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Thread: Need a craft show/bazaar "coach"

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99
    I think it would be much easier to sell online through Etsy or eBay.
    NO....it is not..different venues for one and way too much competition and hassle!

  2. #12
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    I have done this ALL of my life,,, being military it allowed me to stay home with kids and SEE things too....I come from a family of artist/crafters, so I come by it honestly....the addiction to selling your wares that is...

    anyway... you have to do your homework...really know your area, your markets, your show promoters...etc...
    it takes so much time to do shows...IF you are doing large shows..

    I make just as much money at small shows...rural OK has more small shows anyway! AND being the HOME of Hobby lobby, everyone here thinks they are the Martha of homemade stuff!
    This fall the most booths were filled with crappy gaudy costume jewelry and rhinestone everything....oh, and crocheted baby headbands with giant flowers on them...eeewww...

    you see little to NO sewn stuff and NO quilted stuff..reason...this is OK..they think they invented quilting and everyone sews and or quilts!

    what few you will see are the stuff made from Hobby Lobby fabrics, usually backed with fleece and tied..and they do sell...for about $35....yeah, you can not make money on that!

    I learned my first year here that sewn stuff was out of the game....I do hand made goat milk soap, and all natural organic herbal bath products! Not my first love, but it sells better than sewn stuff!

    IN Alaska, it is was sewn stuff....everyone loved a good wall hanging, sewing cases, you name it....if you sewed it, it would sell! Same with anything knitted or crocheted!

    In MI, I sold to 3 markets, up in the thumb was rural farmers, if it was not useful, they did not buy it! period...
    over in Saginaw, it was yuppie time, anything trendy sold..at the time it was all things wooden and painted!
    down around Detroit (Utica) it was ALL things...
    the funny part of MI was if I sold an item in the thumb area it had to be priced so that I made NO money on it...in Saginaw I could make about 50% return..but in Utica/Selfridge, I could make 300%! All on the very same item!

    In Italy, I had a great market...anything hand made by an American sold like crazy! I specialized in doll clothes & Christmas stuff there....what a market I had....

    So, there you have a wealth of useless information..hehehe
    the bottom line, do what you love, never follow a trend, do your homework, and remember, if you make more than $600 a year, you have to pay taxes on that!....

  3. #13
    Senior Member Hosta's Avatar
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    I did craft shows when my kids were little and would average about $3000.00 a show but the economy was stronger and people were really into hand crafted items now people are not so much into it and I know I got out before I started loosing money. You have to have a strong product and most stuff that sells is under $5.00 so it takes quite a few sales to make a good amount of money.

  4. #14
    Junior Member Tsanchez's Avatar
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    I do it all. I do craft shows from the Spring up until Christmas but I don't do any shows that require you send photos of the items you want to sell to be approved. Those are way to expensive. The most expensive show I do is $50 a booth. I have 3 websites - 2 with Artfire and 1 with Etsy. Then I have repeat customers that I make things for (which I have gotten originally from the craft shows). I do pretty good with all of them. I have one repeat customer that found me a craft show last year that I am still making quilts for. I have made 5 quilts so far, working on another, and have at least one more for this man. I even got two custom quilt orders from someone on the QB.

  5. #15
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    one other you have to be very careful of now that was not a big issue back in the 80-90's when crafting was huge is "copyright infringement"....

    you can not take a Lazy Girl wonder wallet pattern and mass produce them for sale at shows or on websites....that is a HUGE no-no...

    you also can not use "licensed" fabrics LIke disney, cartoons, colleges, etc to make mass produced items ...and not just the fabric but anything...like a machine embroidered bib with mickey is out, or wooden wagon with OSU on the side....all of those things, characters, schools etc, are licensed and you have to have a lot of money to buy into their programs that allow to sell items using their colors/names/characters....

    Etsy, Artfire and Ebay are hot beds for copyright infringements and schools and designers are always on the lookout for violations!

    Having said, there are some designers in the modern world that recognize the fact that if you sell something made from their pattern, then others might want that pattern as well! Kaye Wood is one and Nancy Halvorsen is my favorite! Nancy is from Art to heart fame and she gives you permission to make 12 of each item in her books to sell. Kaye will grant you permission in writing to produce "X" number of the item. IF you find something you like and you think it will sell, take a moment to ask the designer if it is ok! If they say NO, then you really need to find something else to make! But many are really good about it.

  6. #16
    Junior Member Tsanchez's Avatar
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    I agree with you IF you can afford to do the "juried" shows. You're looking at no less than $300. for one booth per day. Most crafters don't have that kind of money, I don't. I have done very well at the "small shows" and I have people coming back every year because they want to see what I make next. I take more than one medium though. I not only sew, I make jewelry and stained glass (painted of course) also. If one doesn't sell this show it just might the next show. I like doing many different shows each year and with the "juried", I would only be able to do maybe 1 every other year if I saved up for it. I guess what I am trying to say without stepping on toes is that do what you can afford and not take away from what you need to survive on (bills, food, mortgage, etc). Don't go into them thinking you're going to make a million dollars. It's just not going to happen. Do it because you enjoy making things and meeting wonderful people. I can't tell you how many really good friends I have made over the years at the "little craft shows".

  7. #17
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    If you are just starting out, it helps to have a good variety of different types of items. Once you are established at a show, people will come back every year looking for you and what you have new to offer. So you usually can't just do one thing and keep doing it over and over, unless it is something that is used up like candles or soaps or lotions and potions that people find they really like and keep coming back for more. But you still have to have something new and different every so often even in those.

  8. #18
    Super Member earlylace's Avatar
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    I am doing a show here in NJ on Jan. 29th. Its at a church. No table fee, just donate 20% of your sales to missions. So if you don't do well, less to pay. This is their 7th year, I was a customer last year before i started quilting and crafting. I did a juried show here in NJ only $30, mostly sold items under $10 and this was in Nov. I did pretty well, nice day, met nice people.

  9. #19
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    I used to do craft shows, the small ones are mostly people killing time and looking for ideas. If you have something small and low priced that catches people's eye, you may do well. Jewelry seems to do well, I can see where soaps and lotions would too.
    Beware the people coming around at show A passing out flyers for show B. They are looking for new vendors - reason, the old vendors are not coming back, reason, not a good show.
    The really good shows are juried and some have a waiting list for vendors.

    I gave it up, couldn't stand all the oohing and aahing, and Oh my you have been busy, over and over. Guess I am an old grump.

    Unfortunately quilting is so popular that it is getting like afghans. Almost everyone knows someone who makes them, so the market to buy one is not as great as it would be with something rarer like stained glass or metal work. I think I read there are some 20 million quilters in the US.

  10. #20
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    Lots of good advice has been posted here.

    Having spent 25 years on the (very local) craft show circuit I would add a few points:

    Do your homework. Go to a few shows as a shopper. Look to see if anybody else is selling items similar to what you would like to do, and if so, note their prices. If their items are VERY competitive, then ask them what other shows they will be at. You probably won't want to do those particular shows.

    Actually, you will want to ask a bunch of crafters what shows they do and which ones they think are best. If possible, ask fabric crafters if you're going to be doing fabric crafts. Ask them why they like those particular shows. If they are outdoor shows, ask them if shoppers still turn out in case of rain. Some shows have a very dedicated customer base, others do not.

    Never - did I say NEVER? - do a show that's a "first annual" show. No track record, no customer base, and who knows if the organizers know anything at all about getting the word out?
    Also never, EVER do a show that is combined with a flea market. Shoppers will be cheap and will want to haggle.

    Also find out if you will need a tax id. I've seen tax inspectors come around to the larger shows here, and you can get fined if you do not have your tax number on display.

    That said... once you go the tax number route, all your sales will be "on the books" and you cannot remain "invisible".

    Personally I'm not a huge fan of the idea of selling on eBay / etsy. If I were starting out, small-time, I would rather just do a few shows. It would be easy for you to spend just as much time doing photos and descriptions for etsy/eBay as you would sitting at the show. You can choose to only accept cash, if you prefer, and you don't have to worry about shipping, or major record-keeping in case of a tax audit. If you sell interstate, you will have to keep records proving where you shipped your product, so that you won't be liable for sales tax on all those sales. At least, that is the way it works in NYS.

    Oh - and if you decide to do shows and accept checks - always get a phone number, and wait 2-3 days before cashing it. People tend to overspend at craft shows and they can overdraw their account without even noticing. That gives them a couple of business days to put more money into their account and you won't get hit with a fee for a returned check. (Yes, the banks charge both the issuer of a check and the party receiving it.)

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