When I first moved here, I thought that making money off this place was crazy! I thought that I could just get a job and then this place would just become my hobby. After all, who plans to make money off their homestead in the first year?!
Now that my second year here is coming to an end, and the town is throwing its annual fishing festival, I sat there crocheting many of things that I wished to one day sell. I love crochetting, and have always made wacky stuff for my family. As a matter of fact, I just made Viking hats and beards for my brother and father, and crocheted blankets for my mother and Grandmother last Christmas!
But me, selling that stuff, to strangers? It’s one thing to spend hours making something for my mother and father, it’s another thing to make something and know that it’s going to a stranger that I’ve never met.. It’s down right scary! It’s like giving away a part of me, after all, I did spend hours making these things, days on some of the bigger items..
But non the less, I thought to myself ‘it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, so why not set up a booth up town with all the others?’
After looking up booth registrations, I found that to set up a booth in town was actually a LOT of money! I would have to sell most of my stuff just to pay for the booth itself! That’s counter productive.. You know what’s free though? Setting up a booth in a family members yard that just so happens to live near the main street.. (Sneeky, I know!)
So with the help of my Uncle, and working my butt off to make cool new things out of yarn people would buy, I set to work..
Now, one thing about me, I over think and over plan.. The moment I decided to do this, I looked up countless things about setting up booths for craft fairs, and listened to audio books about Business while crocheting. (Like I said, I over plan..) And with this new found knowledge, I was happy with what I’d learned.
I found that, by learning from other people’s mistakes, I was able to stop my self from a quite a lot of them before I even started. For example; I had planned to just place my things on tables and let the curious customers come up and see what I have. The mistake? Most people are window shoppers, they aren’t going to walk over to a table where things are laying down and they can’t see what’s there, they won’t bother to come over. So I found some old shelves, and some clothes racks, and plan to hang my stuff up where people can see it from across the street and come over. Rather then laying it down flat and no one seeing it. (I decided to do a test run with the booth to get it looking the way I wanted it to look instead of experimenting there before the festival..)
Another mistake I avoided, was pricing. Most people at craft fairs and such, price their stuff high. Why? Because they have to pay for both their booth, and the materials for the products they make. But a little thing I learned with starting a business; If you’re setting out to make money, your business will fail. But if you’re setting out to make your customers happy, then your business will succeed! And after all, we don’t make a product thinking ‘this’ll make me money!‘ we set out thinking ‘someone would really love this product!‘ When I started pricing my stuff, I did so with my customers in mind. How much are they willing to spend at a small town festival? What prices will I be competing with? And then I found my price! Prices at huge craft fairs where people bring big money to spend big money, are way different then a small town festival where people don’t expect to pay a pretty penny for anything.
With my yarn stuff, If I truly want to start a business, then I want to start small. Small prices, small booth, smallish (meaning not to big) inventory. The only things that should be big is your smiles and ideas! After all, no one is going to take me seriously in my first year, not when all the other vendors have been there year after year. So I start small, get some loyal customers. Then come back next year and have people remember me, then the year after I have people expect me, and then finally, have people look forward to me. (Wishful thinking..)
Another thing I learned is, know who your customer is. I thought I knew at first, but as I started looking at last year’s pictures of the festival, I noticed that most of the people there were highschoolers.. Yikes, I was thinking it was little kids.. Gulp, well, off to the drawing boards. What do kids my age even like anymore?! I did what anyone would do and I took it to Facebook, asking my friends what they like and if they would buy if they seen it at a craft booth. I got a lot of great suggestions and made my booth look 10x better with new themed purses and different kinds of hats and beards (including Santa and leprechaun hats and beards)!
I feel that I am truly ready for this big event because of my research. So with the end of this blog post, always do your research, find the price that is right for the environment you’re in, learn who your customers are, don’t start for money, and learn how to set up a proper booth! Have a great Thursday, and be creative today!
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