Does anyone here sell things at craft shows, flea markets, etc as a source
of income, or as a source of funds for continuing on with your addiction? If
so, what kind of things do you make, what sells well, and is it worth it?
Are people attending these things willing to pay a fair price for an item?
I have a little expertice in these matters. First you almost have to
draw a line between craft show and flea market and ther is also a big
difference between craft shows.
In a flea market quality doesn't always sell. I have seen some
absolute junk being sold like hot cakes. I mean it didn't make any
differance to the guy making the stuff if there was a 2 inch knot hole
in the next chunk of wood or not, that was the next piece to be cut
and folks bought the stuff. To grade the lumber #3 would have been a
compliment.The other problem with flea markets is if you do come up
with something thart sells next week everyone will be selling the same
thing only cheaper. Some of the sellers will also have acess to scraps
from some manufacturing plant so the have no marterial costs. Tough
racket but you can make money and have fun .
Craft show type 1. Good quality moderate prices. the competation may
be stiff but folks will pay for quality work but a fair prices. This
is the type of market I did business in for about 5 years. I made
childrens furniture, tables, chairs, desks, shelves, toy boxes,and
beds. All of which are a lot of work. I used pine and poplar as my
woods of choice. At that time rough poplar was cheeper than pine. The
key here is to be able to make the items fast and well. Good tools and
lots of jigs.
Craft show type 2 These are usually juryed shows, very snobbish . Yes
you get high dollar for your stuff but it hat to be almost an "object
de art" to qualify to show. You can make the same stuff but use
better woods like oak and walnut with a better finish.
Charge what the traffic will bare. Go to these places and see what
other folks are charging. A good starting point though is 1/3
material, 1/3 labor, 1/3 profit. then adjust from there.
Bottom line: Did I enjoy it? Yes
Would I do it again? No
Did I make money? Yes
If you like long hours, hard work and get to meet a lot of interesting
people along the way, go for it.
You can make money but you'll never get rich.
Lot of luck
On Tue, 20 Jan 2004 14:35:07 GMT, "js"
Market is down right now and has been for the last two years. Customers are
being very picky about what they buy and at the better shows looking for
more quality. Shows that should have brought in 5x booth fee are doing 2 or
3x booth fee. Items that are unusual are going like hot cakes though. Cut
off point for most shows last year was around $50 US with items in the $20
and down range doing best. One show I did was only fair on both wholesale
and retail for most vendors, guy selling wooden hats for $600+ sold out and
had to stop taking orders. If you have good quality and a new twist to
something you can sell well at shows, or if you are cheap you can sell well
at shows, It's like any other business.
My wife sells stuff on eBay (http://www.MyNewThreads.com ), and
consistently does well. However, anybody who hasn't done it tends to
seriously overestimate how much work is involved, and how much of a
pain in the ass the folks that run eBay can be. Biggest problem is
utter lack of control over your own business, and the fact that eBay
itself does not have sufficient credible competition to keep them
honest. We are currently looking for alternatives, and flea markets
and crafts shows are beginning to look very appealing.
My fingers do me in, too.
I figured it almost had to be under-estimate, because I keep getting halfway
through the process of setting up for e-bay sales and then finding something
else to do. I'm starting to get an overload of old (nearly antique) tools used
for photos, all small, inexpensive stuff, that I'd love to get out of here
before we sell the house and move home, so I don't have to move it all.
I guess, sooner or later. I've saved a bunch of small boxes and packing
"Character is much easier kept than recovered." Thomas Paine
Just look around. eBay is #1, and #2-#10 are so far down in the noise
you can't even find them. There are some specialty auction sites, but
only for stuff that eBay refuses to handle, such as guns. There are a
few others, but how many people even know that ubid.com exists, and
that yahoo.com does auctions? There are about 50-60 such auction
sites, and all together, they handle about 2% of the auction volume of
eBay. So everybody flocks to eBay; the buyers because the selection
is better (and many of them don't know about any other auction site),
and the sellers because they can get better prices than anywhere else.
That said, for some reason about which I am utterly clueless, I've
seen stuff go on liquidation.com for prices higher than on eBay, which
I think is just insane (or maybe hopeful).
eBay is a real pain in the ass and now that they own Paypal, they've
gotten worse. They figure that nobody can touch them, so if they play
fast and loose with their own rules, you really can't go to the
competition because they don't have any.
Paypal decided, at one point, to 'return' a payment someone had made
to me without bothering to tell me about it. They never answered any
e-mails about it, they never returned any phone calls, they simply
took my money, gave it to someone else and that was that.
This is not at all unusual, I hear plenty of people getting screwed by
eBay all the time.
I have seen some specific allegations against both PayPal and eBay,
but I have not experienced any dishonest dealings firsthand (yet).
All I meant here was that eBay does not have any meaningful
competition, and it's only a matter of time before they decide that
since they are the only game in town, they can do whatever they want.
They are already pretty high-handed, and they have increased their
fees again this month.
Howard Lee Harkness
Texas Certified Concealed Handgun Instructor
Low-cost Domain Registration and Hosting! www.Texas-Domains.com
I've tried to figure the economics of this ever since my sister showed
me a crappy plant stand that she bought at a craft show. It was a
simple pine stand with 3 shelves somewhat sanded, minwax stained, and
a coat of poly slapped on. They were sold for $15. At first I thought
why pay $15 for that crap, I can make much better for 1/2 the price ;)
So since everyone in the family thought it was so nice, I decided to
make a bunch for presents. Material consisted of one 6' 1x6 pine, 12 -
1" drywall screws, 12 screwhole button plugs, a little stain and a
little poly. Average cost from the Borg about $8 ( I realize if buying
in bulk from someplace else I might get that down to $6). Cut the
board in half, crosscut one half into thirds for the shelves and rip
the other half into 4ths for the legs. 45 cut the corners of the
shelves. Round over all edges of the shelves and legs on the router.
Drill the 12 holes in the legs and counter bore for the plugs. Sand
everything (granted I wouldn't put as much effort into this for a
craft show as for presents). Stain everything. Poly everything (I
sanded between coats and gave them all 2 coats. Probably would stop at
one for the craft show). Screw it all together and glue in the screw
plugs and voila they were done. I cannot concieve of me averaging less
than a half hour per unit for craft show quality work (hell I couldn't
do it that fast, but I am real slow). Plus time for materials
purchasing, shop cleanup, etc. Then time to find craft shows, sign up,
load the truck, drive there, setup, sell the stuff, pack up and drive
home. Probably add about a half hour per unit sold. So, a minimum of
an hour or more per unit for at best a $9 gross profit (before
overhead, insurance, gasoline, show fees, etc.). Seems to me better to
work some crappy job and keep my woodworking for fun and relaxation.
That is one type of crafter you see out there. Here is another:
Find show, Talk to other vendors who have done show to see how good of a
show it is.
Jury for show (Take professional(not snapshots) slides of merchandise
including booth) send slides and jury fee to show promoters at least 3
months prior to show (sometimes up to 1 year before show) If you are
accepted then you make inventory for show. You will need the following
before you go to the show:
Tent: some shows require a professional tent, such as a light dome
($1000+ -) Crafthut ($1000 +-) EZup (3 to $400 +-) or something similar.
Some shows you can get away with just a dinning fly or no tent for some
products, if you get permission first. (see jury slides of booth)
Display: You will need to get an attractive display, not just a few boards
on a saw horse, I use shelves that I set my work up on, others use screens
and walls, all of which must be approved by the show promoters (see jury
slides of booth).
Lighting: So that you can show off your goods in the best way, even in
daylight tents can be dark. Lighting should be invisible to the customer.
Insurance: $100000 in the minimum for a show.
In my case I am now up to about $1800 before I pay a booth fee or have
Booth fee for outdoor show ranges from $100 to $1000 depending on the show
Indoor shows range is $100 to $3000 but you don't need the tent.
Altogether a decent show will run you $2000 and up before you even make the
Now you need a place to stay and food, figure for 2 people $100 a night min.
(I camp out a lot when I can, it cuts costs.)
Granted you can get in to some shows for $10 and no jury etc., but you
figure which type of show you can do the best at.
And then there are guest shows where they pay you to come, I do several of
these and they are the way to go. One is $600 booth fee and 3 year waiting
list. They give me the booth and tent with electricity, buy lunch and
supper, pay me $100 a day to come. Don't expect to get these until you have
a name for yourself though.
Your $9 profit just got eaten up quick, you have a lot of competition at
these shows and items like the plant stand usually set around begging. The
people selling at these shows are good real good and the customer in very
savvy about what they want. On coat of poly splashed on a pine board
doesn't cut it. At the lower end shows you can do it, but a lot of them
are just glorified flea markets.
I make a lot of doll sized items for my grandchildren. I bring them to work
to send out UPS to them and inevitably my co-workers say "why don't you make
them to sell" or "you can make a fortune with them" and on and on.
I should show them your numbers.
Make sure you know your girlfriend REAL GOOD before you move in with her,
I've been considering flea markets. ***********But, as I see it,
pretty much got to have two people ****************- so one can take trips,
other watches the goods - toilet, snack bar, check out the rest of the
place, etc. I haven't found anyone for that yet. But, I think it'd be
a good place to sell.
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