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Making herbal cushionsSelling your Stuff.

 

By The Patchwork Cat at 'Made in Moray'.

Okay, so now you've made some stuff, and you're thinking about selling it... what to do next? This also can be a minefield. So the patchwork cat is adding some thoughts that might beThe Patchwork Cat

 useful in helping you decide the best way forward.

 

If you have any experience of selling your goods that you would like to share, (either good or bad), please email me at: silvermoon@BTconnect.com and I will add it to this page

Selling your Stuff.

As craftworkers we all take great pleasure in selling our stuff, whether it is directly from a market stall, a farmers market or perhaps something larger like the Highland Games (in our area of Scotland that is!) We still need to be careful how we are actually selling it.

 

Angel Candles from The Patchwork CatThere is a tendency with craftworkers to ‘undersell’ their goods... We are told that to make a good profit. We should sell at 2 ½ times the initial cost. That is if it cost us 5 pounds to make it, we should be charging  approximately £12/13  to sell it… But this takes no account at all of the time and effort that it’s taken to actually make whatever it is. And, as were not usually a production line, but our goods are usually made by us ourselves when we have the time, then we should charge more for that.

 

 I think it is more realistic to say that we should charge at least three times the initial cost plus extra for the making.

It is a fine balance getting this right when you consider that if you are putting your goods into a shop, they will probably take between 25 and 35% (sometimes even 50%) for selling it for you. So really you should add this on to the cost or retail price also… Otherwise you can find yourself vastly out of pocket without realising how you managed it.

We prefer selling through shops, whether it be via commission or shelf space rental. A good mix of this and your goods priced accordingly will bring a good return, and if you have two or three shops to supply, then it will keep you fairly busy.Special Angel Candles by Patchwork Cat

 

There are also small craft fairs, which are usually quite good, especially coming up to Christmas or Easter. For a small table fee, you stand a chance of having good sales. But craft fairs don’t work all the time, often they are in places where there simply isn’t the footfall, or the person who is organising the craft fair doesn’t understand that you have to get people there by advertising it well!

 

These days. This is comparatively easy, and we have found that Facebook works better Patchwork Cat Christmas Fairthan anything else in advertising  an event, especially if you can put it in as a sponsored add. Advertising on Facebook is still very reasonably priced and a really good way to get your news out there, I’m afraid that newspaper and magazine advertising no longer cuts the mustard! And they are notoriously expensive.

Selling at outdoor events, although sometimes more hazardous (like standing ankle deep in snow on Huntley market in a howling gale) can be a good idea in some areas, many farmers markets include stalls that are not ‘foodies’ and a market with a good mix often does very well. But if you are selling at a town farmers market where you will also sell in a local shop, you may get opposition from the shop because in fact you are then in competition with them for your own stuff. So if you are doing this and you have a variety of stock, it is good to sell stock that you do not have in their shop… Which is far more diplomatic!

Frances Green

Highland games can be really good venues, but again they are very expensive, and it is a bit of a lottery, because most of the stalls that attend have been going to that event for years, and have built up a sort of camaraderie amongst themselves, and do not always take kindly to newcomers. You may find yourself relegated to a little spot behind everyone else where you simply can’t be seen.

 I remember when we went to a very prestigious Highland Games on Royal Deeside, where we were placed behind a huge vegetable lorry! One of those massive things with every sort of vegetable you can think of… There were we in our little gazebo totally hidden from the main route that people walked round… Apart from this, it was pouring with rain for the whole day and freezing cold, we made a considerable loss that day, but learnt a great deal and I managed to buy a pair of wellies, which helped!

 

 Because we were new to the event, the organisers had put us in one of the worst places because it was tradition as a 'newbee'... and assumed that after the first year we would gravitate to a slightly better place… And so on… They were very surprised when we did not book the following year! And when the recession hit. They were positively begging us to come! But of course we didn’t. By then we had moved on to other ways of doing things. Some organisers of large events seem to have a blind spot about this, they forget that without new people to bring their goods to sell, the event would be far less of an attraction.

 

So outdoor events and mFelting a dreamcatcherarkets can be great fun, but you need to do your research beforehand… Nothing in the world is more demoralising, than to stand in a line with a dozen other stalls on Elgin farmers market, and see the stream of pedestrians coming out of the shopping centre and down the street without even sparing a glance at the market! And yet before the recession. I remember this as being a really good market and being our top outdoor venue for takings.

 

 It is a shame that many farmers markets are now struggling to get people to stay as stallholders unless they are very regular ‘foodies’ which seem to always do very well.

Things will pick up eventually, at the moment there are loads of craft people and not really enough good venues… Many of the craft shops that used to take other people’s work on commission (sale or return basis) have also closed because they simply cannot make enough money toCashmere bags from the Patchwork Cat continue. But we have to keep going, because things will inevitably turn around in time.

 

However you decide to sell your goods, enjoy the whole process and realise that at this time and in this place you are not likely to make a fortune. But if you persist and wait for the better times, you will have a great deal of fun meantime!

 

Whatever you decide on... happy selling! ..and if you have a problem just ask The Patchwork Cat!

Francesca Green

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