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Topic: What am I doing wrong cant seem to sell and having horible luck  (Read 1054 times)
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punkypie1
« on: June 29, 2014 03:50:19 AM »

Ive been following these boards for sometime but don't see my particular problem bare with me its a long story..
I should mention this stuff I have tried has been over a 2 year period.
I'm having horrible luck selling stuff ,I just got into this business wondering if that was a wrong move or what im doing wrong.
I started with Etsy for 1 year posting lots of stuff non stop and paying for there so called advertisements made $15 worth of sells in that time.
I then started doing craigslist and Ebay no bites( gave it a good 4 months and moved on.)
Then a friend suggested facebook swaps I had tried crochet animal baby props for a while no sells, then someone wanted a amigurumi doll  and i offered to do one cheaper then everyone else So I got the sell.
After that started advertising on the swaps I did dolls had a few sells maybe 1 a month but not enough to be worth my time.
I again started offering other items posting a new thing every week I tried everything I could come up with.
Then 2 months ago decided to give up and do a local farmers market I figured I wouldn't have much competition and since there wasn't a fair in my area until june I thought it would give me some money to buy a table at a fair (the local fair a small card table is $80 the bigger tables range but cost several hundred per day)
so I spent $45 for 2 days which I thought was a fair deal.
Bad luck struck me again it rained cats and dogs and I didn't have the equipment for that most of the venders had big umbrella things over there stands.
So I had no way to put my stuff out luckily I was able to talk to the lady running the market who gave me the next weekend free.
Next weekend came and no sells at all no one even seemed to care about my items I had stuff really priced low photo sets I saw people seeling on etsy and other pages for $40 I was doing $10 on, I had lots of crochet knitted and some sewn items as well as a few button bracelets I made(the farmers market was 8 am-6pm both days )So I was out $45 plus all my time sitting there.
The first day I sat there the second day I braught a project i was working on for a birthday gift, I thought maybe people seeing me do it would help them know it was truly homemade.
I figured this may not been great place to sell maybe people don't appreciate handmade goods and its only for fruit and veggies , so I waited and tried the craft fair in my area went ahead and payed the $80 for a small table I wasn't able to display all my work but had pictures of items on display as well.
Again I was passed over people telling me the lady 8 stalls down had stuff for way cheaper so I decided to look and sure enough she had some similar items at 50% less then what I was charging so went back to both and lowered price $2 lower then hers I didn't lower the items she wasn't selling.
Come to find out this lady keep coming over and seeing what my price was and lower hers to beat mine,I was very upset but didn't know what to do about it.
So I took those items off and started on my specialty one of a kind amigurumi dolls and things like that she didn't have ,Was doing cute button bracelets for little girls and some for women at $2.50 each to catch the eye and I had a few people look which I gave them my card for any future needs they may have and one sell for $20 but never made my $80 back.
Was wondering for future reference if people steal your prices and such if anyone had any advice how to confront them on that since it was on hats blankets baby photo sets I know those are popular but found it quite low when she was stealing my sells,
So later this month I decided Id give my basic kid-adult hats to people in need and called the local shelter and they told me they don't take such items and will only take food and money, so called some other places burn units cancer wards etc and no one wanted it.
Looking for any advice here i'm very stuck with items I cant even give away, wondering if its just economics or what I have just tried focusing sole on one item like amigurumi dolls and never got anywhere just doing one specialty thing I have about 20 dolls all different cartoon movies popular items cant sell a one i'm doing $8 on 10 inch dolls. And franly losing so much money have quit making items I have over 100 items in all and none will sell.
Im just baffled here since I have been following boards on here and everyone says craft fairs but with my experience im not eager to shell out the same amount and have that happen to me again. My biggest issue is I get a few hit and miss sells but no one comes back I have business cards and everything I give them and no one ever gives them to friends I leave my cards in restaurants with the tip , I tried a local newspaper add im just beyond ideas what to do .
Was hoping for any advice.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2014 03:50:52 AM by punkypie1 » THIS ROCKS   Logged
punkypie1
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2014 04:16:29 AM »

I also forgot this past Friday I called a local radio station they do a big deal every Friday you can call and advertise something as long as its not firearms.
I figured it was worth a shot so called and was very profession said exactly what I had and what my prices ranged from , had some prank callers nothing else.
Im wondering if its summer or the economy or both.
I heard around holidays were a good time so did Easter themed stuff 4rth of july theme no sells on any of it.
I also when I first started was paying go daddy for a website to look professional but drooped my site last month just was costing to much and no traffic.
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2014 07:57:03 AM »

When etsy first came out, these Craftster business boards were much, much busier. Then people began to realize what it actually takes to sell things they make. Etsy was supposed to do the selling for them! After all, it's a sales website for crafters! We don't need no stinkin' business experience! This is why most fail.

1st rule of advertising: if you have to pay for it, don't do it. Advertising is for those who already have a solid marketing base. It will very rarely bring new customers to you; it reinforces information your base already has. No base, no advertising.

You do a little of this and a little of that for a while, but you stop, and none of it connects. Selling sometimes means doing all those things at the same time before you even start to get that trickle of sales that indicates success - and not just trying it out for a month or two, but for a year or two. Connecting means - OK, every time I post to etsy/craigslist/ebay I'm going to post to FB and Twitter, then find related things on Tumbler with links back to my store. And so on. Extremely time consuming, for sure. Online sales isn't just putting something up and waiting. It's putting something up continuously, linking, connecting, and showing off until you're blue in the face.

But here's the killer - you apparently make copyrighted characters. No matter how many sales you might get, someone eventually could shut you down or even take you to court just because of that. So you have limited your business from the get-go. No amount of business or craft show advice can overcome that one. Think up your own thing that can make you stand out from all the rest. Then no one can truly compete with you. There are button bracelets at every craft show. Maybe you invest in a drill and make bracelets out of something a little more unexpected. It only takes 2 holes to make a button.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2014 07:46:38 AM by CraftyChef » THIS ROCKS   Logged

punkypie1
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2014 09:43:03 PM »

I did just baby photo outfits for 1 year thats all I was selling until a lady wanted a cat that was a amurgumi doll and picked up doing those and blankets etc with no luck .
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catlover1981
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2014 08:40:35 PM »

this is why I dont  do craft fairs Ive been worried to much competition and it sounds cut throat.
Ive heard from several crafty friends that they dont make what the table cost.
And Ive  tried for months and months to do one theme I was doing all clothing hats scarfs etc,just in various themes and sizes and find its easier to research what people want and do customs orders then to create a bunch of stuff no one wants. Be sure to ask for some money in advance on Craigslist or facebook, use paypal to do so thats how I do things.I found out the hard way people will order stuff and no show and then your again stuck with something no one wants.
I find in summer you have to change your inventory no one wants a winter hat in 99 degree days.
Even then in this business its hit and miss my sells are very much this way.
Also so many of people are selling copywrited items on etsy every time I go there my feed is packed with such items so im sure this is not a big issue and there not going shut one person down when there are thousands doing it ,I could link all day to people doing copywritted matterials such as disney pattrens dolls outfits etc . So im not sure how harsh these so called laws are. just the other day I saw a lady who sells crochet Bell dolls and other princess disney dolls and shes sold 200 of them acording to etsy.
So im not sure why people keep saying you cant sell it when everyone does .
I would just label it in a way they cant really get you ive heard if you lable it a certin way such as if your making hello kitty dolls call it white cat with bow , making a disney princess such as bell name it bell doll. Bell isnt a trademaerked name neither is white cat so when you lable it try to label it without anything that is trademarked in any way. I have seen this way used time and time again on facebook when people are selling items, I mean a cat with a bow isnt trademarked , so be creative in your labeling then you wont get in trouble.
 just my experiences.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2014 08:45:44 PM by catlover1981 » THIS ROCKS   Logged
Chris in VT
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2014 04:45:54 AM »

This is interesting since I do craft shows for a living. But I'm at a completely different level of shows.

But shows are shows, no matter if it's a $50 space fee or a $500 space fee.

First thing is, don't make copyrighted items. Yes, they're on Etsy, but are they selling? The customers know it's not your design and you're ripping off Disney. You must have a product that is yours.

The show venue is also important. As you realized, you get what you pay for. But you're getting something quite valuable too. Experience. I made all of $20 at my first show. And I have had some shows where I sold nothing. Sitting in your canopy in the rain is just part of this business.

That's when you must take inventory of yourself and your products. Why were sales so bad?
The number one reason is that it's not my market. The people who came to the show aren't the people who want what I sell. Beginners must take a long, hard look at their products at this early time. Crafts have a function, art is to be admired, and artisan foods are to be enjoyed. What category are you in?

Next is, how well made is it? Customers always look for value. Is my product well made and worth what I'm charging for it? I've walked many shows and have seen exhibitors with stuff I can give a resounding no to that question.

Many crafters don't want to see this, but sometimes a time intensive product just isn't worth the money you want.
As an example, I was next to a very nice crafter at a 2 day show last year. The space fee was $385 for a 10x10 outdoor space. She was selling some crocheted characters. I gave up counting the number of people who asked "What is this"? She said it was something called amigurumi. But she wanted anywhere from $25 to $60 for them. She didn't sell a thing. Because the customers didn't see the value of her products. Everybody else was having a great weekend.

Next up is you the exhibitor. What does your display look like? Beginners almost always have a table or two with maybe a plain bed sheet as the cover. We did. But I looked around and saw actual displays on those tables the other exhibitors had. So at the next show I put some cardboard boxes under the sheet and had different levels to display the work. Sales increased. As we did more shows I observed and kept learning. Today, many of the shows we do require a 3 sided booth with walls at least 6 ft high.

What did you as the exhibitor look like? Did you "dress for success" or did you look like you were going to clean out the garage? I have seen exhibitors who have not been in front of a full length mirror in 20 years. I have seen middle aged women crafters who think they must dress like 14 year olds, and it ain't pretty!

Customers want to see who is selling to them and like it or not, sunglasses hurt sales.

What did you do when a customer waked by? Were you standing up with a smile on your face greeting them with just a simple "good morning" or were you sitting behind your table reading? Or worse yet, making something thinking you're "demonstrating"? Customers don't want to bother you if you're busy.

That covers a few things. You can be the best crafter at the show with great prices, but if you don't actively sell it, you will not reach your full potential.

Remember, selling is 50% of your business! And you're selling something nobody needs. Your job at the show is to convince your customers they want it!
« Last Edit: July 02, 2014 06:27:29 AM by Chris in VT » THIS ROCKS   Logged

There's NOTHING at a craft show, or on Etsy, anybody NEEDS. NOTHING.
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« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2014 09:38:42 AM »

Remember, selling is 50% of your business! And you're selling something nobody needs. Your job at the show is to convince your customers they want it!

Ha, *this* is why I roll my eyes when my mum tells me I should sell my quilty/beady things.  Making a one-off item and giving it to a family member or friend (or myself...)?  No problem.  Making 100 such items and then convincing total strangers to hand over money for them?  Uh..... not so much!  There seems to be a whole load of psychology behind selling successfully, and it's something I'm not brave enough to deal with!
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Chris in VT
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2014 03:46:53 AM »

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....

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.

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.
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There's NOTHING at a craft show, or on Etsy, anybody NEEDS. NOTHING.
www.shadypinestudios.com
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« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2014 01:57:57 PM »

Heh, nice one one with the house numbers!  XD  Plus, from the limited amount I've read on the subject, bargain basement pricing seems to lead to a... bargain basement attitude?  But it seems to be a fine line to walk, as your neighbour with the dolls found.
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Finished: 8/14 quilted items in 2014 - over half way!

I have a blog, yes I do.  Also, Pinterest.
shadojake
« Reply #9 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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God Bless,
Cindy

Given enough coffee, I could rule the world!
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