans are talented and flexible to accommodate requests, which in turn makes your products even more unique and your customer feel truly like a king. You can also easily change the product line as long as it suits you and introduces limited editions or new collections.
Since machines are replaced by actual human hands, the load on the environment in terms of energy and emissions is considerably reduced. As a business owner, you can also use this as an important aspect to market your business. Many people are looking to reduce their carbon footprint through feel-good purchases that are easy on the environment. And your business of handmade items can easily take the limelight here.
Issues with quality:
While handmade products are unique, they can time and again have a quality-control issue. To err is human and craftsmen or even you may end up making the occasional mistake that may cost your business anything from one ruined piece to an entire collection.
While the market accepts the notion that handmade is generally more expensive, it can be particularly steep for customers in the case of very unique and time-consuming crafts. This in turn forces you as a business owner to charge higher in order to cover the cost of labour, raw materials, website, advertising and even your own profits. The higher the charge, the more limited your audience becomes.
Low production volume:
Factory production allows you the benefit of mass-producing hundreds or even thousands of products in a short span of time, something that hands can’t provide. Handmade products are based on a craft, and craft takes time. Therefore, if your business really hits it off or you’re starting on a big scale, you will either have to employ a large labour force and pay overtime charges to keep your product offering a mix between factory products with a touch of handmade art. If your business permits, you can also take more time to deliver the products, but this might upset the customers.
How to Price Handmade Items
The handmade industry is unregulated because you can’t simply put a fixed price on art. However, a good formula is to calculate your cost of supplies + per hour wages. Handmade product industries often pay per hour to their workforce working in shifts. Therefore, in terms of extra work, you will have to also count overtime charges as an added cost. But to break it all down simply, we’re stating a few points that you should consider while pricing your products.
Delivery radius and charge:
While most traditional handmade items are made in rural areas since that is where a majority of the skilled craftsmen hail from, the market is usually urban areas owing to the high demand for unique and expensive handicrafts. Therefore, while pricing you must consider the transportation cost to the city and then to the homes of the respective customers in your chosen delivery radius. In case you are running a business of handmade products from your home or a place in the city itself, you should focus on the shipping charges to customers in the city and perhaps even pan-India.
Handmade items are often more delicate than factory products owing to their unique art and craft. For this reason, you may also have to incur expenses on special packaging that is suitable for fragile products.
Time is taken to manufacture products:
Time is money, in the literal sense. Since these industries usually provide hourly wages, the higher the time taken to make a product, the more you’ll have to pay. Moreover, even skilled individuals don’t have control over certain aspects that are indeed more time-consuming and have various processes like dying, drying and more that take up a lot of time.
Inventory and storage:
Like any other e-commerce business, even your handmade products must be stored somewhere. If it’s a home-run business all you need is a spare cupboard or a room. However, as any business grows, certain products have to always be in stock owing to popular demand. Also, you must consider keeping your inventory in a place that is closer to your shipping partner’s fulfilment centre, so that the cost of transportation is reduced.
Cost of raw materials:
Lastly and most importantly, good handmade products require good raw materials which can become too expensive when not purchased in bulk. Depending on the popularity of your products, keep the stock of raw materials handy to reduce wastage of labour hours, increase efficiency and eliminate the high cost of last-minute purchasing.
Do consider all the above-mentioned points when pricing your products.
Where to Sell Handmade Items Online
If your products are eco-friendly and healthy consumables, this platform is perfect for you. It specializes in selling natural and sustainable products from small scale businesses across the country. A website with over 5,000 products it has offerings across baby care, pet care, home care, personal care, food, beverages, and more.
Craftsvilla emerged from the simple fact that the artisans who put in their heart and soul in their crafts were paid the least, all thanks to lack of awareness of government schemes, inability to reach the right customers, unscrupulous middlemen, poverty, etc. Therefore, Craftsvilla started connecting local artisans to buyers in India and abroad through its e-commerce startup. From apparel to bags to home decor, it sells a variety of lifestyle products. Craftsvilla specializes in selling products made with traditional art forms which sets it apart from much of its competition.
Now, this platform has carved its niche in the space of all things made with metal. From popular copper bottles to all tableware, serveware and home decor, everything it sells reeks of authenticity and sophisticated craftsmanship in metal. It is one of the few marketplaces that take wholesale orders on a B2C website.
Indeed one of the most powerful mediums to reach a vast customer base is social media. And more than anything, it’s free to register and start developing on your own page on relevant platforms. However, one must know that every brand has made its presence felt on these platforms. Therefore, to stand out or even get noticed by customers, expenses to run ads and promotions will have to be incurred. One of the biggest benefits is that once a customer follows/likes your page, they will be able to see your content organically. So, you can spend money on acquiring new customers instead.
While selling handmade products online is not new, it is indeed a lucrative space for you to get started. However, make sure that your products are unique so that running ads on them yields good results. Also, it’s a must to ensure that your products seamlessly fit into the modern lifestyle. Because anything that is ‘different and yet functional always has the potential to make a name in a cluttered market.
How to sell handmade products on Amazon India?
Selling handmade products on Amazon India is very easy and you can do it in 3 easy steps.
Step 1: Open an Amazon Seller Account by filling a form and submitting the required documents.
Step 2: List all your products (no maximum limit) on the website along with their price and product details.
Step 3: Run ads across digital platforms to drive users to your product page on Amazon.
Do you need a business license to sell handmade items online?
Yes, you have to carry a Business licence to sell Handmade items in India.