There are many places that you can sell your handicrafts.
Is any one better than the others?
What if I don’t sell anything?
We will explore the many facets of retail selling.
Where Should I Sell My Finished Work?
We have other articles on other blogs that also apply to this subject. One is an old post on The Talented Termite on January 15, 2014 called ‘Getting ready for a show‘. Another is on Grumpy Rambles on March 16, 2016 called ‘Craft Show time again’
You have many avenues for selling your products. Some of them are:
- Craft fairs and shows
- Consignment shops
- Flea markets
- Yard sales
- Alongside of a highway (where permitted)
- Events that allow vendors
- Wholesale or trade shows (need large amounts of inventory)
- Your own website
- Online stores like Etsy, eBay, Amazon, etc.
- And any other ideas you have
As you can see, there are many places for people to see and purchase your product.
Determining where to sell is a lot of trial and error. If one way doesn’t workout, consider another alternative, but give it a chance. Just because it didn’t work the first time doesn’t mean that it is completely wrong.
And you may want to try more than one way at a time. Always having a website up is a good idea as you are then open 24/7 wherever you may be.
Always have a complete inventory of everything you take with you. And have a receipt book or ledger to keep track of all purchases and expenses. This will help you to determine if you are actually making money or going in the hole.
Have a cash box or register and change. Not having enough change with you can mean you don’t make the sale. And you need some way of taking credit and debit cards at the show. We use PayPal Here, but there are other ways also. with PayPal Here you use a reader that you plug into your smart phone.
How Do I Know Which Is Best For Me?
Choose a form that fits your personality.
If you don’t like meeting new people all of the time, consider a consignment store or a craft mall.
If you like meeting people and you are a ‘people person’, like me, then shows and fairs are a good fit for you.
Make certain to choose a show or store that fits your particular craft. Make certain that there are similar items there already, but not an overabundance unless it is a speciality store.
Sometimes you can find complimentary items that make a good fit. An example might be wooden quilt racks at a quilting show. Or maybe jewelry at a fashion boutique.
Check the internet for shows and places. And definitely check out getting a website up and running.
I’ve Tried (Insert #) Shows And Nothing Has Sold
We all get frustrated when we plan and setup for a show and then there are not enough sales to pay for the expenses. You need to figure out where things went wrong.
- Were there similar items there?
- Did they sell a little or a lot?
- How were their prices compared to yours?
- Did the people look like they had the money to buy at your prices?
- Was there a competing event going on?
- Did your booth compare to others in appearance or was it shabby-looking?
Sometimes when sales don’t happen, there can be a simple explanation.
You need to learn to figure out the reason for not selling good. And that can be hard to take an objective look to figure things out.
Try to have another person with no interest in your success critically look at your setup and the show in general. Get some input from friends and family.
Talk to other vendors at the show, especially some that have similar items. But remember that their answers as to the amount of sales might not be accurate. Most vendors don’t want other vendors to know that they didn’t do real good either.
After a number of failures, don’t just give up on that type of outlet. Look into trying a different locality or type of sponsor for the event.
We have found out that the lower priced shows don’t have the type of clientele that we need for some items. But it can be hard to justify the higher priced shows when you are just starting out.
Also, your pricing might not be in line for the area and the other vendors. Walk the show and check out the prices and quality of the other vendors. This is a good reason to have at least two people for any show.
What Is My Next Step?
After each show, you need to figure out if you actually made any money after expenses. And include even the drinks and snack that you bought at the show, the hotel or motel bill, the gasoline to get there and any other items purchased just for that show.
If you find out that after (insert your number) shows you aren’t improving and starting to make a profit, then it is probably time to consider changing the type of shows that you do.
We have found that shows for or at a school or church aren’t right for us. They are inexpensive to get into ($20-$75) but the only one making money is the sponsor. Basically you are donating to their cause. It would be cheaper to just give them a donation and spend your time someplace else.
Do some research into the economics of the area where the show is being put on. If it is a depressed area, you won’t make any money with higher priced items only. This is the place to have a lot of lower priced ($1-$10) items. If the price is right, you can sell in anyplace.
But don’t be fooled by the cost of the show. We have done some $20 fee shows that were great and then we have done some $250 shows that were a complete waste of time and money. So don’t judge a show by just its entrance fee.
Make certain that the show doesn’t allow resale items. If they do, avoid them as you will probably be competing against third-world imports. And if money is tight in that area, the imports will win.
Look for juried shows. They are pricier, but it keeps out the imports and sloppy workmanship items.
Venues Other Than Craft Shows
We don’t really suggest that you do flea markets or yard sales on a regular basis. They are great to unload all of that stock that doesn’t sell well in shows or shops.
A part of the problem with flea markets and yard sales is the fact that people expect to ber able to get you to drop your price. So they start cutting the price down so they can barter.
Consignment stores and craft malls can be a good venue for sales. But make certain that you understand about the percentage they take and also who is responsible for theft or loss. Most places won’t be responsible for the loss, so you have to eat it. Some also have a turn-over clause that requires you to change the stock out if it doesn’t sell within a specified time. And know exactly where your product will be displayed in their store. A bad location can hurt your sales.
These are just a few of the hints and tips that we have from years of selling handicrafts. We will be talking about more as time goes by.
There will be a new article next Friday. So please check back to read it.
Please leave me a comment below to let me know what you liked about the article. And please tell me of any other subjects you would like me to write about.