The single best thing you can do to sell more crafts this summer.

If you’re exhibiting at craft fairs tot he public or trade shows to shops and galleries this summer, you might be missing the most important thing you can do to increase your sales. It’s so simple but can make all the difference in selling more of your work.

Get your pieces in the hands of your customers. Don’t ask “is there something you’d like to see?”. When you notice someone looking at a particular piece, simply hand it to them. If you sell wearable crafts like jewelry or scarves, keep a mirror in your booth and invite and encourage attendees to try things on. Engage them in conversation about how your pieces are created and where your inspiration comes from. The longer they spend in your space, the more likely it is that they will purchase.

The difference between a handcrafted piece and mass produced items is the human-ness of handmade so make sure attendees know you as a person and get to touch your work. The next time you exhibit, make it a goal to put a piece of your work in the hands of everyone who stops by your booth. Then let me now how much your sales have increased. See, I told you it was simple.

Why you should take note of the Green trend in Craft Fairs

2015_poster  As we enter the summer craft fair season I’m seeing news of more festivals that have an eco-conscious, earth friendly section. The 39th  annual Union Street Festival in San Francisco  has a whole section dedicated to crafts created with recycled and sustainable materials and eco-friendly exhibits.

The Eugene, Oregon Saturday market features recycled wares, but that’s no surprise in the “Greenest City”.

There’s the Crafty Feast Indi Fair in Columbia, SC featuring alternative and experimental  crafts made from re-purposed materials including handbags made form recycled inner tubes, scrap monsters made from recycled
socks and sweaters, and lapel pins made from recycled ties and vintage buttons.

At Handmade Mart in Silversprings Md., you’ll see recycled hard bound books turned into one of a kind purses, paperbacks repurposed into wallets, and skirts made from re-purposed t-shirts.

At the Annual Haddonfield, NJ Crafts and Fine Art Festival , you’ll find bracelets made from recycled soda can pull tabs, clocks and lamps made from recycled cookware, jewelry made from recycled silver, antique buttons and bottle caps and quilts from recycled clothing.

According to the artists and crafts people I’ve spoken with, buyers are getting more eco-savvy and starting to appreciate green crafts more.

So, what does this mean for you as an artist? Continue reading

Make your Craft and Make a Difference

Do you have a product you love making and people are buying but you’re struggling to produce enough to meet the demand and make a living?

One of my favorite solutions also answers the “must have more meaning” criteria that is integral to inspired livelihood. Rather than hire employees to help produce your craft  or seek a licensing agreement to have your work mass produced overseas, what if you were to find a group of people who want to make money from home?

Rather than having to find a larger studio space and hiring employees, you can help people create their own cottage industries who then sell to you on a piecework basis.

Consider either stay-at -home parents who love crafts and want to make money without leaving their children OR  a group of people in an underdeveloped country who have no industry, training or marketable skills.  Either way, train those people to make your craft according to your designs and techniques, furnish them with the supplies and outsource the fabrication. If you love to travel, you can visit  a different culture to source and train the crafters (joyful and deductible).  You’ll be bringing satisfying gainful employment to people in need and you’ll have enough handmade inventory to make a living.

Did you enjoy this article?  For more great ideas on how to make your craft more meaningful and profitable, you can

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now for the pre-sale price of $9. (it will be $19. when it’s released this summer.)

ON PRE-SALE NOW for only $9. Makers- Make Money, Make a Difference




Crafting for a Cause- Your Art Can Make a Difference

Crafting for Relief-Artists can Make a Difference
For decades superstar entertainers have done benefit concerts to raise funds for causes they believed in.  I will always remember the 1971 Concert For Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden organized by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar for the relief of refugees from East Pakistan during the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities and Bangladesh Liberation War.  The event drew 40,000 people and was the first benefit concert of this magnitude in world history.  It featured Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, Badfinger, and Ringo Starr.
The popular summer music festival, Bonnaroo donated $50,000 to Music City flood relief efforts and of course Nashville’s elite songwriters made enormous donations to the flood victims but you don’t have to be a rock-star or billionaire to make a difference.
I’ve heard from artists and crafters who feel called to make a contribution to aid recent disaster victims but think they must have Continue reading

How can you get guys to buy your handmade creations for Mother’s Day

Some of my male friends, relatives and readers may deny this, but let’s face it, most men don’t shop early. (they come up with excuses like “it’s more exciting right before insert holiday) when everyone’s in the holiday spirit” or, “I’m still trying to come up with the perfect gift”. The truth is, many guys don’t know where to begin and need guidance (and a little nudge.)

As a crafter with inventory,  you can take advantage of their procrastination and need for gentle “peer pressure” by holding a “Guys’ Night Out” just before Mother’s Day.

Whether you make wearable, household, or garden art, men need guidance in getting gifts for their wives, girlfriends and mothers. They also spend way more money when they are in groups because they don’t want to look cheap in front of the other guys. (especially if these guys are hubbies or boyfriends of their wife’s friends. )

So, invite your friends’ partners, your partner’s friends, the guys from your day job-(and if you still have a day job, you really do need these hints) and “help” them choose a gift for the women in their  lives. They’ll particularly love if you know what styles, colors, etc their partner likes. If you  don’t have lots of male buddies, another great venue is any kind of club where men gather. An upscale barber shop or men’s spa is always a great place and remember they will be glad to have you.

Are you wondering how you will entice the men to come?  Partner with a caterer, winery or brewery to do a tasting.  Vintners love to do pourings at upscale events to promote their wines. In fact, they’ll often be thrilled if you hold the event at their tasting room. Didn’t your mother always tell you that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach?

Well, it’s also a great way to get the wallet out of the pocket, cash into your hands, and your creations under the tree.

For more great ideas like this, check out   “21 Ways to Turn Your Craft into a Cash Cow”  at the right of the page  >

Sell handmade jewelry? Cash in on procrastinators.

Most men won’t even shop for Mother’s Day presents until Saturday and if you make handmade jewelry, you should use this procrastination to your advantage. (and you’re doing them a favor too.) It’s not too late to set up a last minute trunk shows at a men’s hair salon, health club or even a pub where men hang out. If you have the chutzpa (or ambition) to walk into any male-trafficked locale this week with a trunk of your gorgeous wares, you have a captive audience of guys who will see you as their savior because they don’t have to hit the mall and guess what she might like. You may offer to give the proprietor a percentage, a donation to his favorite charity or better yet a free piece for the Mom in his life, but you may find they are happy to just let you hang out because the excitement may generate more traffic and business for the venue as well. Do you have any idea how many men would love to have your help in choosing a piece of hand crafted jewelry for their mothers, wives or girlfriends rather than have to scour shops trying to figure out what girls want? After a successful sale, you’ll have an open invitation to return for Christmas and Valentines DAy. See the December post on how to sell handmade jewelry to men. Or, go to the right of this page to get 21 Ways to Turn Your Craft into a Cash Cow 

What Eco Conscious Gifts or Crafts are you giving for Mother’s Day?

I’d love to believe that this year I won’t wait until the eleventh hour to make or purchase a mother’s day gift. It’s not that I don’t think about it ahead of time.  It’s just that tomorrow is always here before I expect it. (that alone is a topic for a future post.) So, for those of you who haven’t yet crafted or purchased a gift for mom, or even if you have but haven’t wrapped or carded, let’s look at some ideas for giving mom a sustainable gift.

If you are efficient and have mom’s gift wrapped and shipped, these ideas work for  Continue reading

Teaching a Craft Class? Make More Money by Learning From My Mistake.

As I gathered materials for a jewelry making class I taught at Whole Foods last night, I realize a BIG mistake I made that you all can learn from.

The cost of the class, $15. per person, was set by the market whose goal is to get new people into the store, promote community goodwill and sell wine while we make crafts.

My intention was to contribute to the arts community so I wasn’t really concerned about making money from the event but I didn’t want to lose money either.

I have more jewelry making supplies than one person could ever use in a lifetime but it’s mostly high end: gemstones, fine silver, handmade lamp work beads, venetian glass and pearls.

In order to keep my own costs down, I substituted copper for sterling wire and glass beads instead of crystals.

Even so, by the time I purchased the less expensive supplies and materials, it was pretty much a break even.

Driving to class, I realized a solution that I would have recommended to a client. Unfortunately, it was too late to implement it myself, but I’m sharing with you so that you can learn from my oversight.

While the less expensive materials we used in class made beautiful bracelets, here’s how I could have turned the event around to be profitable for me and a convenience for the attendees who will want to make more of these at home:

-made additional samples using the sterling, crystals and gemstones I have in my personal stash
-offered those finished pieces for sale
-made kits for purchase with the finer materials and instructions
-made earrings and necklaces for sale to match the bracelets we made in class.

If you’ve read any of my e-guides or courses about selling crafts, you know I always recommend having your finished work as well as tools, supplies, materials and instructions available for sale when you do a demo or teach a class. Whatever product you make, you can do a version of this.

Next time, I’ll read my own blog before I go.

Have You Ever Dreamed of Your Own Art or Handmade Crafts Gallery?

There’s probably never been a better time to test the waters if you dream about your own craft shop or gallery.  Right now is the easiest time to get in with very little capital. So many premium storefronts are vacant and commercial landlords who previously wanted high rents and long leases are anxious to just get some cash flow. For the first time in decades it’s a lessees market and landlords are willing to negotiate like never before.  Whether you want to go solo, or co-op with partners, right now you can work out a temporary, even month to month lease on a prime spot with an option to eventually sign a long term lease. Landlords are hungry so it’s never been a better time to realize your dream of having your own gallery. This is a strategy that I normally suggest for the fall holiday shopping season but going into summer is also a an ideal time. If you live in an area that gets summer tourists, find the best vacant spot and approach the landlord directly. Don’t be afraid to Continue reading

What top Etsy sellers have in common.

Do you dream of starting a business and then spending your days hanging out in a hammock sipping tropical drinks while the money comes in?
Do you still believe in the get-rich quick-with-passive-income theory?

If so, you probably ought to stick with that day job. Yes, I really said that. I, Terri Belford, self-employment advocate, told you to chuck your entrepreneurial dreams and stay in that cubicle IF you don’t want to work like crazy, sometimes double duty in order to build a profitable business.
As I interviewed top Etsy sellers who truly make a living selling their creative work, one thing they all had in common is that they treated it like a business. Even those who worked a day job while they built up their business put full-time effort into their own business. They worked mornings before work, evenings when they got home and on weekends. They wanted so desperately to succeed that they approached it like they meant business and it became a viable business.
Particular in the early stage, you’ve got to put in the hours. There is no other way to succeed. The people who have replaced and even surpassed their job-income work full-time at their business. Yes, they have the option of working where they want and when they want. If they have a portable craft, they may go to the coffee shop or the beach to create or to spend time online marketing. If they want to take time off during the day for a walk or to join their kids on a field trip, they put in time in the evenings.
They also all devote time regularly to marketing. Some have a partner and one is the creator, the other the marketer but they market their business like a business which is why it becomes a business.

I’m not saying you won’t ever make money in your sleep. You absolutely can and will if you put in the time and energy in the beginning. Once you’ve created products there are many ways to leverage, to make something once and sell it over and over.
Once you’ve done the hard work and your business is thriving, you can absolutely take time off and go hang out in that hammock.
First, though, you’ve got to work like you mean business to create a profitable business.