We’ve found three inspiring women who have each found a clever way to cash in on their creativity. If you love crafting and want to make some extra cash, read their stories below, then go ahead and steal their secrets so you can start earning too!
“Two years ago, I was working full-time, but I have six kids, so I wanted to find a way to make an income while also being available for them. For about 10 years, I had been knitting and hand-dying my own yarn — a skill I taught myself by watching YouTube videos. After some research, I realized there was a resurgence of young women who turned to knitting as an outlet for stress. I also learned many people wanted to use hand-dyed wool yarn, not the acrylic type you find in big-box stores. So I launched Baad Mom Yarns and started to sell my yarn.
“To get the business off the ground, I cashed out my 401(k), which had $2,000 in it, to buy my supplies. I opened a shop on Etsy and created a website. I learned all I could about social media marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) to help me use the right keywords on my website so people could find me. I started following other knitters, crocheters and designers on Instagram and observed the content they were putting out. I realized my customers saw hand-dyed yarn almost as a status symbol and that they were willing to pay four to five times more to support a woman entrepreneur. So I converted the breakfast nook in my kitchen into a separate space to hand-dye the yarn and store my equipment, including commercial drying racks and an industrial dryer.
“I market my business through Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. I post how-to videos on YouTube and I have my own podcast. I also travel to fiber festivals and sell my yarns in yarn shops all over the country.
“I love running this business because I get to express myself and make other people happy. The money I make — between $35,000 and $40,000 a year — pays the bills, goes back into the business and allows me to attend craft festivals!” — Melanie Cheripka, 42, Palmyra, VA
Starting a Blog
“I used to write travel books, but as the book industry started to change, I found myself making less money. I had always loved crafting, but I did it casually, as a hobby. Since I was already writing, I thought I could show others how to make crafts, DIY projects and home décor, so I started a blog.
“Starting the blog wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I used a free template to design the site, then started writing about the crafts I created. I soon learned that paper crafts were something my audience wanted more of, so I created more content around them, like making giant paper roses, pop-up butterfly cards, and 3D crafts like lanterns and luminaries.
“After one year, I had replaced my income from my previous job, so I started to write about how to make money with craft blogs. Today, I also offer online video courses: One for crafters and one for bloggers to grow their email lists.
“Most of my traffic comes from Pinterest, but I market the blog in Facebook groups and network with other bloggers too. I also use Mediavine, a network that places ads on my site, and Amazon affiliate marketing, where I earn a commission on the products I recommend.
“I love that I can inspire people to make something beautiful and gain confidence to do more craft projects. It feels great doing something that makes people happy. I make a six-figure income, which covers my bills and has paid for home improvements and a new camper for our family!” — Jennifer Maker, 50, Ann Arbor, MI
Helping Other Craft
“Some of my fondest childhood memories were crafting with my mom. But when I had my own children, I was working full-time and had no time to do crafts with them. I wanted to find a way for them to craft with their grandparents too. I did some research and realized I could create a product to bring families together with crafting, so in 2017, I quit my job and created We Craft Box, a monthly subscription service that delivers a craft box to your door.
“I put together prototypes for the boxes so I could get feedback from my friends. I created a website and used CrateJoy, an e-commerce platform that gives you the tools you need to start a subscription box business. I also found craft vendors who I could purchase supplies from for the boxes.
“Each We Craft Box includes supplies, photos of the crafts, and step-by-step directions. Each box has a unique theme and story. Some of the boxes are seasonal while others have more generic themes, like rainbows or outer space. I started the business out of my home, but as we grew, we were able to purchase a space to store and ship the boxes.
“To market the business, I place ads and use social media, but a lot of my business comes from referrals. I make nearly six figures a year, which goes back into the business and allows me the flexibility to drive my kids to after-school activities and make our own memories!” — Betsy Wild, 36, Sarasota, FL
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.
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