Can You Make a Living Off of Hand Knitted Items?
Some people have made a living off of hand-knitting, but most people won’t. Knitting items by hand takes hours and most people aren’t willing to pay “minimum wage” for your time. While there are a few items that can be created quickly and sell for a reasonable price, the market is saturated with these items already.
If you have your heart set on turning your passion into a career, there are a few things you can do to supplement your knitting lifestyle to potentially make it easier to earn a living.
Best Online Markets for Knitted Items
Here is a list of a few online marketplaces that allow crafters to sell their goods:
Etsy is the most popular and well-known online marketplace for crafters. They charge a $.20 fee when you list an item and take 3.5% of your sales. The site allows you to make your own online shop for no additional charge and lets you manage payments through PayPal or Google Pay.
Aftcra is specifically designed for crafters in the US. While you don’t have to pay to list an item, the site takes a 7% fee when your project sells. The minimum amount you can sell an item for is $10.
You can list items on GLCmall for a monthly fee. Fees start out at $4.50 per month, allowing you to post up to 300 items. This mobile-friendly store has no additional fees and won’t post ads on your page.
Hyena Cart focuses on handmade, eco-friendly items. There is generally a $7.50 monthly usage fee, but there are no additional charges.
If you don’t want to deal with shipping fees and would prefer to sell locally, look into Facebook Marketplace. It is free to use and you may be able to build up a local clientele.
Sell Knitted Goods Through Local Stores
Approach the owner of a locally owned store to ask them if they would be interested in selling items on commission. Many will be interested in hearing you out if you have a business plan, act professionally, and knit quality items. Here are a few ideas to help you brainstorm:
Think outside the box as you look through your local businesses. Do you have a tea shop? Talk to them about selling tea-cozies. Do you have a university in your town? Knit items in their colors. I’ve seen hand-knitted hats in a local shoe store. As long as you have an idea, a marketing plan, and an interested shop-owner, you could be in business.
Create holiday-inspired items as well. Simple Christmas ornaments can potentially sell at a mark-up during the month of December.
Sell Hand-Knits Through Trade Shows/Markets
If you enjoy travel and large bustling crowds, you may be able to sell your items at a local market or trade show.
Again, think out of the box. Are there other events and festivals that you can create items for? If you enjoy knitting period pieces, look into Renaissance Fairs or Celtic Festivals. Serious attendees are often willing to pay well for quality goods that are created for the time period. Hand-knit kilt hose can go for a great price.
Selling Knitted Items By Commission
People will often ask you if you would be willing to knit on commission. You need to have an answer ready for them. Most knitters know that it is rare (if not entirely impossible) to find a buyer who is willing to even pay minimum wage for the time you spend creating an item. That being said, your time is valuable, and if you aren’t willing to knit for a low hourly fee, then simply decline the offer with a brief explanation (or a joke).
If they are serious about their offer, let them know approximately how long it would take for you to knit the item and discuss hourly fees. Alternatively, you can charge “per stitch” so that you can give them a more direct answer based on simple math.
In the event that you don’t necessarily care about receiving an hourly wage as knitting is your passion and you just need to “hand-off” items to people, double or triple the price of the materials.
What Should You Knit to Sell?
Don’t make “generic” items. Find creative, unique designs that will capture buyers’ attention. Learn what sells well and find a creative way to beat your competition.
If you want to make the most of your time, learn to knit one thing really well so that you can finish products faster. You can supplement “larger” projects with smaller knits such as baby booties or fingerless mittens.
Again, it is nearly impossible for you to make a living hand-knitting, so make sure that you are doing it for fun. Knit things that you enjoy crafting.
Preparing Your Knitted Projects for Sale
Once you’ve finished your product, sew a tag to it to mark it as your brand. You can find custom labels on Etsy or other sites if you can’t make them on your own. If you have created a garment, make sure to include a card with how to care for the product (washing and storage instructions). Finally, if you have your own website or social media accounts, make sure to post it to build your following of potential clientele.
Publishing Knitting Patterns Online
If you design your own knits, consider writing out the patterns for other knitters. You can often sell these in local yarn shops or on online marketplaces like Etsy or Ravelry. With a little promotion, you could potentially make a passive income to support your yarn addiction.
Use Social Media to Bring in More Traffic to Your Knit Business
No matter where you sell your hand-knitted items, use social media to grow your following and direct people to your stores. If people are connected to you, they’ll still be able to find your wares even if you eventually switch venues.