Facebook is a powerful marketing tool that you can use to promote your craft business, network with other crafters, and find great shows. If you are a crafter who regularly sells their craft, I highly recommend getting yourself a business facebook page. You can see ours here Holton Handicrafts or Lathe Junkie.
A search for craft shows on Facebook, will give you information on groups in your area that support crafters. I urge you to join one or several in areas that you sell in. We sell in Michigan where we live and in Central Ohio where my daughter lives so I belong to groups that are active in both areas. Can’t find one in your area? Consider starting a group. I’m sure there are lots of other crafters that would join.
One of the groups I belong to is Central Ohio Craft Shows. The admin of this site encourages members to regularly participate by asking where they are going to be selling each week and then at the end of the weekend, asking how they did. Members can see how other members are doing and gain ideas for shows they would like to exhibit at in the future. You often see several members who have been at the same show. The admin also encourages members to ask questions on different aspects of craft shows. These types of questions always get lots of conversation and you can gain great new ideas.
The majority of these types of groups allow show organizers and others to post upcoming shows. This is a great way to find shows in your area. Information is generally given for who to contact for show information. We recently found a community art fair for Lathe Junkie in central Ohio that just happened to be on the same weekend that our daughter needed us to babysit. Win, win! We can make money at the same time we are helping her out and our granddaughter loves to help at shows.
Be sure to participate in the groups you belong to. These types of groups are a great way to network with other crafters and share ideas. You probably have experiences that other crafters would love to know about so don’t just be a taker, be a sharer. Many admins keep track of members that do not participate and boot them out.
Most of the popular shows we participate in use Facebook to promote the event. The organizer will ask for pictures of your craft and feature one or more vendors on the show's Facebook page on a regular basis. This is FREE advertising for you so don’t pass up an opportunity to participate in this type of promotion.
Use Facebook to let people know that you will be selling at the show. Create an event featuring the show or talk it up in posts at the least. I usually create an event from my business Facebook page and then share it on my personal page. Shows that use Facebook to promote usually have an event created that can be shared on your page. The day of the show I normally take pictures when set up is done and push those out on Facebook as a follow up promotion of the show.
Give these ideas a try and see how they can increase your sales. Visit the Holton Handicrafts Facebook page for lots of ideas I find in my internet travels.
Need tools to help your business? Check out my Crafter Resources page for business cards and other sales tools.
Happy Memorial weekend. It is the unofficial start to summer, a time to camp, go to the cabin, open the pool, or have fun with friends. But wait.....why do we have this holiday? To Remember.....and honor........the men and women who gave their lives so that you can do all of these things.
Whether you are seller of vendor items or you make hand crafted items; craft shows are a great place to sell your items and promote your business. If you are new to craft shows or you have done a few, there is always room for improvement. We have been selling at shows for many years and we are always looking for ways to improve on what we are doing. Over the years we have seen many things that people do that can result in an unsuccessful show.
The Bad Show…….
It had been steadily busy all morning for me and I finally had a minute to catch my breath. I looked across the aisle and there they were, the two friends who had a large pile of linens, blankets, and other items that all looked like they would sell well. Their inventory was crammed onto a table that was covered with a plastic table cloth. Their product pricing consisted of a handwritten list that was hard to read. I had heard them lose a couple of sales because they only took cash. They had obviously worked hard to have this much inventory but they were not making that many sales. They were just sitting behind the big pile gabbing between them, answering questions and communicating with customers only when asked. At lunch time they seemed more concerned with eating than working with customers at the busiest time of the show. As the day went on the smiles I had seen at the beginning of the day had changed to frowns as they sat behind the table with their arms crossed. I saw them pack up a lot of inventory to take home at the end of the day.
Here are the 5 things they could have done better to have a successful show.......
Thanks to the fact that we are getting older and a health scare that the hubby had, we seem to be accumulating a large amount of pill bottles at our house. Not one to just throw useful things away, I turned to Pinterest for ideas on what to do with them. Here are a few of the best:
13 Surprising Ways You Can Reuse Empty Pill Bottles
This post from LifeBuzz has some great ideas for everyday uses. I especially like the Key Holder and the nail polish remover ideas.
Easy Pay It Forward Pill Bottle Pocket Provisions for the Homeless
Love this idea from Stuck At Home Mom. This is a great pay it forward item that could be made and donated to a homeless shelter. The article includes a list of ideas for what can be included.
Selecting the right show for your craft or art can be a tricky thing. We have all had great shows as well as ones where you have bombed. Picking the right venue for you and your craft is a key to your success at a show. I am by no means the end all expert at this but over the years, I have learned a few things that I am happy to share.
How to find shows in your area: I keep my eyes open for shows all year. Finding good shows to participate in will require some work and research but it will be worth it if you find the right ones for you. Here are some the resources I use.
Newspapers – One of my best resources is our community newspaper. When I see a show advertised, I make note of the information and add it to my list.
Google Search – Use Google, or your favorite search engine, to search for shows by typing in “Craft Shows in (enter your city)”. This should return a list with a variety of resources to explore.
Facebook or Google+ – Search for groups and organizations that focus on craft shows in your area. There are several in my area that post upcoming show information.
Online Services – There are services out there that have “lists” of craft shows. My favorites are Festival Net (www.festivalnet.com) and Zapp (www.zapplication.org ) . Zapp is geared toward Art Shows and higher end shows where Festival Net has a large variety of events. While you can search on Festival Net for free, they do require a yearly subscription to get the most out of the site.
Mail or Email Solicitations – Once you have exhibited at a few shows you may start receiving other invitations from people who picked up your business card and thought your products would be good for their show.
Other Crafters – Talk to your booth neighbors as well as other vendors to find out about other shows they are doing. Many people have a small hand out available that details the shows they have coming up. Be sure to pick up cards from vendors that are doing well and look at their web site and Facebook pages. Often there will be a list of upcoming shows or posts from ones they have done in the past.
For most crafters I know, every month is craft month. I rarely have a day go by that I am not crafting something. I generally have numerous projects going on at any given time and like most crafters, I have a variety of interests too. Right now I have projects going on involving Crochet, Knitting Looms and Coloring but I also like to Sew and Scrapbook. I have a Modge Podge project planned involving my coloring but that has yet to happen.
It doesn’t matter what craft you enjoy, just do it! Or better yet, try something new. Retailers use this month to promote crafting, so those craft supplies you might need are probably on sale. Don’t think that you have to spend a lot of money on crafting though because there are plenty of things you can create that involve things that you probably have at home right now. Make some time in your busy schedule to learn how to knit, crochet or to design something beautiful. Even if you don’t think you are crafty, you will probably surprise yourself.
A wonderful way to get into crafting is to involve a child. Kids love to craft and learn new things. What a fun way to explore crafting by involving your kids. Not sure what to do. This article from About.com gives you lots of ideas and how to’s for crafts. This is a pretty long list of different ways to show off your craftiness and they include how to’s and videos.
A big plus to crafting; Crafting can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression or chronic pain, experts say. It may also ease stress, increase happiness and protect the brain from damage caused by aging. This fact is what keeps me crafting. After a stressful day, it is great to be able to come home and loose myself in crochet or coloring. In my busy 9-5 job, we even color on our lunch hour. It helps to refocus your brain after staring at a computer all morning.
Whatever you choose or how you do it, just enjoy crafting. Use National Craft Month as a starting point and keep going………….
I seem to have an obsession for bags. Any size, shape, color or pattern. I’m just attracted to them. I find myself pinning bag postings on Pinterest and sharing posts on Facebook. I thought I would share some of my obsession here with you, so here goes.
Bags You Can Sew
Sleeping Bag Pouch
Here is a cute little bag called a Sleepingbag Pouch. Looks super easy to make and a good use for scrap material. Lots of cool uses for this little bag. I originally saw this on a Facebook post from The Sewing Loft and you can find the pattern on Craftsy using this link Sleepingbag Pouch Pattern.
Who can’t use one of these little wallets complete with a clip. You can use it to attach to a lanyard or just about anywhere you can clip this on the go little bag. Another great scrapbuster pattern found on SewCanShe, You can find the Wallet Pattern on their blog.
Here is a giant 25″ x 19″ x 7″ bag called the So Long Suitcase Bag. This is another bag found on SewCanShe‘s web site but the pattern is courtesy of Lilac Lane Patterns. Big bags like this are always great for car trips or overnights.
If you like to sew, you can also find lots of other great bag patterns on SewCanShe’s web site in the Free Sewing Tutorials area.
Bags To Crochet
I love to crochet so patterns for crochet bags are ones that I look for frequently. Here are some of my favorites that were found on Pinterest.
Granny Square Bag
This pin was saved from Mad Mad Me and features a cute little bag made from granny squares. If you have ever made them, you know how versitile they can be. This bag is lined with muslin but you could use any coordinating fabric you have hanging around. This looks like it makes up quickly and granny squares are very portable.
Cute Critter Purses
Here is a cute bag for that little girl in your life. These sweet little animal purses were pinned from CutRate Crafts. I know a couple of grandaughters who would love these.
Everyone needs a good shopping bag and here is a great one. Super simple to make from yarn you probably already have around the house. Having your own shopping bag that can tuck away in your purse is super helpful along with being Eco-friendly! This one is pinned from Raverly.com.
Hope you have enjoyed seeing some of my favorite bags. Share your creations on our Facebook page!! You can find more bag items and lots of other fun on our Pinterest Boards!
I was reading this article that I found on Pinterest about how different sewing machine feet will give you a different look when sewing. I’m one of those who just tends to use a basic all purpose foot unless I need something different for a specific application. This article from the “Seasoned Homemaker” blog discusses the use of the all purpose foot. Also included are links to articles on many other types of feet and their applications. This is a good read with lots of useful information to help guide you in using the correct attachment for your sewing projects.