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Forums » Art & Creativity » Seeking Craft Selling Advice

I'd like to get into crafting more, and in particular being able to make enough off it to at least have it pay for itself, preferably to be able to profit off it enough to at least supplement my income. I have a number of barriers, of course, but I'm hoping maybe I can get some help with a a couple super big ones: what to make and how/where to sell it.

What to Make

I know, that probably seems like it should come before any thoughts of selling. Fact is that there's no one thing that stands out as a higher interest or that I'm more skilled at. I have a broad set of base skills and a knack for easily picking up more base skills (not always, but certainly often). I've dabbled in a number of different things with good results. I don't really have developed skills in pretty much anything though. And the bigger reason I'm asking is to find out what folks would even be interested in buying.

So... what sorts of crafted items can you think of that you or people you know would actually be interested in buying? And can you give an idea of what you think you'd be willing to pay for such a thing, and/or what you'd expect it to actually cost? (Not much help to make something people would like to have if charging enough to at least cover materials would put it beyond what I can expect anyone to be willing to pay.) The can be type of item, themes for items to have (like jewelry for a fandom or something), etc. Preferably, this with be items you wouldn't already have a million choices for.

(Huh. I suddenly kinda want to make Server plushies now. The narrow lines and letters seem tricky, though.)

My Limitations

These limitations aren't strict no-gos. At least most can be overcome in some manner, but a lot of them require resources I don't currently have for that.
  • Very limited space to work or store anything
  • Very limited funds for initial investment
  • Very limited toolset, and the most expensive tool I currently have is a cheap, basic sewing machine
  • Slow worker, which can become extra problematic when I secure a job again
  • Not good with things that take extreme patience (my hyperfocus has limits)
  • Not good with things that require perfect precision, especially with sewing
  • Not good with high single-step complexity, nor high complexity without clear progress indicators

Some Ideas I've Had
  • More masks (for the pandemic)
  • Figuring out how to make simple bat/squid/octopus/other "odd" animal plushies
  • Little fat worm plushies (I made some as a kid, the first by accident)
  • Weighted snake plushes
  • Small hand-bound (or at least refinished) books with various covers (at least some cloth-bound) and possibly various line/graph options for the pages
  • Jewelry (beaded, basic wire, basic macrame; nothing requiring a kiln)
  • Assorted cloth bags (shopping totes, lunch bags, dice pouches, etc)
  • Small animal harnesses or decorative harness covers
  • Bowties, hairbows, and scrunchies
  • Body pillow cases (I never really see those anywhere)
  • Simple clothing items like vests
  • Trying to come up with simple project plans/designs others can make

Others Ideas I'm Considering
  • Masks made to the design of a friend with a proper apparel background (he offered because he's had requests but lacks time)
  • Covers for other types of pillow that also seem to be lacking

Some stuff I have to work with
  • A small assortment of small chunks of fabric, mostly cotton
  • Leather scraps, most of which I need to figure out how to clean without ruining (years in storage)
  • Aforementioned cheap sewing machine with a few different utility stitches
  • A few spools of thread (some cotton, some polyester)
  • Terrible scissors I'm trying to sharpen and/or replace
  • Basic replaceable-blade xacto knife
  • An assortment of markers, pens, and colored pencils I've long been afraid to "waste"
  • Plenty of paper
  • Masking tape
  • Measuring tape
  • A modest assortment of beads (in storage)
  • A few sizes of wire
  • A basic... wire... tool? (For curling it, can also cut and sorta straighten)
  • A mini iron (only meant for patches, but it works)
  • Some cheap/old papercrafting stuff in storage (cutting, adhesives, measuring)
  • Some polyester filler fluff
  • Uh... some pretty old paints in storage... that probably need to be thrown out...

Where/How to Sell

Etsy would seem obvious, but I've heard some dubious things about them recently that makes me dubious, like charging sellers extra fees if a purchase is made by someone brought in by an ad when the sellers apparently have no choice about the ads even existing. (And separate fees for transactions and processing, for some reason?) So I went looking for alternative options, ranging from other market sites, to "easy" host services that include cart software, to just plain cart software (since I do have the ability to build a basic site from scratch if needed), to places that just put your design on a product, to just... Craigslist. And I got nearly 40 options before giving up, and inadequate will to have gathered much info to actually compare them all yet. It's intimidating.

So... I wanted to hear from others. What has your experience been with selling (or buying) through whatever platforms you've used? Any recommendations, advice, warnings?

And, in general, anything else you feel is important to share with me?
I used to sell specialty medieval clothing on Etsy, so I have little experience in selling crafts, however I think the idea of coming up with a pattern and selling plush creatures is a good one. The reason being that you will always know exactly how much time it takes to make, how much material you will need, and can easily order the cloth/change your colors and fabric textures/ etc. My advice would be to stick with something super cute, but kind of generic until you find your niche and expand your brand. Try to make them light so that you can cut down on shipping costs at the start and you can work your way up from there. Cute sells :)

Also if you can sell 'sateen' lined hats, hoods, or pillow covers they may sell well as they are good for curly/frizzy hair.

As for your platform honestly I have no idea. I hear people sell on a lot of platforms now, but it is an ease of use vs what you are looking for, situation.
Thanks, Kruhee, especially for the tidbit about sateen and hair! If you can elaborate on that, awesome, but since it's not something I'd have ever personally learned... it's at least good to be aware. :)

And I'm still looking for input from folks! Would things change at all if I were considering making and selling project patterns (assuming I could come up with anything interesting and make it actually work), or brought up possibly designing fabric patterns that others could use in their own projects?

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