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Craft Fair Panic!

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redmoorphil

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Had a craft fair on saturday - well actually a table top sale. I thought it was on the 27th so panicked and spent a whole week non stop in the shop finishing stuff I had cut and getting more ready. I finally got to bed at 3am on the day of the show after labelling and photographing things.
As it turned out, I need not have bothered - Made a total profit of £25 and sold 5 items. For the first 2 hours we only had 3 people come in the hall!
At least I have lots of stock ready for the next one which hopefully will be better attended. It will be an annual Christmas craft fair at a local village hall and is now quite well known - fingers crossed!

I also decided that (having become unemployed) I should try to sell some stuff online to tide me over but I am amazed at the attitude of a lot of people who ask you to produce something for them but don't want to pay any more than poundland prices. I had a lady last week who had seen something plywood, nasty and mass produced on ebay for £25 but wanted something much nicer out of 'proper' wood. It involved 2 days work and would have cost me £20 in materials and postage but when I quoted her £60 (after slitting my own throat over it) you wouldn't believe the reaction. " But they're only £25 on ebay - is that the best you can do?" Well actually, the best I could have done would have been to have told her to ******** but I kept my calm. I have had three similar enquiries so will only produce bespoke stuff for friends now. What on Earth do people want these days.
 

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sunnybob

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ebay has a lot to answer for.

your learning the sad economics of trying to compete with a market that works for a bowl of rice a day.
 

linkshouse

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That is such a shame.

I fear sunnybob is right ebay has lot to answer for.

But you can't work for nowt. The trick is not to change your prices but rather, find your market.

My "day job" is web design and I maintain a number of e-commerce websites and, whilst it is not what we want to hear as crafters, the ones that perform the best are the ones that appeal to therimarket rather than the ones that produce the best products (in my eyes).

I tried to see from your photos what your Facebook page was called but couldn't

I doubt if it will get you any direct sales but it will help your search engine listing to add your page URL to your signature on this forum.

Hope this helps

Phill
 

redmoorphil

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Thanks for the replies guys. I am working on a better stand and at the moment I am building a sloped stand with horizontal bars to put the puzzles onto - otherwise they inevitably get touched and fall apart every five minutes. I learned a couple of years ago not to adjust the prices after selling most of my stuff at a loss and being taken advantage of so I won't drop by a penny now. I really hadn't concentrated on scrolling for a couple of years whilst dealing with depression and a couple of family losses, but I just thought while i was looking for a job it might be a way to keep things ticking over and keep me busy. I am loving being in the workshop again but it's disheartening to put so much time and effort in and people still want to pay next to nothing. Trying to sell online is much harder than I thought. Etsy and Paypal rob you blind with fees and I thought yesterday about giving up altogether and just making gifts for friends and family but its something I really like doing.
Phill, your stuff is brilliant. Perhaps I should just buy all of your stuff of you cheap and sell it on - cant be much of a market for you in Orkney ;)
Brian, some good ideas - I already know the granite carving trick - My Scottish granny taught it to me! Apparently its the best way to make curling and whisky stones but they must have a Scottish flag on one end to work properly.
images.jpg

If anybody want to visit my facebook page its: facebook.com/philswoodthings. Photos of most of the things I made for the fair are on there.
 

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linkshouse

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redmoorphil":1yy5w096 said:
Phill, your stuff is brilliant.

Thank you.

cant be much of a market for you in Orkney ;)

You're right there, especially on Westray. I made a real killing at last year's Autumn Fair but I'm conscious that with an island population of only around 600 people (including children) I do have a limited audience, which is why I wanted to try something new e.g. the vases.

I may venture further afield and try one of the craft fairs on Orkney Mainland but at best that involves a 90-minute ferry trip either way (with associated costs) and I would be arriving late. Or, stay overnight with even more expense so as to turn up on time. I suppose one could use it as an excuse for a mucky night away in a hotel :shock: :D

Phill
 

redmoorphil

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The internet must be a godsend for you when pursuing a hobby such as scrolling. I am amazed at how much information there is out there. I love the vases. I saw them on steve's site but didnt give them a second thought. having seen your photos i think i need to give them a go. Just got a nice small blade for my bandsaw too so i would like to try some bandsaw boxes. We are semi rural but i must admit to being jealous of your location as the town grows and gets ever closer. I am not a very social beast and would live in a cave if i could!
 

linkshouse

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Claymore":3tj63mab said:
I suppose one could use it as an excuse for a mucky night away in a hotel :shock: :D

but how will ya explain that to her indoors Phill? surely she will be looking after ya dog? :lol:

In truth, I think we're both getting a bit old for mucky nights n hotels so we'd all be going including Oscar. But it is still a good excuse for a night out/away.

Its a pity ya don't have your motorhome Phill as it would be ideal to stay in overnight at the fairs?

Indeed it is. I'm thinking we may need to look for another.

Ruth fancies one of those Bongo's small camper van (I'd prefer a Winnebago with a V8 :D )

I'm with you there. The problem for us though is, quite apart from the initial investment cost, long vehicles are prohibitively expensive on the ferries.

Maybe a medium sized one, with a trailer for wood when we come down south, would be good :lol:

Phill
 

linkshouse

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redmoorphil":15d1gk9h said:
The internet must be a godsend for you when pursuing a hobby such as scrolling. I am amazed at how much information there is out there. I love the vases. I saw them on steve's site but didnt give them a second thought. having seen your photos i think i need to give them a go. Just got a nice small blade for my bandsaw too so i would like to try some bandsaw boxes. We are semi rural but i must admit to being jealous of your location as the town grows and gets ever closer. I am not a very social beast and would live in a cave if i could!

Steve Good's website was my first source of patterns etc and is a great site for anyone starting out in the hobby. Like you I saw the vases and was too tight-fisted to part with the cost of buying the patterns. But, as per our previous discussion, I felt I needed something different for this year's craft fair so I parted with the cash (woo hoo a whole £9!).

I'm glad I did as I am really pleased with the patterns and hope they will do well.

You mentioned a bandsaw and I must say the when I made the vases I used my bandsaw to cut the middle, thicker sections. There is no point being a slave the scrollsaw when the piece can be cut quicker and easier on a bandsaw.

As for location. We love it, but it is not for everybody. During the 14 years that we've bee here we seen people come and last maybe a year then leave. The days are short and the nights long in winter and, although not as cold as many imagine, the winds can get pretty violent and wet. It's also pretty quiet, which of course is often the appeal until people actually experience it all the time.

Just to make you jealous (if it is your sort of thing) this is where we are -

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@59.3303825,-2.9809613,2355m/data=!3m1!1e3 Westray Digital Art is my web design business.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@59.3...4!1s2-sgRHXzP85uNpUt-vn63A!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

The bit to the left with the polycarbonate roof is my workshop.

Regards

Phill
 

loftyhermes

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Phill, Steve Goods patterns are free, always have been and always will be, though he does now sell a DVD with all his patterns on.
happy scrolling
Steve
 

redmoorphil

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Definitely jealous of the loaction - that beach is stunning! My wife would hate the dark and cold, but I come from up North me!
 

AJB Temple

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Without wishing prick the bubble, this will never make a business. Selling ornaments in a saturated market is always going to be difficult. The German Christmas markets are full of CNC machined or stamped ornaments broadly similar to this and the vast majority cost very little to import from China. I know this because my wife is a commercial buyer and and looked into it for a German distributor. Very few people will ascribe additional value to handmade, and that is reasonable because for the average shopper (99%) they don't care how it was made. Handmade is not necessarily better than computer cut - just different and less consistent.

It seems to me that enjoying this as a hobby is cool. Doing it for business will always result in a loss if you expect to put any value to your time.

What might make a modest business is contacting architectural firms and offering to be their model maker. Architects frequently require mock ups and there might be a small business opportunity there. Would require no stands or market stalls, but would require a decent web site and targeting everyone listed at RIBA.
 

redmoorphil

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You are most likely correct - I called in to 'The Range' This morning to buy some ribbon for christmas ornaments and had a look around their christmas stuff. They are selling wooden ornaments etc for less than I can buy wood! It may be mass produced but people don't care about that. or the quality, it's cheap!
I do produce some corker family trees and these have been the most popular things I have ever made. Perhaps I should just concentrate on those as I haven't seen anything else like them anywhere which is probably why people like them so much. Boils down again to 'finding your maket'.
 

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