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Topic: how to get started in selling things?  (Read 3585 times)
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catlover1981
« on: May 01, 2013 03:40:35 AM »

id like to start a small shop here with some knitted work
First question is this really work? is there people who buy this I have tried to post on ebay/ etsy with no luck so second question is where do you start and lastly how much inventory do you need? I would be interested in selling things i can make quickly such as hats, scarfs, washcloths, bookmakers , animal hammocks and toys , but im not sure what actual sells since so far I have only ever made things for family
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« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2013 04:31:30 PM »

When someone says they "tried" etsy, ebay, etc., it's hard to tell what that really means. If it means you put up a couple things and hoped someone would find them and buy them, that's not really trying. Making sales, whether it's cows or crafts, takes an enormous amount of work and a determination to succeed.
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catlover1981
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2013 03:04:16 AM »

 well I should have said I put 20 things up and have posted on craigslist and ebay as well , but most of my items are custom so people can pick and chose the color they want . Maybe that is where im going wrong
« Last Edit: May 03, 2013 03:06:53 AM by catlover1981 » THIS ROCKS   Logged
Chris in VT
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2013 04:09:25 PM »

Etsy is real easy today to get lost in the 300,000 "stores". And how many of them make what you do?

Ebay?  Who knows how many millions of sellers are there!

There is one way to make some money, but sadly nobody wants to do the physical work required anymore. Everybody thinks customers will magically find them among the masses of "stores". So with rare exception, nobody makes any money.

You will never get rich sitting behind a computer tweaking your "store".
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There's NOTHING at a craft show, or on Etsy, anybody NEEDS. NOTHING.
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2013 09:16:52 AM »

Posting things on a website, no matter how many sites, isn't really the "work". The work is finding and directing new people daily to your sales pages and persuading them to buy stuff. If you have a brick and mortar shop, you will also be required to bring in customers. They will not simply appear just because you're open. Running a store means plunking cash down for it and maintaining it with more of your own money whether you have customers or not. Are you prepared for that? And, no matter what they say, marketing DOES cost money. There are few things that are truly free.

It sounds to me like you could do the craft show circuit - er, I'm surprised Chris in VT hasn't said it yet. In which case you could pop over to the "craft show" forum and check out the postings there about inventory and so on.

The other thing is that say you're only interested in selling things you can make quickly. This doesn't sound quite like a dedicated crafter or businessperson but rather like a busy person who will not have time to dedicate to running a business or controlling inventory - I could be wrong. So another option would be to target a few local shops that fit your crafts (or vice versa) and get them to sell the stuff for you. In this case you would need to price things appropriately so they could also make a decent profit.
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Chris in VT
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2013 04:16:40 PM »

I didn't come right out and mention craft shows because I'm beginning to believe nobody wants to do the work necessary to do shows.

And I find that very disturbing as the absolute BEST WAY to make money is to get yourself and your product out in front of the actual people who have the money in their hand. They get to touch, and feel the quality right there.

You find out what sells and what doesn't. And you find out quickly. And that saves time and money on your part.

Some may think I'm bragging about the money I make. I'm not. I'm trying to say that anybody can do what I do!

Don't forget, I made a career out of making and selling something nobody needs!

By doing the shows, I've made some great friends. Some who have had their work in fashion magazines, Oprah Magazine, and have won awards for their work. And next to them, I'm just a Schmoo.

People can make a very nice living in this business. But not on a site with hundreds of thousands of others. With rare exception, it ain't gonna happen.
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There's NOTHING at a craft show, or on Etsy, anybody NEEDS. NOTHING.
catlover1981
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2013 05:47:08 AM »

I'm looking to do a craft show  but haven't found any in my area as of yet , but I live in a big city so I'm sure I'll see one just need to get a big inventory to sell and business cards
I am doing things that don't take long because I'm not very fast knitter yet, I am fairly new only been at this about 3 years, most people I know have been at this for 10 years or more. And everyone I know only does this as fun so that doesn't help me much.
A blanket for a twin bed took me 6 months.
I do know my brother in law offered to help me by selling hats at a grocery store he says my hats are so cool I do iron patches sport decals on them.
So I might take that outlet but I'm unsure how that would sell in summer.
Also any advice on what sells in summer?
Here is a example of the sports hats I have done other concern is copy write if the sports logos are copy witted and if I need to worry about that
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013 05:59:24 AM by catlover1981 » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2013 07:02:58 PM »

Sports logos are the trademark of the sports team and it is very illegal to sell things using someone else's trademark. Also, trademark violation is something that a company will go after people for.
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Chris in VT
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2013 04:35:11 AM »

Sports logos are the trademark of the sports team and it is very illegal to sell things using someone else's trademark. Also, trademark violation is something that a company will go after people for.
I agree. And the one who will not tolerate it is DISNEY! They will come after anybody selling something using any Disney images without their permission. They do not care how small the crafter is.

We have a saying in the crafts business: "Don't mess with the Mouse!"
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There's NOTHING at a craft show, or on Etsy, anybody NEEDS. NOTHING.
catlover1981
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2013 07:31:19 AM »

well i can still do the colors of a team they cant own the colors just wont do iorn on patches idk why they sell patches for using on these kind of things if your not allowed to use it makes no since . Now im worried that I made these hats I will get in trouble but I made no money they were gifts so im unsure.
Another thing is i see a lot of people on the net and at sales , selling disney blankets home made disney paintings and other disney crafts that they make, I dont know  how legal this all is guess its one of those if you dont get caught kind of ting im not messing with it tho and if all of that is true I dont understand why hobby lobby etc can sell Disney fabric if your not allowed to use it , can you explan what is legal and what is not in that respect like is it legal to make something for a gift that is disney?
« Last Edit: May 09, 2013 07:43:42 AM by catlover1981 » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2013 08:42:20 AM »

You can use the patches on things you make for yourself and as gifts. You just can't sell it.

As for the licensed fabric, they are selling it for you to use for personal use. Not to make and sell things from it. And yes there are tons of people who make and sell Disney things. They are however infringing on Disney's copyright and in so doing are breaking the law.
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woodie19838
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2013 05:52:54 AM »

Why not try and set up a small e-commerce website using wordpress. There are endless amounts of tutorials online and help guides to help you out.  There are also hundreds and thousands of themes that you can use that you feel would best represent the tone you would like to go for.  These can be gotten from a site called Theme Forest and range from free to $300 for the more advanced versions!

Good Luck!
jen
« Last Edit: May 11, 2013 11:22:36 PM by jungrrl - Reason: edited to comply with Craftster guidelines » THIS ROCKS   Logged

catlover1981
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2013 07:05:45 AM »

ok do I need to report people who are selling copywritted things I see it up here all the time , just wondering what i should do guess Ill tell them they cant sell it so they dont get in trouble. I bet they dont know
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Chris in VT
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2013 11:47:09 AM »

I'll bet they don't know. They think the trademarked images are in the "public domain" and anybody can use them. That is not the case.
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There's NOTHING at a craft show, or on Etsy, anybody NEEDS. NOTHING.
catlover1981
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2013 05:12:55 PM »

I still havent had any luck selling anywhere I have looked in my area and havent found any craft shows all on here in my area show last years date , I was thinking about trying small shops and asking if they would be interested in selling my hats or scarfs but im guessing they wouldnt give me very much for anything and not sure if its a waste of my time.
I saw on etsy they say you have to pay to advertise does this do any good? Id hate to pay $7 a week just to find out no one is buying anything still.
I have put up a facebook page and trying to advertise hoping someone will buy something and can spread the word around but since the audience is all my friends or family its not working.
Some other things I have tried since I last posted was offer free shipping, gave some stuff away free with my name and number ,advertised my stuff on craigslist
Maybe its because I mostly wanted to do custom orders but I guess this isnt the way to go since if I had some compete stuff I could sell maybe on ebay , but I hate to make something no one wants , im lost here with knowing what to do.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2013 05:26:26 PM by catlover1981 » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2013 05:53:20 AM »

I still havent had any luck selling anywhere I have looked in my area and havent found any craft shows all on here in my area show last years date , I was thinking about trying small shops and asking if they would be interested in selling my hats or scarfs but im guessing they wouldnt give me very much for anything and not sure if its a waste of my time.
I saw on etsy they say you have to pay to advertise does this do any good? Id hate to pay $7 a week just to find out no one is buying anything still.
I have put up a facebook page and trying to advertise hoping someone will buy something and can spread the word around but since the audience is all my friends or family its not working.
Some other things I have tried since I last posted was offer free shipping, gave some stuff away free with my name and number ,advertised my stuff on craigslist
Maybe its because I mostly wanted to do custom orders but I guess this isnt the way to go since if I had some compete stuff I could sell maybe on ebay , but I hate to make something no one wants , im lost here with knowing what to do.


Custom work is definitely a harder sell. For one thing, it requires people to consult with you and exhibit a sort of non-commitment commitment and most people are afraid of sales pitches, no matter how weak the pitch. People are so full of nonsense at times. If you don't want to buy something in the end, just say so, for goodness sakes! You will save the salesperson a whole lot of time.

Anyway (thanks for the rant), when you say "I'm guessing" regarding selling in stores, that's probably true if you haven't made or priced your goods to sell in stores. Selling in stores means you'll have to slash your prices and/or the work involved in making each item so both you and the retailer can make a profit. For you, the profit is made up in quantity. So, even though you might have a retailer, you still have to sell to the public and get them into the stores where your goods are if you want to make decent money.

As far as advertising goes, you shouldn't do it unless you have a few success notches in your belt already that will be enhanced by advertising, and $7 per week isn't going to get you anything except a $28 hole in your wallet every month. The general rule is if you can't afford to lose money, don't pay for advertising.

If you can't get beyond your inner circle on Facebook, try a few of the other social sites that can bring other people in, like Pinterest and Tumblr that don't require you to bring your own friends to the party. You basically can set up a theme like knitting or sewing or whatever, post about stuff you like including your own stuff which you can link to your Facebook page, and people find you based on categories and keywords. You have to post regularly, though, or you're wasting your time.

Selling is a continuous, ongoing process that requires a lot of dedication. I don't know any salespeople who get so comfy they can quit selling and just sit back and wait for sales. No company can do it, no individual can do it.
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catlover1981
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2013 05:04:12 PM »

Well im about to give up since I know others who say craft fairs aren't the answer theres to much competition, I have one friend who said she went to one and with (her made crochet items) and there were 10 other people selling same things and she felt she wasted $50 per day on the table .
 Im on ssi and dont have the money to advertise or afford $50per day for a craft table at a craft fair , guess its not for me.
I just cant crochet or knit fast enough to compete with walmart etc when ppl can go to walmart and get a blanket for $20 why pay $100 for mine?
I know the local paper charges $25 for 3 day add and more if its on the weekend  and just not sure its worth it when I cant sell as it is , I dont know how to advertise on twitter or pinterest I dont use twitter and have no clue where to start lol , and again its to my family/friends would be my only twitter or pinterest contacts .
I really think its because I dont know anyone
Thanks for letting me know the Etsy advertisement isnt worth it that was my last idea maybe ill sell everything and get out before it makes me feel completely worthless.
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Chris in VT
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2013 05:23:24 AM »

Catlover, I don't know what city you are in, but if you go to this website http://festivalnet.com/ and type in your Zip code and a radius of how far you're willing to travel, I'll guarantee there will be shows. You find a show you're interested in and Google it.

One difficult thing about craft shows is that if your work is time intense, you shouldn't be making large items. Make one as your attraction, but make items you can do quickly. Make lots of them in different colors. Not everyone has the same taste. Then follow what colors sell, and make more of those. 

If possible learn to make things in batches, not one piece at a time. Find ways to lower your cost of materials. I'm positive there are wholesalers out there who carry what you need.

Don't plan on doing just one show either. As you start out the chances are you won't sell a lot, but listen carefully to the comments by your customers. You make inventory for a number of shows, not just one. If the show is indoors, always pay the extra for electricity and have lights. A well lit display always does better than an unlit one, even if the products are similar.

We are entering the craft show 'season'. Fall. If you're in the north, I guarantee your hats will sell. And you compete with WalMart by emphasizing the handcrafted (not handmade) aspect of your work.
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« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2013 02:24:54 PM »

If you're in Minnesota (I'm guessing 'cuz of the Vikings stuff), the majority of shows are going to be in the Twin Cities. If you're on etsy, there are MN groups you can join that are very "in" with the craft show circuit, they know where all the shows are, big and small. So if you're still wanting to try shows, you can join those groups.

There's "too much competition" everywhere you go. Online, craft shows, retailers... if making sales was easy, we'd all be stinking rich. You simply have to get over some of your outreach issues and make new "friends" if you want to make sales online. You don't have to know anyone on Twitter, Pinterest, or Tumblr to get followers. Basically all you do is find things you like, post them up or "like" them, give them keywords and/or descriptions & so on and then people will find you when they look for those things. Or, you "follow" someone else's Twitter or Pinterest, etc. and they'll follow you in return. Then you have a new "friend".

If you can get someone you know - or their kids who might be more savvy online! - to help you get started on one of these, then do it. I have to get my daughter to help me with the lastest stuff, I find it enormously tedious for the most part, and I don't particularly find technology "cool", so you're not the first or last person who has problems with it.

You also need to get over the mindset that some kind of paid advertising - no matter where/what it is - is going to bring you any sales. It won't, whether it's a $7 ad or a $2500 one. You have to get yourself out there one way or another and sell. You simply cannot be passive and hope for sales. So the questions is, if you have the tools available, how bad do you want to sell your crafts?
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catlover1981
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2013 09:30:24 AM »

no the vikings stuff was for my dad Im in a small Iowa town.
I cant afford a craft table am on ssi and can barely afford yarn and the closest city with craft fares is 70 miles I looked it up.
I made regular camouflage hunting hats trying to charge $15 and have no bites from Craigslist if I charge any less I wont make money, but I just cant charge $9.99 like walmart or will lose so much.]
And ive been on pin intrest for months with no one liking or following me i have tried selling to friends on facebook and none have the money so im like well tell ur friends and they say they do but I never get orders.
I asked Etsy today why my stuff isnt coming up im searching key words and everything.
Ps I talked to a sport rep for the vikings and he said when i pay for a patch im paying for the copywrite idk about other teams
« Last Edit: September 25, 2013 09:33:48 AM by catlover1981 » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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