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

Can you enjoy summer fun and make money too?

When a client who comes to me for guidance, one of the first questions I ask is “what do you want your life to look like?” For some, it’s important to have a routine, know what to expect every day and have a modern office with a city view. Others are night owls who want to sleep late and work alone in their studies while the rest of the world is quiet.

As a life-long entrepreneur, my ideal work style has changed at different life stages. When my son was young, I wanted the freedom to either work from home or take him with me. When my father was ill, I set up my business model so that employees could keep it going while I made frequent flights cross country to be with him. Because I thrive on change, diverse environments are important to me so I’ve designed my businesses to be mobile and adaptable.

When I spend the summer at home on the central coast of California, I work on my laptop in my camper van at the Moonstone Beach, taking frequent breaks to walk my dog Lucy on the boardwalk. The winter I lived in Florida, I planned my days around beach walks at low tide.

Almost daily I receive emails asking how I’m able to “take so much time off to travel”. I used the word “fortunate” but honestly, luck has nothing to do with it. I don’t have a trust fund or a partner who supports me financially. I DO have to make a living so It took a lot of hard work and strategic planning to create this freedom lifestyle.

Whether your choice is to work from home with your children and pets or to live in a different country every year, you can create a livelihood that enables that freedom but it takes planning and prioritizing.

Here’s an example of how I adapt my business to make it work:

This summer, I’ve committed to volunteer 20 hours a week to the state parks so how will I keep my business going for the three months I’m off playing in the woods? I’ve made two big changes to my business model to fit the way I want my summer to look. I’ll have less time for one-to-one consulting so I’m limiting the number of individual clients I accept for the summer. ( I only have time for 3 more so if you want one of those spots, please hit “reply to this email”. )

And, since many of you want to grow your businesses over the summer, I’ve designed a way to help more of you with less time. I’ll be opening up a “Drop-in Line” 8 times a month so that you can call in and ask any questions you want. For an outrageously low flat fee of $87 for all three months, members will have access to me 12 hours a month. PLUS you’ll have the additional benefit of others on the call who might have ideas or resources for you.

For June July and August, I’ll open up my conference line every Tuesday and Saturday from 12 noon to 1:30 PM Pacific. As a member you can just drop in with a question and I’ll help you get unstuck. You’re not committed to be on every call. You can pop in once a week, twice a month or all 24 sessions if you want. There’s no set topic-it’s your time for whatever you need to help you get unstuck.  Register HERE

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