Craft Industry: How Do Makers Operate And Sell Their Wares

Craft Industry: How Do Makers Operate And Sell Their Wares

The craft industry is chockfull with handmade wares created by artisans or people with special skills. To be a crafter, you need to be passionate about the wares you create. To succeed, however, you will need to come up with fresh ideas every time to beat the competition.

Barely a decade ago, the number of artisans selling crafts online was less than half a million.

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These artisans sold their wares on specialist sites such as Etsy or Amazon Craftsman or on social media with a few creating their own ecommerce sites. Today, Etsy hosts more than two million artisans. Combined with Amazon, Facebook and other marketing and selling avenues, competition in the craft industry has skyrocketed.

How do Artisans Create their Wares?

Most artisans start a business to make money and not to grow their passion for art. To create crafts, artisans recycle waste bottles, waste glasses, straws, plastic spoons, old silk ties, waste paper, old CDs and many other items that would otherwise end up in the bin. These waste materials are combined with new materials to create impressive pieces of art.

Of course, some crafts such as crocheted items are made of new materials. Crafters have to create unique items from these materials including wall hangings, bracelets, clothes and many other items. Millennials are driven to crafts because they want to personalize what they wear, what they carry and what they use to decorate their homes.

Common Wares in the Craft Industry

Jewelry, fashion and decorative arts make up the bulk of the crafts industry. Most artisans create jewelry pieces especially necklaces, bangles, bracelets and many more from waste or fresh materials. Wall hangings and paintings are very common.

Models, prototypes, woodcraft and toys are also common as artisans try to diversify their work. Artisanal foods and craft beers are also finding their way in the craft industry.

Marketing and Selling Crafts

Etsy is the single largest platform for crafters and artisans. With over 2 million sellers, the platform is quite competitive. An Etsy account is easy to set up thereby making the platform user friendly.

However, due to the upping competition, users are now using social media, especially Facebook and Instagram, to market and sell their products. Facebook is both a marketing and selling platform while Instagram is more of a marketing platform. Amazon is another common marketing and selling platform. Some artisans create their own crafts’ website to market and sell their art. However, creating and maintaining a website requires one to be tech savvy. Again, marketing such a website to a point where your business is recognized is a challenge; this is why crafters prefer Etsy and Social Media.

Starting a Crafts Business

You can start a crafts business to make money or as a pastime. Women, especially housewives taking care of their children and in need of an income, are in high numbers on Etsy. When unique pieces of art are created and well marketed, crafters can live off the earnings from their business rather than having it for a side income.

Wunderlabel has crafted an infographic on the Handmade Industry Trends and Stats. You can find the infographic here.

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Jacob Wolinsky is the founder of, a popular value investing and hedge fund focused investment website. Jacob worked as an equity analyst first at a micro-cap focused private equity firm, followed by a stint at a smid cap focused research shop. Jacob lives with his wife and four kids in Passaic NJ. - Email: jacob(at) - Twitter username: JacobWolinsky - Full Disclosure: I do not purchase any equities anymore to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest and because at times I may receive grey areas of insider information. I have a few existing holdings from years ago, but I have sold off most of the equities and now only purchase mutual funds and some ETFs. I also own a few grams of Gold and Silver
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