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Selling your wares - Gregor1 - 08-03-2022

Has anyone tried to sell things at craft shows, flea markets, whatever? My wife has me making little keepsake boxes. She keeps coming up for reasons to make more. To date, I have made about 30 of them. To make one box from start to finish takes about 2 bd. ft. Various hardware, and about 2 hours if you include planing. Total cost of materials for a plain walnut box, no inlay, no nothing but 2 coats of poly, is ~ $47. How do you go about setting a price on something? Is your time worth anything?


A couple of weeks ago at our local festival there was a guy selling pie cases. They were about 4 ft. high, 16 X 16 square. 4 hammered tin pieces in the door like most pie cases, and seemed to be made well. He was charging $85. That must work out to about a nickel an hour. If that much.


Thanks  Greg


RE: Selling your wares - joe1086 - 08-03-2022

FWIW

I'm sure others will chime in.....but this subject comes up from time to time. You might want to use the 'Search' function, then search by keyword 'craft show' and you get a bunch of hits with more than a few being relevant.


RE: Selling your wares - Turner52 - 08-03-2022

I gave up on craft sales about 10 years ago. People would look at my open segmented turnings and exclaim how wonderfull but not buy. I now have them in an art gallery in Door county WI and others in an art gallery in Oshkosh Wi.. I get 60 percent in Door county and 70 percent in Oshkosh. Prices are much higher in Door county so it all works out. Prices are usually $200 to $350 actally it pays for all materials and tooling. If I was trying to do it for a living I would be starving to death. A small actual profit on a hobby I am ok with The shops set the prices. If I tred to make a profit on labor I doubt if it could be done. Do to covid those sales basically stopped for a while. They are coming back now. I kept on turning and have a backup supply of turnings do to that. My health has gone down hill for the last year, and I ave not been able to have much shop time since then. My sales are probably done when I run out of my backlog


RE: Selling your wares - jteneyck - 08-03-2022

(08-03-2022, 09:53 AM)Gregor1 Wrote: Has anyone tried to sell things at craft shows, flea markets, whatever? My wife has me making little keepsake boxes. She keeps coming up for reasons to make more. To date, I have made about 30 of them. To make one box from start to finish takes about 2 bd. ft. Various hardware, and about 2 hours if you include planing. Total cost of materials for a plain walnut box, no inlay, no nothing but 2 coats of poly, is ~ $47. How do you go about setting a price on something? Is your time worth anything?


A couple of weeks ago at our local festival there was a guy selling pie cases. They were about 4 ft. high, 16 X 16 square. 4 hammered tin pieces in the door like most pie cases, and seemed to be made well. He was charging $85. That must work out to about a nickel an hour. If that much.


Thanks  Greg

My critical assessment is you are doomed to disappointment, but I see all manner of folks trying to sell stuff at craft fairs so some most succeed.  I don't go to many of them but in 40 years I have never bought anything.  I think at around $30 or so you can sell most anything.  Over $50 it gets a lot harder.  You're in a tough spot if your cost is almost $50. 

On the flip side, I recently milled some logs for a guy who has made his living doing craft shows for the past 4 years.  He makes all things Buffalo and sells at 4 or 5 local shows, plus has an on-line store.  Most of his stuff is laser engraved and cut 1/4" Baltic birch plywood, think keychains, coasters, etc.  He also buys bamboo cutting boards for cheap, puts a buffalo on them with the laser, and sells them, too.  I'd be bored stiff doing hundreds and hundreds of the same thing, but he's making a living at it so maybe I'm just jealous. 

I decided early on never to make anything I hoped to sell, only things for which I had an order.  When you make things you hope to sell you have to find a buyer, of which many prospective ones will point out flaws or otherwise criticize your work and ask for a discount and, or say they'd love to buy it except it's too small, too large, or not the right color, etc.  At some point after not selling them, you will lower the price until they do, likely at about where your cost to make them was.   Add in the cost of the show plus travel, food, and all your time, and it looks like a losing proposition to me.  But people keep trying, and some must succeed.  

John


RE: Selling your wares - Mike 55 - 08-03-2022

(08-03-2022, 09:53 AM)Gregor1 Wrote: Has anyone tried to sell things at craft shows, flea markets, whatever? My wife has me making little keepsake boxes. She keeps coming up for reasons to make more. To date, I have made about 30 of them. To make one box from start to finish takes about 2 bd. ft. Various hardware, and about 2 hours if you include planing. Total cost of materials for a plain walnut box, no inlay, no nothing but 2 coats of poly, is ~ $47. How do you go about setting a price on something? Is your time worth anything?


A couple of weeks ago at our local festival there was a guy selling pie cases. They were about 4 ft. high, 16 X 16 square. 4 hammered tin pieces in the door like most pie cases, and seemed to be made well. He was charging $85. That must work out to about a nickel an hour. If that much.


Thanks  Greg

Greg,

I tried this 15 years ago. We had a place where you could display your stuff and not be there. It was open 7 days a week and had a checkout just like any store. They had tables and booths everywhere. I made a couple of small easy to build sofa tables, heavy duty Nantucket Bench, flag cases and I had a color photo book of other projects. An easy order form and phone number to customize your order. The biggest issue was everyone wants custom work with high end woods for IKEA prices. Since I'm not Thomas Moser or Dana Robes the chances of me getting paid $3,500 to build one of their Cherry Trestle Tables is slim to none. In the end I sold one thing in 9 months. 

Every market is different so it may be worth a shot. You won't know until you try. Good luck. 



RE: Selling your wares - MstrCarpenter - 08-03-2022

I think I've mentioned this here before. When I was in High School I made rustic pine live edge slab coffee tables. Thick pine was popular then. I routed a checker/chess board and also drilled holes for cribbage. Branches and a draw knife for legs. Anyway, when the furniture and gift shops said they would take them on commission, I explained again I wanted to sell them. Now. They could re-sell them for whatever price they wanted but I was leaving with cash or my tables. This worked for me. They actually started calling, asking for more.

I'll be moving into semi-retirement soon. I don't think I'll ever fully retire as I really enjoy working in my shop. I"ll always be making something and it doesn't take much more effort to make six or eight of whatever; keep one, give one or two away, sell the rest. Even at a discounted price, should at least cover all the materials with some left for consumables.


RE: Selling your wares - arthropod98 - 08-04-2022

i say at least give it a shot.  if you can find one indoors that provides the tables and everything, even better.  otherwise, it'll be the canopy setup and dealing with the weather.

we do 2 a year (both outside), and that's about all i can handle / keep up with.  have had some great times, and some not so great ones.  really, i just started cause i enjoying making stuff, but need to get rid of it.

can also be kinda fun if you find the right event.  but nope, i definitely ain't making a killing.  i figure if i make at least twice the booth fee and get rid of a good bit of stuff, then i'm pretty happy.

pricing is kinda tricky.  over the past 5-or-so years of doing it, i've just kinda gotten a feel for our little area and what people are willing to pay.


RE: Selling your wares - Turner52 - 08-05-2022

As I stated in my earlier post, craft fairs just didn't work for me. Everyone wanted prices under $50. Put the same thing in an art gallery and they were aparently worth a lot more then. Just the way people think I guess. Enables me to make what I want and give a lot as gifts and sell the surplus. I will never make much over cost this way. I was at a few craft shows where some vendors were selling a lot off things. All were lower priced items, and not what I wanted to do. They were probably smarter than I was, I would guess their net profit margin was more than likely higher than mine. You have to decide if you are going to make what you enjoy, or are going to make what sells. Nothing wrong with either one.


RE: Selling your wares - Halfathumb - 08-05-2022

The cheaper the more they sell, from my observations. You're trying to compete with the cheap crap from China and the like. Long story short recently I made a china/curio cabinet out of cherry, have $2K in material and I can't sell it for $1500, that last offer was $1K. LOML was into succulents and I made some very nice walnut boxes for her displays and people don't want to pay for them. They want the imported stuff.

I do wish you well though.

Jim


RE: Selling your wares - Bill Wilson - 08-05-2022

The attached link is to a section of a popular scroll sawing forum, that deals with the business of selling.  I realize that you aren't selling scroll sawn items, but some of the principles, ideas, discussed in this forum will apply.

https://www.scrollsawvillage.com/forums/forum/52-business-side/