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Thread: selling online

  1. #1
    Jean Marie's Avatar
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    selling online

    Hi,
    What is the best place to sell my crochet items and other crafts online? I've never sold anything online before.
    Jean Marie

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    Nova55's Avatar
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    Depends on you definition of "best". I have a shop on Bonanza because you only pay them when you sell something, versus a monthly or yearly fee. But be warned - you better have a friend that is well-versed in social media to help you, because one person can't do it all anymore.

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    Barbara G.'s Avatar
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    Many people use Etsy, too. Just a thought.

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    Nova55's Avatar
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    Last time I checked, Etsy requires a fees that are more expensive than Bonanza. Not to be discouraging, but there is SO much work to properly running a shop that I would discourage you from doing that. Remember, you'll either have to sell cheap or have something really unique to make a shop work - or have a thousand friends that are willing to buy from you. Or do such a fantastic media blitz that you end up with thousands of followers and therefore sales. I would suggest that you find an arts/crafts show(s) to rent a booth from and sell your wares there, or a farmer's market, or a flea market. In my old neighborhood there was a church that did a fundraiser for themselves - they rented out table space (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and people came in with their crafts to sell. Some people even do a "garage sale" type craft show in their own front yard a couple times a year. You just want to scout out the locations and make sure you're selling in an area that has money, otherwise you'll be wasting your time.
    The first craft show I did was in a mall - 3 days for $85 in 1995. The area was not in good financial shape and I did $40 in sales. Then a friend told me about a 3-day Christmas Fair that was held at the local college a few weeks later. They had a one or 2 dollar entrance fee, as well as charging the crafters for space. There were a lot of lookers to be sure, but this was a group of people that were much more serious about buying - I did $1000 there.
    Develop a thick skin. Many people have no idea how much yarn costs much less the time involvement. Some people even think you shouldn't be paid for your time, or paid very little. Mickey (The Crochet Crowd) had a woman once offer him $50 for an afghan he had designed and crocheted. He was polite to her, but the materials alone cost $80! And trust me, he's not the only one to run into that issue.
    Think it over well - and good luck!

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    Jean Marie's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for your replies. There was a craft and garage on July 28. there were't very many people that came to the craft sale. I didn't sell anything, They're going to have another craft sale in October but there won't be a garage sale and there will probably be more people that come to look and buy because it will be closer to the holidays. I was just wondering if I could sell something in the meantime.

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    Alittle advise from one who's been there done that

    I wouldn't presume to tell someone else what they should do, but after retiring from doing craft shows for over 25 years, I would like to add my five cents worth to the discussion. In the first place, stay away from anything even remotely connected to garage sales! Even if you include quality craft products in a garage sale, people coming there are not looking to buy new, hand-made merchandise, they are looking for bargains at rock bottom prices, and will assume that your pricing is negotiable and whatever you have on it, they can get it for less. Having a craft sale in conjunction with a garage/rummage sale may sound like a good idea, but in my opinion, it is not worth your time or the aggravation it will cause. On-line sales seem like an easy way to make money from home, but one must also consider the hassles of packing, postage, shipping of items and collecting from your customers. Do you have the set-up to take credit cards in advance of shipping? If you opt to meet unfamiliar or first-time customers in person, be sure that it is in a safe and public place so that you are not alone. Meet at a police or fire station, a restaurant lobby or at a grocery or retail store entrance. Just be sure that you notify that location in advance what you will be doing so that they don't think that you are conducting some kind of illicit drug sale, and contact store security or the police Even after requesting and getting permission from the store manager and notifying the service counter personnel, I was confronted by a Target security guard with a gun and a nasty attitude! Even though it was really embarrassing, it proved that there are people watching and you are safer than in the parking lot. I realize that there are many ways to sell your hand-made items, but after many trial and error situations, I have found the larger craft show is still the best. Instead of doing a number of small shows with few vendors, cheap table rentals and low price booth spaces, save your money and invest in a larger, more-expensive show. Five shows at $20-25 adds up to over $100, and may or may not generate the sales you need to make any money in the end. I have done shows with 25 vendors, and those with 300 vendors, and the larger shows generate more traffic which translates to more possible sales. If the booth price seems scary, and many of them are higher priced, don't be afraid to make a leap of faith if you are selling something that is unique or useful. If the show is already filled with booths selling what you make, look for another show, or another product to sell. You will merely be competing with the other vendors for the customer's money, and whether we like to admit it or not, nowadays, people will buy based on price if two items are basically the same, even if the workmanship isn't. If the price of a larger show still scares the life out of you, consider partnering with a friend and sharing the expenses. Just be sure that you are not selling competing merchandise, and that you cover all the details of space allotment and selling techniques in advance so that you both get your fair share of sales and treat each other's merchandise with the same respect as your own. If one person tries too hard to "sell" their items to every customer and ignores interest in the other person's items, it will be a long and stressful craft show for all parties concerned. There is also the possibility of consigning the items that you sell. Many hotels, hospitals, nursing homes and senior living centers have gift shops that will take in items for sale and charge a percentage of the sales price. You may not get the full price that you would at a show, but they pay the rent, do the marketing and put in the time, you collect a check. Sometimes they even have a yearly sale where they encourage their residents and guests to shop for family and friends. When dealing with consignments or craft sales, keep in mind that you might want to include small items that don't cost a lot like crochet dishcloths, dish scrubbies, and even crochet top or hand-embroidered dish towels that make useful gifts that add up in dollars. Not everyone will purchase a beautiful hand-made afghan or lap robe, but they all know someone that does dishes! I am sorry that this is so long, but after many years doing crafts for sale, I have tried almost every means to make it a fun and profitable experience. While you might not ever get paid what you should for your time, selling to the public provides the opportunity to do something that you like and get paid for it so you can buy more supplies to continue making what you love. Whatever direction you decide to go, have fun and good luck.

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  11. #7
    Jean Marie's Avatar
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    Thank you Sue

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    spoula's Avatar
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    Hello Sweet Sue, Very informative post everything you wrote is good to know. Thanks for taking time to share your experience and business sense.

    Spoula

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    You are very welcome. I hope that I was able to help.

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