Best Way to Market Handmade Items

Updated on June 18, 2013
H.M. asks from Huntington Beach, CA
10 answers

I make diaper cakes, motorcycles, and other diaper related gift items. I have been giving them out as gifts, but so many people have told me I should try to sell them. Besides Craigslist or etsy what are other options?? It would be local pick up only, so with that I'd say etsy is probably out. Any suggestions are appreciated.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the ideas! Keep them coming. I'm feeling very encouraged. As to the question about etsy. My concern is shipping them properly so that they look good when they get there. I'm afraid that they would be bounced around a lot in the mail. I'll need to look into it.

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answers from Washington DC on

i don't know what a diaper cake is, but if it's something edible, it needs a different name!

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Los Angeles on

Farmer's Markets, craft fairs, Mom's groups. Get your business cards out there, make up a Facebook page and post pictures and prices of your creations.

Christmas is coming, here in Buena Park we have Candy Caneland and Craft Faire in December, other cities have holiday craft fairs, too. You rent space, set up a table with all your goodies, have a stack of business cards and special order forms.
*As far as it it being closer to Christmas 2012 than Christmas 2013, it is. However, craft fairs don't wait until December to start planning, they want the place to be packed with vendors and buyers, they start taking money for spots by the end of summer, if not earlier. Crafters have to plan their year wisely to make the most impact, and get their crafts made. That's why I do my Christmas shopping and crafting now, not much time left after Halloween :) Christmas is ever on my mind, even if on the backburner, it has to be.

Is there a reason you don't want to use Etsy? You can charge for shipping and have access to many more potential customers if you don't limit to local pick up. Also, consider teaching classes on the things you make and charging, other moms would love to be able to make them, too. Purchase supplies ahead of time and have them ready to use, make sure the cost you charge covers supply costs + something for your time and expertise.

It's always a slow go to marketing hand crafted items, be consistent.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

If you're just starting, you need to get as much word-of-mouth advertising as you can. I agree with the post about farmers' markets - the table fee is the "cost of doing business" and be sure to have a slim brochure or flyer to hand out. A 1/3 sheet (1/3 of an 8.5 x 11 paper) is probably the best. You can get a display holder fro Staples or another office supply store - have 3 terrific photos and your contact info on it so passersby will take it. Even if you don't make sales in the beginning, that's okay. In the fall, try to do church fairs and craft fairs - you will stand out among all the jewelry vendors! If possible, when you are sitting at a table at a fair, work on a creation so that passersby can stop and be intrigued by your abilities - it makes them look for more than a cursory glance.

Can you market yourself for centerpieces at baby showers? I would think breaking into the "decor" part of the baby business would be beneficial - the hostess could use your item as the table centerpiece and then make it her gift to the expectant mom.

When you can, give a raffle item to local fundraisers - the elementary school silent auction, the Newcomers Club raffle, the library fundraiser. Put flyers (with a couple of photos) on the bulletin board at the children's library. If you can advertise in a weekly or monthly newspaper (Today's Parent or something similar), that's great, but you will be competing with others who sell similar products.

Definitely have a Facebook page, and get your friends, family and customers to "like" it. Every 7-10 days, put up a new photo of something you have created. Don't do a zillion photos on one day - people don't look at stuff like that. I see a lot of things my friends "like" - fantastic cakes and cupcakes, that sort of thing - and over time, the name of the vendor starts to imprint in my mind. Even if I'm not in the market right away, eventually I will go back to that creative site.

Without cutting into your business, can you teach a class at the school parents' night, a moms' group, or the local Y or JCC? It establishes you as an expert, and lets you showcase your more advanced work while teaching people to make something on their own. For example, if you could teach people how to make party or shower favors, or a simple baby gift, you could also showcase your fancier stuff. You give of yourself but also show 20 people that you are an expert.

If you can't pay a professional, consider some sort of barter deal with a really good advertising copywriter (NOT just a graphic artist or someone with spell-check!) who can help you with a good company name, a brochure and a website. You can purchase a domain name, have GOOD copy (not something you write yourself), and sell on line. You need to drive people to your website which takes time, but it can be done. FYI good copywriters get $100-$150 an hour but also work on a project basis so you don't have an open-ended budget. It's worth it because you will find a tag line or a "hook" that helps set you apart from others.

Starting a business is hard work, and there are more expenses than income up front. Don't be discouraged by that. If you're committed, you can make it work.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Look into advertising with the local MOMS Clubs. There are tons in OC and many let you advertise in their newsletters for really cheap.

Join the Facebook group OC Mommies Mompreneurs and you'll get some exposure there as well. You can also join OCMommies ( and, while you can't blatantly advertise on their message board, you can answer questions with info about your business if it's pertinent.l

Another Facebook group is South Orange County Work at Home Moms. I know you're not South OC, but it can't hurt to join. One more FB group is Women Creating Wealth. I'm sure there are others, but these are the ones I'm in.

If you're on, you can look into OC Boutiquers, a group that advertisers local events, boutiques and fairs. Not sure if you want to sell at a booth like that, but you could look into it.

I have to say, Christmas is NOT coming! It's still closer to xmas 2012 than xmas 2013. :D

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

Our local Farmer's Market has vendor tables that seem to get quite a bit of attention. You might try that.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Make some posters and put them up around on community notice boards, and at mothers' group gatherings. Establish a website, or a Facebook page. Advertising on Facebook can be very targeted, and you choose the amount of money to spend on it (can be very cheap).

Visit any local baby shops - they may be interested in selling your stuff, or they may allow you to place flyers in their stores.

There are lots of markets in our area, and vendors' sites can be as little as $10.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

In this area there are several children consignment sales per year and the woman that runs it invites local child related businesses to have a vendors table. They are huge and fill a gymnasium and there are also many vendors for moms. Look to see of anything like this exists.

Also we have children's consignment stores that also sell new things and that may be another avenue but you wouldbe sharing your profits.

Ask your local hospital OB department if you can leave cards or flyers for visitors and patients. See if you can sell them in hospital gift shops. Guests always go I there for last minute gifts. ( I work in a hospital).

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Use them as gifts to everyone that you know and include your email address on a label. It will advertise itself. Good Luck

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

You can ship one to a family member to see how it holds up

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I know that the Farmer's Markets have places for local arts and crafts. Some of the larger ones have waiting lists but the smaller ones are always open for that. Also, our swap meet has places for crafts as welll. Maybe make a nice brochure and have them at those plaqces, and also at places like Baby's R Us and the local hospitals and OB. Maybe they can put them in a Welcome Packet for new parents. Good luck!

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