Craft fairs, selling online and making a go of it
I've been making jewellery and crafts for the best part of my life and i love it and always get comments from friends, family and collegues that i should start selling my crafts seriously.
I have been thinking about it for a while and really want to make a go of it. Not just casual and beautiful everyday pieces to sell but also to branch into bridal and special occasion jewellery and crafts. I also want to get more into the writing side of it with magazines and craft books.
I want to establish myself at local craft fairs and in my local community and hopefully online aswell but its getting the confidence to really just try.
Does anyone have any tips and advice on getting ready to sell my pieces?
Think about the usual table sizes of where you would and how you would best display your pieces. Remember, people want to be able to reach out and touch things rather than see them behind glass.
i am watching this thread! i have been thinking of this as well, but have reservations and am a bit naive about selling.
Thank you Corvus we can learn together
try using ebay and etsy, also if you are in UK you can get a free website from get british businesses online (GBBO)
I want to sell what I make for a few reasons, no space to keep them, could use the money to make more and also need a job.
You would also need to inform the tax people that you are self employed. you may need insurance if you want to write things incase you do something unintentionally like copyright breach (some people are very fussy)
I tried to start up a dog walking business but it's on pause at the moment because in a year or so I will be moving, also I would be spending more money then making at the start with advertising and insurance, kitting out the car and buying necessities like leads, collars, muzzles, poo bags, anything just in case of an accident. also my schedule is completely random week-to-week because I see my fiancé on his 2 days off a week and he works shifts which aren't the same each week. /end rant
sudden thought: you may want a fire extinguisher or two handy.
good luck to you
To find craft fairs, you may have to scour the newspapers from your city or town. Sometimes there will be a community events section kindof around the classifieds. Also, check flyers that might be posted around town in grocery stores and large stores like Walmart.
As far as selling online, if you want to list a lot of items, Etsy is probably the site to go to considering that they have more unique daily visitors than any other craft-selling site. If you only want to list a few items at a time though, you may be better off with Artfire.
I have a few tips as a long-time Etsy seller for you if you do go the route of an online store. WALL OF TEXT BELOW.
1. Developing a more friendly attitude towards customers is way better than being a strict professional. I make soap with natural and organic ingredients, but I don't go out of my way to copy and paste some technical mumbo-jumbo that no one's going to read.
2. Social networking helps. Facebook is great because you can make a page for your shop/wares. Twitter is alright, but unless you have a lot of followers right off the bat, it isn't going to do too much for you.
3. Never sign your shop up for Groupon or LivingSocial. These sites destroy small businesses like mom & pop shops, small restaurants, and specialty stores by giving their products out for less than the cost was to make it, and you'll get a lot of bad customers with no patience. (You can probably find an article about this on NPR news.)
4. Use packaging that's low-impact and can be recycled. Also, using shipping containers that give each item a snug fit are a good choice. Don't use an envelope or box that's too big or small, as you could end up paying or charging too much for shipping.
5. When you ship things, always take enough time to make sure you know exactly how much you're being charged and why. I made a mistake once where I let the postwoman go too fast with my shipping and I came out behind on a sale.
6. Try your best to initiate a follow-up conversation with your customers. Sometimes it gets you a repeat customer, sometimes it gets you a friend, and sometimes nothing comes of it but at least you tried.
7. Have nice-looking business cards. You want something that can reflect your shop without being too wild and hard on the eyes. You also don't want something that's too basic like a card where all the text is in Times New Roman or Helvetica. When you're passing out your cards, try not to overload them onto someone. When I ship an order, I typically include 2-5 business cards, depending on how big an order was. In person, I only give one card to a person unless they offer to pass some out, then I'll usually ask them how many they'd like to give out.
Hope all that helps!
Thank you Nikki and Monika you have both been really helpful
Monika, as a new online seller, I found that that was all really helpful info
CraftyGeek, have you taken the plunge yet??
Not yet, been building up some designs and stock, might just start in local crafts fairs and a few friends from work want to hold jewellery parties for me to help get me established with some business cards for bridal and occasion jewellery, then i think i'll branch out online, still gonna set it up a facebook page.
i just found this on folksy: their guide to whether u have to tell the tax people. its for the uk but helpful (I'm in UK)
awesome thank you nikki! x
A facebook page is a really good way to get known. I also have my website, list on ebay and on etsy.
In the UK you need insurance for most craft fairs but I don't have it so don't do craft fairs yet.
This site is apparently good http://www.stallfinder.com/
You could try a carboot sale if you want to sell your things but dont want to pay for insurance that may cost you a loss. I found this:
"The craft person.
If you are making and then selling your work at craft or other fairs, you will need to consider both public and product liability insurance. As well as other insurance to protect your business.
You will want to be covered for things like, damage and loss, legal costs, expenses etc. Read the small print as an insurer will not cover you for everything.
You can also get insurance cover for your stock, your stands, lighting, tables, chairs or other items used at a fair.
Cover can be purchased against losses due to the abandonment, curtailment or postponement of a fair.
You should also look at cover for equipment and stock at you own home."
Taken from http://www.ukcraftfairs.com/guide-to-craft-fair-insurance.asp
I didn't know you needed insurance, so I googled it and one place said in 2007 it was between £45 and £70 for a year, seems ok if you are going to craft fairs often, or sell things with a high markup.
Companies are CMTIA, Ian W. Wallace, GM Imber, Graham Sykes, AIR, National Market Traders Association, however there are contradicting reports on prices and rules e.g. someone said that NMTA would not insure them because they have to "be in an established market to be a member... Craft Exhibitions didn't count".
i know some things are a few years old, but they are useful to read/know
I've been selling jewellery online a few years now and I love it. Its hard work and can be quite demoralising when you go ages without a sale. I'd recommend joining up with a site like Folksy or Etsy. Folksy is UK based but can be much fussier about what jewellery they allow you to sell, so check the rules before listing anything.
Also once you've joined up get using the forums. It's a great way to get feedback on your designs and get views to your shops. The other sellers are also really friendly and helpful.
Finally I'd also get yourself a facebook and twitter account for your jewellery shop - its free and once you build up a little following it can be another way to increase views to your shop. Personally speaking though, I'd recommend adding some chitchat stuff as well as sales pitch stuff on twitter as people tend to unfollow if its just promotional tweets.
I'd say run competitions, people love to win free stuff. I'm running one where the person who sends the most new likers to my facebook page wins a custom bracelet, no restricions.
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