Monday, August 18, 2008

Selling Your Crafts

By Michael Russell

Crafting can be an enjoyable hobby for many people. Sometimes, you can even earn some extra money by crafting, or even turn it into a small business. If you are thinking about selling your crafts, you need to explore the different avenues of where you can actually sell them.

Craft Shows: This is the first place that comes to mind for most people when they want to get started selling their handmade items. Craft shows can vary in their size, entry fee, jury process and how successful they are. Before you actually participate in a show, visit many in your area first. Talk to the other vendors there and ask them how this particular show is. They will tell you if the show is worth doing or not. Look for established shows that have been in the same location for years. That means that the show is successful enough to be around for that length of time and a healthy customer base that comes to the same location year after year. Notice the types of crafts sold at a particular show. Are they all handmade? Some promoters will allow in anyone selling anything, so you could have a unique pottery booth next to one selling cheap imports. Customers notice these things and will avoid shows that clearly aren't displaying quality handmade crafts. Once you find a show you would like to participate in, contact the promoter. Depending on the show, the vendors can be booked as far as one year in advance. There will usually be an application to fill out, be prepared to send photographs of your work to be juried. Make a list of the shows you want to apply to, placing them in order of preference. Then get out your applications as soon as you can, that way if one is full or you are rejected, then you can quickly apply to the next one on the list.

Home Parties: If you have a craft that demonstrates well, you can consider a home party. This would involve either hosting one in your own home, or have a host/hostess do one for you - and he/she would invite the guests. You would bring your items, set them up and do a demonstration or talk on the process of making the items. Then you would either take orders or have stock there to sell. You can work out a hostess gift or incentive for sales and certainly book another party through any of the attending guests.

Wholesale: If the idea of going to craft shows or home parties does not appeal to you, then consider wholesaling your crafts to small boutiques or other types of stores that specialize in the items that you make. You need to make sure that you price your items high enough for you to make a profit on them, yet at a price that the store owner can mark up and make a profit for themselves. Also, a well priced craft will move quickly, making more sales for you and the store owner. To wholesale well, you need to have a supply of your craft items ready to go. Store owners do not want to wait for an order, as they have short seasonal times to sell items and need to maximize that time. For wholesaling, you will need a very good accounting system for invoices.

Internet Sales: Don't neglect the internet. There are many people who shop for crafts online. Hosting a website can be quite inexpensive. The most important thing is to have excellent photographs. Invest in a good digital camera, or have someone qualified take pictures of your items for you. Remember that the photo is all the shopper will see; they cannot pick up, touch or smell the items. There are some people who sell exclusively online and having a website can capture extra sales for you, even if you do other means of selling.

Trying one or all of the above ways to sell your crafts will help you find the niche to succeed. You may find that a combination of several of these will give you the best results. Keep good records and you will learn which avenues are the most profitable for you.

Your Independent guide to HandiCraft.

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