Holiday Craft Shows

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on Jul 23, 2008 5:50 AM

Back to the craft show inventory topic, this is the first year that I have done regular craft shows.  I set up twice a week at local Farmers' Markets, and in between have been doing the craft shows that take place every year.  Not that I'm complaining or anything, but what happens is that I usually spend all week busting my butt to make stuff, and then after the shows, I'm left with only 5 or 6 pieces.  And I start all over again!  I've been trying to build up inventory for some bigger shows I have coming up out of state in September and October, but so far, I just can't seem to do it!  Hehehe... 

I don't necessarily stick to trends, either.  If I like it, I make it.  Most of the time, it sells pretty well. 

Oh, and the stuff that I make that I don't like, I always put out for sale because it is usually the first to go!

 

 

"Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  But today is a gift.  That's why it is called the present." -Kung Fu Panda


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Sheila H wrote
on Jul 23, 2008 1:18 PM

It must be a nice problem to have! I hope one day to have that problem. I am teasing and I am happy that you are so successful. 

You don't say what type of beading you do. I do stringing so for me I can build up simple pieces. I don't know if this would be a possibility for you. I know that some of the more complicated pieces that I do just because of the pattern takes a little longer so those are more difficult to rapidly produce. 

Have you tried to find something simple that you can stock pile or that you can produce more of even if it is just in different colors? 

 I had never thought of a Farmer's Market. I may have to contact mine to see if this would be allowed. I always thought of the Farmer's Market as produce...

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on Jul 23, 2008 5:51 PM

The pieces that I am selling out of are my fused glass pendants.  Which is great, but it makes it tough to keep up because, oh, I forgot to mention, I'm also trying to keep up with my six month old son!  Stick out tongue  Hehehe...

And then today, I dropped off a dozen pendants to a beautiful high-end art gallery.  They got my business card from the Farmers' Market!  Woo-hoo!  And there are two other galleries that want fused glass nearby, but unfortunately, they'll have to wait until next week because I need a few pieces to put out at the next Farmers' Market on Friday.  Argh...

And yes, definitely look into your local Farmers' Markets.  Up here, they are more like Farmers and Crafters Markets.  Very cool.  I also target the ones where I know the tourists are going to be, since I live in a very rural part of upstate NY, and you gotta know where your market is...

 

"Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  But today is a gift.  That's why it is called the present." -Kung Fu Panda


wrote
on Jul 24, 2008 12:39 AM

I sympathize with trying to keep up with a baby-I got almost no beading done the first few months I had mine.  Funny, I still don't sometimes!  He's quite a bundle of energy, and now he can reach up to get his hands into my bead tray if I'm sitting in my recliner.  At least we have a tall pub-style dining room table which he can still walk under (just).  That's one of the few places I can still put things where he can't reach!

Alas, my quilt is a bit stalled at the moment because he figured out how to push the peddle on my sewing machine and thinks it's funny.  I have to wait until nap time to accomplish anything, and then I'm battling with every other thing I want to do while he's asleep.

I'm glad you're finding success at markets and galleries though.  I missed all the spring bazaars at the base because we were getting moved in, but I am hoping to have booths at the fall bazaars.  Luckily the booths are cheap and the commission is small and goes back to the schools or morale fund, so I don't feel bad about paying it.

 

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on Aug 4, 2008 1:01 PM

 

Sheila H:

At what point do you start your holiday craft show projects? I always seem to find something I want to do for the craft show like 3 days before and then have to rush to try to finish. I do stringing so I think this is part of the problem. I think I can do it and sometimes I do. I usually do 3 craft shows in about 4-6 weeks so if I don't make the first deadline there is always another.

I am always concerned that I won't have enough but then I think I end up making too much. How do you find the balance of demand vs inventory?

I just do what I like but it seems that I don't always hit the "new" and "what is in" fad...

At one craft show I only had a few pieces of green and several ladies commented that I did not have green. I made a few more pieces in green for the next show...at that show is was not the right shade of green. How do you know?

Any thoughts or guidance...

 I've found it quite a "crap shoot" like you experienced with the color people liked.  Just when I think I've found a "hot" new item and make a big inventory, it doesn't sell. The next time I try a few new things........and wish I'd made twice as many because I sold out immediately.  I've been looking at a different aspect this year:  the traffic that is coming through (say the demographics) and the economy.  About 60% of the traffic that comes through the big Christmas Bazaar I participate in is over 50 years of age.  This, coupled with the economy, I'm trying to focus on gifts that would be under $15 and multi-purpose or suitable for any age recipient.  I'll try that this year and see what happens.  Good luck in your endeavors.

"Too Hot in Texas"

 

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Sheila H wrote
on Aug 4, 2008 1:25 PM

I have a few things in a hair salon in my little town. The things that sell the most are the $15 and under so I agree with you. 

Also, I had requests for additional necklaces that are basically one large glass pendant on plain silk type cord. Which I can do those fairly reasonable since I buy the glass pendant ( I watch for those on sale ). 

It is a crap shoot I agree. 

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CindiK wrote
on Aug 4, 2008 1:26 PM

 I just wanted to throw an idea out to you. Perhaps you could find a horseshoe charm or bead and do that with the team colors for a different look. Happy beading!

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DeborahD@37 wrote
on Aug 4, 2008 1:35 PM

 

Not to change the subject of the sports thing but........  I am working towards doing my first Holiday Craft Show sometime in November at the club house where we live and I have no idea how much inventory I need!  I'm doing mostly peyote stitch bracelets, spiral rope necklaces and bracelets, and some other off loom weaving projects. ( and earrings of course!)  The fair is pretty well attended by our residents and also has a good reputation in the rest of the city. I'll be on a table about 8'x3' if that's any help.  When you started selling, what did you plan on having?  I've already started working towards it so any help on quanities of items sure would be appreciated.  Do you buy bags on line and if so any good sites you could recommend would be great.  I want to have my jewelry carried off in something other than a grocery sac.  LOL!  Presentation, presentation, presentation!  Thanks for any help anyone can offer, Deb

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on Aug 4, 2008 1:49 PM

 2 years ago I attended a craft show where I sold candles (among other things). everyone that passed, it seemed, bought a candle. I never had such success. I also had dozens of Thanksgiving floral baskets, of which I sold 4. So last year, at the same venue, I sold exclusively candles. I sold 4 candles in 2 days!! However, I had so many private orders for Thanksgiving baskets that I had to turn down orders for almost 100 baskets because it was getting too late in the season to get the supplies. So what I'm trying to say is, you never know. The only thing that disturbed me about your "business plan" is planning. Although I am guilty of making a list of the lists I need, my projects for ALL craft shows for the fall are completed by June. If I think of a new design etc I'll make it. But I buy seasonal supplies after the season when they are on sale. Yes, storage is a tremendous problem, but you'd be amazed how you can disguise some things. Also, like my baskets, the flowers are stored in storage bins, baskets separate. You put them together later or you would never have room. Remember the sales you make that were right, not the sale you didn't make because that person didn't like the color.

                              Cheri

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on Aug 4, 2008 2:02 PM

 Clearbags.com is where I get my bags. I love the boxes from Premier Packaging ( I believe it is www.retailpackaging.com. They also have great display boards at a good price. I use the boxes for my jewelry and then use regular plastic bags. I do buy a box of bags from Sam's club that say Thank you on them instead of used grocery bags etc, I understand your presentation theory but you'll be heartsick when you spend a lot of money on bags and then since they are small, they stick it inside a bigger bag from something they purchased elsewhere. If the jewelry is boxed, itcan be given as a gift etc. Make stickers with your logo or name and number and put it on the bottom of the box. That goes a lot further. As far as quantity, ask the coodinator how many people they had in past years. Don't forget the little things-change etc. Set up your table weeks before you go and do a test run in your living room. You might be suprised at what you see.

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AyselR wrote
on Aug 4, 2008 2:27 PM

 

 

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Sheila H wrote
on Aug 4, 2008 5:39 PM

I have been simple stringing about 1 year so this is very basic knowledge... 

I have started thinking about making some things for my craft shows. Our are mostly November and December here ( at least the ones that I know about ).

If I did something I liked, I would do a couple of different colors. Just be sure to have a wide variety of color and make sure that they know when you are looking that if they would like a different color that you would be happy to do so etc.

For me, don't put out more than 1 or 2 of a particular style. I do simple stringing so if I do a necklace but I have 12 different color combinations, I may only put out 1-2. If they start looking, I can tell them that I have other colors. Then I can pull out the color that they want.

I think that variety is good. But too much variety can be overwhelming. It is a hard fine line to find. I am still trying to find it.

Also, in our area, they have a couple of bigger events Octoberfest and a small town Heritage Days. I did not have luck with those. In our area I think people are there to party and spend their money on other things. They want the CHEAP things. I found that the craft/holiday shows were better. That was my experience at least.

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DeborahD@37 wrote
on Aug 5, 2008 5:39 AM

 

Thanks so much for all the tips.  Beaders are some of the nicest people I know or would like to!

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none39 wrote
on Aug 5, 2008 4:46 PM

 Good Luck!

I have found that the best way to do holiday craft shows are to go to the lastest beading shows possible.  Gemstones are a big want now.  Tiger eyes I cannot keep on any table at a show.  Take in to consideration where your shows are located and the economic base in that area.  Fimo beads, turqois, things made with the colors of the local high schools are always big sellers.  Dichroic beads are also a hit.  What works at one, will not work at another. 

I did one show last year that if I would have had four hundred spoon pendants, I could have sold every one of them.  The very next weekend I restocked and did a show and not a one sold.  Watch Fire Mountain Gems and get the color guides for whatever season you are doing.  That has been a big help to me. 

I start in the spring for the holiday shows and in the fall for the spring shows.  It has worked well for me.  Also, if you start doing juried shows, you will develop a following and can print flyers stating where you will be and what might they be interested in.  I do this and have great response.  You can also do an open house with refreshments and that always brings people.  Make sure you table is set neatly, but simple.  Have a large enough sign on an easel so you  are able to be seen.

You will find the more shows you do, the more people you come in contact with who know of other shows.  I now travel in a group of around six different crafters.  We have a ball and make sure our booths are always toghether.  I have met some of the nicest people on the circuit of shows.  You may even want to scout your shows out the year before and see if it is beneficial to go.  I find often I do more business after the show custom designing than I actually sometimes do after the show.  This is particularly true with the juried shows.  Many people come to look, but do not do a lot of buying, but hte calls come in later. 

Always have jewelry on hand.  I received a call to do a show in two weeks for an open house for a day spa.  I was also going to be away on vacation prior to the show.  Thank heavens I already had some things made up.  The open house even turned out to be very successful.

 

Good luck and keep beading!

Lynne

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DianeU wrote
on Aug 5, 2008 5:00 PM

 I live in Omaha, NE where football crazyness is a way of life.  You may of heard of the " sea of red" when fans go to a game.  You'd think red and/or Nebraska  would be an easy sale.  Nope.  Still have the first "Nebraska" peyote bracelet and I think the "N" tietac is still around after a couple years too.  It's kind of funny because I am not a native & my favorite team is Manchester United. 

Diane

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