Online Sales Tips from the Experts

By Carolyn Edlund

Ready to sell your art or craft online? Follow these tips to get a great start.

Kimberly and Andrew Kitchen

Kimberly and Andrew Kitchen

A few years ago, Kimberly and Andrew Kitchen decided to take a very large step in their small business. They had been handcrafting chainmaille jewelry, and wanted to create an online venue for artists to sell strictly handmade work. Thus, Handmade Artists was born, and has developed into a thriving and supportive community where artists can learn and sell their work.

 

Artsy Shark asked Andrew Kitchen for his best advice for selling online, and about an opportunity he is offering for artists to write articles for the Handmade Artists website.

 AS: What’s your opinion about artists having their own websites? 

AK: It is very important for artists to have their own websites for branding, marketing, and selling their wares. Spreading out and selling on marketplaces and other venues is good as well, but any of those venues can pull the plug at any time. I strongly suggest to all of the people I come in contact with that they need to buy their own domain and set up a website.

The site should be a work in progress, and I would strongly suggest a self-hosted WordPress blog. I made many mistakes early in my website building career and now know that WordPress is one of if not the most flexible platforms out there, and firmly believe that it will provide anything you need for your site and you’ll never outgrow it.

Handmade Artists LogoAS: What are the biggest mistakes you see artists making when selling their work online? 

AK: Rushing and expecting immediate results. If you take the step to sell your work online, you need to realize it is a commitment. Take a bit of time and do some research. See what is out there, come up with a unique name and live with it a bit. Your business name is something you want to brand. If you change it, you will need to start re-branding and cause you more work.

Once you have a name, buy the domain! If you do not do anything with the domain, don’t worry, but own the name. It absolutely drives me nuts when I see people come up with great ideas and do not buy the domain. When they want the domain, it will not be there and that is a huge mistake.

Second, realize one very important thing. The customer can not feel or touch your item through a computer. So pictures and descriptions are the only resource available to you to tell your customer about your work and your individual piece. You need to learn how to take product pictures. Do some research. There is tons of information out there to help you with this. Then write detailed descriptions. How long or big is it, measurements, materials, inspiration. Use your imagination, and write a few paragraphs about your piece. Two sentences does not cut it. You need to take some time with your description for SEO purposes so that your item will index well.

Third, research, research, research. We have written articles on Handmade Artists regarding selling tips and for good reason. We’ve learned the hard way. Take some time and see what works through others experiences. There is an old saying “A smart man will learn from his own mistakes, but a wise man will learn from others.” Selling online is not a new phenomenon. It has been around for a while so use the information available to you before your rush.

Fourth, strap yourself in for the long haul. Realize that this is a process. It will take time before you are successful. Do not give up hope. It may take several years to achieve your goals, but with proper planning it will be worth it.

AS: How can artists can become contributing writers for the Handmade Artists website?

AK: Contributors on Handmade Artists are typically members of our site who are willing to give back to our community. Most have a specialty field that they are an expert in. People can sign up to be a contributor here and are expected to submit one article a month. We also write up bios for our contributors, so our readers can get to know them and link to their sites to show our support for our writers.

 

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for featuring Andrew & Kimberly Kitchen! They are such tireless and wonderful promoters of handmade!!!!

  2. Great advice for all of us! I am seriously thinking about the WordPress thing

    • Teresa, this blog is WordPress, and has served me well. You can change themes and appearances if you want to, and still keep your WordPress platform, so that you can evolve your website as your business grows.

  3. I love this because it’s so true: “Fourth, strap yourself in for the long haul.”

    If it’s truly your passion you will!!

    • You are right, Kathryn – if you love what you’re doing, it isn’t hard to be committed enough to stick with it. I see people bail out all the time. Longevity has it’s plusses!

  4. Thanks for the love Carolyn! Selling online is a commitment. Sorry I didn’t comment earlier. Digging out from the Hurricane. Looks like a war zone around here.
    Andrew

  5. Andrew and Kimberly are so supportive of handmade artists! They have put a lot of thought, hours and dedication to making this work! Nice article!

  6. Very commited peeps those two. Fabulous Interview and informative for everyone not only newcomers….
    Lovin it over there, at Handmadeartists.com
    Monika

  7. Thanks so much for the support of our little corner of the web! Our artists mean the world to us and there is nothing we would like more than to see them be successful in their businesses.

  8. Thanks for your support, Kimberly. You and Andrew are the best!

  9. And I wanted to add, find a good “home” like HandMadeArtists forum and shop!

  10. Handmade Artists is so much more than just a venue! Kimberly and Andrew have created an environment that makes it easy for us to be supportive of each another, critical when needed, and to be truly happy with each others success. We are a family and I am proud to be a member.

  11. Great article.

    Kimberley and Andrew have built up a wonderful community of very supportive and talented artists. My most frequented thread on the forum is ‘what are you doing today?’ which is like dropping in on a group of friends and keeping track of each others’ everyday lives, but there’s so much more there to help you get started selling online. Excellent resource and well worth having my shop hosted there.

    We’re also looking into moving to a self-hosted wordpress site (currently using the online standard worpress template which is slightly limited), and I know that the help I need to get that up and running will be on HAF when I’m ready.

    Thanks for featuring this great site.

  12. This is so very informative site! I want to do something of what I learnt here in the future.Thanks!

Trackbacks

  1. […] month we were interviewed on the Artsy Shark, which a real cool blog with many tips and tricks of the trade. I had a wonderful talk with Carolyn […]

  2. […] month we were interviewed on the Artsy Shark, which a real cool blog with many tips and tricks of the trade. I had a wonderful talk with Carolyn […]

  3. […] month we were interviewed on the Artsy Shark, which a real cool blog with many tips and tricks of the trade. I had a wonderful talk with Carolyn […]

Speak Your Mind

*