But should you sell your arts and crafts in craft shows, and fairs? Or should you sell crafts online?
If you can do both, then you have a good head start. But are you really cut out for selling at the craft shows in person?.. You really have to sit down and ask yourself these questions. If you are not a people person, and are very touchy when it comes to criticism, you may have a hard time selling in person. Not all your customers or visitors to your craft booth are going to be in a good mood, or like your creations.
Which Way to Sell Crafts? - Ask yourself this:
1. If a potential customer comes up to your craft booth at the local weekend craft show, and looks at your products, and then with a smile, says "these are very nice, but I can get them cheaper at Wal-mart, would you take 10 bucks?" how would you answer?
Can You Deal with the Public when Selling Crafts at Shows?
If you get hot under the collar, and want to tell her to get lost, then you had better walk away. Believe it or not, this is a true story. My friend makes quilted jackets, and I paint, we usually share a craft booth, and we take turns with breaks. I was working at the time, and she was on a break. This "customer" handled one of her jackets quite roughly, and said the above quote, with a huge smile. I took a breath, and with a smile, said.
"These are handmade, and have superior quality, therefore, the price is the price, and it is not a bartering store".. and I continued smiling. This did not seem to shake her nerve to get a better deal. The jacket cost was $100.00 and she was offering $10.00.Credit: morguefile.com She kept saying she could get one cheaper at Wal-mart. So, I finally shrugged, but still smiling said, that maybe she should go there to do her shopping.
I told her this was not an auction, and that all the prices were clearly written on the tags. She finally gave up and left, and then I saw her stop at another craft booth. But I was quite surprised at how I felt.
These were not even my jackets, but I know how hard my friend works on them, and this customer was looking for a deal, not unique crafts. It made me feel very insulted and hot under the collar. I know it was silly to feel like that, but I did. It happens. Up until then, I had never had to deal with a bad customer.
So, that put me in a mood for a while, and my friend (who has been doing this for more years than I can remember) said to me. "You have to decide right now whether this is going to bother you or let it roll off your shoulders, I know I create a good product, so I decided many years ago to let it roll off my shoulders". She was right.
If you can Deal with Nervy Customers Then Selling in Craft Shows Works for You
But if you can't deal with nervy customers, or back talking ones, or just plain rude ones, then you had better not sell your crafts to the public, with you there! You may be better off trying to sell online, where the worst that can happen, is you get a nasty email. You can at least press the "delete" button then!
2. What would you do, if a small child came up to your booth and started grabbing everything on your table?
Would you scream at the child to get lost? Would you grab the things out of her hands? Would you go and find her mother?
I chose to gently take the things out of her hand, while smiling and talking gently but firmly, and then asking her where her mother was. Her mother was not far behind, yakking to some friends, with obviously no concern as to what her little girl was up to.
Any retail store can tell you horror stories about customers, their kids, and things that can go wrong. But it is how you deal with these situations that decide whether you are able to work face to face with the public.
You have to step back, and take a deep breath and not take all these things personally. These are the same customers that give retail stores a hard time. That first cheap customer that thought we were a bartering house, probably causes the same trouble for other vendors and even retail stores.
That mother probably lets her child run through retail stores and other vendors without a care. You have to realize they were not out to get you. Once you get past that you can usually carry on with your day, and forget about those incidents. There are just as many great customers out there. You can't let the one or two bad apples get to you.
I found if you were in craft shows, where people had to pay an admission to get in, then you were getting targeted customers. Customers who thought the craft show was worth an admission, and are usually admirers of arts and crafts.Credit: morguefile.com
The free craft shows, actually are the worst for that. So, if you have paid to show your crafts at a show with free admission, be ready for comments and stares, and children running wild, because these are the rest of the family that had no interest in being at the craft show, but got dragged by a relative. If you have trouble with confrontation, then maybe stay away from these ones.
Selling Crafts Online
If in fact, you find this whole craft show circuit and selling crafts, just too much stress, then you should put your energies into an online craft business. Do some research into starting your own website, or sell your products on popular sites, such as Ebay or Etsy for your craft business.
To some craft business owners and vendors, it can be rewarding and relaxing to finally emerge from their basement or corner studio after months of creating products, and meet some potential customers in person, and if they sell their products and make some money, they can put up with the odd cheapo and wild kid, or sticky hands, and enjoy the time out.
But if you can't honestly say, this is for you, then you should put all your energies into selling your crafts online. This way you don't have to meet anyone face to face. Just take them to the post office, and press the delete button!.
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(price as of Apr 23, 2015)