The 4 P’s of Marketing {your crafts!}

Hi friends! Tomorrow is the fist day of June and I have already been seeing calls for vendors at local sidewalk festivals, farmer’s markets and community fairs hitting my Facebook wall. If you are considering selling your art work or crafts soon check out tonight’s video where I tell you about the 4 P’s of Marketing!

Video!

All it takes is one of these elements to be off to lose sales. So let’s take a closer look at them:

Product: This is your beautiful artwork. Whether it is a painting, a necklace, cards or purses this is the thing you make. You need to take a good hard look at an item you want to sell and ask yourself “Would anyone want to buy this?” and “Who would want this?” You need to keep that person in mind. Sometimes what you make for yourself because you love it will be different from what you would make to sell, for instance, I love bright colors and bold patterns so that is what I make to keep but what I make to sell will be more on trend and conservative because most people do not dress like me and they might even think that purple, orange and turquoise clash, hard to believe I know.

Price: How much you will charge for an item. Generally it is figured by the cost of raw materials plus overhead (labor and overhead like a % of studio rent and utilities, packaging etc.) plus a profit margin. You are probably thinking “Hey, I am the labor, why do I need a profit on top of that?” Because there may come a time when you need to hire help to fill or package orders and you will need to account for that expense as well. You also need to temper this price by what the market will bear and what other artisans are charging for a similar product so the price you can charge in a ritzy city will be different that what you can get in the country but it is a starting point anyway.

Place: This is where you are selling your goods. Don’t expect to get Upscale prices if you are selling your jewelry at a yard sale (Top tip from RichMomBusiness.com BTW!) Your items need to be sold where the customers will value them. Fun and funky costume jewelry will go well at casual festival while more upscale pieces will sell better in a gallery setting. I have a rented booth in an antiques mall that works great for selling my cards, earrings and watercolors as they make great add-on purchases for items customers buy from other vendors. You might also decide that your local economy is not diverse enough to find enough people who want to buy your wares and selling online might be a better bet for you. BTW, RichMomBusiness has a free ETSY Webinar coming up if you wanted to check it out.

Promotion: This one I save for last but it is equally as important because what is the point of making all the beautiful things to sell if nobody sees them? When you are picking a place see if there is any promotion included. Is the festival advertised? If you are selling in an online multi vendor marketplace does it have built-in traffic? if you are making your own website from scratch how are you going to get people to see it? Now it is so easy to get the word out via social media and ask your friends to share it too expanding your network because it only takes a second to hit the share button. Maybe you will post some flyers on community bulletin boards or offer a coupon for a free trinket to shoppers ahead of time. Don’t skimp here, this is probably the hardest, out of the comfort zone, “P” of them all but it has to be done if your business will be a success.

Now I ask YOU, have you ever tried selling your work? How did the “Ps” fit in. Can you identify any parts of your marketing plan that were off? If you want to make money selling your work I advise that you jump in and try. You will learn more from your failures than your successes so if you compare the cost of a bad craft fair vs. the cost of a business class it was a sweet deal on education! You learn by doing, these tips I share are to get you started so hopefully you can learn from my experience and grow faster. Good luck!

I want to take a moment and thank Renae Christine from RichMomBusiness.com for sponsoring my YouTube videos during the month of May. This gal knows her stuff especially about selling handmade items online. You can check out her FREE 3 handmade training video series here and tell her “Hi!” from me. She can teach you way more about online sales than I ever can and her tips even help me with my brick and mortar sales. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Craft Fair Recap & Grab Bags 4 Sale!

Hi friends! As promised I am sharing how I did at the higher end craft fair I exhibited at 2 weeks ago.

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I had revamped my packaging and edited my booth so it did not look like too much of a hodge-podge. I stuck to my best sellers and left the rest behind. Since I changed my packaging on new products I took all my jewelry in my old packaging and put them in grab bags because in the past grab bags have always sold out.

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I made some mistakes (one that const me money and sales!) and learned a few things from other vendors at the show including one question you need to ask before you agree to rent a table.

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EEEK! The Large grab bags are sold out! I still have a few small $5 bags and a few Bow MAking jigs though. Thanks so much for making my day! What a happy email inbox I had today. It you have already ordered you are all set and will receive an invoice for the grab bags you wanted.

So, I have a lot of grab bags left and I really do not want them taking up real estate in my rented booth at The Schoolhouse Antiques Mall since my booth is only 6’x9′ so if anyone want to order them I will give you show pricing: $5 small ($10 value) or $10 large ($20-$50 value.) (Large is sold out, sorry:( )The grab bags have great stuff in them, they are ideal to separate up and give the items inside as gifts, they contain earrings, pendants, bracelets, necklaces, amulets, beaded bookmarks and rings. I grab-bagged them so I would not have to re package them with my new labels and honestly, I get more motivated to create when I have space in my booth! I will even give you free shipping if you are ordering in the United States. If you want to order one or a few of these email me at artstudiosofbangor@yahoo.com and put “grab bag order” in the subject line. Just let me know how many of what size you want and I will send you a PayPal invoice. Also we just made a new batch of Bow Making Jigs and I will throw in a small grab bag with every domestic (USA) order. The bow jigs are $20 plus $6 US shipping via priority mail. *International order are also welcome but I will have to figure postage by weight and location.

I want to thank Volusion for sponsoring this video, thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

How to make business cards and craft fair packaging!

Hi friends! Next weekend I am exhibiting in a really nice craft show featuring all Maine in Maine artisans. I felt like my business cards and packaging needed an overhaul, this is what I came up with:

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I wanted bright colors but also a streamlined professional look. I decided to use some watercolor images from GraphicStock for my new branding. I know you are probably wondering why I didn’t just use my own paintings for this and that is a great question. I find it extremely hard to simplify my own work, I want to show more than is suitable on a small canvas like a business card and the end result looks amateurish and confusing. I wanted a really clean look with info on how to contact me for future purchases and where to find me online. For the packaging I wanted the price, my name and vendor number so I can use this for craft fair packaging as well as in my retail space which is a rented booth in a multi-vendor antiques mall. I don’t want to have separate packaging at different places. Also I used to hand stamp all of my jewelry cards and I just don’t have time for that anymore. Today I am going to show you how to create a business card from start to finish using an image from GraphicStock (but you can use any JPG or PNG file you want) and the steps are the same for making packaging, signs and tags. Feel free to follow along, take notes and pause the video when needed to follow along. I am using Paint Shop Pro but you can use Photoshop, Gimp or other imaging editing software with similar results.

Video!

You will need:

  • Photo editing software-I am using Paint Shop Pro but you can use the software you prefer like Photoshop or gimp or any image editing software.
  • White Cardstock
  • Graphics/logos you want to use
  • Computer and printer
  • Optional: Clear “cello” bags, laminator, scrapbook paper or kraft paper bags if making “grab bags” and any packaging supplies you normally use

Directions:
1. Download any images and graphics you want to use.
2, For a business card create a new 3.5″x2″ 300dpi document.
3. Copy and Paste in graphics and add text. Arrange elements until satisfied. Save this file in your software’s native format to make editing easier later on, then flatten and save as a JPG to use in the next step.
4. Make a new 8.5:x11″ document and copy/paste in the business card 10 times. Tip: set up a .5″ grid and use the snap to grid feature to help line everything up.
5. Flatten and print your business cards.
6. Cut them apart.

You can repeat these steps in any size to create sheets of tags, labels and signage.

Please visit our sponsor GraphicStock to get a 7 day FREE trial to download anything you want!  If you cancel your subscription within the 7 days you will not be charged but they are pretty sure you will find enough value that you will want to stay, it’s kinda like a Netflix for graphic lovers AND they have lots of lovely things for digital scrapbooking and hybrid crafting!

Next week I’ll show you how to make the cute business card holder! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Yucka-Poo Weather and no AAC this week:(

Hi friends! Guess who doesn’t have her act together this week? Yep, that would be me. It’s funny just how much time gets sucked up dealing with feet upon feet of snow. I feel like I have been behind all year (I blame snow, jury duty and taxes…boy, I’m really gonna have to start coming up with a better excuse than jury duty, then again I’m still blaming my extra 15 pounds on my twin pregnancy. They’re 10 now.) So today was spent driving in a nasty snowstorm (not bad enough to cancel school so I figured the roads were fine and I had all 3 kids yearly well visits scheduled so I hated to cancel) I allowed 45 minutes to drive a distance that would have taken 20 normally and I was still 2 minutes late! The roads were not any better coming back but I was home by noon with the kids safely deposited at school BUT THEN I got my darn car stuck in my own snow bank in my own driveway except for the tail end hanging out in the road. Did you ever see the move Fargo and the scene when William F Macy’s character is scraping ice off the windshield and then he just loses it? Yep, that is this winter in Maine. For a born and bred Mainer I am pretty useless with outdoor winter car problems, luckily my niece Sarah around and helped me try to dig out the van (it did not work) but then our friend Jim stopped by in his truck and he was able to pull my van out. After that I needed a nap. I was somewhat productive yesterday but could not get an AAC filmed and Monday I ended up grocery shopping and since I HAD to leave the house so I decided to bring some more handmade stuff to my shop and freshen up my booth while I was out. But hey, I got the booth tour video I have been promising since January 1st done, so that’s something! Check that of the to do list LOL!

The Schoolhouse Antiques Mall is located at 530 S Main St, Brewer, ME 04412 Phone: (207) 989-9777 if you are ever in the area and want to check it out:)
I have arranged with Kathy and Lorraine to film a fresh batch of Ask a Crafters on Monday so you won’t be high and dry next week. Thanks for understanding and til next time happy crafting!

Farmer’s Markets & Upcoming Projects:)

Hello friend! Anyone else having a busy summer? I have already seen my friends counting down the days til school begins on Facebook so I am thinking yes. 🙂 I’ve been having a fantastic summer, the weather has been really nice after a long cold winter and spring so I want to be outside all the time! I had a chance to participate in an outdoor farmer’s market last weekend. Want to know how I did? Watch the video:

So…if no farmers attend a farmer’s Market is it still a farmer’s market? It kinda reminds me of the scrapbooking crop I went to a few months ago and nobody else showed up LOL! Speaking of scrapbooking I will be doing a week of scrapbook tutorials next month (August 4th-9th…maybe the 3rd-10th depending on how many tutorials I make LOL!) so if there is anything you would like me to cover let me know as I am filming the tutorials over the next few days. I am finding that keeping it simple is hard, I have too many doo-dads that would be just the perfect touch LOL! I hope people find the scrapbook tutorials encouraging and helpful and not overwhelming. We will see. I mean I don’t want to bore someone with just the basics, I want to share techniques and ideas too. I am going to try to start the pages off simple and build up and if someone does not want to see the fru-fru they can bail out on the video when they think it is done. What do you think? Leave your scrapbook wishes in the comments below and I will take them into consideration when I film the tutorials. Speaking of videos, did you know I put a new video tutorial up almost every day? If you want to see what you are missing check out my YouTube channel (and subscribe so you don’t miss any tutorials!) Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Ahhhh, I can relax now -or- Christmas craft fair done!

Hmm, I couldn’t quite decide on a title for tonight’s blog post. I love doing craft fairs and preparing for them but there is a span of about a week before it happens that I am a complete stressed out lunatic. When the power was out for 4 hours yesterday I could have had a psychotic break but instead I decided to sit in my living room with the wood stove on and knock out a few more watercolor cards (and film them as tutorials, hey my camera was freshly charged LOL, they are up on my YouTube channel) rather than throw a nutty. Cuz really, what would a tantrum have solved? I changed my craft fair booth up a bit going with an “L” shaped table and using all of my booth as “shoppable space” rather than hiding behind a table. I really like it more this way. I filmed a video showing how I set up and share tips for craft fair sellers:

What do you think? OK, you are probably wondering how the show went…

…it was S-L-O-W! But, that’s OK, the people who came were ready to shop (it’s 12 days till Christmas you know!) and I was prepared for the slowness by having my watercolors and blank cards so I could create custom cards on the spot. I also found that it drew people into my booth that might have been shy about coming over, what can I say I’m quite a spectacle to behold! LOL did I mention there was juggling?

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So I thought that I would offer some  more tips for those of you selling (or wanting to sell) at craft fairs:

  1. If you make jewelry, clothes or knits wear them! I got a commission to make a wrap like I was wearing for a lady, she even paid me half up front! It may seem obvious what items will look like on but you will have more buyers if you wear it! “hmmm, this is a necklace but good heavens, what will I do with it?” I am not kidding.
  2. Demonstrate a product. I brought my watercolors, a waterbrush and blank cards along in case it was slow. I painted cards on demand and people who might have walked on by stopped to watch. I also juggled which caught the eye of another vendor who snuck over to grab a set of juggling balls for her grandson. She never would have seen them otherwise!
  3. Act like you are happy to be there! Nobody wants to buy from a sourpuss. Be friendly but not stalky. Let them know you are here to help or explain anything to them. Also get to know your neighbor because you can keep an eye on each other’s booths if you need to grab a cup of coffee or go pee..and you will need to go pee after all of that coffee!
  4. Price everything. People won’t ask. Just price it.
  5. Speaking of pricing charge a fair price, you work hard at your craft, it probably is not going to make you rich but you should at least earn minimum wage for your labor. Rather than discounting a $5 pair of earrings to $3 offer 3 pair for $10 or $5 each. That way your best customers get the best deal and no one feels ripped off.  I feel the same way about offering slashed prices at the end of the day (unless it is perishable) because how would you feel if you paid full price and then walked by a booth and they were selling it cheaper to someone else? Next time that person will wait til the end of the day to buy. My prices are the same at 9am as they are at closing. I saw people giving away their stuff at the end of the day! You need to value your work and charge for your time, you are worth it.
  6. Upcycle items for display. Buying fancy displays cut into your profits and if you are a first timer it will put you into the red. Use crates and suitcases that can be used as storage and display. Build tables from saw horses and hollow doors (nobody will know after you put on a table cloth!) and use boxes and baskets to make your table tidy! Old picture frames make great displays, you can staple wire mesh to the back or add foam core to make a pin board display. You can even glue clothespins to the backing board to clip cards and stuff up on! My standing display racks were throw-aways from a local store, keep those eyes peeled when you see a shop changing displays! They might give you the old one or sell it cheap!

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I bet the question that you all are too polite to ask is how much did I sell? Well, we are friends so I’ll tell you:  about $220, I say about because my 3 kids were hitting me up for cash throughout the day hahaha! I not going to complain, it was good considering the low turnout for the show, with a strong turnout I reckon I would have tripled it but you just never know, factors like it being so close to Christmas, the frigid coldness today and a snowstorm on the horizon for tonight may have pushed people to go to town to hit the big stores rather than a leisurely craft fair shopping day. Still it beats staying home and making nothing! 😀 I had a hunch it would be slow and I’m glad I brought my watercolors. I had a fun day and so did the shoppers and the kids who came to see Santa and partake of the candy buffet and other activities. Go into a craft fair with a positive attitude and you will do well no matter how much you sell! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

How To Make a Burlap Wreath! {video!}

Hello and happy Friday! Wow, I have been so busy today, we lost power this morning and the school sent the kids home early. This day being the one to get all of my stuff ready and packed up for the craft fair tomorrow! I am so thankful to Jaimie, Susan and Amy (our Girl Scout Leaders) for stepping up and re scheduling the girls scout activities so they could have them this afternoon rather than this evening. Not only did it help me getting ready for my craft fair but the other moms who work outside of the house from having to shuffle jobs and kids. Make sure you appreciate all that your school and scout volunteers do, I sure do! So, I got back from setting up my craft fair booth, sat down to watch TV with the kids and fell asleep in like 10 minutes flat! The kids did not wake me up to inform me it was time for them to go to bed LOL! I’m gonna hit the hay early myself but first I wanted to share a fun holiday project. Yesterday, for the first time, I set about learning how to make a burlap wreath, let me tell you it would be a hit at a craft fair, and it is quite easy. All you need is burlap/jute fabric rolls (I used 14″ wide in moss color, it is $10 a roll and you can make 2 wreaths with one 10 yard roll), ribbon and decorations. You will need a wreath form too but I’ll show you how to make one for free in today’s video!

You can find the mesh and ribbon I used at Papermart. You can also use the same technique I showed you with all of the Deco Mesh products they offer. I’ve seen burlap wreaths selling for $45 and up on Etsy and the Deco Mesh wreaths fetch a pretty penny too. I recommend making your wreath form out of white foam core or spray painting a cardboard one to match with the more sheer mesh. It’s smart to purchase supplies from Papermart because you will get the best price (more profit for you if you sell at a craft fair or on Etsy) and you will also get the best quality available.  I wish I tried this sooner, I’d have a craft fair booth full of wreaths LOL! Right now I don’t think I could squeeze anything else in my booth and there is not a wreath to be seen…hmmm, maybe I could squeeze one in? I’ll share pictures tomorrow:) Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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