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Craft Fair Recap

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Blog entry by NoWhiskeyWoodworking posted 11-20-2021 11:14 PM 562 reads 1 time favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well, I am home from the craft fair/holiday bazaar. I would say it wasn’t a total bust, but I wouldn’t likely do it again.

It did force my hand (well, with my wife’s urging) to get a Square and the Square app so I’m able to take credit card purchases. It was super easy to set up! And, I even needed it today for one of my purchases.

More on that later.

So, it was a great learning experience. I was up around 5 this morning, enjoyed my coffee, loaded my car, and I was off. I had my table cover, and when I arrived to the event, I was set up much faster than the others. These craft folks have huge inventories to set up, but I see why. Most of their stuff was $20 or less. They need to sell a lot of it.

The view from my table:

Once I got everything on the table, it was time for pricing. And, I didn’t price to move… I priced for what I acknowledged was my time, effort, and investment.

Here’s a pic of my table… maybe you can see the prices.

Sitting at the table looking at my stuff was a learning experience. I saw my woodwork under the harsh fluorescent light of the gymnasium, and I didn’t always like what I saw. First (and I have been moving away from it toward a semi-gloss) I saw that I was much too in love with high gloss poly. I need to move away from that and let the beautiful burl and gall speak for itself. More importantly, I need to work beyond stopping at a 240 grit and go to a 400 grit to work out more of the scratches that were much more evident under the lights. Plus, I just need to slow down because the dried drips I found here and there on some of my bigger/better pieces was just embarrassing.

So, yeah, I’m returning with a better work ethic… a slower, more methodical approach.

As to the sales themselves. Well, these were not my customers. Folks weren’t there to buy high-end (or at least high-end priced) woodwork. I received many genuine compliments, and that felt good, of course. But, again, when most of my stuff was $125 or higher… not a lot of bites.

I did bring my novel and my short story collection, and those were my initial sales. Deeper into the event, I did sell one random bowl for $40. The woman said to her daughter, “This would be good for your dad to put business cards in on his reception desk.”

Eventually, a friend of mine showed up with his wife, and they bough a $225 music box (hence my use of the Square). Square takes 13%, so I actually made like $196.

Later, near the end, the organizer bought one of my boxes for $120… so that was cool.

I did learn a lot. I won’t likely do anything called a “craft” fair again. Art fair? Sure. Would I feel confident to do a full-blown woodworking show? No… not with my need to up my finishing skills. But, I’ll be working on that and producing more refined inventory.

So, I came home about $385 to the good. Not bad, but mainly generated from the kindness of my friend and the organizer. I know people admire what I’m doing, so that’s good. And I know what I want to work on for the future.

-- Van "If you're looking for perfection, don't look here."



18 comments so far

View Eric's profile

Eric

2269 posts in 1157 days


#1 posted 11-20-2021 11:22 PM

Congrats on a good day.

-- Eric, building the dream

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

3154 posts in 1872 days


#2 posted 11-20-2021 11:40 PM

Hard to put your work “on the line” as it were. Glad it wasn’t a total bust. The easiest way to double your money in WW’ing is to sell your tools, take the cash, and fold it in half!

Nice stuff. Good work.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

6021 posts in 2506 days


#3 posted 11-20-2021 11:56 PM

Still, a priceless experience!

Funny on the square cut, They have always been at 3% for me and my wife (tied to a checking account).

Yep with the lights 8^) They do tell all. The place I’ve been doing has very dim lighting and everyone brings their own
table lights. Helps to better focus objects and sets a better “mood”. Looks like standard fluorescent lighting at your place, the absolute worst for killing any colors.

Placing the crowd WRT price ranges is certainly a key to moving a lot of stuff. Be prepared to mark down/up if a multi day event or place a sign saying “X” percent off all items if too expensive.

Thanks for the report!

View pottz's profile

pottz

21304 posts in 2268 days


#4 posted 11-21-2021 01:28 AM

ha, you just got educated as most do with their first craft fair.at those events the cheap stuff,less that 30 bucks is what sells.your not gonna get too many looking to buy 400 dollar humidors or 100 dollar high end burl bowls.the show selling takes time to find what the buyers are gonna spend in your area.you probably gotta go with stuff thats sells for under 30 bucks and take some high end stuff,im sayin one example of what you can do and take orders from the few that will pay for what your work is really worth.ive seen most of the sellers at these events are retirees just hoping to get rid of what they make and socialize and have fun.hell that will probably me me in several years-lol.hey i hope at least you had a good time ?

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View mtnwild's profile

mtnwild

4581 posts in 4811 days


#5 posted 11-21-2021 02:58 AM

Wow, sounds like a real learning experience all around…sounds like it was worth the experience…You answered alot of your questions….
I’ve been to art shows with the best wildlife artists in the art world attending, and talking to the booth people the sales were a great disapointment…It started out as a yearly show, now it no longer exists…The best wildlife artists in the world could not stimulate interest it in the great northwest…go figure…
Always learning, enjoy the trip…

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View NoWhiskeyWoodworking's profile

NoWhiskeyWoodworking

314 posts in 83 days


#6 posted 11-21-2021 03:05 AM

Thank you!


Congrats on a good day.

- Eric


-- Van "If you're looking for perfection, don't look here."

View NoWhiskeyWoodworking's profile

NoWhiskeyWoodworking

314 posts in 83 days


#7 posted 11-21-2021 03:05 AM

Thank you! Love your “double your money” bit!


Hard to put your work “on the line” as it were. Glad it wasn t a total bust. The easiest way to double your money in WW ing is to sell your tools, take the cash, and fold it in half!

Nice stuff. Good work.

- Madmark2


-- Van "If you're looking for perfection, don't look here."

View NoWhiskeyWoodworking's profile

NoWhiskeyWoodworking

314 posts in 83 days


#8 posted 11-21-2021 03:08 AM

Yes, a good experience… that I don’t care to repeat soon!

And, you are right on Square. It’s not 13%. It’s 2.6% plus 10 cents. I guess I got 13% because I ran a test run for a $1 on my credit card and saw that it showed me get 87 cents. From that I guessed that their fee must be 13%... but that was the 3%-ish plus the 10 cents.

So, not as bad as I thought!


Still, a priceless experience!

Funny on the square cut, They have always been at 3% for me and my wife (tied to a checking account).

Yep with the lights 8^) They do tell all. The place I ve been doing has very dim lighting and everyone brings their own
table lights. Helps to better focus objects and sets a better “mood”. Looks like standard fluorescent lighting at your place, the absolute worst for killing any colors.

Placing the crowd WRT price ranges is certainly a key to moving a lot of stuff. Be prepared to mark down/up if a multi day event or place a sign saying “X” percent off all items if too expensive.

Thanks for the report!

- splintergroup


-- Van "If you're looking for perfection, don't look here."

View NoWhiskeyWoodworking's profile

NoWhiskeyWoodworking

314 posts in 83 days


#9 posted 11-21-2021 03:12 AM

There are a few art fairs in our area… but I might try to get into a show or two near Traverse City, MI or Petoskey, MI… where more of the money seems to be situated.

At the craft fair I attended today, a big item was tote bags with different breeds of dogs on them. It would just be a picture of a pug with a slogan that read, “I love my pug.” The woman sold them for $10, and she sold A LOT of them!

Gotta find a way to get pug pics on my work!


ha, you just got educated as most do with their first craft fair.at those events the cheap stuff,less that 30 bucks is what sells.your not gonna get too many looking to buy 400 dollar humidors or 100 dollar high end burl bowls.the show selling takes time to find what the buyers are gonna spend in your area.you probably gotta go with stuff thats sells for under 30 bucks and take some high end stuff,im sayin one example of what you can do and take orders from the few that will pay for what your work is really worth.ive seen most of the sellers at these events are retirees just hoping to get rid of what they make and socialize and have fun.hell that will probably me me in several years-lol.hey i hope at least you had a good time ?

- pottz


-- Van "If you're looking for perfection, don't look here."

View NoWhiskeyWoodworking's profile

NoWhiskeyWoodworking

314 posts in 83 days


#10 posted 11-21-2021 03:14 AM

As I get less attached to my work, I’m sure I’ll have an easier time just giving it as gifts.

Wow, sounds like a real learning experience all around…sounds like it was worth the experience…You answered alot of your questions…. I ve been to art shows with the best wildlife artists in the art world attending, and talking to the booth people the sales were a great disapointment…It started out as a yearly show, now it no longer exists…The best wildlife artists in the world could not stimulate interest it in the great northwest…go figure… Always learning, enjoy the trip…

- mtnwild


-- Van "If you're looking for perfection, don't look here."

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5813 posts in 4516 days


#11 posted 11-21-2021 03:39 PM

Nice work for sure, but yeah, not priced to move at a craft fair. Quick cute holiday lawn art, fast trinket boxes, basically anything under $50.00 tends to move.

Good experience for sure!

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/c/daves-workshop

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

1448 posts in 1195 days


#12 posted 11-22-2021 03:21 AM

The 1st craft show/flea market I had booth at was at the local state fair grounds. In one of the exhibition buildings. Called “Mother of all Garages Sales”. I had one 10×10 spot. Each time, I reserved a location next to the drinking fountain/bathroom entrances and food concession window. Large event, anyone going to the rest rooms or snack window had to walk by my booth & sometimes two or three times. Mom or Dad waited in front of my booth while waiting for their kids or spouse. Drew more to look at my stuff, quality of work and sign boards (of what I do and pictures of past work). I was there more to show my work and hand out business cards & brochures of what I do, for future sales. I offered big ticket items; Hope Chests, Cedar Chest and Memorial Urns. Got my brochures and Cards out… With the booth fee, work & time spent (16 hrs for a two day event). I made it up in future sales.

View mtnwild's profile

mtnwild

4581 posts in 4811 days


#13 posted 11-22-2021 03:41 AM

It’s tough…You see someone sell like hotcakes because they make things like hotcakes…If you want to sell one of a kind unique items you have to get strong and believe in your uniqueness and not devalue yourself because a few don’t understand…most don’t get Picasso either…or Pollock…

Don’t worry yet, I think you have a great start…you’ve come a long way in a short time…don’t rush it too much…focus…I hear you on seeing your work in another light…I’m always sanding like crazy, then when I’m done and put on a finish the scratches I missed show up and really make me wonder how I missed that…Always learning…

Enjoy…don’t force it…Make it worth while, Why are you really doing this? For the money? What?

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View pottz's profile

pottz

21304 posts in 2268 days


#14 posted 11-22-2021 03:55 AM


It s tough…You see someone sell like hotcakes because they make things like hotcakes…If you want to sell one of a kind unique items you have to get strong and believe in your uniqueness and not devalue yourself because a few don t understand…most don t get Picasso either…or Pollock… Don t worry yet, I think you have a great start…you ve come a long way in a short time…don t rush it too much…focus…I hear you on seeing your work in another light…I m always sanding like crazy, then when I m done and put on a finish the scratches I missed show up and really make me wonder how I missed that…Always learning… Enjoy…don t force it…Make it worth while, Why are you really doing this? For the money? What?

- mtnwild


yeah i agree,you just gotta find the right venue that fits what you do,and then you’ll sell.as mtnwild said you dont sell picaaso at a rummage sale !

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

6021 posts in 2506 days


#15 posted 11-22-2021 03:25 PM


yeah i agree,you just gotta find the right venue that fits what you do,and then you ll sell.as mtnwild said you dont sell picaaso at a rummage sale !

- pottz

Ahem! If I found a Picasso at a rummage sell, I’d buy it! 8^)

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