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Archive for the ‘Managing Your Craft Business’ Category

Where To Find Craft Fairs, Shows & Festivals to Sell Your Product

Posted by Kimberly on May 7, 2008

It’s getting to be that time of year when everyone starts gearing up for craft fairs. While Christmas is undoubtedly the most popular time to get those handmade goodies out to market, spring runs a very close second. Something about the perfect temperatures, beautiful blooms, and the availablity of fresh air after a clausterphobic inducing winter offers a prime opportunity to celebrate with festivals that include crafts.

You know that your item would be a great seller, but you’re just not sure where to begin. Finding the perfect craft fair is the place to start, and after that it’s all a breeze!

While you can spend hours searching Google or Yahoo for craft shows in your area, it’s simply easier to have all the information in one place.

Let me introduce you to the Fairs & Festivals Vendor Calendar. Not only does this beautifully laid-out, easy to navigate site offer you detailed information about craft festivals in your area and how to register for them, but they also offer great information on pricing your crafts, an event checklist, and a tutorial on understanding juried and non-juried shows.

Whether you’re an experienced showman or not, I’m sure you will find the Fairs & Festivals Vendor Calendar a useful tool in your craft business!

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For The Beginning Bowmaker: Learn Hairbow Lingo

Posted by Kimberly on April 3, 2008

I came across this great article the other day and thought it would be a great piece to post here.  So many of readers are just beginner bowmakers and this is an article written just for you!  I hope enjoy it!

HAIR BOWS LINGO

About the author:  Jessica Furtney is the president of Bows For Best Friends, a company based in Simpsonville, SC that designs and manufactures high quality hair bows and hair accessories.

Makers of hair bows have to quickly learn that there are different widths of ribbons. The width is the length across the ribbon. The more common widths used are 1.5″, 7/8″, 5/8“,  and 3/8″. Some the lesser used ones are the really wide ribbons in 2.25″, which make a really large and thick hair bow. Sometime ribbon factories make ribbon in 1″ widths. This width is very close to the 7/8″ and is sometimes hard to tell the difference. Ribbon manufacturing companies can come out with their own unique widths, but generally, these are your only options.The 1.5″ width is a good ribbon width to start with because there is more to hold and work with. The 7/8″ or 5/8” widths are good for making center knots for the bows. The 3/8″ is a nice width for very little bows or they make a nice center for a larger hair bow. I would not suggest knotting a 3/8” width ribbon unless it was for a very tiny hair bow, or you are placing it on top of a 7/8″ or 5/8” width ribbon and then knotting it for a fun look.

Some ribbon makers like to use wood burning tools for what they call “heat sealing” their ends. Most grosgrains will melt at very high temperatures, and that is simply all bow makers mean when the say their ends are heat sealed. There are now other tools being made just for sealing off ribbon ends to keep them from fraying, and several ribbon web sites are now offering them to their online customers for making hair bows.

Another popular way to keep your ribbon ends from fraying is by applying Fray Check™ or any other brand to the ends of your ribbon. It is a liquid that, when dry, will harden and not allow the ends to fray. These products can be found in any craft store. Be careful when trying out different brands because some will leave a mark on the ribbon and not dry clear. You do not want to apply so much though that it drips off the hair bows or leaves a runny mark down the ribbon.

Then there are the hair clip or hair fastener options for hair bows. The alligator clip looks like an alligator’s mouth when it opens and closes. It generally has no teeth on this style of clip. They do however come in double pronged and single pronged. Single pronged is nice when you are going for the least heavy and bulky, and double pronged is nice when you need that extra prong to hold it in the hair.

A French clip is the kind that you squeeze two prongs to release if from the closed position, and will spring open like a mouse trap because of the tension it is under by the semi-loose bracket on the inside. That bracket is in the shape of a crescent.

Probably less common, are the plastic clip or barette and a snap, which some makers of hair bows use, and they are pretty simple in nature and are plastic or metal so to give you the lightest possible weight on finished hair bows.

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50 Craft Fair Project Ideas That You Can Start This Weekend!

Posted by Kimberly on November 2, 2007

Wow!  That’s my one word comment on all the wonderful folks I’ve had visit my blog searching for information about craft fairs, whether on finding ideas for projects or selling their crafts.  I shouldn’t be surprised; after all, it’s that time of year again when there’s a craft fair on every corner and plenty of shoppers willing to line a crafters pocket. 

Want in on the fun?  Here’s 50 Craft Fair project ideas that you can get started on right away:

  1. Korker bows (or a multitude of hairbow styles)
  2. Tutus for toddlers and children
  3. Wreaths
  4. Baby blankets and throws
  5. Christmas Tree Skirt
  6. Christmas decorations
  7. Candles
  8. Soaps, lotions & other bath products
  9. Gifts in a Jar (recipe mixes)
  10. Wood crafts (primitive signs, etc.)
  11. Flower pot bird bath
  12. Diaper cakes
  13. Magnets
  14. Ribbon Angel
  15. Glamour Ribbon Garland
  16. Beaded birthstone angel
  17. Clutch/coin purse (very fashionable!)
  18. Tin Can Luminary (votive candle holder)
  19. Christmas stockings (follow pattern then embellish!)
  20. Wedding items (bridal bouquets, veils, etc.)
  21. Girls’ boutique clothing
  22. Floral arrangements
  23. Blue jean apron (make from toddler jeans & embellish for a HUGE hit!)
  24. Baby Nursery Wall Letters
  25. Kitchen apron
  26. Dishtowel angel
  27. Juice Pouch purse (can use with a variety of food containers!) or a Bikini Purse
  28. Jewelry
  29. Plastic bag holder
  30. Life sized Christmas characters
  31. Clay Pot Characters
  32. Embellished lampshades
  33. Mason Jar lamp
  34. Stained glass
  35. Lava lamps (big hit with teens!)
  36. Decorative switch plates (or even outlet covers!)
  37. Decoupage plates
  38. Decorative pillows
  39. Place mats
  40. Doll clothes
  41. Boutique diaper wipes case
  42. Sock Monkeys
  43. Diaper bags
  44. Bird feeders / bird houses
  45. Cloth dolls
  46. Metal crafts
  47. Decorative mailboxes (see ideas 1 and 2)
  48. Stenciled art (lawn furniture, fabrics)
  49. Gift baskets
  50. Pinatas

I hope you enjoyed browsing this list.  There is so much out there, so many unique ideas.   And the more unique the idea, the more desirable the product; so be sure to put your “your special” touch to everything you create! 🙂 

For additional ideas, or for more detailed instructions to some of the ideas above, be sure to visit You Can Make This. com!  Also, for AWESOME deals (and super fast shipping) on craft supplies, be sure to visit Create for Less!

Posted in How To Guides, Managing Your Craft Business | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Fundraisers: A Great Way To Promote Your Business Without Hassle

Posted by Kimberly on November 1, 2007

If there is one great thing about having a craft business, is that it is fairly easy to promote without hassle.   After all, who doesn’t like crafts?  While there are exceptions to every rule, the vast majority do enjoy handmade, quality crafts. 

Through craft fairs and bazaars, crafters have the ability to easily promote themselves with booths.  The customer approaches your booth, no need to seek them out.   Online craft malls and websites such as Etsy bring craft lovers to your virtual door.

But, with the exception of craft fairs and bazaars which, as a general rule, are seaonsal means of sales, how does a crafter continue to promote themselves without a great deal of money and headache?

There are simple ideas that are very often overlooked.   This idea costs nothing more a desire to earn through a willingness to give.   If this interest you, then promotion through fundraising is an excellent way to get your craft business name out there.

Promotion Through Fundraising Option 1:

When I was selling candles, I had a lucrative business online.  Selling wax tarts was easy to sell online because they were easy to package and ship; but candles could, at times, be a hassle.  Therefore, I wanted to focus more of my online business on wax tarts and concentrate on selling candles locally, or “real time” if you will.

At the same time I was operating my candle business, I was also volunteering to oversee the local little league football teams’ cheerleading squads.   One of the things that was necessary in order to purchase uniforms and poms that was needed was annual fundraisers.   Since it was my job to find fundraisers, I saw this as an opportunity to get my name out locally offering this program special fundraising deals.

It was the best thing I ever did for my craft business!  In offering participants a large variety of scented candles at $5.00 each, with $2.00 of each candle being given back to the program, everyone was happy.  In just a short time, I had sold over 400 candles locally and the program had earned almost $1,000! 

Even after leaving the league as the program coordinator, I still had customers who continued to contact me via telephone to place their orders.  And I continued to contribute to the program and promote myself by allowing the program to continue with the fundraiser.

Promotion Through Fundraising Option 2:

This option actually compliments the first, however I wanted to list it separately because of the vast amount of information attached to it.   If you craft an item that would make an excellent fundraiser item and you have a willingness and have ability to take on large quantity orders, you may also want to consider advertising your fundraising option online.

There are numerous sites on the internet that will allow you to submit information about your fundraiser for free.   Here is a listing of some of those sites:

Of course, there are also many paid fundraiser directories on the web too.  However, before paying to submit your site to any of these, I would recommend that you thoroughly investigate the success rate of using these services.

Also, when browsing the links above, you may notice that many of the sites require you to have a website.  If you currently do not have a website, GET ONE! 🙂   In the meantime, however, I would recommend using free services such as eCrater or Flying Cart to set up a temporary web shop.   Sites such as these also allow you to have one or two “blank” pages; so be sure to include fundraising information on one of those pages.

Promotion Through Fundraising Option 3:

When my youngest was born a 31 week preemie in 2004, I had to sell my candle business.   Once he really began thriving, I started seeking out my next business endeavor.  And that is how I came into ribbon sales with speciality in korker ribbon.

Unlike candles, korker ribbon is easily saleable anywhere because of the low shipping cost and easy packaging, but I love local sales; so it was time to begin my self-promotion techniques again.Using korker ribbon or korker bows doesn’t really work well as a fundraiser itself because the market is limited to females.  However, korker bows do work as an excellent contribution to fundraiser ideas such as raffles or silent auctions.

When I began the ribbon business, my son was in elementary school.  Each year his school held a Fall Festival in October.  Each classroom was assigned a theme for a gift basket that would be sold at silent auction during the evening of the event.  There was always one classroom that had a “girly girl,” “health & beauty” or “UT Vols” theme; with any one of those being a perfect opportunity to contribute a korker bow to be included.  If my son’s classroom did not fall into one of these themes, I would still take one of my bows, complete with label bearing my business name, phone number, and address, to the teachers with these themes.   Needless to say, the teachers were more than willing to accept my contribution.  At the same time, there was three bows out there just waiting to be purchased by three new potential customers!

Never pass up the opportunity to donate to fundraising programs such as these.   It doesn’t have the same potential as discussed in the first option, but it is still a great opportunity nonetheless.  And organizors will greatly appreciate your willingness to donate without their having to ask.

* There are so many opportunities to promote yourself through fundraising.   The rewards are well worth the effort! *

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