Lesson 4 - Can You Make it Reproducible

{This post is part of a FREE 5-part e-course on growing the profits in your online handmade business, running on Create & Thrive this week. Subscribe to our email updates to make sure you don’t miss a lesson. You can see Lesson 1 here, Lesson 2 here, and Lesson 3 here.}

Welcome to Day 4 of our 5-day course!

Today we’re talking products. And why continuing to make OOAK (one of a kind) products exclusively is putting a serious dent in your profit margin.


Chances are that when you started off in your craft, you were doing it for fun – as a hobby. So, you probably made one of this and one of that, following your creative urges to your heart’s content!

This is fabulous, and as it should be when inspiration strikes. However.

If you’re serious about turning your craft into a business, you need to insert a few more steps into this process.

If you’ve already been selling online, you’ll know that for each piece you sell, you need to:

  • design it
  • make it
  • take photos
  • edit your photos
  • choose a name/title
  • write a description, including measurements
  • come up with a list of descriptive tags
  • calculate a shipping cost
  • go to your e-commerce site of choice and enter all this information

That’s a lot of work – and more to the point – it’s a heck of a lot of time.

If you are doing this whole process for every piece that you sell, you are spending huge amounts of time doing everything but the most important thing – the making.

The question I want you to ask yourself is – can I make this again?

Can you create an near-exact replica of that piece? Because if you can, then the only thing you need to do if you sell the same design again is to hit the ‘relist’ button (or even nothing at all!), and make a new one. That cuts out 8 of the 9 steps above, and saves you so much time.

To increase your production capacity, you need to free up as much time as possible.

For example, I pretty much know how to make a pair of my ‘Entwined‘ earrings with my eyes shut, because I have done it so many times. I know I can make ‘x’ number of these in an hour – whereas if I made a new design every single time I would spend more than an hour just in the design, making, and photography of it!

But – you might be thinking – I love making unique, one-off items!

That is fantastic, and I totally understand. I’m not telling you to stop doing that – I’m suggesting that if you want to make a real profit, you need to combine the creation of one-off designs with a range of reproducible, bread-and-butter designs as well.

And even better – when you do have a reproducible range, you can charge more for your one-off items, because they then become a scarcity – something that loyal customers will happily pay more for!


Work through the following:

1. Do I currently have any designs that I can easily reproduce?

If so, what are they – (and make sure you write down all the design specifications – measurements, materials etc- so that when you come to make it again you’re not at a loss)! I keep a big sketchbook that all of this information goes into.

2. Do I have any design ideas that I can easily make reproducible?

Brainstorm some design ideas. Think of ways to streamline the creation/production of your designs.

3. Do I need to re-think my materials?

If you plan on making reproducible designs, you may have to re-think some of your materials. For example, if you’re a jeweller, you’ll need to buy components/gemstones in larger quantities so that you don’t run out of a crucial component.

4. Can I use the same component multiple times in my designs?

5. Can you use the same material differently in a range of designs to save on the amount of different components/ingredients you need?

Questions? Thoughts? Share with us on the Create & Thrive FB Page, or in the comments below.

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