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View Full Version : What sells best at craft fairs?


tokmom
07-15-2008, 11:11 AM
Has anyone sold items at craft fairs? What would you price your items at?
I was thinking socks, felted bags, and dishcloths might sell well?

Crycket
07-15-2008, 11:16 AM
I have never been to a craft fair...but I once knit a bear for charity, and he went well...

of troy
07-15-2008, 11:38 AM
(rant)
cheap crap.

most visitors to craft fairs want cheap hand knits.

hand knit socks (at least 10 hours of work, even when knit big and loose, and felted) should command at least $100

Really nice hand knit socks (12 or more hours of work) should command $125 --

but people want hand knit/hand crocheted stuff for a little more than the cost of the yarn.. ($20 for a baby blanket that uses $10+ worth of yarn.

and these prices--that never include the hours of effort/labor as a "cost" devalue the craft/work/effort.

(end of rant)

If the fair is a charity fair, in support of church, or other non profit, you can donate your work, and sell stuff at cost (or a bit more than the cost of the yarn)

IF you live in a major city, you might find a craft fair supports a market of High end ($$$) hand knit goods (and you can price your goods so that you are fairly comp'd for your efforts (including the cost of buying a booth at the fair, and spending 12 hours maning the booth selling your crafts.

but be aware, you'll find many who object to hand knits being reasonable prices (that is priced to include minimum wage for the time/effort that went into the production)

few will buy $100 socks.. fewer still will $350 hand knit sweaters.

LOTS OF FOLKS will want $20 afghans knit from acrylic.
(and if you actually knit them in pretty colors...)

feministmama
07-15-2008, 01:58 PM
People are always telling me I should sell my stuff. I make cute hats and cute water bottle holders and cute soaker (diaper covers). If I use yarn that cost $5-10 a skien and I use 1 and half skeins, then add for my time and cost of selling it, it turns out to be about $30. For a kid sweater $50-$75. And for adults $100-200. Afghans I can only imagine. But in my head, no one wants to pay a lot for anything. I think people go to craft fairs cuz "craft' =cheap. Art = expensive. And I'd have to devote a lot more time to knitting then working for a paycheck. It all depends on what time and patience you have.

McKnitty
07-15-2008, 02:25 PM
It has been a very long time since I've been to a craft fair, so I don't remember much about it. However, I thought I would mention that my friends and co-workers go crazy over my dishcloths and washcloths. Since the yarn is so inexpensive (I just use Sugar & Cream) you should be able to mark it up enough to see a profit.

Plantgoddess+
07-15-2008, 04:17 PM
I haven't done craft fairs in decades, but I do remember that people generally don't want to spend a lot of money per item. I would keep whatever you make in inexpensive yarn and not time consuming to make. I would maybe go to a few and shop around and see what's moving and in what price range. Try and get to know your customer base.

Knitting_Guy
07-15-2008, 08:14 PM
The above replies are why I always refuse when someone asks if they can either buy something I made or if they could pay me to make something for them. Nobody wants to pay what it's really worth.

Even my crappy knitting is worth more than people are willing to pay. I would much rather make something as a gift for someone than to be insulted by an offer that is far below what it's worth.

Sewing Angel
07-15-2008, 09:00 PM
I sell things at craft fairs, but not anything knitted. For one I'm not the fastest knitter and two, what everyone else said. I've been doing show for 10+ years and people are not willing to pay any where near what a knitted item is worth. That being said, there are a few (and I mean a very few) shows that you can sell a very labor intensive item for a good price. I sell sewn items (kids hooded bath towels, heat packs, broomstick skirts and a couple of other small sewn items) and I make jewelry from ostrich egg shells that I hand paint.
Every year its different. I hate to totally discourage people from doing craft shows, as I have enjoyed doing them, but its a tough business. Luckily my DH is the bread winner or we would be in the poor house!
If you are really interested in doing shows, it would be helpful to check out a few shows in your area and talk to some of the vendors. Most (not all) will be pretty honest about the quality of the show and you can get a feel for what is selling. I would be happy to answer any other questions you might have.
Angel

psquidy
07-15-2008, 09:15 PM
I get so many people telling me to sell my stuff. I make booties and mittens in no time flat. I agree however that most craft fair goers are looking for stuff at cost and they certainly don't want to pay you for your time. I think the best way to sell your beautiful knitted items is thru word of mouth. Maybe bring a basket to work to have on display and then people in your building can buy them from you. I bet it would snow ball from there. If you have a bunch of stuff already made and you just want to sell it for fun then go to the fair and enjoy. I think mittens and baby things would go the fastest and felted bags-or felted things generaly (clogs, mitts, hats). i also think hand knit bears and bunnies -cute things like that. Good luck!

twoxover
07-15-2008, 10:08 PM
i really agree with Mason. I am a quilter, and people will ask me to make baby quilts...but when i explain that in material alone will be 50- or so, they back off quickly.

however, i greatly enjoy gifting someone who will like what i've made. there is a joy in that.

betsey

fibrenut
07-15-2008, 11:45 PM
I know this probably won't help ya in your quest, but in the cake biz, we have a saying: "If they have to ask the price, they can't afford it!"

davespurl
07-16-2008, 12:11 AM
I have been to many craft shows. And I Love Them! However, I've never tried to sell anything there. Personally, I would give it a try with my least expensive items. I think once you've done a few shows and have built up a customer base (I remember certain artists who I return to at certain craft fairs every year), then you can start adding your nicer more expensive items. Its worth a try anyway.

Tropicflower24
07-16-2008, 10:58 AM
For me, I don't think about the "profit" because for me, I've already been paid.... Paid with the joy of being to knit. And as long as I get money to pay for supplies, and maybe a little extra, I look at it as me getting paid to have fun. :)

Crycket
07-16-2008, 11:17 AM
The above replies are why I always refuse when someone asks if they can either buy something I made or if they could pay me to make something for them. Nobody wants to pay what it's really worth.

Even my crappy knitting is worth more than people are willing to pay. I would much rather make something as a gift for someone than to be insulted by an offer that is far below what it's worth.

That is a really interesting view point...

I always feel awkward when someone offers to pay me, and I often undercharge when I do sell.

I do agree that a gift (and charity knitting) is always the best way to go....for me...

I was requested to make one of these little guys for a girlfriend for Valentines day last year (not this one specifically - but one like it...they are only 4" tall) and I quoted the guy $5 and he gave me $10...so there are a few ppl that do understand!

Jan in CA
07-16-2008, 12:41 PM
I agree that most people go to craft fairs hoping to find a bargain. If you want to try it though go for it!

I would think something that you can make inexpensively like dishcloths would be a great idea. If you want to try something that requires better yarn, more of your time, and higher prices just be aware that you may come home with it. Then again craft fairs are full of lots of people and someone may find that bag irresistible! :thumbsup:

of troy
07-16-2008, 02:27 PM
re:For me, I don't think about the "profit" because for me, I've already been paid.... Paid with the joy of being to knit. And as long as I get money to pay for supplies, and maybe a little extra, I look at it as me getting paid to have fun.

If it is fun, then do it for fun.

if it is for pay, do it for value.

other wise those of us who would like to do it for value can't make a living.. (all you fun loving gals are giving away your labor for free.)

I know lots of guys who LIKE working on cars..

but they don't do it for free/fun. (except on their own cars)

but for some reason, women do it all the time.

I knit for free all the time (for family)

I knit for fun too.

but if i knit for sale, I charge what its worth..

but i don't often get the chance. there are too many women who are willing to knit for free, because its fun, and generally speaking, the perception of knitting is: ITS WORTHLESS.

(cause all the effort to turn $10 ($100!) worth of yarn into a blanket is worth less than the cost of the yarn--ergo knitting(the work) is worth less than the material. )

any wonder, knitting is still often considered 'womans work'?

Crycket
07-16-2008, 03:20 PM
but i don't often get the chance. there are too many women who are willing to knit for free, because its fun, and generally speaking, the perception of knitting is: ITS WORTHLESS.

(cause all the effort to turn $10 ($100!) worth of yarn into a blanket is worth less than the cost of the yarn--ergo knitting(the work) is worth less than the material. )

any wonder, knitting is still often considered 'womans work'?
[/COLOR][/COLOR]


Well put....:cheering:

carlyd
07-18-2008, 03:27 PM
First, I have to agree with the post on the previous page about knitting for fun. I knit because I want to knit. Period. At the end of the year, I place any extras in our company craft fair to recover the cost of the yarn and hopefully, some profit.

The last time, I put in 18 baby sweaters, in the 18 months to 3 year range. All were simple, using mostly stockinette stitch and color work rather than more time consuming patterns. I priced them from $20 to $30 depending on the size and the cost of the yarn.

And I heard? "Well, you know I could get something similar at WalMart for $6.99. Why are you charging so much?" I don't think most of the people there even put any thought into the time involved--they were too used to the "you can get it cheaper if it's imported from ___ " mentality that everyone seems to have.

I knit mostly now for either myself, gifts for people or charity. The charity groups appreciate the work that you put into your items way more than any craft fair shopper ever did.

WandaT
07-19-2008, 09:38 AM
If you're going to do it, I would keep it to simpler, smaller items like dishcloths or washcloths, baby booties and hats, hats, scarves, coffee cozies, wrist warmers, ect. Look at the thread that gives TONS of ideas on what to do with scraps. You should get some good ideas there.

Oh and another thought. People are more concerned about going "green" these days, so anything that can be reused (like the string bags) may be a good idea too.

I agree with everyone else that you won't get big bucks for anything, but if you're willing to give it a go and see what happens some of these items may be a good place to start.

twoxover
07-19-2008, 09:45 AM
Hey Cryket...

i LOVE your teddy bear! love it love it love it! when you decide to sell one, please let me know......

betsey (just cause he's way too cute!!)

Crycket
07-19-2008, 10:12 AM
Hey Cryket...

i LOVE your teddy bear! love it love it love it! when you decide to sell one, please let me know......

betsey (just cause he's way too cute!!)

:aww: Ah...thanks...they are super quick and I think I have one for every single pair of socks I have made....

I think what I love best about them...is they each have their own personality!

twoxover
07-20-2008, 11:43 AM
you do a great job! the photo of the one you posted is adorable....

betsey

tokmom
07-20-2008, 08:17 PM
Thanks everyone. I wasn't looking for a business venture. My mom and cousins are very crafty and are going to sell simple things at a craft fair that is run by the church. You pay for the booth and you keep your profits. They wanted to know if I wanted to include some knitted items next year.
I would never do something horribly expensive, because nobody would appreciate it.;) You are very right about that.
But I would do it for the cost of the yarn, because I too, just want to knit. As long as my yarn is paid for, I'm happy:happydance:

miss_molly
07-20-2008, 11:55 PM
....do it for the cost of the yarn, because I too, just want to knit. As long as my yarn is paid for, I'm happy.
That was my attitude exactly. If I sold something and the price covered the materials, I could keep on knitting. But that changed. I started to resent the fact that my skill and time was not appreciated; it almost felt like an insult to me. Well, actually it WAS an insult.

The people who buy my items are incapable of making them themselves. Nor can they buy the same thing in the stores. I have my own way of interpreting patterns and using colour that not all knitters do, and I think my ability IS worth being paid for. Mind you, I don't ask a heap for my garments but I do now get paid more than just the materials. And I feel more appreciated. Funny how it gets personal!

tokmom
07-21-2008, 11:36 PM
That was my attitude exactly. If I sold something and the price covered the materials, I could keep on knitting. But that changed. I started to resent the fact that my skill and time was not appreciated; it almost felt like an insult to me. Well, actually it WAS an insult.

The people who buy my items are incapable of making them themselves. Nor can they buy the same thing in the stores. I have my own way of interpreting patterns and using colour that not all knitters do, and I think my ability IS worth being paid for. Mind you, I don't ask a heap for my garments but I do now get paid more than just the materials. And I feel more appreciated. Funny how it gets personal!

Oh, I'm guessing that once I get better, that I will probably feel that way. For now, I'm happy anyone would even want to buy a dishcloth. :wink:
I used to do craft painting and sold many items. Of course nobody appreciated the time it took to paint the wooden item. But I did it for school PTA resource fairs to help raise monies. I did get a few side jobs that were lucrative. But only because people were smart enough to realize that it took some time to paint what they wanted.

Sad to say, even my mom, who is very crafty, was selling cotton dishtowels that she whips out in less than an hour for 5 bucks each at this craft fair this last weekend. She told me I could sell my dishclothes for a dollar since it was 'only a dishcloth'. She has no idea how detail oriented they can be. Needless to say, I wasn't to happy with her comment.
But what the heck. Next year when it rolls around, I'll put some items in and see how they do. What I don't sell, I can give as teacher gifts.:mrgreen:

cordovapaula
01-25-2009, 12:36 AM
I've always deferred when people tell me I should sell my knitted items. I usually only give them for gifts to close friends and family. However, my family convinced me to try a craft table to raise money for a vacation. I basically am doing what everyone suggests... inexpensive yarns, quick projects like chunky knit hats, baby booties... I am also including some easy to make fleece hats.

Since we live in bush Alaska, I was thinking of including some yarn and needles with my handmade items. There is nowhere in town to buy knitting supplies. These too would be inexpensive, pretty yarns with free patterns by the manufacturer.

Does anyone have any further ideas on what sells well and/or how to display items/supplies? I'll post after the fact with how the booth goes....

Thanks!

LilHuskiesFootBallMom
01-25-2009, 02:15 PM
i also refuse to sell my knitted (or crocheted, or quilted) items.

my family did craft shows for years (my aunt still does them) and i remember my aunt and grandma spending hours on end all year long making small things (plastic snowflakes with beads glued on them, embroidered pillow cases, etc) and they'd spend all weekend manning their craft booth and come out with not even enough to cover the cost of materials... and they made small things and sold them CHEAP.

A woman my grandmother knows crochets baby sweater sets (sweater, hat, and booties) and sells them for $15 each or 3 for $40. yes, it's the jamie pompador yarn, no they do not wash very well (the yarn pills), but still..... I think she severely undervalues the cost of her labor and work....

I have had people come up to me while knitting and say that they want me to make them a pair of socks and they'll pay me... i laughed with my dh. I get them (at 4:30 in the morning at Denny's on christmas eve after we finished xmas shopping for our boys) asking if i have a business card because they want me to knit something for them and they'll "pay" me for it...

I wouldn't do knitted things beyond washcloths (2 cloths out of a $1.50 ball, even going for a buck each it's still a 50 cent profit and they're mindless projects) or towel toppers.. same with crocheted items.

Nanaof6
01-25-2009, 03:29 PM
My DH and I make Stained Glass pieces,some that we have been told could sale for as much as $300/$400 dollars each.

We've been asked if we would sell some of them,but when we give them a price they instantly change their mind. Glass is never cheap and our time is worth something.

We find it is easier to make something for family and friends and just give it to them as a gift.


I have learned to truly appreciate anything someone makes by hand. Doing my Stained Glass projects have taught me the value and time that one puts into sometimes ,a price can not be placed on it unless the interested party understands what all goes into your work and they are willing to paid for your talent.

When I go to craft shows with friends ,I fine it embarrassing some times. Because there is always someone in the group either complaining about the prices and or asking vendors if they'd take less on an item. :noway: I find that very:gah:

VictoiseC
02-01-2009, 05:48 PM
THAT TEDDY BEAR IS DARLING! I think it's definitely worth $20.

You should at least get a little for your work don't you think? It's funny, at the New York Sheep and Wool festival some people sell incredibly beautiful natural wool THICK socks for only $20. I was really surprised. It depends how busy you are... if you really like to knit then you won't mind selling for less. good luck anyhoo!

Ronda
02-04-2009, 07:49 AM
I have never sold at craft fairs (I don't knit fast enough!), but I just had to say, Cryket, that your bear is adorable and worth way more than $5!

I go to craft fairs every year. Our schools use them as fund raisers, so each elementary school in the area has one craft show each fall. One woman sells her knitted purses. Her purses are gorgeous and beautifully lined. I can't really remember off the top of my head how much she charges, but they aren't cheap. I've seen the knitted scarves for sale as well. One woman had a bunch of throws for sale, and she was discouraged that no one was buying them. She said everyone loved them but left quickly when they saw the price.

fierra98
02-05-2009, 09:39 PM
Yarn costs so much especially wool, and anything wool costs even more than acrylic yarn. I was thinking about knitting stuff and trying to sell them but my brother told me that I shouldn't.

victoryah
04-08-2009, 08:56 PM
I make ooak (one of a kind) baby/infant sweaters, hats, berets, booties and other items including toys. many people have told me that i should sell them. i do have some for sale on ebay, but no one wants to pay what they are worth. (most of mine are crochet and heirloom quality, have been crocheting since mid-80's). the few people that buy from me in person know the quality of the work, the others just think that i am trying to scam them. i have had to drop prices on the sweater outfits to less than $20 just to try to sell them. ah, then we have those that want a custom outfit and try to haggle for all they can get and then want more and more and more which wasn't the agreement. i dont think so! it takes a lot of time to make the outfits i make as each one is a different style, no two are ever the same. i never write down the instructions so i always have different outfits. what is funny is other people who know what it costs to do our kind of work still insist on us "giving" them a break or charging them $5-$10 when that wont even cover the materials. sorry for the rant!
victoryah

Woodi
04-09-2009, 11:04 AM
I have been selling at craft fairs and shows for over 10 years now. sharing what I've learned:

#1 rule I learned from a jewelry-maker: if you cannot take in 10 times what you paid for the table, it's not financially worth it. But it may be worth it if you want to try a few for the experience, the expertise you gain, friends you make, customers met, etc....

2. Low cost fairs with low cost tables bring in fewer profits than the more expensive fairs with high costing tables.

3. Price your wares as high as you feel morally able to do so, especially at Christmas sales time. Many people are looking for quality items as gifts for friends and family, and will overlook the under-$10 items, except as stocking stuffers. That said, I have successfully sold many stocking-stuffer sized soap bars, at a price I felt was worth my work.

4. If you do intend to sell mostly 'small stuff' (being mindful that it may actually take you more time to make small stuff), then try to also have a few higher-priced, quality items, so the other types of shoppers might also be attracted to your table. If you have what looks like "a whole lot of small bits of .....junk, cheapstuff, trivia, etc....(pick your name), then you won't attract people with big money to spend.

5. Know what market you want to attract. If it's not strictly money you're after, there are many other rewards to doing craft shows (mentioned in number 1)

6. Have fun! Play! Experiment! Look for other rewards besides money.

7. For higher profits, I find that high-end shows are best, especially 3-day 'studio tours', if you can find and join one. I usually make $1000 per day for each of these tours, selling $6 bars of handmade soap. Hard to get into though, gotta win over the confidence of the judging board.

8. High end gift shops which feature handmade also work well for me, but they take half the profit.

Good luck and enjoy yourself, whatever you choose to do! - it's worth the experience. Even the 'bad shows' can teach you something, and maybe you'll make a new friend or two.

globaltraveler
04-09-2009, 11:42 AM
Somewhere, someplace, I read that a knitting group made a bunch of beautiful felted flower pins in all different colors for a church bazaar, and sold out of them in a couple of hours.

ArtLady1981
04-12-2009, 09:49 AM
If I was going to set up a booth at a craft fair, I'd offer:

1) SCRUBBIES (see our KAL)
2) Dishcloths
3) Stitch Markers (hand made)
4) Cotton bath mats
5) Cotton baby bibs

The stitch markers would be my only high-ticket item.
They pays, or they walks.

doc4dolls
04-12-2009, 11:55 AM
I use to do craft fairs years ago. It is difficult to price your items for a fair price. It is frustrating because people tell me I should sell my stuff and I have won prices and awards from different states on my things. I have bought books on selling your crafts and they say: for today you should add up the supplies it took for the item and multiply it by 4xs the cost. That is your selling price. If you want to try to get the time it took to make the item, add that in then look at the item and try to decide if someone will actually pay that. If not drop the price down to what you think it will sell for but be fair to you and them. Remember if you put to cheap a price on it no one will buy it because they will think it is inferrior work. Remember also you can alway go down at a craft fair but you can't go up. You can only go up once you go home and go to a different fair.
Honestly, I don't do them any more. When I did I also made sure I had some NICE cheap stuff to sell so I would make the price of my booth. It is awful to go and not make the price of your booth. I would make dish cloths, hot pads, scarfs something small. I think in our economy people want things that are going to last. They are looking for quality items not cheap. Cheap has to be replaced more often and no one has that kind of money right now. You may do well.
Good luck and let us know how you do.

tifftaffy
04-13-2009, 01:11 AM
I think that the remark about "i can get it cheaper at Walmart" in regards to a handknit sweater speaks volumes. They want quality and uniqueness but when it comes to their money they want it cheap.

I'd have a hard time responding nicely to that kind of comment.

I don't think I'd ever sell anything I knit; i don't mind making gifts or perhaps doing charity work.... but I'd hate to see someone try to offer me a few bucks for something I've worked on for hours... I'd be too insulted.

ArtLady1981
04-13-2009, 05:02 AM
A couple years ago some of the members were discussing the selling of their knits, etc. It was along these lines (and you've all heard this):

"Oh that is such a beautiful sweater! Where did you find it?"
"I knit it"
"Oh no, you didn't! Would you knit this sweater for me, too?
I'd be happy to pay you!"

Sound familiar? Don't you feel complimented?
So the conversation continues:

"Well, I guess I could. I don't have a lot of time to knit, but I guess I could."
"How much do you charge?"
"Well, how much do you want to pay?"
"Oh no, you tell me how much you charge. I mean, I'd even pay you $50 for it!"

Don't ya just hate this phase of the wheelin' and dealin'?
You and I both know that it took you weeks and weeks of faithful knitting time, and the yarn cost $80 by itself!

So you gulp and say
"Well ma'am, the yarn for this sweater is $80 alone."
"EIGHTY DOLLARS??!!" she gasps. "Well, thanks for your offer to knit it for me, but I could get this at Walmart for $20"

Now don't ya just want to either strangle her, or hang yourself?

I have a better solution for this conversation!

So let's start the conversation over:

"Oh that is such a beautiful sweater! Where did you find it?"
"I knit it."
"Oh no, you didn't! Would you knit this sweater for me, too?
I'd be happy to pay you!"
"Why thanks! Here is my card with a rundown of my prices!
Give me a call in a few days and we'll discuss your sweater!"

What card? you ask.

The 3x5 card that has your name and tel number on the front, with your prices on the back.

EXAMPLE of the contents of the reverse side:

Woman's Sizes 34-48 at the prices below:
Woman's Cardigan: $200 plus cost of yarn & buttons.
Woman's Pullover: $185 plus cost of yarn.
Woman's 3/4 Coat: $300 plus cost of yarn & buttons.
Woman's Tank Top or Shell: $100 plus cost of yarn.
Woman's Scarf: $85 plus cost of yarn.
Woman's Hat: $75 plus cost of yarn.

Some specialty knitted items: $50 per hour plus cost all materials.
All hand knits must be pre-paid, with yarn in hand before measurements are taken and knitted item is swatched. Specialty items at the hourly rate will require a non-refundable deposit of $500 for labor, with add'l draws when that is exhausted. Written estimates will be supplied prior to deposits.

No more dickering. No more hurt feelings. You can now say "YES! I'll knit it for you!"...and feel good about it, whether you get the job, or whether you never hear from them again! It's a win-win! :teehee:

CraftyGeezerette
10-11-2009, 12:11 PM
One year, my Mother, decided to go to an arts and craft show to sell. She made beautiful doilies, washcloths and other items. As she asked me to go with her, I made some door hangings of hand crocheted bells(5) and lovely silk pine boughs. My price at that time was $25.00 firm. Plus we both made snowflakes which were the rage at that time. Those prices were $1.00 for large ones and 2 for $1 for the smaller ones.

Our total sales for the day was $3.00.

The other crafters offered to trade for my Door hangings but as I was not interested in their offers to trade, they laughed at me.

Several buyers had the nerve to ask for the pattern for the door hanging and then told me that they could make it for a fourth of what I was selling them for.

That was the first and last craft show I went to.

Would I try again in this day and age? Seriously doubt it!

p.s. Have any of your ladies tried selling your crafts on etsy.com?
Buyers there understand the time it takes to make your crafts.

UruzPhoenix
10-11-2009, 02:31 PM
my SIL makes padded photo albums (hot glue, fabric, small photo album from the dollar store, ribbon, button) and sells them for $6 each at the craft fairs.

when my grandmother and aunt used to do them, cheap always went well..... plastic canvas ornaments, etc...