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1  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Crafty Business Discussion / Re: Branding for your business on: August 30, 2014 04:42:04 PM
As soon as I saw "Coaster Girl" I knew it was you. Sometimes AFI is not for the faint of heart though, as opinions can be strong.

There's new thread here I just replied to. I would like your opinions too.

I appreciate all I have learned here and at AFI.  Sometimes we need that strong dose of honesty, especially when it comes from the likes of all the pros at AFI.  There are plenty of good ideas here too, not trying to discount anyone here.

What thread are you referring to here?  Point me in the right direction and I'll take a look at it.
2  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Crafty Business Discussion / Re: In need of advice on: August 30, 2014 04:37:42 PM
Cute idea.  I agree that schools are a great place to market it.  How about other places like ... day cares, preschools, churches, informal play groups, MOPs (Mother's of Preschoolers) groups, homeschoolers, etc.  Homeschoolers happen to have lots of curriculum shows in every state where you could market your products.

I don't mind the name, knowing now how it came about.  However, it doesn't relate to the product and, as Chris said, grandma's might take offense or get confused.  Skulld kinda makes me think of stuff related to the head ... helmuts, ski caps, baseball caps, etc.

I noticed you used "Lego" in one of your names.  You may want to research the use of that.  It may be like trying to use any other licensed product (Disney, etc.) where you could get in lots of trouble.

I wish you the best in trying to get it out there.  It really is cute.
3  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Crafty Business Discussion / Re: Branding for your business on: August 26, 2014 05:59:31 PM
Chris,

It is great reading how you "do business."  I would love to go full time in my craft business and am trying to figure it out by watching the pros like yourself, and learning from you.  (You have probably figure it out but I am CoasterGirl at AFI.)
4  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Tips for Participating in Craft Fairs / Re: Looking into craft fairs and feeling overwhelmed... on: August 15, 2014 12:55:49 PM
Willowe, Chris has given some good information.  He has been in many shows and knows what's what.

I have quit doing the small fairs/shows at schools and churchs.  If they are looking for a donation to help out the school or church out--I would rather just write a check.  I have found many of these very small types are not well advertised, as you are finding out.  No ads=no customers.  I can sit at home and make as much money as I have at some of these small affairs, which is little to none.

Now dh and I have set some guidelines for applying ...
* it CANNOT be the orgainzer's first time doing an event
* they should have some sort of admission charge
* minimum of $100 for artists/crafters booth
* well advertisted and have past REAL examples of how they have done this (past TV or print ads, etc.)

You may choose to set some guidelines for yourself after talking to some artists or crafters or after doing a show or two.  It does not hurt to have some boundaries on what you'll participate in.
5  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Tips for Participating in Craft Fairs / Re: Pole & Drape Question & Tablecovers on: August 12, 2014 07:48:56 PM
Hey Everyone,

I am wondering if any of you have used the draping from this company?  http://premiertablelinens.com/default/pipe-drape  If so, how did you like it?

They also have a myriad of table cloths to choose from.  I am wondering what, if anything, you'd recommend from them?

I am looking to create a vintage feel in my booth.  I would rather not have black table cloths, but chocolate brown table cloths with draping in a different but coordinating fabric to give that vintage effect.  What would you recommend as color choices?
6  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Tips for Participating in Craft Fairs / Re: Pole & Drape Question & Tablecovers on: August 11, 2014 05:50:55 AM
First off, your material, especially for the drapes must be fire retardant. And some venues will require proof.

Hmmmm.  I have seen displays that appear to use regular drapes or fabric not FR.  Do places like Hobby Lobby or Hancocks carry FR material?  Those are the kinds of places I would have available locally to purchase material.
7  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Tips for Participating in Craft Fairs / Pole & Drape Question & Tablecovers on: August 10, 2014 06:46:40 PM
Hi Everyone,

Dh and I are setting out to make a pole and drape thing for our booth.  Dh is already pretty handy and has come up with the way he wants to do the poles to have as little as possible to put together during set up.

My question is this ... for those who have done this, what type of fabric do you recommend and why?  If there is something that did NOT work, why was it a poor choice?  I don't have much skill in the form of sewing, even a straight hem.  I will send it out to be hemmed to someone who does sewing for a living.

When we started 1 1/2 years ago we started with flat sheets as our table covers.  They are at a point they need replacing.  We want to go with commercial table covers in either black or chocolate brown.  We need a dark color to contrast my products which are all lightcolered, travertine tile.  I have looked on Amazon at tables covers and have read reviews.  The review vary wildly from a "1" where people say they will never buy XX brand again EVER and that it was a horrible product to "5" where people review the exact same brand as the best thing since sliced bread.

How do you go about picking out something when the reviews are so varied?  I do not expect a product of any kind to get all 5's.  However when the reviews run the gamut and there are literally 100s of reviews, how do you sort it out?

Can y'all tell me what table covers have or have not worked for y'all and why?

Thanks!
8  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Crafty Business Discussion / Would these sell? on: August 06, 2014 06:08:09 PM
Hey Everyone,

I picked up some paper mache boxes at Hobby Lobby last week and decorated them by painting and distressing them with paint and ink.  The inside is painted black.  I have an example in the photo.  I am wondering if anything like this sells in your area and for how much?  The boxes I have are square or round or heart shaped and about 3x3 or 3 inch diameter.
9  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Crafty Business Discussion / Re: What am I doing wrong cant seem to sell and having horible luck on: August 04, 2014 04:35:24 PM
As of today there are over 290,000 stores on Etsy. How does one even get noticed? I'll set up with 150 other exhibitors any day!

I am with you on that Chris.  I don't even mind having others at craft shows selling what I am selling.  I think a little competition is good.

At craft shows we will go "incognito" to check out what others are selling that is similar to ours.  If the organizer provides name badges for the artists/vendors whoever is going from our booth will leave their name tag behind.  (Usually our booth is manned by me, dh and dd.)  We will takes turns and just browse particular booth.  I make a point of looking at something else in the booth besides coasters.  That is how I found the booth selling some things that are most likely copy righted ... some coasters with images from a particular, very popular TV show from years ago.

I don't ask for details on how they do what they do but I just observe the product.  Pick it up, turn it over, etc. to get an idea of what they do.  Sometimes just looking at the product and listening to the booth operator talk to other customers (or their partner) can tell you a lot.
10  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Crafty Business Discussion / Re: What am I doing wrong cant seem to sell and having horible luck on: August 04, 2014 02:40:41 PM
I agree, craft shows/fairs aren't for everyone. But when I can make more money in one weekend show than most people on Etsy make in a year....

I have never understood so many people trying to sell on etsy.  Why do newbies even try it whe it's already so oversaturated with every kind of craft?

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not bragging. You can go to my website link and see for yourself my product is nothing spectacular. But it is useful. And I'm always the only one at the show doing what I do.

I think you hit it ... find something you can do well, that no one else is doing.  Getting both of those down is hard.  For me, I know others are selling coasters at some of the craft shows but no one does what I do.  If that sounds confusing, I agree!  The others are not offering the same quality (see below) or are adding unnecessary steps, etc. Mostly it's the quality that is lacking and self confidence in their work.  At one show I saw some coasters that someone had done (or was a buy/sell) that is probably a copy right infringement.  I didn't bring it up because eventually the "powers that be" will catch up with them anyway.

As far as others undercutting prices, that's amateur stuff. It means they have no confidence in their work. I don't play that game. But a long time ago I did get back at another crafter.

I was making house numbers with ceramic tiles in a wood frame. They were priced from $18 on up. Another crafter who was next to me at another show who was selling candles saw how good I was doing, so he decided to do them too. But his prices started at $15.

Sure I was upset, but I believed I made a better product, so I didn't reduce my prices.
A customer came by with one of his pieces, so I asked to see it. I noticed he didn't paint the back of the wooden frame, and told her to make sure she painted the back when she got home, otherwise the wood will warp in the weather. She got upset and stormed off. I guess she didn't like what I said. Ten minutes later she was in front of my booth again. She went back to the other crafter and demanded a refund because he was selling "crap". She bought one of mine instead.

Good going, Chris, on handling the competition!

Since I have figured out how to build a better mousetrap, that is why I spend a short time educating customers in my booth about my coasters' benefits, etc.  Customers usually respond with a positive response about how mine are better due to the things I "build" into it, so to speak.
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