If you want to sell crafts, jewelry, custom notecards, furniture, clothing or any other creative project that falls outside of the realm of fine art, there are a lot of options. However, the options are different for those who want to personally produce their items, vs. those who want to design, but not produce.

Two ways to sell crafts, jewelry and other handmade items

If you personally produce the products for sale — sewing your aprons or t-shirts; engraving your own woodwork,  for example — you have two basic choices. You can create your own e-commerce site with tools like Shopify or Wix. Or you can sign on with a marketing platform such as Etsy or Zazzle.

If you sell more than $500 or $1,000 in goods each month, Shopify and Wix are likely to be the way to go. Although they charge fees of at least $25 a month, you pay no commissions on sales. When your sales are substantial, commissions on transactions are more costly than monthly fees.

But if you’re just getting started, Etsy or Zazzle are your best bets. That’s simply because they do the marketing for you and you don’t pay any upfront costs. You only pay a commission when your products sell.

Selling through Etsy and Zazzle

Etsy is one of the oldest and best-established sites to sell anything handmade. The site draws hundreds of millions of page views each month, giving artists millions of opportunities to draw customers. However, here you are essentially running your own business — determining what to make, how to make it and how to price your wares. As any small business owner can attest, running your own show is hard work and it comes with few guarantees. That said, Etsy can make your marketing far easier. But you need to budget for the site’s fees, which can amount to roughly 25% of revenue. Lean more about Etsy here.

Zazzle also allows “makers” to sell customized items, ranging from engraved bread boards to clothing. The site does not get as much traffic as Etsy, however. And it charges makers a 30% commission. More about Zazzle here.

Selling cards & invitations

You can also sell custom cards and invitations on Etsy and Zazzle. (Zazzle is particularly strong with paper products.) However, for those who want to make cards and invitations there’s also another intriguing option: Minted. 

Minted challenges artists to enter greeting card challenges, where they can win as much as $3,500. If you win any prize — winnings drop quickly to roughly $100 — you also get a free store on Minted where you can sell this design and others, earning a 3% to 6% royalty on each sale. The catch: Minted does not allow you to sell this card design anywhere else. More on Minted here.

Custom designed clothing, fabrics, etc.

If you want to design — but not produce — customized products, consider print-on-demand. Print-on-demand companies will put your photograph, drawing, cleverly worded phrase or painting on a wide range of products, from puzzles to coffee mugs; pillows to prints. Some of th better options:

FineArtAmerica is one of the oldest and largest print-on-demand operations in the U.S. With most products, FineArtAmerica sets a base price that represents the cost for the site to produce and ship the product to the customer. The artists adds their mark-up to come up with a final price. The site suggests standard — and relatively modest — mark-ups. For instance, it suggests you set your mark up at $10 for a 36″ x 27″ print, which will sell for $208. If you, instead, want to earn $50 on that sale, the print will cost $248. Learn more about FineArtAmerica here

Society6 generally sets the royalty rate for you. The one exception is with prints. If you’re selling a print, the site will tell you its cost for each size and you add whatever royalty rate you want to come up with a final price. With the other products, Society6 simply pays you 10% of the sales price. Learn more about Society6 here.

Redbubble puts your art on t-shirts, hoodies, notebooks, stickers and posters — and a wide array of other products. However, where Society6 sets a price per product and tells you how much you’ll make on each, Redbubble has a dynamic pricing formula where you can set your own margin. For instance, if a t-shirt’s base price is $18.50, you can add a $10 mark-up and the site will sell it for $28.50. Or, you could decide to accept a lower mark-up to sell at a lower price. Learn more about RedBubble here.

Prefer different options?

Restart the quiz