Tips on Selling Handmade Cards at Craft Fairs
Selling Handmade Cards at Craft Fairs
Selling handmade cards at craft fairs isn't easy ~ but you probably already knew that right?
Making good handmade cards is a real skill, and having put all that work and creativity into them it's only natural that you want to see if you can sell them and make some extra money ~ and this is normally where the challenges begin~ but the good news is, it doesn't have to be that difficult.
First things first, to sell handmade cards you need to find people who want to buy handmade cards ~ sounds obvious but it isn't quite as clear cut as it seems. You see most people who go out to buy birthday cards don't go out with the clear thought 'I'm only going to buy handmade cards today', they go out thinking 'I need a card, hope I can find one', and if they find a card they like they buy it because they like it, not because it's handmade. Yes, I know there is a proportion of the market who do set out to purely buy handmade but it's not a big enough section to keep you in business - for that you need Joe Public.
Where To Sell Handmade Cards
So you've been working you sweet little fingers to the bone and have a fantastic collection of handmade cards to sell - where you go?
One of the first places people think of is the craft fair / school fete / local charity day type of event ~ which has both advantages and disadvantages - so we'll start there - though the same advice will apply whether you are selling handmade cards at a craft fair, have a box of handmade cards on sale in your office, or are trying to sell handmade cards online.
How To Sell Handmade Cards at a Craft Fair
The plus side of craft fairs and similar events is that this can be a captive audience.
The first rule of thumb with any craft / fete event is to do your homework. If you have a child at a school that runs a Christmas Fete that you always go to and know is well attended, it's worth trying to get a stall. The good ones are always booked up well in advance so you need to start applying early ~ as in as soon as the dates are advertised.
Make sure you have a good idea of the demographics of the audience and cater for them i.e. school fetes and craft fairs will have Mum's with young kids - possibly looking for kids birthday cards etc.
Along with jewellery, handmade cards are one of the most popular handmade businesses, so finding events with spaces is always a challenge. But even if you are lucky enough to get a stall, and the event is well attended, that's merely the beginning of the challenge - the biggest hurdle is yet to come ~ actually selling your handmade cards.
Make Your Handmade Cards Different
Chances are you will not be the only hand made card seller at the event, so you need to know both your competition.
Because handmade cards are easy to get started with (note before anyone gets up in arms I didn't say easy to make ~ as really good ones aren't) you'll often find people selling them on the cheap because for them 'it's just a hobby and they only want to cover their costs'.
Firstly these are not the people you should be competing with, and if you are then quite frankly your cards need a re-vamp because 99% of the time those cards are simply made from sticking ready made card supplies together. They are virtually indistinguishable from both each other and from supermarket cards ~ and lets not forget that you went into handmade cards to get away from mass produced ~ didn't you?
If you want people to buy your cards they need to be different from everything else on sale. Recession or not (in fact even more so in a recession) people are willing to pay for luxury objects i.e. things for a special occasion, which means they will splash out on a 90th birthday card for a much loved Mum, rather than a good luck card for a colleague leaving work. Ask yourself which you'd pay more for.
You need to produce a handmade card that stands out from the crowd.
Make Your Handmade Cards Stand Out
You may have heard the term 'niche market' bandied about. In effect this is what you need to find.
Now a niche market isn't a place, it's not somewhere you shop on a Saturday afternoon, it's the very targeted audience you need to aim your handmade cards at.
Why a niche and not the world? Essentially the world is a very big place and if you try to be all things to all people in the handmade card world you won't end up with world domination, you'll end up being a very small fish in a huge ocean and likely as not get gobbled up by sharks. Whereas if you target a niche you can become a very big fish in a much smaller pond ~ for building a reputation this is much better, and of course once you've cornered one niche there's nothing to stop you expanding into another.
A niche can be a style i.e. monochromatic cards, it could be a particular area i.e. age birthday cards, a type i.e. pop up. Whatever it is, it needs to be you i.e. not something anyone else is doing (or very few). You need a unique selling point, something which tells people that these cards are designed by you. Something that makes you stand out from all the other card sellers at the craft fair.
Other Hints and Tips
When you are at events do giveaways or prize draws. Only let people enter if they give you their email address which in turn gives you a good marketing list.
Carry an example of your work around with you. How many times a day do you stop to get something out of your bag, what if each time you pulled a card out and put it one the side while you're 'looking' for whatever you want in your bag. Every so often someone will ask you about it.
Carry a set of stick on ages and letters whenever you sell your cards so you can offer to personalize them for people ~ even better have a stock of different colors and styles of letters.
Offer a choice of inserts. They are so easy to fix into a card that if you have cards that could be used for any occasion i.e. they don't have 'Happy Birthday' or anything on the front, have a selection of wordings that can be placed inside ~ from "Happy Birthday" to "Good Luck". If you use standard size cards you can carry a selection of each for people to choose from.
Always use your own cards for friends and family ~ sounds obvious but some don't.
It can also be useful to go back to basics occasionally and look at how to make handmade cards.
Good Luck and Happy Craft Fairs
Often it's a case of trying different avenues to work out the best one for you.
If something doesn't work once it's an anomaly, if it doesn't work twice think of it as a learning experience, but if you try 3 times and it still doesn't work ~ try something else.
Selling handmade cards is not always easy, but if your product is good enough then over time you shoulde build up a loyal following. The key is to be different than the rest, and always do your best.
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