Selling your creations online legally, either as a supplement to your salary or to make it a full-time activity, is the aim of this article. It is aimed at all those who wish to sell their artisanal creations, whether jewelry, textiles, painting, decorative objects. There are as many artisanal creations as there are talents!
The context is indeed favorable for selling your creations online, in markets, in stores, etc. DIY, vintage, and artisanal know-how are becoming more and more popular among creators and buyers. And online sales have always been better, with 2023 e-commerce figures breaking records.
Our advice for selling your creations legally is intended for both professionals and amateurs. In this article, we will answer the questions you are asking yourself:
What status do you have to sell your creations legally? Can I sell my creations as an individual? What are the best sites to sell your creations on the Internet? Is an online store necessary, or is social media enough? What are the most exciting marketplaces for creators?
Before diving in headlong, it is essential to know the rules for selling your creations legally on the Internet or on markets. Indeed, suppose your favorite hobby is making handmade jewelry, and you simply want to sell them from time to time to make ends meet. In that case, the questions burning on your lips must be: “Can I sell my creations as an individual”? And “Can you sell your creations without being declared”?
The answer is clear: to sell your creations legally as an individual, it is obligatory to declare your activity. You are just as concerned by this legal obligation as a person wishing to make it their full-time job.
Selling your creations on the Internet is a commercial activity, even if it is only one sale during the year.
Manufacturing and selling your products is an act of commerce, considered a professional activity. Only the resale of second-hand items that you own and that you do not wish to keep is not considered a professional activity (examples: selling clothes that you no longer wear on Vinted.)
However, any person carrying out a professional activity must declare it, as well as their income, and comply with a legal status.
Of course, it is possible to sell your creations on a market, a garage sale, or a flea market as an individual. And you would not need to declare yourself as a professional if your sales concerned personal goods, already used, and therefore second-hand. But to be able to sell your artisanal creations on a market, you must be declared as a professional.
To be able to legally sell your creations on the markets, you must be registered with the nearest Chamber of Trades and Crafts and request to obtain a merchant card upon payment of a fee of €30 for 4 years. Also, think about the designer markets, which are increasingly trendy throughout France, and attract your ideal clientele. Participation is not accessible; find out more and remember to include this basic budget to reserve your location.
To sell your creations legally, the self-employed status is the most suitable. Creating your micro-enterprise is the cheapest and quickest solution to selling your creations legally without investing in a physical store.
From the moment your microenterprise is established and you declare your income to URSSAF and taxes, you can sell legally. Self-employed aid is beneficial to help you get started, in particular ACRE, which offers partial exemption from charges during the first year of activity. Finally, the status of self-entrepreneur can be combined with that of the employee; it is an ideal solution if you simply wish to supplement your income with the sale of your creations.
It’s evident that when you think about where to sell your handmade creations, traditional stores are an obvious choice! To do this, follow our guide on how to open a business in France. It is a dream shared by many creators: to be able to exhibit and sell their creations in their own store, which would reflect their world and their passion to share through direct contact with customers.
Also note that solutions are increasingly being developed to make life and logistics easier for merchants, such as the POS system offered by Shopify. This solution allows you to transform any mobile device, such as a smartphone, into a point of sale in a store; all you need to do is download the Shopify POS application. This tool also allows you to track your inventory and link it to your online store if you have one. Thus, purchases can be made online while picking up the products in-store.
Unfortunately, manufacturing and selling these original and magnificent products is not enough. To know how to sell your creations on the Internet, you must have as much creative as commercial talent, know how to differentiate yourself, promote your products, and make your business prosper legally.
If you have an innate creative talent, know that knowing how to sell your creations on the Internet is a talent that can be acquired! There are several rules in this area, but also tools and sites, with online sales offering many opportunities to be aware of.
We might as well tell you from the outset. If the market for the sale of online creations is flourishing, it is also very competitive! Imagine the number of people who sell their creations on the Internet via their online stores, marketplaces, or social networks… This abundant supply reflects an equally significant demand.
The big challenge is knowing how to differentiate yourself from your competitors and capturing the attention of this large audience.
Your product may be unique, magnificent, or even revolutionary… you have to make it known!
It is, therefore, essential to master the fundamentals of marketing to propel your online business. Take inspiration from the business plan method and start by asking yourself the right questions: what makes you unique? Who is your audience, and what are their uses? What are your goals month after month? What prices should you establish based on your profitability objectives, the costs required, and the time spent creating each of your products?
Also, think about your production capacity: you will need to do a little advertising to make your store known, whether via influencers with influencer marketing or Facebook Ads, for example, and if you already have the budget, both are better. But suppose your advertising campaign is a success, which is what we hope for, and you are alone in production. In that case, you may very well have dozens or even hundreds of orders to process quickly.
Delivery is also essential; you can do it yourself if you stay local or use a third-party delivery service. So think about this in your business plan so as to avoid finding yourself overwhelmed and having production or order delivery times that are too long.
Branding is also something to think about from the launch of your activity and will make all the difference.
What is branding? The art of creating a brand with a solid visual and editorial identity that will make your target choose you rather than your competitor. The experience you offer through your design, your website, your content, your social networks, your emailing, but also your values and your commitments.
All of these digital marketing elements that make up your brand will matter as much, if not more, than your product. Indeed, DIY and the creators’ market convey strong values: handmade, artisanal know-how, Made in France, respect for the environment… Branding, therefore, makes even more of a difference for a brand that positions itself in this market!
Because the challenges are multiple:
It’s essential to provide a unique experience with every interaction between your brand and your customers.
From the choice of the brand name to the creation of your logo and your graphic charter, to the creation of your website, and the delivery and payment conditions, nothing should be left to chance. Take it step by step, and don’t hesitate to get help from professionals or by taking online courses.
A customer’s choice to choose your handcrafted creation reveals their interest in your world and your creativity; they will, therefore, be sensitive to your packaging. Be creative and innovate to surprise him. He will definitely think of you for his next purchase.
The crux of the matter lies here: where to sell your creations online? What are the best sites for selling well? A Marketplace like Etsy, an online store, or a store on social networks? Or all these channels at once?
You can promote your products on social networks, and the online store remains the meeting point between Internet users and your products.
To find where to sell your creations online and which are the best sites to sell well, marketplaces will be prominent. Increasingly numerous and efficient, they are part of the Top 5 most visited online sites in the world, with Amazon in the lead. These online platforms have the immense advantage of putting you in contact with thousands or even millions of potential buyers and, therefore, making your brand and your products visible. You can get started without prior technical knowledge and quickly.
Gaining notoriety is a significant advantage, especially when you’re just starting out. When SEO on your website will take time to position you in search engine results, the high-performance SEO of these platforms will allow you to benefit from it without delay. Finally, your potential customers will be reassured. The notoriety of the marketplace will work in your favor as a guarantee of trust, as well as the security, payment, and delivery conditions, which are essential factors to convince the buyer. However, you should know that these marketplaces are most often reimbursed by charging a commission for each sale.
With a small market study that will balance the provision of visibility to a large and qualified audience and the commissions charged, you will be able to choose the marketplace that best corresponds to your brand and your products. , your values , and your audience.
Finally, having a store on a marketplace is an excellent start for testing the prices of your products and making your first sales.
Artisanal creations have their specificities, unique creations resulting from know-how, which carry strong added values. Communities of creators come together around them, but also of buyers who prefer to buy a unique creation that respects the planet, for example, than a Made in China product on AliExpress. From then on, marketplaces were created to bring together these communities. Far from being marginal, they now occupy a growing share of the e-commerce market.
The American platform Etsy has become a leader in the field, with a turnover of $1.3 billion achieved in 2020. A few years earlier, Etsy had bought A Little Market, the French marketplace pioneer in the field.
Amazon recognized the opportunity represented by the sale of artisanal creations and launched Amazon Handmade.
Suppose Etsy and Amazon Handmade occupy the top of the podium. In that case, specific French marketplaces are doing well and attracting many creators through their values and the customer experience they offer. Here is a quick overview of the marketplaces dedicated to the sale of online creations:
How do you sell on Etsy as an individual? We wrote an article on why to sell on Etsy and answered the often-asked question: “Can you sell on Etsy as an individual?”. As a self-employed person, selling on Etsy has many advantages, especially its traffic and audience. Registration is free, but you will inevitably be charged numerous fees (registration, translation, shipping, payment processing… read the details in the article we devoted to Etsy ).
Take these costs into account when establishing your prices. To differentiate yourself, it will be essential to take care of your product sheets and reference them with the right keywords.
The recent platform has the advantage of allowing you to benefit from the superpower of Amazon (more than 250 million customers worldwide). The commissions are high (12%) while ensuring the conditions that make Amazon the leader in global e-commerce, including high-speed and inexpensive delivery conditions,
In short, high commissions are the price you pay to access audiences that are inaccessible by other means.
Today, the Vinted marketplace is the 4th e-commerce site in France! The pandemic and confinements have only accelerated the success of this start-up, which saw the number of its products increase by 16 to 17% on its platform during this period. Vinted is present in 13 countries and has 37 million users in Europe.
However, Vinted is not a platform dedicated to the sale of creations; it is only dedicated to the sale of second-hand items. It is a second-hand platform for selling your clothes.
But you can get started on French marketplaces. Their audience and traffic are much lower, but they have the merit of attracting qualified buyers, sensitive to artisanal creation Made in France. The Fait Maison marketplace stands out, for example, by allowing you to sell without fees, subscriptions, or commissions on sales.
So, if the marketplace brings you audience and visibility, what’s the point of investing in creating an online store? The answer is in one word: independence.
Indeed, being “only” present and accessible on a marketplace means that your online sales activity relies entirely on this marketplace. If commission rates increase overnight, the marketplace bans your products, or goes bankrupt, your business will be wiped off the web!
Furthermore, it will be almost impossible for you to anticipate your sales since you cannot control the competition, the policies that govern the marketplaces, and the journey of your potential customers.
However, on your own online store, you control all the parameters: the design, the navigation path, the payment conditions, etc. If the branding and user experience are essential, they are revealed on your online store. By making the necessary efforts to acquire traffic to your website and convert your customers, you will have control over all the parameters in order to optimize your performance month after month and anticipate the evolution of your activity.
We, therefore, recommend both: the marketplace is an ideal step to get started, but at the same time, build your own online store if you want to sustain your business and conquer your customers in complete independence, with control over your sales.
Shopify has the advantage of offering you what a marketplace cannot do: varied, attractive, and customizable templates ( Shopify themes for your site). As a creator, your online store must reflect your world, anything but impersonal. In addition, Shopify’s many features allow you to benefit from the most efficient and reassuring e-commerce features for your customers, such as secure payment solutions.
Finally, you can combine the power of Shopify with the power of marketplaces. How? By connecting the marketplace to your online store. You will then be able to manage all of your orders via a single application.
If it is more and more popular in France, there are reasons. Creating a Print on Demand brand is the perfect alternative to creating your own clothing brand without having to manage the logistics and investments required. Indeed, Print on Demand has an economic model similar to drop shipping.
You create your own designs, which you have printed on the supports of your choice (textiles, mugs, cushions, decorative objects, etc.) by a print-on-demand supplier via a platform that also takes care of storage and deliveries. You dedicate your time to your branding. Many suppliers in France and Europe will ensure faster deliveries and specialized marketplaces such as Spreadshirt.
To conclude… Marketplace and/or website in place, whatever your choice, it is essential to take care of your product sheets and to publish quality photographs of your products displayed, well-lit, and visible. It would help if you created as many bridges as possible between your online store and your audience via social networks. Very visual and essential for all creators, social networks allow you to integrate stores and do social selling. You can sell on Instagram or create a Facebook store. Marketing on Pinterest is also recommended since it is very focused on DIY with an audience that is 80% female.
We also advise you to invest in Social Ads and Google AdWords to promote your website from time to time. Do not hesitate to follow these influencer marketing tips by establishing partnerships with influencers close to your world who have a qualified audience.
Last but not least, remember that it is imperative to declare your professional activity to sell your creations legally on the Internet, on the market, or in your own store!
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