If you are a crafty person who can sew and have an eye for home style, making and selling decorative pillows may be a profitable venture for you. You can create an inventory of beautiful pillows in a relatively short amount of time and even offer custom services to create pillows on demand. However, you will have to have a place to sell your pillows.
Know your limitations prior to selling handmade cushions. Before you cut one piece of fabric, sit down and make a business plan. You should ask:
- Is this going to be a hobby, a part-time endeavor or a full-fledged small business?
- What is your budget? How much can you spend on creating an inventory?
- Do you want to stick with one design or branch out into several styles, sizes and price ranges?
- Will you have help or is this a truly solo venture?
These are just a few of the questions you need to answer before you can decide how and where you want to sell your product.
Study the market and get to know your prospective clients who might be interested in handmade pillows for sale. Read interior decorating publications, research current decorating trends online and visit local fabric stores to see what fabrics are currently being sold. Decide which styles and sizes of pillows you wish to create and also whether you want to venture into making custom-designed pillows for clients.
You might also find it helpful to distribute your contact information to local fabric stores who may keep a registry of local artists and designers who can offer insight on what customers like.
Research prices and the cost of production in order to determine what to charge for your pillows. You will need to factor in the cost of materials, time for purchasing materials, labor cost, packaging, shipping, advertising and selling fees to arrive at a price per pillow that will (at some point) start to earn you a profit for your hard work.
You will also need to determine where you want to sell your pillows. Do you want to sell exclusively online, or do you want to attend craft shows and home & garden shows? You could also try to market your wares to local retailers and boutique owners. You do not have to do it all at once, but without a plan you have no direction and can lose focus.
Choose an online marketplace in which to start selling handmade cushions. Etsy, eBay and other online marketplaces offer the ability to set up your own store and manage your inventory, create listings, and get your business started, without the hassle of trying to create a website from scratch.
If you prefer, however, you can create your own website, where you have complete control of the appearance and functionality of your online presence. If you go with this option, and you do not have website building experience, you have two options. You could employ the services of a website developer or familiarize yourself with how to navigate a user-friendly content management system like Squarespace or Wordpress.
Sell your decorative pillows at craft shows, flea markets and other community events like county fairs and festivals. You will have to pay a fee to rent a booth, and provide your own tables and display hardware, and will need to provide packaging for purchases. You will also need to decide whether you will accept cash only, or accept other forms of payment as well (personal checks and credit cards).
Market your pillows to local retailers and boutiques. Contact local interior decorators and furniture stores to inquire about getting referrals or selling sales-floor samples. You will need to present a professional front, and have a business card available to hand out. Create a sales pitch before contacting anyone, so you will not risk stumbling around for words and appearing sloppy.
Also market your business online, in your area and in surrounding locations. Place ads in newspapers, create fliers to hang at local shops (with permission, of course), and create a blog where you can write about your work, display samples and begin networking with potential customers.
Do not expect your business to take off overnight. It takes time to build a solid, profitable venture.