As you gain experience selling your crafts at craft shows,
you”ll be planning your schedule a year in advance. Although a
business plan isn”t essential, a marketing plan is a good idea
to have as you plan your shows. You”ll want to keep your
customers on your mailing list informed of new products, special
sales and upcoming shows. You may need to update your marketing
materials from time to time as well. In addition, between shows,
you may decide to pursue other paths to selling your products.
Some of these are: the Internet (your own Web site or eBay
retail (your own store, space in a gallery or retail store
wholesale (trade shows, distributors or sales reps trade or
consumer magazine ads (extremely costly mail order, catalogs,
TV shopping networks and home shows.
Selling wholesale at galleries, stores, trade shows or through
reps or distributors cuts your profit in half. The only way to
make it up is through large quantity salesand then you may find
yourself in a bigger production mode than what you feel
comfortable with. Selling wholesale has other drawbacks, like
return policies, cancellations and late payments. And some shops
and galleries will only take you on consignment.
Although billions of dollars are spent by consumers buying
products over the Internet, online sales for craft items has not
been spectacularand nothing compared to craft show figures.
However, it”s relatively inexpensive to sell over eBay and for
under $1,000 you can have a decent Web site designed. Check out
eBay for yourself to see if anything like your items are being
marketed there. If you have to sell way too low to match the
competition that you won”t make a profit, it”s not worth it. Put
up your own Web site and let it be a virtual shop for youfor
existing customers to see what you”re up to and to attract new
buyers. You can post your show schedule, have information about
yourself and your crafts and sell whatever items photograph well
and ship safely.
Research other Web sites selling similar products, decide how
you would like your electronic store to look and find a
competent Web designer. Make sure you are quoted all costs up
front including monthly maintenance so you can keep your site
updated. Design your Web site with the same care you designed
your boothso it represents you and your product in the best
light. Make it easy for people to buy and to contact you. Have
your phone number and e-mail address so they can ask questions.
If your Web designer is not marketing savvy, have someone help
you submit your Web site to search engines and do whatever you
can to make it visible to potential buyers.
Another way to promote yourself online is to join craft forums
or chat groups, where buyers and sellers gather to discuss
crafts. If you position yourself as an expert answering various
questions, people may visit your Web site to gain more contact
with you. Also consider having links and resources on your site
so people will see you as a source of knowledge about crafts. As
a creative person, you”ll probably have so many ideas to enhance
your Web sitejust don”t become obsessed so it takes you away
from your first lovemaking crafts! Once you have a Web site,
put the address on all your marketing materialsfrom business
cards to show schedules.
If you are doing well selling your crafts at craft shows, that
may be all you need to do. The more avenues for sales you take
on, the thinner you spread yourself, and the less you”re doing
what you love most and what you started this business