sell crafts

4 Easy Ways to Turn your Craft into Cash at the 11th Hour.

 

Author’s Note: (Even if you’re short on inventory or time to do these tips for Christmas,   you’ll find this article valuable because you can do this days before Valentines Day or   Mother’s Day.  It really WORKS. Many crafts people report making more money IN A FEW HOURS this way than at a huge craft fair.) 

 

Do you think it’s too late to sell your crafts the last few days before Christmas? You’d be amazed at how many crafts people tell me they have made more sales in a couple of hours a day or two before a holiday than in the three previous weeks combined. It’s all about using the bad habits of procrastinators to your advantage.

 

Here are a few tips for making some last minute cash:

 

Many people wait until the last minute to shop. I don’t want to stereotype or alienate my male readers, friends and loved ones but from my experience,  guys tend to shop at the 11th hour and this is a good thing for YOU as a crafter. Hanging out where men are captive audiences is a guaranteed way to turn your craft into cash at the last minute. Particularly if you make wearables like jewelry or scarves, jump on this. Many guys have no idea what to buy their wives, girlfriends, sisters and mothers so they appreciate your suggestions.

  • Pick the most upscale men’s salon or barber shop and offer to set up a display of your wares at peak hours. Make sure and approach it as if you’re doing THEM  a favor rather than the other way around because you are. (The owner and operators likely haven’t done holiday shopping yet either so they can have first pick without having to leave work.) Also, mention that setting this up will be an attraction for them as well so it will draw in new customers for the salon. You will sell more than you would in a craft show or retail setting because guys won’t be cheap in front of other guys. There’s kind of a magnet effect. One buys and they all start opening their wallets.

 

  • Even as late as the 24th, if you get permission to set up at a large office building in the lobby or break room, you’ll be doing the employees and the employers a favor because  lots of guys (and gals) are planning to leave work early on Christmas Eve and stop on the way home to pick up last minute gifts. I’ve heard crafters say they sold more in a lunch hour Christmas eve than all month long.

 

  • Medical personnel often have to work on Christmas eve so a hospital is a great place to have a last minute sale. Ask the HR department if you can set up in an area that the nurses and doctors gather on their breaks.

 

  • Another great place to set up a last minute pop-up display is a nice neighborhood sports bar where regulars gather for lunch and dinner. (think Cheers). If you get the guys at lunch time, you have a captive audience. Many of us eat out the days before Christmas because we’re going to be cooking the next few days, so you have the advantage of couples as well and believe me, if there is a table of handmade jewelry set up, women will crowd around. They’ll not only buy for friends and family but will show the guys the pieces they like.

In all of the above instances,  be sure to have plenty of cards and brochures with your contact info and write a description on the card what the person liked if they don’t buy it so that they can call or email you later. Also, do a drawing for a piece of your work. Just put out a bowl to collect business cards or scraps of paper for them to put their name and email address on. Ask permission to add the to your newsletter list so that you can let them know in advance when you’ll be back at that location or somewhere near by. (Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, etc.)

There are lots more ideas like this in ““21 Ways to Turn Your Craft into a Cash Cow

 

 

 

A little known secret to turn your craft into cash this last couple of weeks of December and into January

Have you noticed that many of the small boutiques that sell handmade are low in inventory the last couple of weeks in December? As a maker with crafts to sell, it’s to your advantage.

Many indiependent retailers respond to the media’s fear-based projections by ordering light this season in anticipation of slow sales due to ever increasing online buying. But the trend of discerning consumers searching for unique, handcrafted, meaningful gifts is catching retailers unprepared with insufficient supply and no time to re-order handmade gifts. Last minute shoppers are too late to order from Etsy sellers in time for Christmas and shop owners are missing out on revenue if they don’t have inventory.

This is where YOU come in. Boutiques and galleries that may Continue reading

Long on craft supplies, short on cash?

In addition to selling your finished craft, a great way to turn some inventory into cash is to sell some of your excess supplies and tools of your craft. .Any of us who are crafters know that we can’t pass up a bead shop, yarn shop, fabric store, etc and especially since people can see what you make out of the materials, it is more attractive than the same supplies look loose in a craft store. We all have tools and supplies that we purchased on impulse and either haven’t gotten the inspiration to use them yet or lost interest in them. An attractive way to merchandise them is to bundle them with instructions for a simple piece that can be made out of the supplies.   Your market is not only crafters but family and friends of crafters who give them as gifts.

You can put them up  Continue reading

How to make lots of craft sales without tooting your own horn.

 

I know-it’s not even Halloween and already some big box stores have Christmas trees. I personally think it’s too early for Santa but it’s definitely not too early to start working on the things that will make your holiday season the most profitable yet.

If you are like so many makers, you love to create things but don’t like the selling part. Most of us find it so much easier to talk about our friends’ work than to promote our own. That’s why one of my favorite ideas is a VIRTUAL CRAFT FAIR-because it allows you to reach a much larger audience for your work WITHOUT having to market your own.

It’s always fun to share something that someone else made, isn’t it? I love raving about SOMEONE ELSE’S creations. Do you know what I mean when I say virtual craft fair? Maybe not because I think I made it up and it the best way I know to get more sales without having to toot your own horn. Here’s how it works:

Continue reading

Does your Etsy site look like you’re closing up shop? Here’s how to fix it.

sell lhandmade scarves Yesterday a client asked me to check out her Etsy shop and advise her on why she wasn’t making many sales. There were a number of reasons which I’ll talk about in future posts but the very first thing that stood out for me was how few listings she had.
Her product was gorgeous and the photographs weren’t bad. There just weren’t enough of them. She makes adorable purses in some really cute fabrics but because she only has three styles, she showed images of the three styles in two sizes and a handful of different fabrics. She had a total of nine photos.
Imagine you’re out walking through a cute village with a bunch of sweet little shops. You step into one and there are only two racks of handbags in the whole place. If your online shop has only a few listings, it’s like walking into a brick and mortar store that looks like they’re going out of business. You’d quickly move on to the next one, right?
Can you make money selling handmade online if your shop looks like you’re almost out of inventory? No way. Can you be successful on Etsy if you only make a few items? Absolutely. Here’s how:

Let’s use the handbag example. Photograph each purse you make in as many different fabrics as you offer. You may only have two styles. Let’s say you have a polka dot, a gingham, a chevron pattern, a floral and a paisley and you offer a variety of color-ways in each pattern. You might be inclined to just show each of the two styles in each of the five patterns with a drop-down menu for color but that only gives you ten photographs. Instead, make up samples of every single color offered in each design and that will give you at least a couple of pages of images. Make each image a separate listing. (You can still use a dropdown menu with color choices.) This gives you the appearance of a well-stocked shop and shoppers will stay on your site longer and be more likely to purchase your handmade items.

Watch your inbox because in the next article, I’ll address another reason my client’s shop wasn’t making enough sales and what we’re going to do to solve it and get her making money.
If you’re not receiving these tips, fill in your name and email in the box on the right and you won’t miss out. You’ll also get a great resource of the best places to sell handmade crafts online.

 

When it’s time to take your art back to the drawing board

 

poetry writer bracelet
poetry writer bracelet

When I told my writer friends about my idea to make custom bracelets for writers and poets to wear their own words, they all loved it. I made up some samples and debuted the custom bracelets at a writers and artist event in April. The response: Everyone said they were beautiful.

But they bombed.
Yesterday, I took them along with my hand-dyed silk scarves to a show at my friends office. (great idea if you haven’t done this.) My scarves and other jewelry sold. The bracelets, not one custom order. I did sell some already engraved. This told me something.

Was I discouraged? Yes, a bit. Mostly, not because I know sometimes a great idea needs a few tweaks before it is a success. So I asked myself a few questions:

Was the product priced correctly?
Were they bracelets displayed well?
Did I have enough variety?
What were people saying as they looked at the bracelets?

Here’s what I learned from evaluating responses:
My prices were right on target.
A few people told me that hadn’t even noticed the bracelets because my scarves were so colorful. Lesson-display the bracelets on a white background away from the scarves.

Variety was good but not necessary. I had samples in two widths and 3 metals: silver, yellow gold and rose gold. The hand-dyed silk wrap-ribbons were across the rainbow. Was the problem too many choices?
I don’t think so.
One comment I heard over and over was, “I love this idea but don’t know what line or phrase to have you engrave on it.” Seriously, even in a group of writers and poets, these wordsmiths couldn’t choose one line from their own writing on the spot.

Conclusion: I was making the customer work too hard. They didn’t want to have to come up with their own words. They wanted to just choose one and go home with it. I think this product will do better online than at shows because that gives the buyer time to decide what phrase or line of poetry to order.
I needed to give more examples- maybe lines of classic poetry or quotes.

Will I go forward with this new product? You bet. I’ll take what I learned from my test market and tweak a couple of things about display and I know it will be a winner.

This reminded of another event, also attracting mostly artists and writers, where my friend showed her handmade journals. What better audience for beautiful journals than a bunch of writers, right? Her journals flopped. What she realized is that most of these writers were very specific about the kind of paper and the size adn weight of their journals. Pretty wasn’t enough. These probably would have been better gift items for a different crowd.
I also noticed that while writers and poets are my ideal market, the bracelet I made for pet lovers was the favorite. Did that tell me I was wrong about the potential “target market”? Not at all. It reminded me that there’s not just one ideal market for a product. I will also expand my line for pet people.
Why do I tell you this? Because you may have brought a new product to market only once and it was a flop. If so, don’t assume it’s not a winner. Instead, ask yourself all the above questions and see if there are a few minor adjustments you can make.

Have you had a similar experience? What changes made your product a winner?

Still 6 Days to Sell your Handmade Crafts for Mother’s Day

If you think you are too late to sell your hand made jewelry and gifts for Mother’s Day, check out the links below for easy-to-implement tips to sell your crafts at the last minute.

Do you have art or craft projects that you love to make but haven’t figured out who will buy them?

IMG_1633 Sometimes we stumble upon a craft medium or art technique that we just love and make it for the joy of the process. But what do you do with products of your latest creative obsession? You can only give so many away as gifts and there is that uncontrollable urge to buy more art supplies.

Recently, I’ve reconnected with an old love. No, I’m not referring to my college beau, though that did happen too. My new/old love is dyeing and painting textiles. I can’t get enough of playing with color and water and fabric but as I just placed an order for more silk and bamboo and dye, I realized I need to sell some of these finished scarves before I spend any more money on supplies.

I took some to an artist and writers event where my intention was to debut a new bracelet for poets and writers. More about these beauties soon. The scarves were such a hit that I didn’t even make a display for the bracelets.

But that was a one-time event. I’m not setting up a sales page or site for the textiles because they’re each one of a kind and I don’t want to mess with updating them each time one sells. (if you make one-of-a-kind art, I have some solutions for you HERE).

Do you see the dilemma? I want, no NEED, to make more art. I’ve ordered more supplies. When the bill comes for the supplies, I want to have paid for the last batch. I made an artist date for next week to make more scarves and I need to create an outlet to sell them,
Solution:
It occurs to me that the women at my mom’s senior housing place dress for dinner. I’ve also noted that their adult children and grands go to take them out or join them for brunch on Sunday. Note: this is not a nursing home. It’s an upscale independent living facility so most of the residents (except my mom) are wealthy or their kids are footing the bill.

On my to-do list today is to contact the activities director and offer to set up a display of silk scarves on the Sunday before Mother’s Day. Assuming it goes well, I’ll probably do the same in December, there and at other area independent living facilities.

What ideas do you have for turning your finished craft into cash? There are many more proven ideas HERE.

 

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

Demo Your Craft to Establish Yourself as the Expert

The best way  to market your craft is to find every opportunity to get your work in front of an audience. This seems obvious, but so often artists hide out in their studio. Some of us shy away from the spotlight.  But, to succeed, it isn’t enough to have your work on a good website. You need to make an effort to do some in person appearances as well.

How do you go about getting your name and face out there as well as your work? (remember, part of the appeal of handmade is knowing the human behind the work. ) Demonstrating every chance you have will begin to establish you as the expert in your medium. Craft supply stores, galleries, workshops and trade shows are all opportunities to demonstrate your craft. Approach the manufacturers of the materials you use, either in person or by sending them a nice professional looking portfolio with examples of  different techniques for using their products. Offer to make appearances in stores that carry their products, showing both the staff and customers the benefits of using their  products,  and at craft trade shows demonstrating to retailers. Not only will this give you Continue reading