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Forum topic by jeffswildwood posted 07-29-2018 03:44 PM 976 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jeffswildwood

3949 posts in 2397 days


07-29-2018 03:44 PM

I just finished my 2nd main street craft fair. Last year I did great and nearly sold out. This year, not so great. Although I sold over half of my project, it just didn’t go over as well. Let’s see what some of you think.

What went right-I had a great line of projects. Something for all tastes. Once again my PO box door banks were my best sellers. Last year, my bird feeders were also great but this year, I only sold one. Same style and even hand painted by my son.

This one puzzled me. Also I added some new items such as these flower carts. I made four and sold two, the stained ones.

I also had two log cabin bird houses. One sold but I had to swing a deal on it. A couple was at a toss up between the cart and the house so I agreed to knock $10.00 off if they took both in which they did. I still made out as both were made from scrap from my shop.

I got lots of compliments on my work, a few connections so I can get more PO doors cheap and some future orders. I did presentation right and if someone was looking, I made sure to tell them about the item and not just sit there.

What went wrong-This is the part that confused me. Maybe it was just the crowd. But I do know mistakes I made now. Last year I had higher priced items, (50-100 dollar) but only two. Both sold. This year, my highest item was 50, first item sold. Last year I had more low price items, (5 to 20 dollar range). This year, I only had three, picnic tool kits. Zero sold. This year almost all my projects were in the 25-50 range. Not good IMO. For the longest time I felt like my wood work was just on display, as I said I got lots of “oh my these are pretty” and then they walk despite my best salesmanship.

Advice-If anyone sees where I went wrong let me know. any advice is appreciated. It could just be a case of ”Sometimes you get the bear, and sometimes the bear get you” Maybe just a bad day. Don’t get me wrong, I still did good and made quite a bit of money, but I would like to know how to improve. Here is most of my inventory if it helps.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".


13 replies so far

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oldguy2

218 posts in 1847 days


#1 posted 07-29-2018 05:05 PM

From Hals Wood Shop when I was a business selling in Ligonier. A friend taught me ” you can’t figure out sales…also the kiss of death sentence is…Oh this looks nice…and they will not buy it and walk away.” there were days I made $80 and some saturdays $10. The clients vary, are they interested in gifts today or for themselves..? Tips…give them your card and write on the back what they were interested in…better chance they may recontact you. You said you approached them to greet..well done..its hard to market yourself…get a simple logo shirt so they read your name, you are marketing you…not Steelers or Penn State… even a logo t shirt is about $15 on vista print and mine are still holding up. step out and look at your booth, look critical, take a picture to see it later, it may be great. Look for better view of products later. ” You can’t figure some clients ” someone may tell you watch negotiating prices to lower…its not a garage sale and cheapens your work. Yes you sold but your time is money….even from scrap. I tried to not get too many products but also to answer ” yes I could make it and would you buy it and what color…get a money down…or I had a few that never came back for a few products. I lost. and learned. One even was $5 short and never returned to pay me and runs a business.

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Dave Polaschek

3878 posts in 1002 days


#2 posted 07-29-2018 05:14 PM

I can’t figure out people either, Jeff. I don’t think I’ll ever try to sell stuff at a craft show, since I tend to make one of something to learn how to do it, then make a second for a swap or a gift, and maybe make a third to have a nice one for myself, and then squirrel! On to the next project.

I think there’s a sweet spot for pricing, but I have no idea what it is. And it probably changes every year.

Good luck on future shows. Hope more are like last year.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

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Aj2

2321 posts in 2217 days


#3 posted 07-29-2018 06:51 PM

If you really want to do craft shows do it for the love of making stuff. Not for the money.
Firgure out how to make stuff real fast and cheap so you don’t give away free work or end up storing the things you made.
I got out years some years ago.

-- Aj

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jeffswildwood

3949 posts in 2397 days


#4 posted 07-29-2018 08:16 PM



From Hals Wood Shop when I was a business selling in Ligonier. A friend taught me ” you can t figure out sales…also the kiss of death sentence is…Oh this looks nice…and they will not buy it and walk away.” there were days I made $80 and some saturdays $10. The clients vary, are they interested in gifts today or for themselves..? Tips…give them your card and write on the back what they were interested in…better chance they may recontact you. You said you approached them to greet..well done..its hard to market yourself…get a simple logo shirt so they read your name, you are marketing you…not Steelers or Penn State… even a logo t shirt is about $15 on vista print and mine are still holding up. step out and look at your booth, look critical, take a picture to see it later, it may be great. Look for better view of products later. ” You can t figure some clients ” someone may tell you watch negotiating prices to lower…its not a garage sale and cheapens your work. Yes you sold but your time is money….even from scrap. I tried to not get too many products but also to answer ” yes I could make it and would you buy it and what color…get a money down…or I had a few that never came back for a few products. I lost. and learned. One even was $5 short and never returned to pay me and runs a business.

- oldguy2


Oldguy2, that is good solid advice. The deal I made was only because it was late, close to pack up time. But you are right, it does lessen my work. Could be bad if another came by after talking with them and wanted the same deal. I now have a logo so there is a t-shirt and sweat shirt in my future. Actually I did take the time to walk out to the street and look at my set up, it was solid even in the photographs. I had several ask for business cards and alas, I had none made. I can fix that, my son is in the printing business. I did get future orders which is a bonus and one guy said he has two boxes full of the post office doors, (my best seller) and said he give me a deal on them which is cheaper then I had been getting them. Thanks buddy for the good advice!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

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jeffswildwood

3949 posts in 2397 days


#5 posted 07-29-2018 08:20 PM



I can’t figure out people either, Jeff. I don’t think I’ll ever try to sell stuff at a craft show, since I tend to make one of something to learn how to do it, then make a second for a swap or a gift, and maybe make a third to have a nice one for myself, and then squirrel! On to the next project.

I think there’s a sweet spot for pricing, but I have no idea what it is. And it probably changes every year.

Good luck on future shows. Hope more are like last year.

- Dave Polaschek


Thanks Dave, I just do one craft fair a year but you are right. Trying to figure out what people want is hard. Also doing mass produced stuff does tend to turn my hobby into work. :-( Right now, I need a solid break from it.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

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jeffswildwood

3949 posts in 2397 days


#6 posted 07-29-2018 08:33 PM



If you really want to do craft shows do it for the love of making stuff. Not for the money.
Firgure out how to make stuff real fast and cheap so you don’t give away free work or end up storing the things you made.
I got out years some years ago.

- Aj2


Aj2, It is for the love of making stuff. I really like the look on peoples faces when they see my work. That means a lot to me. Then they find out I don’t charge “an arm and a leg” for my products and get happy to buy. But there is a balance there.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

8458 posts in 2463 days


#7 posted 07-29-2018 11:43 PM

Doing it for the love of the game will give you the best all around feeling. I can only add my experience with craft shows were great. I was so happy to make money and meet people and the orders rolled in. My problem was I soon saw myself needing to make more and more and making a couple things as a special order. It didn’t feel like a hobby to me any more and found myself making things as fast as I can. I lost out on the new things that I could be learning to challenge myself. Doing it as you are, selling when the inventory starts getting big is a pleasure.
Enjoy your future shows.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View poospleasures's profile

poospleasures

831 posts in 2903 days


#8 posted 07-29-2018 11:45 PM

Sorry you came up a little under expectation. As you know I have been selling craft shows for several years. It is hard on you set there and be told you are a great craftsman because you can,t spend “great craftsman”. Like you I probably do not charge enough for my offerings. I take items priced from 5.00 to 200.00. Of course more cheaper items are sold but two or three high dollar ones really can make your day. Over the years have made some good customers who usually come by and buy things. I find it is useless to do sales before late Oct. as most folks buy my stuff for Christmas gifts. My inventory will have probably twenty different items with wood choices in most items. This is what part of my booth looks like from the entrance. Price everything, make”looking”, easy, be available, take credit cards, have a sign, give out cards and flyers, say HI and smile. Try again and do not over expect. Good luck. PM if you want.

-- I,ve had amnesia for as long as I can remember. Vernon

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jeffswildwood

3949 posts in 2397 days


#9 posted 07-30-2018 12:24 AM



Doing it for the love of the game will give you the best all around feeling. I can only add my experience with craft shows were great. I was so happy to make money and meet people and the orders rolled in. My problem was I soon saw myself needing to make more and more and making a couple things as a special order. It didn t feel like a hobby to me any more and found myself making things as fast as I can. I lost out on the new things that I could be learning to challenge myself. Doing it as you are, selling when the inventory starts getting big is a pleasure.
Enjoy your future shows.

- doubleDD


Exactly Dave. My thoughts indeed! But the next one is not for a year so I have plenty of time to think about it. Like I said, I did do pretty well, just not like last year. But still good. I had fun too so that’s what really counts!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View oldguy2's profile

oldguy2

218 posts in 1847 days


#10 posted 07-30-2018 11:08 AM

Jeff, Thanks for your reply. Next. Enter the business world. As I read over some replies and your replies it seems you have grasped that. At first I did..oh yeah this is fun and it will sell and it makes a few bucks… then reality hits you. Are you here to make some money or just happy to get a few crafts out there and you had a nice day.? Somewhere you grow and cross that line. Keep a plan and file what shows are good and will sell products. what products can you mass produce, are you mass producing to get you faster and safe to have an inventory so this is not crazy but a business approach and you actually spend 3 to 4 hours a day at it..( ok I learned this one the hard way and I was failing here.! ) Have you covered the paperwork and taxes ( oh crap ) or are you trying to avoid this touchy area.? My town when I put in my large shed garage I found I was in the boro and could not put up a sign or have a business at home, now I was away from neighbors and not near homes but by the book they could have some and said…” no home business, or get fined” my music would have been more noise than the saw. tricky, zoned residential. So I never wanted a home sign anyways. I found that one or two better products that made money were good and repeat customers. And a few ..I can make that for you..contract jobs paid money and were building up my name. Even a toy chest, based like Norm abrams blanket chest, for $169, had trouble selling in my area. I have the prototype in my tv room and love it. Glad it did not sell on my last day. I was selling at a Country outdoor Market..mixed crafts and foods…so many customers. may to october. saturdays.

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

2881 posts in 2767 days


#11 posted 07-30-2018 11:16 AM

Jeff – Here’s a couple things for you to ponder:

Were there other wood vendors there? How did they do? What were they selling and how did they do? What style looked like it was selling?

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Jim55's profile

Jim55

182 posts in 2486 days


#12 posted 07-30-2018 11:25 AM

Personally, I think the economy (as perceived) has a lot to do with it. Gas prices are up. Times like that, people are more tight fisted.
I also make some leather goods for sale. I had to do some wheeling and dealing with my supplier who asked what I was charging. When told, she said that’s too low. But at higher prices, people were not buying no matter the quality. (Like the original poster, I had nothing but high praise for my work.)

Like others have said, accept the praise with poise and take what cash comes your way with gratitude.

For the record, I don’t see you did anything wrong (allowing I don’t know about your local market).

View torus's profile

torus

300 posts in 832 days


#13 posted 07-30-2018 08:17 PM

Jeff

Sent you PM

-- "It's getting better..." - put this on my RIP stone!

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