Top 3 Things to Consider When Opening an Online Store
Maybe you’ve been practicing calligraphy for a few months. You’ve got your ovals and compound curves down and your style is evolving into something that’s perfectly and uniquely you. So you’re thinking about selling products to earn some income from your new skillset. But where do you start? Here are the top three things you should consider before opening up that Etsy shop or store on your own website.
What to Sell
Handlettering is everywhere! You can basically write on all the things. I don’t want you to be a vandal now - but think of all the products you can add lettering too (and if you need more inspiration - check out this blog post).
Yes, you can sell mugs and prints like a lot of calligraphers do. But think about how your products will be slightly different? Will they be foiled? Will they be some super bright color? Will you have a theme across all your products? Think about adding some special touch that will make your products stand out.
Where to Source Products
If you’re going to hand make all your products yourself, start doing your research! Grab a notebook or Google Sheet and write down the pricing for each item you need to create your product. Is it cheaper to buy in bulk? Where do you even get great quality products at a low cost? After shipping the products to you, what’s the true cost per unit? Knowing this (along with how much similar items are selling for) will help you come up with your retail price.
Google all the manufacturers. Google is your friend guys. But so are other small business owners who are selling products with their hand lettering. If you have a relationship with one of these peeps, ask him/her for any tips. They may not share all the deets of their secret sauce, but they may give you some much needed advice or at least send you off in the right direction.
And if not - no worries. I had no one to ask when I started and did a ton of research. So keep digging. Check out wholesale printers or dropshippers and see what suits your needs at this point in your business - but don’t forget to figure out your true cost. Even that pack of paint pens should be factored in.
Shipping & Branding
Don’t forget to incorporate your branding into your package. While you’re researching where/how to get your products made - also research the cost of the supplies you’ll need to ship your items to their new owners. Down to the tape and confetti guys. These small things all add up. Calculate how many pieces of tissue paper you think you’ll need, how many orders you think can pack with a roll of tape, the cost of those printable labels.
And incorporating brand colors is important too. I’m all about the hot pink and white - so my products are shipped with pink and white details. You won’t order something from my shop and have it arrive in green crinkle paper for example. In your thank you note, make sure you’re writing something the way you normally “speak” on social media and on your site. It just ties everything together to create a seamless brand experience.
Oh and PS - USPS has free priority boxes. Just head to their site, place an order and have boxes delivered to your door.
Happy researching friends! You're on your way to starting that side biz!