Monday, November 3

Making money with crafts

My dad is really great at working with wood. He can make just about anything from a little wooden shelf to a baby cradle to a house. I've told him before that he should consider making some projects to sell and his response was, "If I did it for money, it would be a job and I wouldn't enjoy it anymore."

People who are especially crafty have a unique gift that can really be marketed. And by that I don't mean they should each lease space, open a shop and work their fingers to the bone daily to produce enough product to run a successful business. But if you have a talent for creativity, art or any craft, there are ways to turn that ability into income.

Consider selling your own items. One way to do this is by setting up an account on Etsy. Etsy is a site similar to Ebay, but it's designed for handmade items. You can list items for sale for a listing fee of .20 cents per piece. This gives you a wide exposure where anyone can find and purchase your craft, plus it's a relatively low-maintenence way to do so. This is one way to sell things that doesn't require a lot of commitment or effort.

If you want to go a more traditional route, look for craft shows in your area. November and December are a great time to do this with all the holiday shows popping up everywhere. Renting a booth at a show does require quite a bit of inventory on hand though. Depending on what you sell, you could possibly make a few items and take orders - although this is probably only a good idea for specialty items, like baby blankets, for example.

You could also do a little marketing. Consider the market for the type of craft you're producing. I know a woman who does personalized embroidery. She contacted the labor and delivery unit of some local hospitals and has one of her fliers included in the paperwork that goes home with every new mom.

Consider crafting for a company. Have you heard about people who assemble crafts at home for money? That's a legitimate business. It's called New England Crafters and they're a company that cuts down on warehousing and overhead by hiring an army of workers to work from their own homes.

Here's how it works: You check out their website here to see what craft you want to assemble. Then you print out the request form and send payment of $44.95 to receive the start-up materials. This is refunded after you complete 250 pieces and it's one of the few times I'll ever tell you it's okay to put up some money to work at home!

In a couple of weeks they'll send you the materials and the instructions. Then you'll complete the craft to their exact specifications and return it for review. Once they've accepted it, they'll continue sending you the materials to make new crafts. They even reimburse you for the shipping of the items you ship. You're paid by the piece (usually $1-$2 per piece).

If you enjoy doing crafts, then this is a good way for you to make some money doing something you enjoy. You're paid for the work you do and you can do as much or as little as you like. A word of caution: There are no "crafting experience" requirements for this type of work, but I only recommend this for people who are quite detail-oriented and who are already pretty crafty.

I consider myself reasonably crafty and I tried this out when I first started working from home, thinking it would be a good way to earn a couple hundred dollars extra each month. Well, it was $45 wasted for me. It drove me crazy! I couldn't get the glue just right and I couldn't tie the little tie around the puppy's neck just right either. I didn't even send it in to be reviewed! And I should also mention that sometimes it takes a couple of reviews to have it approved.

I don't want to discourage anyone, however. I said "reasonably crafty," not "very crafty." If you're very crafty, I'm sure you'll do fine. The bottom line is that contrary to what my dad said, using crafting to make money doesn't have to feel like work. As with anything, if it's something you're able to do on your own time table without specific requirements, it can be a fun way to make some money!