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Old 11-30-2008, 07:59 AM   #1
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Default Will I go do another Craft fair?

I DON'T Think So!!!! I just did a craft fair for the first time. I had tons of Holiday cards Set of 5 with stamped insides and I even stamped the envelopes. They looked so nice. I even spent the extra $ and had them in those clear boxes from paper trey. None of them sold. I could write a book for all the wonderful comments that were said though. I did sell all but 3 Glittered foam snowflake ornaments. I made them using the big shot. They were cheap to though. They were the quickest thing I made too I think and I did candy cane beaded pens they went as well. I had so much made and now at least I'll have x-mas gifts I guess. It'll save the time now from having to make gifts that I was planning on. I had holiday decorated frames, Clear envelope albums, post it holders, memory match games, plus. I spent too much time preparing that It really wasn't worth spending the whole day at the fair. Thanks for letting me vent. Terry
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Old 11-30-2008, 08:09 AM   #2
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i am sorry you didn't have better luck!


this has been my fear so i haven't done any... i did send my box of cards with a friend who was doing a fair and sold NONE!!!


i don't think i will bother anymore either.


oh well... at least now i know
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Old 11-30-2008, 08:09 AM   #3
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I am so sorry. I did craft fairs at Christmas for years and went through the same thing. If my i'll be back came back I would have had a great show. Nevertheless with the economy like it is this kind of craft is a luxury for some. Try selling your things at work. You will probably not get your money back on your investment but at least try to break even.
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Old 11-30-2008, 08:10 AM   #4
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Craft shows can be quite a gamble--you just never know what will sell and what won't. In an economy like this one, often craft show discretionary purchases are the first to be cut from a family budget. Maybe wait until the economy rebounds before you try again.
I sold at craft shows for several years and I found that the state of the general economy was a big factor in general craft show success.
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Old 11-30-2008, 08:17 AM   #5
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I can relate. I did two craft fairs and maybe sold five cards. I spent lots of money to decorate my space so that it would be eye catching. It did attract them and there were tons of comments but no sales. I also decided not to do anymore. Sorry your's didn't go so well. Sounds like you had a lot of nice things.
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Old 11-30-2008, 08:17 AM   #6
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Sorry you didn't have better luck--I understand your frustration.
I participate in a few craft shows each year. Cards are not my big sellers. In fact, I don't even make cards for the shows--I just sell ones that I had for classes and kits. I find "stocking stuffer" things go the best.
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Old 11-30-2008, 08:51 AM   #7
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How frustrating! After reading a number of posts related to craft fairs it seems that cards don't do very well. You might try making different items for the craft shows. This year I took a handful of things to a show that my Mom goes to every year. I got to share space on her table (she sells non-paper craft items) so it wasn't money out of my pocket to pay for the space. At her shows the big sellers are Christmas decoration items. I heard from many other crafters at that show that people did not seem to be buying items for gifts, they were buying Christmas decorations.

I quickly made 4 box sets of single panel thank you note cards to take at the last minute. Sold 3 of the 4 for $4 each. They had 8 cards and 8 envelopes. They were very simple so it didn't take a lot of time or money to make. I might make more of those next year. I also sold a ton of the candy bars with the Christmas Fudge poem and about 20 snowman poop. Everyone loved the little gag gifts. Last year I sold nugget boxes and those did very well too. I've sold a few altered picture frames but not that many and again they were decorated with Christmas theme mostly.

If you can go in together with a friend and share the price of the table you might feel better about it. Of course I understand too if you don't do it again.
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Old 11-30-2008, 09:35 AM   #8
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One thing I'm trying is to do sets to donate. I am putting my name on the back of the box (label sticker) and hope that maybe the person that gets it will want more or something. I see it as an investment. I have a friend that works with various events and does gift baskets of donated things for giveaways at the events, so I give her a set to include. I also use the nice boxes from PTI.
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Old 11-30-2008, 09:56 AM   #9
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Sorry you didn't do well! What about selling single cards? This way the cost is not so great to the customer ($2.50 or $3.00 as opposed to $10.00-15.00). I have found this works best. I donated some cards to a school craft fair and the single cards sold so much better than the packaged cards.
Just a thought.
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:48 AM   #10
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We have the same problem here too! Cards at craft fairs just don't sell .... yet people think nothing of buying a lesser quality card for more money at the local shop!
Answers on a postcard please!
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Old 11-30-2008, 12:18 PM   #11
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I have done craft shows all over the state of Iowa for years selling my handmade cards and things.. But this year, when it was time to send out money to get signed up.. I couldn't make myself go to all the work getting ready. I think I told myself that with the economy hurting... don't try. I have had a lot of success in the past years. Happy at this point that I didn't try. I do sell a lot of cards just one at a time though. ... but this year I wasn't up to par . I found out that I was anemic. Wondered why I had no energy. So this year is a bust..but there is always next year.
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Old 11-30-2008, 12:26 PM   #12
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I had a similar experience this year. I thought I would try a craft fair to get my name out there and sell a few items. I spent most of the week in advance making little gifts (decorated candles, decorated picture frame, little candies) and only sold one package of stamped gift tags. I had someone who would have bought a premade card set but I had forgotten envelopes and so didn't have any. Lots of compliments on my displays but no one seemed to be spending money. Lots of other vendors around the fair seemed to have similar problems. Jewelry and scarves seemed to do the best.

If anyone has been successful at a fair recently, I'd love to hear what you found sold well. I was thinking it would have been cards but it sounds like lots of folks haven't been successful with that either.
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Old 11-30-2008, 12:40 PM   #13
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I wont be doing another craft fair either. I had this experience last year. I sold ONE card only ... and I heard the lady say to her friend "oh, that is such a cute snowman ... I would like to paint him!" The snowman was "Frosty" ... however, she didnt buy the card because she wanted to send it to someone, it was so she could have something to paint from! I did sell a few magnets, dominoes, Christmas tree ornaments and bookmarks, but not enough to make it worthwhile. So I tried once but it wasnt worth it. I usually take my cards to work at Christmas and sell a whole bunch there. I didnt this year because I just didnt have time to make a whole bunch for selling, but I will again next year. Sorry to hear about your experience.
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Old 11-30-2008, 01:00 PM   #14
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My friend and I were going to do a craft fair next weekend but we decided we didn't have enough time to get ready. Phew! I am glad after reading this that I did not stress myself out trying to get items made.

Sorry you had such a bad experience- but like you said- at least you have Christmas gifts already made.
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Old 11-30-2008, 01:10 PM   #15
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Craft Fairs are such 'hit and miss' affairs. My sister and I took a table between us this week - I didn't do too badly with cards and novelty Christmas items but she sold only one of her beautiful necklaces. She was so disappointed. It really can take the wind from your sails. I have found that cards made for specific people at Christmas can do quite well. The ones which sold best for me were Teacher, Mum and Dad, Grandparents, From Our House to Yours etc. In this present economic climate no one wants to pay for handmade cards that are not specific. Hope this may be helpful to someone.
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Old 11-30-2008, 01:22 PM   #16
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I agree that they are "hit and miss". What sells like crazy one year, is a bomb the next year. So far, I have done 4 shows this year. Two were okay and two were awesome.

The two awesome ones were shows that I have done before, so I know what the clientele wants. One is upscale, so boutique-ish stuff is sellable. The other awesome show's clientele is senior citizens, so stuff under $5 sells like crazy. I seem to do better at the church fairs for some reason. I am sorry it was a bust for you. I have had shows that were a bust and I know exactly how exasperating it can be. It took me a long time to figure out what does and doesn't sell and which shows to avoid. I have gotten a lot of great ideas and advice off of SCS.
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Old 11-30-2008, 02:02 PM   #17
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I won't do another craft fair either. I started painting the same year I started stamping, so for the few fairs I did, I sold both things. What sold best for me were painted vases. I bought the vases at Goodwill on the cheap and painted them with folk art glass paint. I also sold ornaments and a few painted sleds. Absolutely NO luck selling cards though.

Has anyone gone to a craft fair lately? I'm actually surprised that more hand crafts aren't selling because the fairs here are loaded with direct sales vendors. I went to one a few weeks ago and more than 1/2 of the vendors were SU, Partylite, Premiere, Cookie Lee, Silpada, Tupperware...snooze!
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Old 11-30-2008, 02:59 PM   #18
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I wont do one again either. Between my nursing days and my police dispatching now I managed a Boutique that had consignment crafts (of which I also contributred). Hard hard hard to get people to spend money on your creations that you've put money and time into. People are always looking for a deal.
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Old 11-30-2008, 03:52 PM   #19
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Lisa LoiselleView Post
I won't do another craft fair either. I started painting the same year I started stamping, so for the few fairs I did, I sold both things. What sold best for me were painted vases. I bought the vases at Goodwill on the cheap and painted them with folk art glass paint. I also sold ornaments and a few painted sleds. Absolutely NO luck selling cards though.

Has anyone gone to a craft fair lately? I'm actually surprised that more hand crafts aren't selling because the fairs here are loaded with direct sales vendors. I went to one a few weeks ago and more than 1/2 of the vendors were SU, Partylite, Premiere, Cookie Lee, Silpada, Tupperware...snooze!

I've noticed that too....tons of jewelry vendors, handbags, candles. That's to my advantage though, nobody has the beaded crowns and wands that I sell. I don't sell too many cards there either, but I've made lots of samples and I've been getting some favor and invitation orders after people see my work and take my business card.
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Old 11-30-2008, 05:30 PM   #20
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I'm going to try again in 2 weeks - this after saying "never again" - guess hope springs eternal!!!!
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Old 11-30-2008, 07:15 PM   #21
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Nancy--do you have any links to your beaded crowns and wands? I'd love to see them!
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Old 11-30-2008, 08:34 PM   #22
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Funny story here: I tried craft fairs for the first time this year. I went to the first one with a friend and sold one item... to her. I then stashed all my stuff in my trunk to hide it from my husband so he wouldn't harass me about all the time and money Next one was at my school it was the take orders kind.... Only one order and no it wasn't my friend Next that friend took a box of my stuff home to sell for me, she left it on the back of her daughters car over night and she drove off the next day to work and my crafts were run over by passing cars.... My friend ran up and down the road collecting what wasn't crushed. She brought me what she could salvage. Last, I went to my sons school to put my stuff at his Holiday shop. There was so much cheap carp there that my stuff although half run over was high end. I took my stuff home. Today I am waving the white craft fair flag. I surrender. Now I have to tell my husband that I am a failure in the craft industry

The end
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Old 11-30-2008, 08:45 PM   #23
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Quote:

Originally Posted by friendly63View Post
Funny story here: I tried craft fairs for the first time this year. I went to the first one with a friend and sold one item... to her. I then stashed all my stuff in my trunk to hide it from my husband so he wouldn't harass me about all the time and money Next one was at my school it was the take orders kind.... Only one order and no it wasn't my friend Next that friend took a box of my stuff home to sell for me, she left it on the back of her daughters car over night and she drove off the next day to work and my crafts were run over by passing cars.... My friend ran up and down the road collecting what wasn't crushed. She brought me what she could salvage. Last, I went to my sons school to put my stuff at his Holiday shop. There was so much cheap carp there that my stuff although half run over was high end. I took my stuff home. Today I am waving the white craft fair flag. I surrender. Now I have to tell my husband that I am a failure in the craft industry

The end
Yeah, for some reason it seems that the cards just don't sell. I think it's pretty universal. I am not sure why, to be honest. It's hard because you start questioning all you spend.
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Old 11-30-2008, 09:01 PM   #24
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I think that in order to be successful at craft fairs, you need to invest some time and money to get to know the clientele. A friend of mine and I share booth space and have been doing craft fairs since April. We have found some areas that we definitely will go back again, and some that only want dirt cheap stuff so we will not go back.
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Old 11-30-2008, 09:13 PM   #25
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My previous demo had beautiful cards at a few craft shows and I think she only sold 2. It was the same thing, people would look but didn't buy.
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Old 11-30-2008, 09:14 PM   #26
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Quote:

Originally Posted by friendly63View Post
Funny story here: I tried craft fairs for the first time this year. I went to the first one with a friend and sold one item... to her. I then stashed all my stuff in my trunk to hide it from my husband so he wouldn't harass me about all the time and money Next one was at my school it was the take orders kind.... Only one order and no it wasn't my friend Next that friend took a box of my stuff home to sell for me, she left it on the back of her daughters car over night and she drove off the next day to work and my crafts were run over by passing cars.... My friend ran up and down the road collecting what wasn't crushed. She brought me what she could salvage. Last, I went to my sons school to put my stuff at his Holiday shop. There was so much cheap carp there that my stuff although half run over was high end. I took my stuff home. Today I am waving the white craft fair flag. I surrender. Now I have to tell my husband that I am a failure in the craft industry

The end

Well you're NOT the failure. The craft fairs business failed you. March on Soldier!
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Old 11-30-2008, 09:26 PM   #27
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Hee Hee I think boot craft boot camp kicked my butt! My two boxes are in my trunk and I will take them to work tomorrow to sell at my school in the teacher's lounge Maybe someone there will share my enthusiasm. I don't necessarily want extra money I just love making 10 whatever I see that I "have " to make
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Old 12-01-2008, 05:32 AM   #28
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I RARELY sell a card at a craft fair, but my spinning rack catches attention and people stop and look. Then they move on to look at my other items. I do two a season and my first one this year was my most successful ever--made almost $450! (I usu. do about $300 at this one.) My second one was my least successful ever--only made about $75 and usu. make over $200 at this one. However, I made several contacts as a demo and even got a recruit!

The first one I did is always a "handmade only" juried fair. The second one allows home-based businesses and even several of one thing. Funny thing about size--the first one only has 25 booths, but is VERY well-attended as it's a fund raiser for a private Christian school. The second is a community thing and has 65+ booths. Attendance was down and buying was REALLY down for everyone at the community fair this year. People would ooh and aah, then bring others back to ooh and aah. Then they'd actually tell me that they came to look this year and not buy...

Oh well...
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Old 12-01-2008, 06:20 AM   #29
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I'm sorry to hear that you didn't make out well at your fair. Like the others have said, I think the economy makes a big difference.
I've also learned at holiday fairs, Christmas cards don't sell well. Just about everyone now seems to send photo cards rather than regular cards so I don't even bother, maybe throw in a couple of token designs and that's it.
Another good comment is to know your clientele. This year my one fair was at a church with a high senior population. What kind of cards do you display - sympathy cards. That population needs a higher amount of them. I also sold a lot of those binder clip photo holders and other items under $5. because that's what that population will pay for.
When I do my corporate craft fairs, I put out a lot of gift sets and market htme as teacher gifts. Or journal jar sets go well when your population has kids. My advice is to go to a fair as a buyer for a year and see whats there and are people buying. Who is attending? Make notes so if you do decide to do that fair the following year, you'll have some advance info.
Also, if you attend a fair on a yearly basis, the clientele may get to know you. Again, at my corporate fair, I sell a lot of everyday sort of cards because people know me and seek me out at fair time. They buy and stock up.
And lastly, every fair is different. I wish there was a magic formula to guess what will sell but I have yet to figure it out!

Laura
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Old 12-01-2008, 06:24 AM   #30
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I have found in our area that 3-D stamped items sell so much better than cards. Same experience as you Terry - lots of comments on the cards but, no one actually buying them.

Small inexpensive 3-D stamped items though sell out.
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Old 12-01-2008, 09:15 AM   #31
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I just don't think most people appreciate the time and effort and thus the expense of home-made cards. While your cards are beautiful, shoppers are thinking "I can go to some chain store and get a whole box of 20 cards for $5."
Sorry you had such a bad experience.
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Old 12-01-2008, 10:50 AM   #32
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Last year I made quite a bit off cards only but I didnt sell them at a craft fair. I made up a bunch of cards for Christmas as well as general cards and put them in cute baskets and I had my sisters take them to their jobs. Some customers paid for a card and asked for a set to be made. I did really well that way. My hubby even took them to his job and sold quite a bit which was a major step for him. But he took them in a rubbermaid container he refused the basket, lol.
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:43 AM   #33
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I used to do craft fairs a few years back and was so surprised that my reasonably stuff did not sell while some things at the fair were so "not me" and sold like stink. I tried for a few years with different things and my last sale I packaged up all my left overs and sold unfinished crafts and bits and pieces. The friends I was with were laughing and said we should have just sold all our unfinished things and not bothered working so hard. I donated all the finished stuff that did not sell to a womans shelter. I hope that they were able to benefit from all of it.

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Old 12-01-2008, 12:43 PM   #34
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I did a church bazaar recently and while the elaborate cards didn't sell, my boxes of gift tags did. I had 15 in a box for about $3 and they sold like hot cakes. Just simple package tags that were stamped or embossed. I also made some simple notecards that were packaged together and those sold. This was my first try at selling anything.
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Old 12-01-2008, 04:19 PM   #35
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I've been tapping into a couple of the craft fair threads and recently posted some links of pictures of the things that I've had good luck in selling.

see this thread: //www.splitcoaststampers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=401387

Craft fairs are definitely hit or miss...I never have huge luck with my cards but better luck on the under $10 gift items....who can resist coffee/chocolate &/or tea? This is my 2nd year in a row having a holiday gift show in my home...makes for a welcoming venue. I team up with a couple of other gals that sell their jewelry, spa products and zippered pouches. A couple years ago I did a local church's craft show...that 8 hours was horribly painful and not the right market for me.

I wish people would recognize the importance of buying handmade...
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:11 AM   #36
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I've done 2 shows for a couple of years now. I notice that most of my sales come from repeat customers. The # of people at the shows decreased this year, but those people that knew we would be there came to see us.
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:42 AM   #37
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I did one craft show - notice I say "one" (ok, I guess it was actually two). And swore never again! lol! I was making clay beaded "buckeye" jewelry (it's an Ohio thing) and a couple of friends asked me to make some stuff and go in with them. I stressed over and worked very hard on my stuff. I think I sold 2 necklaces. BUT noone else seemed to do very well, either. So the next week, we put all our leftover stuff in a craft fair where I work. Did a little better, but nothing spectacular. Most of my co-workers ended up buying what I had left. I just kept dropping the prices every time there was a lull, then just gave away what I had left when I was down to just a few. Oh, well. It was a good learning experience and I think I ended up making a few dollars over what I spent on supplies.
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Old 12-02-2008, 05:42 PM   #38
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Thank you so much everyone for your stories. I do feel better but I'm still going to stray away from crafts fairs for now. I did have single cards and sold one. The grouped cards were holiday cards and I would have never thought, anyone would just buy one? I had them grouped by 5's. All my prices were fair so I thought. Like everyone has said the economy is hard right now. Thanks again for the venting session.
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Old 12-03-2008, 12:43 PM   #39
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Quote:

Originally Posted by dianerhView Post
Nancy--do you have any links to your beaded crowns and wands? I'd love to see them!

I need to upload some better pictures (what I need is a website or blog, oh, maybe in the NEW YEAR) but here is an example from my gallery. I make them in all different color combos....the ones with gold sequins at the base are REALLY sparkly. I've made white/crystal ones for bachelorettes, hot pink/black for 21st birthdays. My princesses are all ages!

http:////www.splitcoaststampers.com/...00&ppuser=8004
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Old 12-03-2008, 12:47 PM   #40
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One thing to remember is that it is hard to make a profit at selling cards because most of us are paying retail for our supplies and let's face it, we've invested quite a bit!!!

And, a lot of folks really don't like the cards that a lot of us crafters like. I found that out by showing some papercraft magazines to my non stamping friends. Wow, they HATED the published stuff that they saw. (This was stuff that I liked). Very interesting!
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