Friday, September 10, 2010

Selling at Craft Fairs

One of the things I'm starting to think about more seriously is beginning to market my patterns, dolls and cards at craft fairs. I don't feel that I have quite enough stock to do this yet, but I think I will come winter after I've made a bunch more dolls as part of commissions. As such, I'm doing a little research, and as is my wont, I'm gathering what I find out in a blog post, cause it helps me remember - I find posts with links way more useful than I find bookmarks. Anyway, who knows, maybe it'll help someone else out!

My initial search didn't turn up much, but a second search found me a link to a news article that had some useful links of it's own. This article, How to Sell at Craft Fairs and Show, was initially published at "the Entrepreneur." No idea if this is a good source, but the article is pretty straight forward and features some good common sense suggestions - the kind that you know you could have come up with yourself, but it's really grounding and helpful to see them just listed out. I'd add, "think about what you like at the tables of others" to the suggestions they made, that include exploring shows and assessing your work, considering the expense of booth space and travel, don't expect much to begin with, keep your prices reasonable, try to be able to take credit cards (which I might not do, cause my patterns and such are so inexpensive...though I know there is an iPhone app that does this, so I might be able to takecards...)...and, well, there's more - go look at it. It confirms a few things I was thinking about, too, such as the importance of marketing materials (I want to make cards for my shop) and building a mailing list.

The next step was to look through the links they provided. The most useful appears to be Festival Network Online, which lists zillions of fairs by location. (Zillions = around 20,000, in this case. :) ) Puttering around on there, it looks like there are lots of options, both juried and not. In truth, it's such a long list that it's all kind of intimidating. One of the interesting things about this site is that it appears thatyou can get them to give more information and such by paying them....though somehow I doubt that I would need that as much for the kind of thing that I intend to do.

I'm probably not going to do much more right now, but there is certainly more information that I would like. In particular:

1. How much stock should I bring?

2. How much should I really expect to make?

...uh...I'm sure there must be more questions, but I can't think of them. But, I've started. It feels like the first real lesson of looking at this is that there is so much going on all the time that as soon as I decide that I want to do this seriously, I could.

One of the other things that the article mentions is the importance of business licenses and permits. I'll admit that this isn't something I had thought about at ALL, but if I'll be marketing in NYC, I might have to worry about sales tax. Huh.

Anyway, enough of this for now. :) I'll do some more some other time.

Edit: Another area of marketing I hadn't thought about, having a REAL blog - if I'm gonna keep a blog on here, I could keep a more "public" blog. Idea came from this blog post by another Hive user.

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