Lately, I’ve read several posts in Facebook groups and other places online where hand letterers have mentioned that they just aren’t sure how to go about starting a hand lettering business. I have seen so many talented hand letterers on Instagram that have the most gorgeous lettering posts. But, some of those artists still haven’t really turned their passion and talent into a business. If that is something you have struggled with or just don’t know how to begin, I’m going to outline 3 easy steps for you to start a hand lettering business. Turning your hand lettering passion into a business is not nearly as complicated as it seems. You can start on each of these steps, today!
Step 1: Create a Product Line
Before you start selling your hand lettered goods, consider what you will focus on with you products. For example, if you plan to do calligraphy for weddings, then create a few products, such as envelope samples and invitation designs, to put in your shop. Or, if you are going to hand letter on wood signs, go ahead and create several pieces for your first line or items going into your Shop.
Before you decide to open your Shop, sit down and spend a large amount of time planning a cohesive product line. It will give your business and Shop a much more professional look and feel. Think about how your products will fit together. Using similar colors or materials in your products can give them a cohesive look. Additionally, when you think about photographing your products for your Shop, using similar set ups for each product will also help to give a cohesive look to your product line.
Step 2: Open an Etsy Shop
Once you have a few items planned for your product line, you’ll need a platform to sell your goods. The easiest online place to start selling is Etsy. Before opening your Shop, you first need to walk through a few steps.
- Pick a Name for Your Shop. If you already have a social media account, you can use the same name for your Shop and business. Spend a day or two thinking about the business name. You can even run it by a few of your trusted friends to get their opinion on the name.
- Design a Logo. For hand letterers, logo design might be easier than it is for others. Simply hand lettering the business name can make a great logo for your new hand lettered business.
- Create an Etsy Shop Banner. At the top of your Etsy Shop, you’ll need a banner for your Shop. The banner must be sized to 760 x 100 px. You can easily create a banner in PicMonkey or Canva. If you are struggling with finding a professional looking banner, consider using a photo stock photo or mockup, like the one I used for my Etsy Shop.
- Have at least One Product ready to list. When you go to open your Etsy Shop, Etsy will require you to upload at least one listing. The listing will require at least one picture of the item and a description. Check out several other hand lettered sellers’ listing for some ideas on how to write your listing. Although Etsy only requires 1 listing to open a Shop, you’ll want to add as many listings as possible. More choices for your customers is more likely to lead to more sales.
Once you have completed these three tasks, you are ready to open your Shop here. Etsy will walk you through the simple steps to open the Shop.
Step 3: Promote
After you have opened your Shop, you are now ready to promote it. If you already have a social media account, then you can promote it there. If not, Instagram has a been a great place for lettering artists. Just make sure to remember not to constantly be selling to your followers. For example, limit your selling posts to every 3rd or 4th post. I try to abide by the “serve, serve, serve, sell” model where I am serving my audience for at least 3 posts, then selling on the 4th post.
In addition to promoting on social media, I would recommend eventually starting a blog. Starting a blog doesn’t have to be complicated. Blue Host has a great article about starting a wordpress blog. WordPress has many free templates that you can use. If you want a professionally designed blog, I love PrettyDarnCute Designs, plus they have lots of good tutorials on how to install items. In particular if you want to purchase a professional blog template design, I would recommend waiting to start your blog until you have made enough sales to cover the costs of the blog design. Reinvesting your profits into your business, especially at the outset, will help to your business to grow longterm.