Crafting is awesome, which makes Pinterest a very dangerous place. Who can trip down the crafting and DIY Pinterest rabbit holes without emerging, confused, two hours later with two dozen pins saved (okay, 136 pins saved) and a shopping list of hot glue, burlap, and tiny adorable succulents? Not me! (Don’t even talk to me about the makeup and hairstyle how-tos.)
C’mon, I know at least a few of you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about!
Well, this predilection for making things doesn’t just have to be a hobby that costs you money – it can become a career that MAKES you money as well! I know: definitely a dream job for some of you! Let’s explore how you can turn your crafty skills and can-do spirit into a work-at-home career – while avoiding traditional at-home assembly job scams or low-paying opportunities.
Find an Independent Contractor Job
While crafting/DIY company jobs (think seamstress or testers and tutorial builders) aren’t incredibly common, there are still several legitimate companies out there that will employ you remotely to sew or even try out DIY crafts (or beauty and hair tutorials) and create snappy walkthrough videos.
Wunderkin Co specializes in handcrafted, heirloom hair bows for children that are intricate and made with care – and they’re always open to seamstresses applying to work with them. These bows are made with Liberty of London prints and cotton fabrics, and come with a lifetime guarantee – so the company values the services of skilled seamstresses. Wunderkin Co pays around $15 to $18 per hour, and requires their seamstresses to work at least 15 to 20 hours each week (producing around 100 to 150 bows on a weekly basis). In order to qualify, you must complete six test bows for them to evaluate; you can find the instructions on their website. You must have your own sewing equipment, and Wunderkin Co will supply the fabric and trims you need each week.
Darby Smart sometimes hires bloggers to create video content – like those how-to videos you see all over Facebook and YouTube. Right now, they’re looking for beauty journalists and bloggers to contribute to their super-popular Beauty Channel. (They also do food and craft videos, and it stands to reason they periodically hire for those channels as well!) If your DIY style runs to hair how-tos or makeup tutorials and you have presentation and video editing skills, this could definitely be a good market for you!
When looking for these sorts of opportunities online, it’s important to listen to your gut and also research companies before giving them your information and your time. Any time an at-home “assembly” job sounds too good to be true, it generally is – and any company that wants you to pay them up-front before they pay you is NOT a good opportunity. Not even if they say they’ll refund your deposit later.
Land a Local Job
Have you ever thought of looking for crafty or handmade positions locally? I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but hear me out: there are quite often seamstress jobs available (for example) in various locales across the United States that are perfectly happy to let you work from home once you’ve established your skillset and trustworthiness. If you’re an excellent seamstress, you could find yourself conventionally employed and working from home in less than a month! If you find the right opportunity and have the correct equipment and home environment, of course.
Let’s take a look at a few opportunities I found recently:
Dayleeosi in Kaneohe, HI is looking for a seamstress to sew baby gear who can work quickly and produce quality pieces. The position is advertised as through January (with extension possible) doing three days of work a week – with the option to work from home after a couple of weeks if you have your own sewing machine.
Fantasy Dream Image in Miami, FL is looking for someone who can speak Spanish and sew fantasy costumes for children. You should also know how to make patterns and have your own sewing machine. This position needs a very detail-oriented and creative person.
Hadley Pollet in Stamford, CT needs a stitcher to work on women’s belts and clothing; they advertise that the stitching is simple but they need someone who can do timely and professional work. You can work from home, and they pay by the piece.
Keep an eye on job boards from FlexJobs to Indeed to find these local opportunities to work from home.
Start Your Own Business
If you’re a creative crafter, honestly, there’s no reason not to start your own business! There are tons of people out there willing to buy the crafts that other people create, from adorable sewn or crocheted dolls to hand-beaded or wire-wrapped jewelry to chunky knit scarves to sarcastic cross-stitch. And when you go into business for yourself, YOU choose when you work and what you do. You choose how much to sell your products for and how much your time is worth.
You don’t need a brick-and-mortar storefront to sell your wares – although it never hurts to work out commission deals to have your items displayed in local shops or to put in the occasional appearance at an art fair. Thanks to the Internet and depending on how tech savvy you are, there are many great ways to sell your handmade (or custom-designed, for you graphic artists!) items online. You can sell crafts through handmade sites such as Etsy, ArtFire, or Handmade at Amazon for various listing and/or membership fees. You can even sell your crafts on eBay! For you graphics design folks, you can create products on Zazzle, Redbubble, or Society6. For total control over your shopfront and integration with your website, you can use Shopify or Wix.
One quick aside: if you’re a crafter in business for yourself, you can create passive income streams as well – by selling patterns or kits! Take those self-designed knitting projects and create a pattern, then sell it as a PDF. (Stuffed animal patterns are super popular for this!) Or put together a beaded bracelet kit: spend a little time putting these kits together once a month, pre-packaged so all you have to do is slap a mailing label on when one sells. You can also blog about your creative process to capture an audience and drive sales.
As an independent handmade business, you can order your materials online, craft at home, and sell your creations online – effectively meaning you don’t have to leave your house for a single step in the money-making process! That calls for a pajama dance party!
What’s your favorite home-based crafting or assembly job – or have you established a successful handmade business? Drop me a line about what you wish people had told you when you first started out!