Pattern Round Up

Craft Fairs – my experience, what worked and what didn’t – and patterns !

You may know that a couple of weeks ago I participated in a local craft and vendor sale.

I like to participate in one local sale a year. For me it is a great way to meet the people in my community and surrounding area. Throughout the rest of the year I sell my product locally, so the local sale helps me to connect with a wider audience, get my face, name and brand out there.

The other reason for the one show is that throughout the year I accumulate quite a bit of product! So what is not donated, I am able to sell and hopefully make a little extra money (to maybe buy yarn for the rest of the year lol)!

There are many fibre artists out there that do several shows a year and I am sure that they will have a number of tips and tricks that I will not mention here. But right now I’d like to simply share with you some of the things that have worked, what hasn’t, and of course the patterns that I used for my product.

1. Know your sale

First of all, and I’ve heard this from others who do a lot of craft sales – know about the particular sale and know your audience.

About the sale, be aware of whether or not it’s in a rural area or a city. Weather or not the sale is in a city may affect things like the prices you decide to put on your product, how much and type of product that you bring. It may affect how much product you bring to the sale, determine whether or not you want to accept orders.

Finally, take note of advertising. How much advertising’s being done by the organizers? Is there any additional advertising that you can do?

Although this particular sale I participated in is very well advertised in the community and surrounding area, I decided to do a lot of my own advertising over social media this year. Each week for the month prior to the sale I would feature a specific item that I would have available and show colours, sizes, pricing and give the opportunity to reserve or place an order. This not only got people to think about coming to the sale for a particular item, but also gave me an idea of weather or not there would be any interest in it. I was surprised by how many people came to me during the sale saying, “I saw this on Facebook, do you have one left in…” So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and do a little extra advertising!

2. Know the intended audience.

Simply put – what age/gender of people do you expect to come to the sale? Now I know it’s next to impossible to know for sure, but take a look at things like the time of the sale (is a morning or evening? Weekday or weekend?). Take a look at the other vendors on the line up – do they speak more to a working age, teens, seniors, moms and dad’s? Knowing a little bit about the audience can help you figure out what types of items you may want to bring – baby boots and toys or hats and cowls?

3. Set a sales goal

One of the hardest questions to answer about a particular sale is “how much do I need to make?” Every sale is different and so many factors affect how much you might sell such as what your buyers are looking for, advertising around the sale, even the weather!

So instead of trying to guess, I ask myself, “how much do I want to make?” and then make enough product plus a little extra to meet my goal.

So if my goal is $1000.00 then I will make enough product to meet $1200 realizing I won’t sell it all. At this particular sale I sold about half – but then continued to sell product in my Etsy Shop and on a local Facebook buy and sell page and on the Facebook Marketplace. Between the sale and these other avenues, I sold about %90.

4. Organize your table

Make sure your handmade items are displayed to their best advantage. You will not want your table too cluttered, otherwise the product may blend together in a collage of colour. As people walk past, they won’t be as likely to stop because “something caught their eye.”

One thing I tried to play around with this year after reading about it in other articles about craft sales, is playing with different heights – using things like crates to prop items up and add levels and dimension to your table. You may not be able to use things like screens and folding walls at your venue, but something like a simple wooden crate can make a big difference.

You may notice in my pictures a crocheted lace table cloth. It was one that I spent years making and I use it at the sale as a conversation piece. It helps to catch people attention and bring them to the table. If they ask about it, it opens up conversation.

Secondly, on your table have a few eye catching pieces that showcase the type of items people will find. At this show I used simple foam heads to show the types of hats I had (Slouch and messy bun). I often found that the item I had showcased on the head was the first to sell. As items sold, I quickly replaced it with another.

Which reminds me, another thing I found helpful this year at my sale was not putting all my product out at once. Of each type of hat I made 15, but I only displayed on the table five of those hats at a time. If I heard someone wondering about a particular colour that I knew I had below, I would bring it out to show them. Not having everything out at once also helped to ensure my table didn’t look to cluttered or picked over.

Finally, one thing I feel I did better at this year with my table was having things clearly priced, and at various price points. At my table items were priced at $2, $5, $12, $15, $20 And $30. At this particular sale, I have found that items priced over $30 did not sell well. It’s not a reflection on the amount of money people are willing to spend on handmade items necessarily, but perhaps on the type of items people were searching for and wanted to buy from me.

I also “upgraded” my packaging this year! I made sure I had tags on everything, for the dishcloths and cowls I packaged with a paper wrap that had my name and care instructions. The face scrubbies were packaged in a little fry box. These gave my items a more finished and professional look.

If you’re looking for some free printable labels, wraps and boxes take a look at Frogging Along online. You’ll find some great ones there.

Printables

5. At the sale, look happy!

It’s harder than it sounds, especially after you’ve been there for a few hours. Even harder if you’re not making the sales you expected, or if someone makes a less than favourable comment. But regardless, look happy! Be confident in your product, love it – people want to buy something that you love, so know why you love it.

Try to make eye contact with those passing by, maybe have basket of candy to offer, say a simple “hello.” Be carful of hovering, allow your guests to look without being interrupted or hassled. And be ready for questions if/when they arrive.

So if I could give some quick advice from my limited experience with craft sales, that would be it! Remember that each craft sale is different and that these things may not work for everyone!

Now I also wanted to share with you some of the items that I sold, and of course their patterns (some free, some paid).

1. First, what didn’t really sell well for me – Christmas Stockings!

Which to be honest, really surprised me! I LOVE my Christmas stockings. I had a couple of designs, lots of people commented on them, stopped to look, but not a single one sold. Now that being said, after the sale I received two orders for them, so ended up selling out and needing to make more. But all talk a little more about after the sale in a bit.

The stocking patterns include the Classic Christmas Stocking by myself:

Classic Christmas Stocking – A Free Pattern!

And the Peppermint Stocking published in Crochet World Magazine:

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/peppermint-stick-stocking

2. Now for what did sell!

The Ginger Spice Hat and Cowl Set:

Ginger Spice Slouch Hat and Cowl Set – A Free Pattern!

I only had a few of the sets on hand and unfortunately sold out in the first hour. All were made in this neutral colour (over all the neutral colours sold better). At the beginning of the sale I had it showcased on one of the foam heads.

Slouchy and Messy Bun Hats:

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/puffy-braids-slouch-hat

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/puffy-braids-messy-bun-hat

I like to focus on one great pattern at my sales. It means I can try a variety of colours in the one item and that I can buy the yarn in bulk with is often cheaper. I used this pattern by Cozy Crochet Creations by Jen.

Cup Cozies, Dish cloths and face scrubbies:

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/15-min-coffee-sleeve

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lots-of-loops-dishcloth

Crochet Flower Face Cleansing Pads Pattern

These were my stocking stuffers. They were neatly wrapped, at a lower price point, so easy to grab and go.

Baby Boots:

http://www.twogirlspatterns.com/furryliscious-boot.html

This is my all time favourite baby boot pattern. They are fun to make and really stay on a babies foot well! One thing I would change in future craft sales, is to use a product like “Sock Stop” on the bottom of them so they are not as slippery for toddlers learning to walk!

So there you have it. My craft table in a bit of a nut shell. I briefly mentioned earlier that although I didn’t sell any stockings at the sale itself, I did sell out after.

Following the sale, if you have left over product that you will not need at a future sale, look into selling it locally on a Facebook buy and sell page or Facebook market place. Another option is to look at opening an etsy shop. Every little bit helps!

Anyway, I hope that you found the recount of my experience helpful! Do you have any tips, tricks or insights about selling in a craft sale? Please share your experience in a comment below!

Thanks for stopping by and happy crocheting!

Sarah

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2 thoughts on “Craft Fairs – my experience, what worked and what didn’t – and patterns !”

  1. Great i read your suggestions n thanks for the good suggerions i d to crochect ireally enjoy ur ideas have a happy n properous new year

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