The beauty of YouTube is that it can be a wonderful marketing platform for your art.
by Teighlor Johnson and Weland Bourne
Many YouTubers make videos about their art or crafts because they are passionate about their work and want to share it with the world. But if you’re making how-to videos, why aren’t you also selling your projects online? Chances are, most people who watch your videos would rather custom order that special item from you than try to make it themselves. Wouldn’t you rather order a product that was made by a YouTube expert?
What to Sell
There’s a good chance you already know what to sell based on your YouTube analytics. But if you’re new to this, talk to your family and friends. What items do you make that they really love? Think about all of those items you’ve made for holidays like birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas; seasonal items can be big sellers!
Selling your work may seem daunting, but it’s easier than you think. There are many websites out there that specialize in selling your unique, handmade items. Some of these sites cater to a specific craft while others have regulations on what is considered handmade. For example, if you create a design for a t-shirt and you silkscreen this design on a bunch of shirts, some sites will consider this mass producing an item, meaning the item isn’t handmade. However, if you embroider the same design on multiple shirts, this is perfectly acceptable for handmade-only sites.
Where to Sell
Etsy is probably the most well known site for handmade crafts; however, it has become over-saturated with similar products. Additionally, it is beginning to be overrun by resellers and wholesale marketers. Because of this, many artists are migrating their work over to Storenvy. Amazon Handmade is a also a great site because, as a seller, you can really benefit from their search feature, which can help guide customers to your work. For Amazon Handmade, you must be approved in order to sell there, and their focus is on handmade items as opposed to resellers. On all of these sites, if you make it, you can sell it. Items can range from jewelry to pottery to knives and swords to costumes to paintings to wedding gowns and even furniture.
Other sites have a specific focus. For example, Artcra focuses on American crafters while Teepublic, threadless, and Spoonflower focus on clothing and textile designs for people to purchase as clothing, fabric, wallpaper and even gift wrap. Roostery is an affiliate of Spoonflower where customers are able to select a design and then choose an item like a tablecloth or pillow for it to be placed on. Redbubble will print your designs, allowing customers to purchase your artwork as a print or have your work printed on items such as mugs, tote bags and calendars. You can even sell your game mods on Steam. And, Amazon even has a special program designed to let you sell services such as assembling a bookcase, installing a home entertainment center or photographing their wedding.
All of the virtual shopping malls vary in their charges for listing fees, transaction fees and credit card processing fees. While most sites have cheap listing fees, the transaction and credit card fees do vary, so you will probably want to compare these fees when choosing your site. Some artists will list items on multiple sites for exposure and then redirect customers to their own websites. This can be a good strategy. Others use graphic cards before and/or after their YouTube videos for advertising. Facebook and Instagram can also be good social media sites for garnering attention for your products.
Many artists and crafters choose to set up their own webstores. Companies like Squarespace and Wix make creating your own storefront simple by providing easy to use templates. These virtual stores come complete with a shopping cart system and credit card processing. With your own virtual store, you are only paying for your web-hosted storefront and your credit card processing fees. Many virtual storefronts use Square and will allow you to purchase a Square Reader at a relatively low cost. With a Square Reader, you can accept credit cards for physical purchases should you decide to sell your art or crafts at genre events like sci-fi, horror, or anime conventions. Renaissance festivals, gaming tournaments and pop culture events can also be good venues. Finally, you may find that street fairs, art shows, music festivals or even farmer’s markets can be excellent locations to sell items that have universal appeal.
There are a few things you may want to remember as you launch your career as an artist or crafter. Clothing and food items generally have to have tags that comply with safety regulations such as fabric content, ingredients and allergy warnings. You’ll also want to check with your state revenue service regarding sales tax. Usually, you are only responsible for collecting taxes for purchases made within your state: however, if you are storing and having items shipped from a warehouse in a different state, which is common with companies like Amazon, you will be responsible for charging sales taxes in that state. If you contact the revenue department in your state, they can help with this process.
In conclusion, there are many people who make a living from their arts and crafts by selling their work online. There’s no better time than now to take the leap and see what revenue streams your passion projects can bring in for you.