With sites like Etsy growing in popularity, it’s becoming easier and easier to sell handmade products online. Whether you’ve already got a passion for making and want something to do with your collection, or just looking to earn a little cash after retirement: selling products online can be a great solution.
It’s a lot less serious and more flexible than a regular job, and it’s a really nice feeling to know something you made with love and time can live on in the lives of others. It’s a beautiful legacy, really!
We hear a lot about how great this idea is, but the real question is, where should you start?
We’ve covered everything you need to know about earning money in retirement selling your handmade products online.
Can you actually make money in retirement selling handmade items?
While many are seeing great success selling products online, we know it’s normal to be cautious. If you’re asking if you can actually make money this way, we’ve got you covered.
You can make a living selling crafts online and the best part is you won’t have to face many startup costs either. You don’t have to go into debt, you don’t need a retail space or loads of inventory and, even if you’re making ten different styles of knit or jewelry: the supplies are usually inexpensive.
While you won’t be earning the kind of income you would from a regular job, you’ll still have no trouble generating a bit of cash from this side hustle. People are buying anything from painted Doc Martens to laser-printed creations. If you can find the niche: you’ll have no trouble finding income.
It’s also a great way to earn money if you’ve already been crafting for a while and have a few products on your side already. You can easily just sell as you make and enjoy having your creations pay for themselves: and know there’s somewhere useful to offload them too!
Step one: figure out what kind of handmade crafts sell best
While this step isn’t necessary, it’s incredibly helpful to figure out what kind of handmade crafts sell best and what the market is like before getting started. All you’ll need to do is a few simple searches on Amazon Handmade, Etsy and Google. Search a few different variations of your product and see if any competitors come up.
Don’t be discouraged by these competitors though. It’s a sign that your product is already in demand, and it can also help you figure out what you can do differently (or, should we say, better!).
Step two: enhance your handmade skills!
If you’re already a master of crafting, then definitely skip this part. We know those with a wealth of experience definitely don’t need any extra learning. But for those who are in need of a bit of inspiration? Here are a few places to start enhancing your craft skills:
- Craftsy: learn everything from embroidery to knitting, crocheting and everything in-between
- Creative Bug: have a passion for sewing? You’ll learn everything you need to here, plus they offer free memberships.
- Universal Class: with more than 70 courses in different categories like painting, beading, calligraphy, soap making and more, this is a great option for getting started
We also recommend keeping an eye out for any free resources out there. It’s a great way to boost your skills and, if it’s out there, there’s no reason not to!
Step three: plan for profit
In order to earn money selling handmade products in retirement, you’ll need to be making a profit and this is something that too many crafters ignore early in the game. It all starts with pricing. Be sure to figure out exactly how to price your products to profit and work out exactly what expenses you’ll need to consider.
Doing research on your competitors will help with choosing the right price, as well as factoring in the costs to produce and considering how much profit you’d actually like to make. Generally, a 20% profit margin is considered good for a craft business, with 10% profit being the average and 5% quite low.
As mentioned, there won’t be many expenses you’ll need to cover other than the tools to create, but if you’d like to consider any advertising or additional support, it’s best to think of this early so you can account for it.
Step four: find the best place to sell your handmade products online
Once you’re ready to start, the only thing left to do is figure out how best to sell your crafts online and how you can find the best audience for your products. And this step is much easier than it sounds. Here’s a few places that’ll make it easy to sell your handmade crafts in retirement, so you can start making money, sooner than later:
Etsy is one of the most popular and largest marketplaces for handmade goods. In 2021, Etsy saw 96 million active buyers, with only 7.5 million sellers, and it increased its gross merchandize volume to $13.4 billion, having doubled it in 2020.
But from a consumer perspective: it has a mixed reputation. It has an incredible range of products which customers love, but there are a few stories about bad experiences with mass-produced items or poor service.
If you want a place to get set up quickly, it can be a very good option. It’s an incredibly simple-to-use platform and makes selling easy. But, as you gain experience, you may consider moving to your own website instead.
Shopify is another great site for selling your handmade products. They have heaps of tutorials to help you set up and they do have a lot more customization than Etsy. It’s all about doing the research and figuring out exactly which platform is the most user-friendly for you and offers the best service.
The differences are only in the very fine details, with a healthy customer base in both.
Your own website!
When selling your handmade goods in retirement, it may be a lot easier to get started with Etsy or Shopify and stick with them. But, as you build an audience, it may become more viable to sell directly.
It’ll allow you to build a direct relationship with customers, giving you the freedom to add them to your newsletter, gain more visibility with blogs or articles, and show them that there’s a real person and brand here.
But it’ll also ensure you keep more money from each sale. Etsy and Shopify do charge a large premium, and you can easily get started with a free membership at WordPress. It gives you complete control over your selling/buying experience and is good to consider when you feel like Etsy and Shopify aren’t giving you quite enough.
From there, all you’ll need to do is check that stock and get started! It really is that easy to sell your handmade products online and, if you’re considering a way to make extra money in retirement or to turn your crafting lifestyle into something more, there’s definitely no time like the present!