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Crafting for Profit? Here’s How to Check Your Market

A woman comparing bowls at a crowded open air market.

A craft business can be fun and profitable! But before you invest too much time, it’s wise to research your market. Find out what people want and what’s already available to them, so you can give them something new!

Creating crafts is time-consuming, so if you’re thinking of selling your wares, you want to make sure you’ll make a profit. It’s easy to get an idea of what people want on the internet, but you have to do more than online research. If you plan to sell locally at craft fairs and art markets, you’ll need to research those, too.

Check Out What’s Selling (Online and Off)

You might already have a craft you work on or an idea in mind, but before you set up shop, you need to research what is selling.

If you plan to sell your wares locally, visit shops in your community that cater to crafters and creatives and go to crafts fairs. See what people are selling and ask them how their sales are going.

Also, check out which items shoppers are looking at and picking up. Not only will this give you an idea of what’s selling, but you can also see how busy the store or event is. Setting up at an event with low attendance might not be worth your time and money.

The "Popular right now" listing on Etsy.

Etsy is one of the most popular sites for crafters and creatives. Unfortunately, you can’t do a general search on the website for items that have sold. However, you can go to an individual shop page and see which items it’s sold, and what people are saying about them. Pick a few shops that sell things similar to what you make and see how their sales are going.

Investigate Similar Crafts

Another thing to consider during your search is how many people make the same you do. Knitting and crocheting aren’t skills everyone can just pick up, but if you go to a craft event and 50 percent of the tables sell the same items you make, you’ll have a lot of competition, which could mean fewer sales.

A little competition and variety are good, but you don’t want to get lost in a sea of similar items.

Can You Improve What’s Selling?

Whether the market you’re interested in is small or more crowded than you anticipated, this is where improvement comes in.

If you make something similar to others, find a way to improve it, or make it more interesting.

For example, maybe a ton of sellers had basic knitted hats, but did any of them have some that looked like animal ears? If they didn’t, make those! Of course, knitted hats with ears are popular, but perhaps yours could feature animals no one else is making.

When you make something unique or improve upon the same-old, same-old, you distinguish yourself in both the local and online marketplace. And people will notice!

It takes some extra effort to research the craft market you’re interested in, but the payoff is worth it!

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »
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