Jump to content


Photo

Pricing Items, sell by order or create an inventory?


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 creationsbycourtney

creationsbycourtney
  • Offline
  • Villager
  • 57 posts

  • Joined 06-May 11
    • Location: Hope Mills, NC

Posted 09 April 2012 - 03:32 PM

Hi All! I've been crocheting for many years, and my husband convinced me to go the route of establishing a business and all the stuff that comes with it. I have sold things here and there since college (which was several years ago), but I'm really determined to increase my general profit. Does anyone have any good ideas for setting prices for items? I have compared my products to those on Etsy and other sites, but there seems to not be a consistent price for items.

Also, what is your opinion on making items by order vs. creating an inventory of items to sell on a site like Etsy, Artfire, or Lily Shop? Currently, I crochet by order since I only finished grad school last year, have a family with a baby on the way and other things going on. I would love any advice/suggestions from those who spend more time crocheting than wokring a day job.:)

#2 jillkap

jillkap
  • Offline
  • Villager
  • 683 posts

  • Joined 20-November 10
    • Location: Elmira, NY

Posted 09 April 2012 - 05:10 PM

It depends what you are making. If you are doing something like hats, It would be a good idea to make one of each kind (depending how many items you want to have available for sale) just so you can show photos of your actual work to the prospective customers, but from my personal experience I don't think it's necessarily worth your while to create a large inventory because chances are you will be needing to create a special order anyway (a special size, customary color preference, etc.) and you may have a pile up of items (like I have in my basement!!)
*~Happy Crocheting~*

Visit my Etsy Page!!
"Like" my Crochet Page on Facebook!!
Follow me on Pinterest!!-I give permission for anyone to "pin" my photos :)

#3 HappyOldCro

HappyOldCro
  • Offline
  • Villager
  • 5,649 posts

  • Joined 13-August 07
    • Location: South Central PA

Posted 09 April 2012 - 05:43 PM

I used to do craft fairs, and found that a few samples of each kind worked well when done in basic neutral colors. Then orders were taken for more specific items in the customers choice of yarn, color, size. I also would do a board with swatches in different yarns so they could feel and see the various yarns I would use. Depending on the weather, current styles and age of customers, many of the samples sold as well as new orders. Pics are good, but lots of folks want to see and feel what they are buying.
Depending on the yarn they wanted, there would be different prices, with basic acrylic and cotton being the cheapest.

Carol

Delighted owner of CV Bag #73 April 2012 SILVER LINING

BE EXTRA KIND TO EVERYONE, WE ARE ALL FIGHTING SOME KIND OF BATTLE!!

Click here for: Poems for hand made gifts
Asstd. charity projects (ongoing)
Baby throws

#4 creationsbycourtney

creationsbycourtney
  • Offline
  • Villager
  • 57 posts

  • Joined 06-May 11
    • Location: Hope Mills, NC

Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:07 PM

Thanks jillkap and Carol! Those were some of the thoughts I had but I've never been quite sure about the best way. As much as I love crocheting, I would be so unhappy to have a ton of made items that no one wanted :-( I have and do take pictures of everything I make as examples for future pics and that's what I have uploaded on my facebook page and website.

So it seems that maybe using the pictures I already have as examples may be a good start for an online shop somewhere? It seems harder and harder to get orders in person compared to using an online format.

Carol- I love the idea of swatches in different types of yarn. I had an idea several years ago just to have different colors of yarn on a ring like paint swatches to help people chose colors. How did you get started in the craft fair?

#5 HappyOldCro

HappyOldCro
  • Offline
  • Villager
  • 5,649 posts

  • Joined 13-August 07
    • Location: South Central PA

Posted 10 April 2012 - 08:59 AM

Thanks jillkap and Carol! How did you get started in the craft fair?

Neighbors and family kept saying that I was an artist and should be selling my creations.
Having lived in 3 different states, I discovered every state has different rules pertaining to this.
In PA where I am now, you have to have a license to even apply for a spot in a craft fair. Without that license # you can't even get a spot. (I even discovered that here in PA if you have more than 1 yard sale a year you need a license :eek) After I did all that, I joined the PA Guild of Craftsmen.
They publish a book listing all the fairs (in PA) and information about them in a book every year. I went through the book and picked out a few of the closest ones and obtained applications. Beware, some of the more popular and bigger ones can have expensive application fees.
While doing the fairs, I met and talked with other vendors to find out first hand which fairs were more profitable. Just because one is big, doesn't mean you will do well.
At the end of the day the profits looked good. (All that cash in your hand :lol) But once the books were recorded and expenses for material, fees, gas etc... deducted, the profit margin was not.
You also have to charge sales tax and file regularly (the government wants their share of the money ;)), and keep accurate records. Then there was all the time spent setting up and breaking down your spot, as well as travel and food.
For me it wasn't worth the time, effort, energy and small profit to continue. (I am legally handicapped) and I had loved doing it in the other states I lived in, but PA made it too hard for me. I can only speak for Crochet, because Quilters, wood workers, jewelry makers, glass and pottery vendors appeared to do better.
So before you consider craft fair selling, check your state's rules and make sure you check every angle of it. Also look into the county regulations, I have seen where different counties have different rules. Know your customers and what the current hot selling styles and colors are.
I am not trying to discourage you by any means, but you need to be aware that although the fun and comraderie is great, it also involves alot of work. You need to be fairly healthy, with alot of strength and energy, reliable transportation and maybe a strong partner (putting up the tents can be rough) :D. Keep good books to ensure you are taking in more than you put out. And be prepared to deal with mother nature's whims. Thunderstorms can close down alot of fairs :storm.

Carol

Delighted owner of CV Bag #73 April 2012 SILVER LINING

BE EXTRA KIND TO EVERYONE, WE ARE ALL FIGHTING SOME KIND OF BATTLE!!

Click here for: Poems for hand made gifts
Asstd. charity projects (ongoing)
Baby throws

#6 creationsbycourtney

creationsbycourtney
  • Offline
  • Villager
  • 57 posts

  • Joined 06-May 11
    • Location: Hope Mills, NC

Posted 17 April 2012 - 06:20 PM

Wow, Carol! That is a lot to consider to be involved in a craft fair. A family friend suggested that I participate in one, while I was living in Chicago, but I was in grad school at the time, so having the time to create a handful of items wasn't practical.

I currently live in NC, and I'm rather annoyed by all of the fees and things that I have to do on a regular basis for my business, such as the quarterly sales and use tax. So I have some experience, but it is rather discouraging at this point since the deductions have been more than the gains. Also, the town that I live in is quite diverse, and there always seems to be an interest if I'm wearing something I crocheted, but fizzles after that. I've been thinking that an online store would be more profitable since those are tailored to a particular crowd, but I know the listing fees and other things can be a process to deal with also.

Do you have any advice on "sealing the deal" when I come across a potential customer? I hope to have more time to commit towards the end of summer and fall on creating classic items and making new items. I have a few patterns I've written but haven't had tested yet (working on my Crochetville status :-) ) Do you create any of your patterns for the items that you sell?

Courtney

#7 FrLopLady

FrLopLady
  • Offline
  • Villager
  • 4,825 posts

  • Joined 20-January 10
    • Location: WA

Posted 17 April 2012 - 07:47 PM

pssst..any time you need a tester... :D

I have done farmer's markets and some crafters do well, some do not. Most of the markets I've seen the crafters are only so-so on business. That may not be the case at all of them. Our one crafter/vendor that does do well on a consistent basis does tie dye..not just the traditional stuff. I don't even know how to translate that success into yarn products.

Mary
E Washington State
Stashbustin' 2011 Final score -596, 2012! YTD -331
Stashbusting 2014 6/30/2014 YTD: +167

The trouble with quotes on the Internet is you never know if they are genuine.” —Abraham Lincoln


#8 spiritwalker

spiritwalker
  • Offline
  • Villager
  • 1,036 posts

  • Joined 25-September 11
    • Location: rural Wisconsin

Posted 17 April 2012 - 08:30 PM

You might want to make one or two high end items using very good yarns.
You can than approach a specialty store and offer them for sale. A well made custom piece should sell for 3x's the cost of the yarn. If you can find
the right type of customer. If you go for small items you might want an Etsy shop or do the craft fair route. Opening a profession shop is very
expensive. New businesses are a big risk at this time in the US.

Mary
"We are not here to do great things,but to do small
things with great love" Mother Teresa


 


#9 creationsbycourtney

creationsbycourtney
  • Offline
  • Villager
  • 57 posts

  • Joined 06-May 11
    • Location: Hope Mills, NC

Posted 21 April 2012 - 12:12 PM

well thank you Mary(FrLopLady) and Mary(spiritwalker).

It would be great to have a bigger business, but I'm really focused on getting my feet wet and making a some extra income, as I still enjoy my daytime job. :-)

#10 RoseRed

RoseRed
  • Offline
  • Villager
  • 15,315 posts

  • Joined 11-January 07
    • Location: FLA, USA

Posted 21 April 2012 - 04:07 PM

One thing to keep in mind about Etsy is that most of the traffic is crafters. I've heard a lot of people say that they do better selling patterns then they do selling actual items. It's really common for someone to see a gorgeous something-or-other and ask the seller where to find the pattern for it. If you have a nitch where other crafters really can't do it for themselves - then your good.

I could never do craft shows. I'm not an assembly line crocheter. I get bored to tears doing the same thing over and over and over and over again. (The only thing that doesn't do that to me is the round ripple patterns). There's nothing wrong at all with people that are - I'm just not one of them.

I wouldn't even consider flea markets. People are looking for bargains there. I actually saw a person haggling over a very nice ruffled dishcloth. Apparently a dollar was too much for the amount of work that went into it.

I once picked up a Christmas decoration for $4. It would've taken me at least 6 hours to make it myself.

If you can get into a high end market - that would be awesome. If this is what you want to do then more power to ya. I couldn't do it nor would I want to unless it was a high end custom work market. That's just me.

It seems like a lot of spouses and family have these big dreams when it comes to crochet. The sad fact is that those dreams don't usually match reality. My friends husband kept insisting that she sell her thread angels. The thing was a foot tall, took her 3 weeks to make and she was offered $20. That was the end of her even considering doing it as a business. Her husband was mad because he saw and finally paid attention to the amount of work that went into it.

I wish you the best of luck in this. There's just a lot to consider before you fork over the money for licenses and things.

Another thing to keep in mind - once you turn it into a business it becomes work. The relaxing, fun, end of the day stress reliever becomes 'gotta get it done, gotta get more done'.

Is this something that you actually, really and truly want to do or are you doing this because your family wants to?

Edited by RoseRed, 21 April 2012 - 04:11 PM.


#11 HappyOldCro

HappyOldCro
  • Offline
  • Villager
  • 5,649 posts

  • Joined 13-August 07
    • Location: South Central PA

Posted 21 April 2012 - 09:04 PM

Wow, Carol! That is a lot to consider to be involved in a craft fair. Do you have any advice on "sealing the deal" when I come across a potential customer? I hope to have more time to commit towards the end of summer and fall on creating classic items and making new items. I have a few patterns I've written but haven't had tested yet (working on my Crochetville status :-) ) Do you create any of your patterns for the items that you sell?

Courtney


Yes there is alot to consider, so if it is the craft fair route (as Rose stated) it must be because it is something you really want to do. People who do not do needle work or fiber related crafts, just do not understand the amount of work and the cost of materials. I did it with my daughter and it was a day of fun, we loved meeting folks (customers and other vendors).
People (like yarn) come in all types of personalities, so sealing a deal depends on your ability to appeal to their sense of appreciation for your art. You have to take alot of criticism as well as compliments.
If it is an order, get it in writing (I printed up some home made order sheets with spaces for size, color, type of yarn etc...) and require a non-refundable deposit that will at least cover the cost of the yarn/thread. This way it isn't out of your pocket, and you don't lose out if the deal falls through.
I have made many one of a kind items that were my own design, but never sold patterns. Too much of a hassle with all the copyright laws.
I too hated doing the same thing over and over, perhaps that was my motivation for all the one of a kind things,:D. It appealed to the people to have something no one else had, and it was a ready sale, no orders...;).

Edited by HappyOldCro, 27 May 2012 - 08:27 PM.

Carol

Delighted owner of CV Bag #73 April 2012 SILVER LINING

BE EXTRA KIND TO EVERYONE, WE ARE ALL FIGHTING SOME KIND OF BATTLE!!

Click here for: Poems for hand made gifts
Asstd. charity projects (ongoing)
Baby throws

#12 creationsbycourtney

creationsbycourtney
  • Offline
  • Villager
  • 57 posts

  • Joined 06-May 11
    • Location: Hope Mills, NC

Posted 28 April 2012 - 05:10 PM

Hi Michele,

There is a lot to consider in going this route, but I really would like to make something of it as I love crocheting and seeing the end results.

I never heard about selling patterns over the actual product on etsy, but that makes sense as there are so many crafters who can make the item themselves. (I definitely think that sometimes). I'm not in the place to make a handful of items before creating listings, and would prefer to make items based on the order. I have yarn everywhere, and don't need to start stockpiling accessories lol And with a baby due in 4wks, my time is somewhat limited.

How would one get into a high end market? I have been asked on rare occasions if I could recreate a something made by a well-known designer, but the person tends to disappear when the conversation begins about details and prices.

I'm sure I'm not the only crocheter or crafter that wishes others had a better understanding of the time and effort that we put in to making something, and we choose prices to reflect the quality and time.

But thanks for sharing your opinion.

Courtney

#13 RoseRed

RoseRed
  • Offline
  • Villager
  • 15,315 posts

  • Joined 11-January 07
    • Location: FLA, USA

Posted 28 April 2012 - 06:12 PM

How would one get into a high end market?

I have been asked on rare occasions if I could recreate a something made by a well-known designer, but the person tends to disappear when the conversation begins about details and prices.


I wish I knew.

And I know exactly what you mean about people dissapearing when they find out they might actually have to pay for the yarn - let alone the work that goes into it.

I sell patterns. I will take custom orders on actual items but I very rarely come across that. If you click on the Etsy and Ravelry links in my signature you can see what it looks like to sell patterns. There's people that have tons more available than I do but between back surgery and life I haven't had much yarn mojo lately.

AmyS has a few AWESOME classes here at the ville. What you need to know to start a crochet business, writing patterns for independent designing and writing patterns for publication.

Writing good patterns is a skill set. The Craft Yarn Council has some GREAT information for people wanting to get started with it.