Beginner’s Guide: Choosing the right products for your online shop

Choosing Your Products

You can sell a wide range of handmade products for home and garden decor, personal adornment or simply as collectibles. It is worth noting that to be successful, you need to do more than simply listing a bunch of mediocre crafts. There are several basic rules that should guide you in making your selections. The first rule of thumb is, visual aesthetics. Your products must have visual appeal to catch the attention of online browsers for a more in-depth look.

Traditional Indigo cloth (Lama Batik), African flat basket, African flat basket and woven basket bowl (Baskets of Africa), Leather Pouf or Hassock (Yahuza)

Craftsmanship

Secondly, make sure that the products you choose are above average in craftsmanship. Pay attention to details and make sure that your products are well finished. There should be no signs of unraveling weaves, damage or sloppy handwork. Overall be very selective in making your choices. Because these qualities increase the likelihood of finding online buyers willing to pay your asking prices.

Hand-woven African mat (Alheri Mat Weaving Co-op)

Furthermore, it helps to pay particular attention to unique, well made functional products rather than items made for the tourist trade. Focus on functional objects that have practical applications. Some examples are, stools and coffee tables (e.g. Bamileke stools, Nupe stools), mats and leather rugs for flooring, handwoven cotton textile for bedrooms, flat baskets as wall decor, charger plates, fruit basket, poufs and throw pillows, etc.

Bamileke stool, Nupe stool and Dogon stool (all from Afara).

You can even re-purpose lowly fish smoking baskets for use as exotic garden lanterns, adorned with tower candles.


Wire Lantern made from an African Fish-Smoking Basket (Baskets of Africa)

Visual Artists

Artworks by visual artists can be listed for reprints as canvas prints and posters or sold as originals. The possibilities are quite extensive and limited only by your imagination.

Art by Clement Nwafor, Sylvester Onuh Edache and Jai’mariali.

If you have handmade products but you are not sure they are right for online sales, simply email or WhatsApp photos plus short descriptions to [email protected] or +234-803-884-5485. We will review your submissions and get back to you with suggestions.

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