Ask the expert – Make to sell with Cricut
Christmas and the festive season can be the best opportunity to sell your Cricut makes. Google trends charts show that shoppers are looking for unique personalised Christmas gifts from November onwards, and many also want to support small businesses with their purchases. Whether you’re thinking of attending a few independent craft fairs, setting up an Etsy shop, or are an established business looking to make the most of the Christmas sales period, we asked an expert to share her top tips that could help over the next few months.
Emma Simmonds from Nurture & Cheer uses a Cricut machine in her business. Earlier this year she took part in a Hobbycraft Webinar explaining how Cricut can be a useful business tool. Recently we caught up with her to pick her brains for her top business tips to share with you.
How do I start selling my goods?
There are so many ways you can start selling products. In the pre-Covid days small, in-person markets were a great way to start getting your items out into the real world. Now, it’s all about making the most of your existing networks! Speak to your friends and family, share your makes and get their feedback on your ideas. Whenever I launch anything for Mums, I often message all of my Mum friends and get their views on my ideas to make sure they will be well received.
Where should I start selling my products? Do I have to have my own website?
Having your own website comes with lots of benefits, like choosing exactly how you want your site to look or being able to have a blog. However, it also requires a lot of work upfront. Selling via third-party marketplaces, like Etsy or Ebay is a great option when you are just starting out. Sites like these have everything already set up for you (including things terms and conditions), meaning you just need to upload the details of your products. They already have an established customer base, and so are a great way for customers to find you. You’ll generally need to pay either a monthly subscription and/or fees on each sale (this depends on which marketplace you choose), but they are a great way to just get going.
How do I come up with a business name?
I picked my first business name (Em Makes and Bakes) in approximately 5 minutes. It was very much a description of exactly what my blog was going to be! However, as time went on I found it too descriptive and found that eventually, it was simply no longer relevant. My current business name is a lot more open-ended, but took me a long time to come up with it. I spent many hours writing out words that summed up my business, checking potential names online to see if they already existed, and then finally settled on Nurture and Cheer. If you’re struggling to come up with a name, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using your own name!
How do I price my goods?
Pricing can be really complicated, but at a very basic level, you need to work out your costs and then make sure the price you are charging is more than that. As well as your materials, you’ll need to factor in postage and packaging (even the little things like stickers and postcards), any other costs (electricity, insurance), and most importantly, your time. It’s always worth seeing what other businesses are charging for similar items, but don’t feel you need to match them on prices, you need to make a profit if you want to business to be sustainable.
How do I know what to sell?
If your business is successful, you could end up making something over and over again, therefore I believe it’s really important to sell things that you truly love designing and making. Also, take into consideration the logistics of selling certain items, for example, do you have room to store lots of stock? and any specific regulations that apply such as selling items for children or food and drink. Consider starting with just one item. I began selling prints, and then expanded to pouches, greetings cards, mugs, and patches over the next two years.
How do I find suppliers?
Research, research, research! What makes a great supplier for one business, will not necessarily be the same for you. Finding good suppliers is definitely one area of your business where you should take your time. See if you can get samples, ask about minimum quantities and order values, and always check if the prices include VAT!
Which Cricut machine should I buy if I want to start a business?
There is a brilliant guide here, which explains more about the machine families. My advice is to consider your budget, how much space you have, and how you might be able to use your machine outside of your business. If your space is limited, the Joy might be the model for you, however, if you are an avid crafter with a dedicated craft room or want to scale up your production, the Maker or Explore machines may be better investments longer-term.
Can I sell goods using images from Design Space?
Yes! This blog article scopes out what to consider when selling items made using content from the Design Space library.
How do you use your Cricut machines in your business?
Your Cricut machine can be used for so many things, not just for making the actual products to sell. I use my Maker to cut seasonal stickers, swing tags for my pouches, and even for making vinyls for promotional materials such as banners and tablecloths for markets.
How do I generate traffic to my business?
When you are starting out, social media is definitely your friend! Set up accounts as soon as you can, and get posting straight away. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have finalised products yet, share behind the scenes, snippets of your process, and then products when you have them. Word of mouth is great when you are starting out, ask your friends and family to share your social media pages. When your business is more established, you can also look at running paid adverts on Facebook, Instagram etc.
How do you come up with your designs?
This process is unique to everyone, and there is no easy answer. Sometimes I have ideas that come to me really quickly, others take some time to come to fruition. For me, the important thing is to keep refining my ideas until I’m really happy with them.
How do you balance running a small business alongside another job or juggling home, kids, home-schooling, family commitments?
The most important thing is to be realistic with your time. You won’t be able to achieve as much as someone who is running their business full-time, but that’s ok! Over the years, I’ve learnt to find efficiencies in the way I work, such as making and packing orders on certain days of the week, rather than as soon as they come in. I try and carve out time periods each week which are just for my business, and have a to-do list so that I know exactly what I need to work on. I also ensure that I have down-time in my week, so that I’m not always on the go.
Thank you Emma for sharing your tips. The Make to Sell area of our blog has more helpful articles for using Cricut for your business.