I do a lot of the local one day events (usually held around holidays) in the whole area, booth/table fees are usually pretty reasonable. Online I'm setting up on Etsy and eBay ("buy it now" listings). Nothing there yet, but soon. I used to do a large circuit of 'street fairs', 'street festivals' and themed multiday events and conventions. Networking with other 'dealers' or 'merchants' is also how you find out about more events and shows. Make your own flyers, handouts, brochures, and business cards. At least carry 10-15 business cards with you always.
My favorite is from late 1988, I was living in a major metro and had to go into the ER late one night over a toe injury. It's winter and on my coat is one of the brooches I stocked and sold. Doctor is working on the bottom end and the nurses were admiring the pin, so the top end was handing out business cards, and I sold one of them the brooch. That is the hardest part of being in business for yourself, the marketing/selling! I'm not pushy but I am opportunistic.
I have also put my stuff into stores and shops on consignment. It may not work for you, but I would approach a place with some items in hand for them to inspect. My legalese on contract basically says: I price it, you agree to take care of it for 30 days. At the end of 30 days I'll remove it, restock you, or whatever you choose. You keep half of the tag. You owe me on servicing day for anything not present at servicing time that is on the invoice we went over when I brought the stuff in and you signed for. (so the store didn't have to pay for it until it sold, or they could stock their shelves for literally free, and also they didn't own it until it sold. (or was lost, misplaced, or stolen) This came into play a few times!!!) Also if they sold it less than the tag price, they still owed me half (came into play once. The spacey manager lady couldn't understand it was marked $75, she sold it for $30 and I wasn't going to take $15 for it, she owed $37.50. She finally paid the correct price).
Where I am at the local shows usually don't net much, but it shows support for the goings on, and allows me to network and hand out information. If you are internet selling be realistic about your shipping options and costs, and spell them out clearly for the customer. If you must collect tax for certain purchases, be clear.
Some places they have sort of artist consortiums where several artists go together to get a shop. Each gets a certain amount of space to display stuff, they take turns manning the counter, and pay their share of the building overhead. In tourist towns this often works well. Once in a while a space will open up and one can apply usually by leaving a few items for the rest of the consortium members to look at and if they like the stuff the next opening might be yours.
Deb Rebel wrote:I do a lot of the local one day events (usually held around holidays) in the whole area, booth/table fees are usually pretty reasonable. Online I'm setting up on Etsy and eBay ("buy it now" listings). Nothing there yet, but soon. I used to do a large circuit of 'street fairs', 'street festivals' and themed multiday events and conventions. Networking with other 'dealers' or 'merchants' is also how you find out about more events and shows. Make your own flyers, handouts, brochures, and business cards. At least carry 10-15 business cards with you always.... (etc.)
Thank you Deb for your answer! When I read about all you do, the question enters my mind: do you get back all of the costs you make this way, make an income, by selling your products?
I prefer a shop to bring my products 'on consignment'. I have lived in towns where there was such a shop. But where I live now there isn't The only way I can try to sell here now is a fair that's only 1 day in August. I have a booth there every year, but most years I pay more for the rent of the booth than I earn. People like coming by, watch all there is, take flyers and cards ... and then nothing
There are other, better fairs in the region, but ... the price of a booth there is higher, they are in villages inaccessible by public transportation (I don't have a drivers licence) ... I could do my very best to be there anyway (together with a fellow-arts&crafts person with a car) ... but fear for still having higher costs than income ... ( we tried it once, the weather was very cold and cloudy ... almost no visitors that day)
I know Etsy is the 'place to be' on internet, for you in the USA. But here in the Netherlands ... only the arts&crafts people know it, the 'buyers' don't.
"Also, just as you want men to do to you, do the same way to them" (Luke 6:31)
I am a woodturner. The market for handcraft is tourist/seasonal. I used to do tech work, and in no way do I want to support a website.
I participate in the senior center holiday show, and I may put out some wares during one of the summer festivals.
I enjoy woodworking & that has been my "job" for the past several years. Recently I decided to look at what's available on my property & consider selling it as crafting materials. Out here in the desert pretty much only have cactus & tumbleweeds. But turns out cactus wood (cholla) is quickly becoming my best seller on Etsy. Who would have thought?!?!
I had a request for a hood ornament casting back in October and since I fired up the foundry I knocked out a few skulls of different sizes. Hammered out a few helmets and voila. For some reason people like skulls and these are an easy sell for me.
Our inability to change everything should not stop us from changing what we can.
One of the things I've learned to do this past year is make soap. Two of the first three batches turned out fantastic, and I can easily see this as a "side gig" for someone more enterprise-minded. For now, I give to family and friends, keeping the odd cut-off bits for myself. I start up my first batch of "Geranium - Sage" soap next weekend, inspired by a friend's favourite scents.
Like most people who make stuff (or so I've observed), there's gratification involved when you have something to show for your efforts. Seeing the natural processes of drying and curing happen seems to help me appreciate the process even more.
We don't have time for this. We've gotta save the moon! Or check this out:
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