11.10.2014

Craft Fair 11/8 Update

This past Saturday was a fantastic experience for me - though it was slow - I did sell quite a few items and I also learned quite a lot.

The booth behind me sold soap, which smelled AMAZING... and was also all handmade. The couple that sold it was great and I learned so much from them. This was their first fair in the Twin Cities - they normally did fairs in northern Minnesota (Bemidji area) which they said were always busy because craft fairs were where people go to buy gifts, their soaps, their supplies and the people wanted to support their local economy, which is unlike the Twin Cities area where people are more likely to shop at stores instead of craft fairs.

But I also learned that not all people who sell things at craft fairs handmade their goods. For example - there was a booth that sold knitted items AND crocheted items but as they were setting up I saw them ripping open each item out of plastic bags (which means that they bought the items in bulk for crazy cheap and are selling them upcharged and the items are probably NOT handmade).

There were also two other crocheters (ok, two other happy hookers!) at the fair and we all made completely different items. There was a woman that made all baby items, and another woman that made all scarves, infinity scarves, cowls and hats out of one type of yarn.

Then there was me - I rarely make the same item twice unless it's super popular so I had several boot cuffs, ear warmers, and about 10 short cowls. I had a few kids hats, mens hats, scarves, and wrist warmers. I brought 8 owl hats and got compliments like crazy but was told my price was high compared to others, I guess it wasn't the right market for those.

I also learned that even though I prefer to work with natural fibers like cotton and wool, most people really enjoy the feel of acrylic yarn (and that's fine, acrylic yarn is cheaper to buy anyway).

What I sold:

5 pairs of boot cuffs
4 short cowls
1 ear warmer
1 hat (which was my favorite - it was gray and pink striped!)
1 chunky cowl

For the amount of items that I brought, I did really well because I ended up hauling out only 1 bag of items instead of 3. I was happy with my sales because I made my money back from the show entrance fee plus a little extra so I can now go back to Michael's to purchase yarn to update my stock of items again - so I can make 3 more short cowls, and 4 more pairs of boot cuffs to send to Finch's Boutique.

I also want to go to JoAnn Fabrics to see if I can find some sort of minky fabric or super soft flannel that I can line my ear warmers with (and charge more than $10 each, I think with the fabric I can charge $15).

Why am I telling all of you about this?

Well, because I'm sure you're curious about the behind-the-scenes of the selling handmade goods.

Honestly - I don't make much money off of my craft, instead I make enough money to purchase yarn for my next items and that's pretty much it. I have some extremely nice yarn (at $15 per skein!) that I would love to make items and sell those but I don't think people would pay those prices at certain craft fairs. I think people in the Twin Cities go to craft fairs for discount prices not knowing how long it takes to make items and how much materials cost. That's fine - it's not really my job to educate people on that and talk people's heads off trying to defend my prices, instead what I do is let my quality show.

Next year what I would rather do is open up my house to those that are interested in handmade goods - serve some adult beverages, a few appetizers and let people come to my house to shop for what they want. This way I can enjoy the people that shop from me and I can have an absolute variety of goods for people to buy - I can put everything out without being limited to a certain space. I even talked to my neighbor about doing this (she is a potter and makes GORGEOUS things!!!), so if we do it together, hopefully we can get some new clients from each other and actually show everything that we make - from the low end items to the high end items and let our quality of work speak for itself.

So next year, be on the look out for that! I'm going to re-vamp how I sell (not that I'll ever be a millionaire selling my goods, but just to make sure that people know the range of items that I can make).

Happy Monday everyone!

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