Craft Show

Changing The Attitudes of Craft Shows

Mikey, The Crochet Crowd

Mikey, The Crochet Crowd

I am Michael Sellick, known online as ‘Mikey’, I am the founder and leader of The Crochet Crowd. I’m a ‘hooker’ at heart with the passion to crochet and play with yarn.

21 thoughts on “Changing The Attitudes of Craft Shows

  • December 5, 2014 at 12:35 am
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    I agree with much of what you have already stated in your review. I used to be a vendor at shows and am considering doing local ones next year. When I was a vendor previously, I noticed that the booths that did the fewest sales were the ones who not only forgot to engage the customers, but often had their heads down, busily making more product. As a customer, you feel like you are interrupting if you have questions, so many simply move along.

    Presentation of the items is vital to me. My best selling items were always the ones that were displayed in an eye catching manner. In presenting the items, I also was careful not to have too many duplicates on the table at a time. If someone requested or mentioned that they wanted more than one (such as one sale I did of hats for a set of twins) I let the buyer know that I had more and retrieved a few for her to choose from.

    This may seem like a little thing, but very hard to do sometimes. If a customer pipes off, saying that they can make an item cheaper at home, be gracious in your response. Getting snippy with them never boosts your sales. One instance, a woman mentioned that she could make a shawl like mine for less than my price. I asked her if it was for a gift. She said she was thinking it wold be great for a gift needed the following weekend. I mentioned that the amount of time ti took to make the one I was selling and told her that I thought it was wonderful that she was willing to devote that much time to to gift. Upon further thought, she ended up buying mine. She realized she didn’t have the time to make it. Had I become snippy with her, I would never have made that sale.

  • November 11, 2014 at 9:17 pm
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    RULE NUMBER 1: Always, always, always make eye contact with the customer. Whether you are sitting, completing another sale, or simply trying to look busy, you can encourage the customer to step closer and look over your items. A smile is adds face value.

    In crochet and other yarn arts, color is also important. If you have 20 hat styles but only one color, you will have few customers. But if you have one hat style and many colors/combinations of color, I am more likely find the hat I want to buy. (There is nothing wrong with 20 of the same color, but only one or two should be on the table.)

    Embellishments can make a huge difference. An octopus amigurumi is one thing. The same amigurumi with colorful starfish buttons attacts more shoppers.

    As far as making a craft show more entertaining, classes are good. Also booths that sell embellishments, pattern books, or fancy or ergonomic crochet hooks. Any of these could probably be sold by the crafters.

  • November 10, 2014 at 1:04 pm
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    Engagement with the vendor is really important to me. Just a few minutes of simple conversation can show you whether the vendor has put their heart and soul into what they make, or whether they are just out for a quick dollar. Like you, if someone is engaged in a chat with a friend I will walk away and double back. If again I cant engage the vendor, I keep going and they miss out on a possible sale. The other thing I don’t like is when the vendor is sitting down having coffee, wont get up, and just watches people looking at their stall. I don’t deny people a drink or something to eat, but do find this to be quite rude. Presentation is also extremely important. Easy access to displayed items that are spread out nicely is far more appealing than a box of stuff you have to crawl through. I could rant on an on but it all boils down to one thing, the vendor’s heart and soul in what they make and present.

  • November 10, 2014 at 7:44 am
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    Generally bang on – except, that if I had a cost for materials at around £4.00 ($7) and the item took me 2 hours to make I would hate to sell it as low as £14.00 ($25). That’s way below minimum wage in the UK. I agree that people sell too cheaply at craft fairs, but also that in a low wage economy people simply cannot afford the ‘real’ price of an item; one therefore has to compromise.
    The answer, it seems to me, is: 1) design/make items to a price; don’t crowd your table with items that you love but don’t expect to sell; make what your potential customers want to buy. Far too often we try to sell what we make, whereas we should be selling what people want to buy. The two are frequently not the same thing.
    Keep up the good work – I really enjoy this group.

  • November 9, 2014 at 9:16 pm
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    First, I am guilty of thinking to myself that I could make something for less but if the vendor has a nice choice of colors or taken the time to make it extra special, I am more likely to buy.
    A great way to engage people is to work on a similar project. This works great for knitting and crochetimg. I once saw a person offering to show paint strokes and made paintings,..cutomers love to watch.
    Find a nitch where other vendors can.t change prices if the difference is uncomparable. And if your table looks lile another table, I wont even look.
    And I have gone online using a business card, to make a purchase where otherwise I would kick myself for not buying. And have a price range of products. Somethings maybe out of my pricerange.
    Great artical Michael!

  • November 9, 2014 at 4:57 pm
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    I am a fiber artist. It is my opinion that the word “craft”, as opposed to “art” contributes greatly to the undervaluing of the artwork we “crafters” produce. I have observed, time and again, vendors at fairs with prices that appeal to consumers, but do not come close to reflecting the true value of their art. It is my responsibility, as an artist, to educate consumers. I price my art with this intention. While I understand that many of us use these fairs to supplement our incomes, and affordability is a factor, we should also value our work and reflect this in the pricing. As for the article itself, I would like to offer you this feedback with the utmost respect and genuine desire to be of service: You could benefit from the assistance of an editor. I am permanently disabled and have a lot of spare time. I’d be delighted to volunteer this assistance. I love what you do and how you do it!!! Keep up the good work, and Thank You!

  • November 9, 2014 at 4:54 pm
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    I wait until I leave the show to say “I could make such and such”, BUT if it’s something I really want I buy it because I know that I’ll probably never get around to making it myself. Presentation and how friendly the vendor is are important to me. If the set up is sloppy, the prices are next to impossible to find, or the vendor is sitting there looking grumpy or ignoring potential customers I move on.

  • November 9, 2014 at 4:26 pm
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    Just finished a craft show this weekend–and was told my hats with flowers were the talk of the show…really enjoy making crochet objects that I know all walks of life can enjoy and give or wear…Crochet Rules! Of course using great yarn helps in everything you make…thanks for the view of your show you attended…bdavis

  • November 9, 2014 at 4:07 pm
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    You are right Mikey ,having just attended my 6th year at a local Catholic Church” Holiday Craft fair” the whole 6 hrs i was stood, apart from a few secs to now and then take a bite of my lunch.

    As a sole vendor in my booth i have to do this. I feel I had a great display and i too had fair prices as i try to appeal to the demographics of the county which has a lot of low income and below poverty families so i keep hats down ranging from 8-12 dependent on yarn used and the challenging design of the item. I have everything priced and have signage where needed as well as heads mounted on 4by 4’s at various levels for the hats and a pegboard for my towels as well as a hanger for all my clothes items
    .
    .Each year I try to make new items that i haven’t seen in previous years in any booth to keep the customers interested.( the majority of the time i am the only one with these items so it has worked out well)
    I outdid my last years sales of $400 which was fantastic

    The gist of it is that those who talked to me afterwards about the show and how I did were suprised as they didn’t meet the amount they made last year.
    They felt the problem may have been too many vendors ,the gymnasium was only used for the past years for booths but this year there were several rooms used as well and a lot more vendors which i was glad to see as you have more variety and it also brought in way more people . I noticed ( as I glance around when I have no one at my booth to just see how many people are around and at other vendors). a few who talked with me were ones who did sit down most of the time and watched the crowd of people or talked with their partner/friend.
    So i can totally agree with all you say.

  • November 9, 2014 at 3:27 pm
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    You are so correct and observant about the behaviors of both customer and seller. I try to tour all the sellers’ booths before the fair opens. I refuse to change my prices because I look at the quality and colors. I have people who come to my table just to see what’s new. I don’t mind if they don’t buy because at least I have their interest. One problem I have is the fair owners do not enforce their own rules, for example, if you signed up to sell lamps that is what you sell. Some vendors bring their friends crochet items in direct competition when their are already 2 crochet or knitting vendors who paid table fees. Well, glad you had a great time.

  • November 9, 2014 at 3:17 pm
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    Yes, liked to hear your take on the event and others experiences in selling handmade items. It’s such a shame that others have to be so cutthroat about selling and reducing prices, etc. I was thinking if making items to sell, but now having second thoughts.

  • November 9, 2014 at 2:33 pm
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    I used to enter craft shows with beadwork, but quit because I got tired of being told that my pieces were too expensive and being offered a dollar for an item that had ten dollars worth of material and hours of work. Now I make things for friends, family and to donate to the local LTC home.

  • November 9, 2014 at 1:43 pm
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    I agree with you. I just went to what was advertised as a Christmas Craft market in Kelowna and it was a total waste of time. there were a total of about 5 crafters out of all the tables – (maybe 25) there was Mary Kay, and Tupperware and some kind of tea.

    As a crafter myself I was going to see what was being offered and find out how I could become involved next year – I am not going to waste my time here.

    I am finding that in this area Christmas Craft shows are not advertised in August/September to attract us crafters who would love to sell our creations

  • November 9, 2014 at 1:41 pm
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    Spot on. Presentation is key. Engaging the customer. Never sit in the back of the booth. Good signing. Printed care instructions. And always thank the customer, buyer or not, for visiting your booth. Business cards for sure.

  • November 9, 2014 at 1:19 pm
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    I used to do craft shows years ago. But now they charge so much money for your space that I had to sell my work for pennies in order to break even. Its just not worth it anymore.

  • November 9, 2014 at 1:15 pm
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    Having just finished a Holiday craft fair yesterday (11/8/14) and not making a single sale (but my friend next to me sold over $117. I hear you. Neither of us stood to greet out potential customers. Both of us are disabled and I had my sit on chair walker and was using it – because standing is painful for me.

    I would smile and say hello. Give compliments on peoples’ clothing or hair or child or or or…. I have found people love compliments.

    I had afghans of various sizes. Rounded out with a few toddler ponchos. Several items in the Seattle Team colors which from the looks of people coming in were a hit because lots of Seattle Seahawks hats, coats, shirts, headbands, etc.

    Several crocheters came over and, yes told me they crochet too, as they would pull and poke on my items (I believe to see how I made them or what stitch I used).

    I had handouts with my FB page so people could shop later if they were interested.

    A couple people asked me if I took special orders – which I replied yes, what are you looking for. Of course no ideas or requests even with a yes answer.

    The table was $35, plus we spent 11 hours there with show, set up and take down. Of course we brought ourselves a few groceries to snack on (hidden under the table). Tags were clear with what the item was, measurements, PRICE on one side and the opposite side of the hangtags were yarn content, care and washing instructions.

    Various colors and very eye catching colors and layout on the table.

    Oh well.

    We were invited to another holiday display next month — which I felt flattered on that.

    Friend was selling hats and headbands and scarves. Her prices were higher than another vendor who was selling same items.

    • November 9, 2014 at 3:16 pm
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      I am disabled also. I sit on a long legged bar stool to give the illusion of standing while selling my crafts. Be blessed and hope this helps.

      • November 11, 2014 at 2:05 pm
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        Thank you for the suggestion Alethia Douglass – I used to do that, but walking with walker or two canes now, I can’t carry something more. My walker is high with the seat because I’m tall.

        That’s another reason I have this walker it’s hard for me to stand up from a low chair that is always lower than my knee level. So sitting, I’m still rather tall.

  • November 9, 2014 at 1:06 pm
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    BANG ON, although I would have to add that some of these shows can be very aggressive and cut throat between vendors. I’ve been doing craft shows and selling on facebook for a long while, and I used to help my mom when she did the shows. I find that some vendors are disrespectful in the way that they just want the sale, they don’t care that the price they decide to charge does not cover the cost of materials used let alone their time and creativity. I’ve been to more than one show where a vendor selling items close to what I had, came over checked out my display and prices, then went back to her table, changed her prices lower than mine and made up her table as I had. NOT COOL. I find facebook just as bad, post your items one day and seconds later someone posting on my post that they will do it cheaper. I think the art of selling you items regardless of them being crocheted, knitted, wood work, quilting etc, has lost its community and gained a rather nasty competitive streak.
    The prices you listed in the article for hats was pretty normal, although the sweaters only being $15.00, there’s a lot of work and creativity involved in them. I was actually sad to read that. Would you work for $2.00/hr if it was something else???

  • November 9, 2014 at 1:04 pm
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    If I see something I like but the seller is focused on a private chat, I will wait a few minutes but then move on if they dont take care of their customer. I dont mind waiting my turn if they are busy helping others but it’s a complete turn off to be made to feel like an interruption.

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