Craft business owners live for the seasonal craft fairs and trade shows that allow them to showcase their goods during the holiday buying season. But if you decide to exhibit at one of these events – and why wouldn’t you? – remember that the craft fair or craft show will be packed with men and women displaying their finest crafts.

So, how do you make the most of your craft show booth space in such a way that you stand out from the other crafting faces in the crowd? There are a few things to keep in mind:

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Jill Smith, of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, turns old “junk” – broken watches, jewelry, silverware, old buttons, and more – into wearable art that she sells at craft shows and some local gift shops and antique stores. And, she is a great inspiration for those of you who are wondering whether or not you have what it takes to start a craft business.

Jill is a retired social services worker and grandmother of three, and she started her craft business to get enough money to put a banister on her porch. Seems she had wanted a banister for quite some time, but the cost of a new banister wasn't in her budget. Her husband told her if she could find the money for the materials, he would build it.

So, she started by cleaning out her basement for a yard sale, but was left with a bunch of unsalable junk. She decided to make something from the junk, so she took apart the broken watches, jewelry, silverware, and old buttons and created some unique pins from the recycled parts. After only 7 or 8 craft fairs, she had enough for her new banister.

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NewsleterI just came across this wonderful article on the WAHM Spotlight by Diane Palmer of www.Make-Crafts-For-Cash.com about “Growing Your Newsletter List at Craft Shows.” In the article, Diane talks about using a drawing to entice people to sign up for your email or paper newsletter.

If you're going to have a successful craft business, a newsletter – either electronic (email) or printed – is a great way to keep in touch with customers and potential customers who have expressed an interest in your crafts. You should always, and I mean ALWAYS, be working to increase the number of people on your list.

Why is this so important? Because it's been estimated that it can take between 7 and 12 “touches” before a potential customer becomes a paying customer. So unless the potential customer is ready to purchase that day, you will not make a sale to them (and turn them into a full-fledged customer) unless you continue the dialogue and keep in touch with a newsletter. It just makes sense that the more someone gets to know you, the more likely they will have a good opinion and be inclined to buy.

And making a newsletter doesn't have to be a huge undertaking. A monthly newsletter, with some basic information and some good tidbits, will keep your craft business in the mind of your customers and prospects. Worried about grammar and spelling? Of course, these are important, but a more conversational tone works better to bond you to your newsletter audience.

Take a few minutes and check out Diane's article. I'll be covering some newsletter basics in a subsequent posting. But, if you have any newsletter questions (or any craft business questions at all), use the Contact Form on the site.

Happy Crafting!

Jennifer

Holiday CraftsLisa Lam, of www.u-handbag.com, has a great article on the Craft::Boom site about some quick and easy holiday items you can make and sell this holiday season. Basically, Lisa has a list of items that should do well over the holiday shopping season. You can get more detail by visiting the article, but here's her list:

  1. Garlands
  2. Mobiles
  3. Ornaments/Decorations
  4. Tree Ornaments
  5. Candle Holders
  6. Bags, Purses, or Clutches
  7. Napkin Rings, Place Mats, and Seating Card Holders
  8. Scented Candles, Potpourri, Ornaments, and Mini Pillows
  9. Christmas Cards and Wrapping Paper
  10. Christmas Stockings
  11. Baby Bibs, Soft Toys, Booties, and Mittens
  12. Doggie Jackets
  13. Scarves, Mittens, Socks, Hats, and Slippers
  14. Hair Decorations
  15. Brooches and Corsages

In the article, Lisa suggests that you minimize the Santa Claus and Christmas Tree themed items, and focus more on the winter theme as this has a broader appeal, and is much longer lived than the Christmas holiday.

If you're looking for some great ideas for some holiday craft fairs, or on your own online craft site, then check out Lisa's article on Craft::Boom.

Happy Crafting!

Jennifer

P.S. I just wanted to let you know that the photo of the handmade ornaments in this post is from Robyn Goodwin of www.3hipsisters.com, run by Robyn and her two sisters (hence, the name of the site).  They offer some incredible handmade crafts, and if you're looking for a unique gift, check out their site!


I just ran across this great interview of Amanda Soule at Craft::Boom, part of the eMomsAtHome.com network of sites. In the interview, the Craft::Boom folks talk to Amanda about how she got into a craft business, how she sells her products, and about her new book, “The Creative Family.”

The interview does a great job of conveying how a lot of crafters sort of “fall into” their craft business. Amanda loved making things, and after she had covered all of her family and friends in her creations, she started thinking about selling her crafts.

The interview also mentions how she uses www.etsy.com as her online craft shop, allowing her to sell her crafts to an audience as wide as the Internet from her home in Portland, Maine.

Take a few minutes to read the interview, and then check out some of the other information on Craft::Boom – there's some great stuff there for any budding craft business person.

Happy Crafting!

Jennifer


Time ManagementTime Management – it can be such an ugly phrase for any craft business owner. You got into crafting because of the creativity, and for many of us, time management is a shackle. Don't tell me when to do something, or how long the creative process is going to take! “It is what it is,” to quote Bill Belichick (the coach of the New England Patriots – my favorite team if you didn't know by now).

But, if you want to have a real craft business, and not just a hobby that will earn you enough to keep yourself in craft supplies, you need to start thinking about time management. And that's what today's post is about.

I found this article on the American Chronical website – Time Management For An Art Or Craft Business. The article offers some basic tips for time management for when you start your craft business, as well when you move to a more full-time model. It's a short read, but worth the quick trip.

Happy Crafting!

Jennifer

Just so you don't think I'm all work and no play, here's a web page where you can find some great Halloween crafts and activities. It's that time of year, and kids love Halloween almost as much as birthday's and Christmas (or Hanukah).

The picture to the right is a Big Papi (David Ortiz) jack-o-lantern. The Boston Red Sox are trying to come back against the Cleveland Indians to make it to the World Series. This Big Papi pumpkin makes me believe they can win the next two in Fenway.

Go Sox!

Happy Crafting!
Chuck