Are you a maker looking to launch your own handmade brand? When you know how to make a lot of amazing things, it's easy to feel overwhelmed when deciding what you should sell. I've learned from my own experience with Cabooties that trying to sell everything you know how to make is a trap that many makers fall into. The key to success lies in focusing on one thing and doing it to the best of your abilities. In the long run, you’ll build a cohesive brand and gain clarity on what your perfect customer needs. (Not to mention, you’ll spend a whole lot less at the craft store too!)
Why starting your own brand is different than selling on Etsy:
If you're accustomed to playing the numbers game on platforms like Etsy or in-person events, where having numerous listings or a wide range of products can increase your chances of showing up in search or help you fill out your booth, it's time to focus. Offering too many choices online can overwhelm potential customers, and when you ask them to choose between dozens of things they love, chances are they’ll get overwhelmed and choose nothing at all. Instead, show your customers exactly what they want or need, present one or two products that they may want to purchase alongside it, and eliminate unnecessary distractions. Simplifying the decision-making process online helps prevent “analysis paralysis” and encourages customers to make a purchase sooner.
Set yourself up to succeed
One mistake many makers fall victim to is underpricing their products. Just because you were able to buy those supplies with a coupon, doesn't mean you should undercut your pricing. Even though you're making the products yourself, you’ll still need to factor in labor costs. If your goal is to transform your handmade hobby into a thriving business, pricing your products for profit from the start is essential. If you're unsure how to determine the right pricing or want to double-check your calculations, I recommend using my product pricing calculator. It follows the exact formula I use in my own successful handmade business, which generates consistent income every month.
Discovering your signature product can be a journey that requires patience and experimentation. When I founded Cabooties , it took me a LONG time to land on my signature product. At first, I started sewing every single thing I thought a baby might use: bibs, burp cloths, diaper covers, baby carrier accessories, and the list goes on. After some trial and error, I realized that those run-of-the-mill items weren’t really selling well, but there was one thing my customers couldn’t get enough of: my soft-sole baby shoes. I realized that my ideal customers were busy moms who wanted the best for their children while also seeking solutions to simplify their lives. Baby shoes in general are pretty terrible. They’re hard to put on, fall off easily, and they often make it hard for babies to take their first steps. Without realizing it, I had created a product that solved these problems for moms, and they came back over and over again because the product I was making spoke to a challenge they faced. Once I narrowed in on my signature product, my sales went up while my costs went down. My handmade hobby was finally starting to feel like a real business.
What you should make to sell online:
To determine what you should make to sell online, consider your target audience and their pain points. Identify their needs and desires, and develop a product that offers a unique solution. By understanding your customers and providing them with something they truly value, you'll establish a loyal customer base and stand out in a crowded market.
Remember, success as a maker/entrepreneur is not about quantity, but rather quality, focus, and profitability. Concentrate on creating a standout product, simplify choices for your customers, and price your creations in a way that reflects their true worth. By following these principles, you'll be on your way to building a successful online handmade business that resonates with your audience and pays you well.