A full class of 20 crafters/makers have been attending the official Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship Program offered by SouthWorks MakerLab Network. Twenty crafters- some are experienced crafters who have sold online or at local craft fairs and others are thinking about turning items they’ve made for family and friends into a business venture- gather on six consecutive Tuesday evenings at South Suburban College’s Oak Forest Campus to learn from Daphane Taylor, an experienced Etsy seller how to turn their “making” talents into a business.
Participants’ products range from unique works of art to homemade rocking horses to jewelry, clothing, beauty products, and household furniture and décor. See the attached photos (Continue Reading, below) for the beautiful pictures professional photographer Larry Burrows (Photography by Larry Burrows) took for workshop participants. Even e-books and music are sold on Etsy as long as they are designed or hand made by the seller. Vintage items and craft supplies are the only exception.
SouthWorks is the only Etsy-certified training provider in the Chicagoland region. The program provides prospective and current Etsy sellers with an understanding of the process to start a business and to create an online Etsy store. Much time is spent on online marketing tools and techniques, product pricing strategies, and operations and customer service. A professional photographer even teaches them how to take the most inviting photos of their items to post in their Etsy store using only their smartphone camera and items they already have at home.
MakerLabs are a natural opportunity for people to develop products that sell on Etsy. Laser cutters and engravers, 3D printers, vinyl cutters, computer-controlled carvers, woodworking, metalworking, electronics equipment and more provide ample inspiration and opportunity for creativity. Tools have become much easier to master, so that anyone with a design idea should be able to quickly produce a prototype. In addition, much of the design and operating software has become free, so users can access it from their own computers at home. The MakerLabs provide training as well as consultation and open shop time for individuals to work on their own project ideas- whether a new product to sell, a one-of-a-kind gift, or the home repair project.