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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: crazy4quilting
Date: 09-15-2004, 11:27 PM (1 of 15)
Hi Everyone,

I've recently embarked on a small part-time business. I sell my handmade crafted items, beaded jewelry and desinger purses and accessories at various local craft sales. I've done about 7 sales already, but have noticed that the trend at some of these sales is lessening. It seems that more and more people are shifting to cheaper import/export items vs. traditional hand-crafted items. Does anyone have suggestions as far as those items that sell great vs. those that do not? I'm open to new ideas and suggestions, and am trying to get new items in my inventory before the Big Christmas Sales start.

A Girl Can Never Have Too Much Fabric!
User: crazy4quilting
Member since: 03-14-2002
Total posts: 51
From: MaryW
Date: 09-16-2004, 08:37 AM (2 of 15)
Craft shows are great for exposure. Little stuff sells best at this type of venue.

Small wallhangings (seasonal are popular)potholder size or slightly bigger make nice gifts. Baby Christmas stockings are very popular and Santa hats too.

Baby quilts used to sell well for me, I would make up bibs to match and sell.

A lot of people are shopping for someone else, they always like the idea of a tag attached. That makes it look very professional, not homemade. Mine used to state the name of my company and the city and province.
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: Linda in Colorado
Date: 09-16-2004, 01:32 PM (3 of 15)
Sounds to me like you need to sell at juried crafts shows. Many juried shows will not allow anything remotely commercial (imported, etc.). Too many crafts shows these days are allowing commercial items to be sold, which, as you said, can really undermine your business of handcrafted items. People who attend juried shows are ready to buy top quaity handcrafted items.

Look around your area for more juried shows,. I'll bet you find quite a few that will fill your needs.
User: Linda in Colorado
Member since: 03-27-2000
Total posts: 102
From: mamahoogie
Date: 09-17-2004, 11:36 AM (4 of 15)
This is a universal problem. My dtrs mother-in-law is a master potter and she does the most beautiful pieces of work. I believe her work was even in the National Art Gallery in Ottawa one time. Anyway, we were visiting there this July and she was showing me her new line (she never does the same thing twice) and her large coffee mugs sell for $20. She actually gets some people who will pick them up and say "$20!! I can buy a mug for a dollar or two at Wal-Mart or the dollar store". She carefully takes the mug out of their hands and tells them "Yes they can but they are massed produced in the East, not hand crafted but if they prefer that kind, then this one is not for you."

Yes, she usually does better at juried craft shows but she does like to go to some of the smaller venues too for those that really like hand crafted items.
I've decided to live forever - so far, so good.
User: mamahoogie
Member since: 12-25-2002
Total posts: 461
From: momto7
Date: 09-24-2004, 10:15 PM (5 of 15)
I have got 3 shows comming up in the next 3 weeks. I have not done this in a while and I am hopeing that I can make some good money. I know fleece blankets sell good espically the tied ones. Everyone likes them. I have christmas stockings, halloween bags, blankets, pillows lots of different crafts. I am presently making wreaths for the shows. Christmas Bazzars are good places to sell if your town has them.
User: momto7
Member since: 09-02-2004
Total posts: 16
From: Raine
Date: 10-02-2004, 12:10 AM (6 of 15)
In the last few years, I have noticed that table runners, tote bags, and anything with a cat on it sells. I agree with the comment that it's important to have small items as some people do not want to spend a lot of money and are just looking for a small gift or item for themselves. I think it's also important to have a wide variety of colors.

Good luck!
User: Raine
Member since: 04-19-2000
Total posts: 259
From: momto7
Date: 11-13-2004, 11:08 AM (7 of 15)
I am into my second Craft show tomorrow I did fairly good at the first one. I am hopeing that this will be a real good one. :smile: I have decided to make my basement into a store and sell out of there also. I think that this will be really good and I will be able to work right from home with no problem. I just hope that people will come out for the shows,
User: momto7
Member since: 09-02-2004
Total posts: 16
From: Hogmami
Date: 11-13-2004, 12:23 PM (8 of 15)
A lady I took a class from yesterday does alot of craft shows. She told us that her best seller has been back packs.
User: Hogmami
Member since: 09-30-2004
Total posts: 800
From: Linda in Colorado
Date: 11-13-2004, 01:23 PM (9 of 15)
You might want to be VERY careful before opening a store in your basement. Check with your city, county and state to see if this is possible in your area. Some places will allow it, but others won't, and will insist on an off-site place to open such a store.

Wouldn't want you getting into any trouble with the law!
User: Linda in Colorado
Member since: 03-27-2000
Total posts: 102
From: Nece
Date: 11-13-2004, 10:32 PM (10 of 15)

Do you mind telling me what you sell your tied fleece blankets for ?

To make a 2 1/4 yard ( nice size ) here it cost a little over $ 17 to make.
I don't know how much to charge to sell it.
Wondering if anyone would want to pay $25 or more for one.


User: Nece
Member since: 11-08-2004
Total posts: 26
From: Sherri
Date: 11-14-2004, 02:58 PM (11 of 15)
The hottest seller at our local craft sale this year was cookies on a stick. / 1:00 a piece something to occupy the kids while mom shops. A blessing in disguise and you barely passed a child that didn't have one. :smile:

When I was looking around I noticed how Expensive everything was. I don't mean that I could go to a dollar store I mean I would never charge that amount for the work and I have seen it before for a lot less at craft shows. If people can't afford to buy it even if it is quality work you are not going to sell very much.

I would think something very important to remember would be not to price yourself out of the market.
My website
User: Sherri
Member since: 02-07-2001
Total posts: 357
From: MartySews
Date: 11-14-2004, 05:23 PM (12 of 15)
Our ASG chapter has a craft show once a year. This year the big sellers were the microwave potato bags with machine embroidery ($7) and the chenille knitted scarves ($25). We also did well selling pillow covers ($15) and book rest bed buddies ($20). Over 2 days, we made $768 before expenses but we had many items that did not sell. A lot of work went into the craft fair. Each year the request is different. Most people at craft fairs do not want to pay more than $10 for an item. There seems to be very little appreciation of the skill that goes into creating the crafts. Unless one travels around the country, I see very little profit in doing this as a full time business. Just my thoughts :bolt:
Happy Stitching!
Marty :wink:
It takes one moment to change a life.
User: MartySews
Member since: 02-23-2003
Total posts: 504
From: sewcool72
Date: 11-14-2004, 10:23 PM (13 of 15)
There are 2 ladies in our area making and selling the fleece throws that are tied. This is not the best market in the world around here. I see them at every craft show that goes on and they sell them for $65.00 each. It blows my mind because I know what it takes to make them. They are at every fleece sale that JoAnns has and go through the cutting counter with 2 and 3 buggies full. I have talked to them in the cutting line and they say that they can't keep them. Go figure!!!
User: sewcool72
Member since: 09-24-2002
Total posts: 19
From: Nece
Date: 11-14-2004, 11:35 PM (14 of 15)
Geez :shock:

I was thinking more like $35 ( US ) or so.

Mercy day, $65 sounds like a lot.

Thanks for answering :smile:

User: Nece
Member since: 11-08-2004
Total posts: 26
From: akire
Date: 11-29-2004, 12:28 PM (15 of 15)
I have been discussing with a friend who has been selling antiques at craft shows for a few years now, she want to get into making crafts. Now she is not a 'crafty' person as far as I know, and has put the bug in my ear to join her. The reason she is confident she can make and sell crafts is because she's noticed over the last couple years that people who attend the large craft shows are looking for cheap decoartions, and things to give as gifts. REally cheap things. NOw by cheap I don't mean crappy, I mean little money to make, and sold for a a little amount as well. These are certainly not the crafts you would see at a juried show. They are the little crafts we all could make, buy the supplies at the craft store or even dream up ourselves, but who has time, and all we buy them instead. Little hankerchiefs with a handful of lavender and a ribbon (maybe a bit of embroidery) for example. Grape vine shapes decorated with fake stuff. Easy Christmas decorations, basic wood shapes and then tole painted.
Anyway, as someone who was already looking to do some quicker quilt projects I plan on making a bunch of tied quilts, as someone else said, fleece and flannel...solid piece on top and bottom even, fabrics that are for children, or look like something your grandmother would have kicking around.

Think along the lines of (in my opinion) 'what would others maybe be able to make and enjoy, but just don't have the time to do' and price cheap so you sell a lot. That's the way we are going anyway. Good luck!
User: akire
Member since: 03-06-2001
Total posts: 61
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