This is an article written for press release and updated in Dec 2012.
2012 update: There has been a massive rise in the number of people making and selling handmade crafts and rather surprisingly, this has also been matched by a similar increase is sales. A large company specializing in handmade crafts for sale has just posted some staggering figures to support this.
Where to Sell Crafts Online
To sell handmade products online, first you'll want to think through whether you want to sell on a third party site (that is, a site that's owned by someone else, like MyOwnCreation or eBay) or your own craft website.
There are pros and cons to consider with each approach. Selling crafts online on a third party usually allows you to set up your online store quickly and easily, and you can do it with little or no need to understand HTML or web design concepts.
Take a look at the competition! Check them out on Handmade Crafts to see how well the market is un-folding.
Third Party Sites:
Although there are professional craft artists who seem to have success selling crafts on eBay, many feel they struggle with the "garage sale" mindset of eBay. It can be difficult to sell handmade products for a reasonable price there because most people go to eBay looking for bargains.
Most people will know that eBay charge to list items and then make a further charge if and when the item gets sold. The result of this is that simple things like handmade greeting cards can end up being quite expensive.
http://www.MyOwnCreation.co.uk is a site that is dedicated to the sale of handmade products. Plenty of professional craft artists like selling crafts online on MyOwnCreation.co.uk. MyOwnCreation has very reasonable selling fees, a supportive community of craft artists and easy to set up an account and start selling through the online store.
Because this site is dedicated to promoting handmade products, you'll find less of a "garage sale" mentality here. People visit this site and shop from the stores here because they value the quality and originality of handmade products.
Although there are some crafters on MyOwnCreation who price their work quite low, for the most part you will not be competing with the slim profit margins and underpricing you can find elsewhere.
MyOwnCreation has developed a unique Credits System which allows members to buy very easily. The real advantage of this system is that there is no need to visit the bank each time you want to buy something. This really does help to keep costs right down as transaction fees on sites like PayPal can be prohibitive and usually eat away at the profits.
Your Own Site
If you are willing to put in the time to create your own site, you may also consider selling crafts online in this manner. Again, depending upon the resources you use, this can be a farily inexpensive option. You'll need to invest more time upfront in designing and building your online craft store than you would if you sold through a third party site.
However, you will benefit from the fact that you own and control the site; therefore, you will not be subjected to the regulations and changes to a third party site which could substantially impact your business (and not necessarily for the better). You'll have full control over the policies and direction of your online craft store if it is your own site.
One reason people choose to sell crafts on a third party site instead of setting up their own craft website lies in the fact that they believe they will automatically, with little or no effort, have customers at their online store because third party sites, like eBay, already have plenty of traffic. However, third party sites also have plenty of sellers who are all competing to get people to their stores. Therefore, to create a successful online craft business, you'll need to invest time to promote your online store whether you sell on a third party site or your own site.
Remember! Presentation, presentation, presentation! Whether you go for your own store or a third party, you must always present your handmade crafts at their best. Selling is always hard so it's no good just sticking it on the website and hoping for the best. Any website is only a tool to help you sell. There is still plenty your should do to help it along.
There are plenty of good strategies for promoting a craft website, however it requires an investment of your time. I tend to see selling crafts on a third party site as a way to dip you toes into selling handmade products online. It can be a good option if you want to sell crafts online on a hobby or very part time basis and aren't able to or interested in putting in the time to create your own site.
However, if your plan is to create a substantial online business, owning your own site has many advanatages. You'll be investing time to promote your online store whether it's on your own site or a third party site, and there's a lot to be said for spending your time and efforts promoting your own site and not somone else's business. You'll be fully in control of the policies on your own site, and unlike selling on third party site, once customers get to your site, you will not be competing with thousands of other sellers on the same site.