How To Make Money Selling Crafts, With No Etsy Fees


My new hobby is crochet; I started with a baby blanket and have been hooked ever since.  I’ve been working on a variety of gifts lately, but the thought has occurred to me that crochet could become my next side hustle.  It would be perfect because I find it very relaxing and rewarding to make beautiful things from yarn, and these creations can be sold for extra income.  What more could you want from a side hustle?  I’ve been pondering, however, how to maximize my profit while getting the exposure necessary to sell the items.

With No Etsy Fees3

I looked into Etsy, the well-known marketplace for handcrafted goods.  However, they take their share of a crafter’s proceeds.  It costs 20¢ for each item’s four-month listing.  Then, if your item sells, they keep 3.5% of the sale price.  It’s also pretty discouraging for a beginner at crochet to look at the thousands of listings for unique creations.  I’ve only made a few different things so far and I’m guessing they would easily be lost on the every-growing site.  Crochet can be very time consuming.  The hourly rate for creating these items is pretty low, but I enjoy the process.  So, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to sell my crafts without using Etsy.  Here’s what I came up with:

Giving Some Away

I made some free hats for friends and neighbors, in addition to my own kids.  It felt good to do something nice for others, but I did have ulterior motives.  I’m hoping that the hats being seen by others will act as advertisement for my crafting.  I told my friends that if asked by admirers of the hats, yes, I am selling them.  As an added bonus, one of them gave me a bag full of yarn which I can use for making Christmas presents.

hatsforkids

Hats for Tornado and Goofball

hatsforfriends

Hats for Friends

Facebook Yard Sale Groups 

I’ve seen it a couple times.  Someone posts on one of the local online yard sale groups and gets a ton of responses.  One was for simple infinity scarves in several different colors.  There were tons of comments on the post, ordering one or more of the scarves.  Now, I don’t know how many of these people actually complete the transaction, because I haven’t tried it yet.  I would hesitate to do too many custom orders, as some people would probably back out.  It wouldn’t matter that much as long as you could resell the items.  I saw another post asking if anyone was able to make a certain item.  After someone posted that they could crochet it, there were tons of comments from others requesting the same item.

Craft Shows

I’ve heard about a lot of Holiday Craft Sales looking for vendors.  Apparently, the going rate for these events is around $30 for a table.  You pay a fee for the venue, then get to keep the rest of your profits.  I have talked to my mom (who makes some other crafts) about splitting the cost of a table next year.  We could sell our wares, while spending some time together.  But how does it compare to Etsy?

If I sell the hats for $15 on Etsy, that would be a fee of 52¢ plus 20¢ (assuming it is purchased on the first listing).  That equates to about 5% of the cost of the hat.

If I split the cost of a table with my mom, I would pay a fee of $15.  Let’s say I only sell 20 hats at $15 each.  That works out to the same 5% of my revenue.  However, I predict more sales at a craft show, as there is less chance of my products getting lost in the thousands of expertly crafted crochet items on Etsy.  I might be able to charge more for the hats, because there won’t be any shipping charges.  Also, I will have all year to create awesome and more expensive things to sell, in addition to hats.

Craigslist

My other idea is to use Craigslist to post a place and time for a small sale, similar to posting a garage sale.  I would include some photographs of samples and offer to make custom (but re-sellable) items.  I’m not sure whether I would hold the sale at my house or try to find a different venue.  I might not have the same crowd of craft purchasers as would be at one of the shows, but there would be no fees.

Of course, I could just always sell them out of the trunk of my car in a parking lot (LOL) or at a garage sale next summer.  Any other ideas or suggestions?  I have plenty of Christmas presents to keep me busy for now, but then it may be time to start building up an inventory.

7 Replies to “How To Make Money Selling Crafts, With No Etsy Fees”

  1. Maggie

    I use crochet ALL THE TIME for presents. And Halloween costumes. It’s awesome. Though I’m not brave enough (nor do I like doing it enough) to try to sell them. I’ve had friends do craft shows for crochet and they’ve done super well. Mr. T and I are doing a Holiday craft show this year for some of his art. I’m worried nothing will sell (less worried about the money and more worried about Mr. T’s soul!).
    Maggie recently posted…Sex and Money in MarriageMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Harmony Post author

      Best of luck on selling the artwork! The success of your friends is encouraging. I don’t think it would be that hard to make a ton of things to sell if I worked on my inventory over the year. Do they have online yard sale groups up in Alaska? You could always post a couple of your creations up to see whether there are any bites.

      Reply
  2. Aliza B

    I have thought often of selling items at craft shows/expos. Here in Utah the price for a small table is $80 (the cheapest I’ve seen is $70). I like your idea about splitting the cost though with another crafter. I will have to reach out to my crafty friends and see.

    You are right about listing things on Etsy, there are thousands of the same items listed and it’s hard to make your item stand out.
    Aliza B recently posted…Love Frame with Scrabble TilesMy Profile

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  3. Paula

    Wow, I would consider moving to United States for Craft Fairs!
    Here in Costa Rica a table in a decent place costs $300 (yes, USD) for 2 days, the cheapests rounds $160 but are located in the worst places of the country or the year. Also, people prefer buying a chinesse or machine crocheted hat in $4 than a hand crocheted item in $10!!! So not so many people will pay $15 for a crocheted hat, even if it unique!
    I hope some day soon local people start loving hand made items and they accept the prices for them.
    Thank you so much for your post! I hope you keep your successful business with crochet!

    Reply
    1. Harmony Post author

      Very interesting. What a difference geography makes! I imagine that there is also less demand for things like warm hats in your region. Maybe the locals would be interested in unique crocheted items, try to think of something they can’t get from China. Good luck!

      Reply
  4. Ginny

    Splitting a table at a craft fair can be a problem…Or several. First, your display space is seriously limited so you need to be able to display your items in a 4ft area. That works as long as both crafter’s items are small. I have shared a table with a friend many times. We agree on handmade price tags on each item, then she runs out of time and writes prices on little pieces of paper and sets them in front of her products. The slightest breeze makes them fly away. And they are tacky. So are the used plastic grocery bags she gives the customer.

    I get so frustrated. Each time I suggest separate tables she says she can’t afford the fee. Yet she sells more than me because my items are larger therefore I have inadequate display space. And if we have a bad day she gets extremely cranky.

    I read this post and I can’t believe what a pushover I am. But I hate to hurt her feelings.

    Reply
    1. Harmony Post author

      Don’t be too hard on yourself – mixing friendship and business is always tricky.

      I would try to tell her that you want to try out some new display ideas which will require a whole table. At the show, just make a small change and you can enjoy more space and freedom to do things as you wish. I’ve read about different display techniques like using different levels (ex. shoe boxes under table cloths) to highlight your products. In addition, maybe you can venture out to some new craft shows on your own.

      Good luck! And please let me know how it works out 🙂

      Reply

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