Crafts Shows R Us #14: Percent of Items Sold

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Blog entry by closetguy posted 1522 days ago 1751 reads 2 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 13: State of the Southern Craft Shows Part 14 of Crafts Shows R Us series Part 15: Thank Goodness for Fall Shows »

There has been a lot of active craft show discussion lately since we are in the middle of the season for some of us. I was running my spreadsheets the other day and decided to post some numbers to show what is selling here in the South. I took the last eight shows and did a pie chart of the percentage of sales for each category.

I generally have three size boards in both end grain and face grain. Anything smaller is useless and anything bigger presents a transport problem. My sizes are:

Large – 12×16
Medium – 10 ½ x 11
Small – 7×10

Other than cutting boards, I have bookmarks, lazy susans, dipping boards, and wine bottle balancers. The wine holder and lazy susans have only been sold at my last three shows so their numbers are skewed in relation to everything else. The lazy susans have been selling pretty good.

This is the percentage of sales by category based on 472 items sold over the past 8 shows. This information is important for me to know so I can adjust my inventory accordingly.

As you can see, bookmarks are the sales leaders. These are the $5 item that moves well at most shows. The jury is still out on the wine bottle holders. I generally sell a couple at each show, but if they don’t pick up soon, I may trade the space they are taking up with a different product. The breadboards (7×20) are hot at every show. I sold out of them at every show last fall and they continue to sell well this year.

I don’t track which style of board sells the best because I know that from experience. Last year the all walnut end grain boards just sat on the shelf. This year they are hot and I have sold out a few times. Go figure. Next year it may be something else.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

12 comments so far

View wseand's profile


2125 posts in 1675 days

#1 posted 1522 days ago

Great idea for tracking sales. Have you ever sold any breadboxes? I have made a few for family and they seem to like them, but usually for storage of stuff. I was just wondering if you have seen any sold or have sold them yourself.

-- Bill - "Freedom flies in your heart like an Eagle" Audie Murphy

View degoose's profile


6996 posts in 1988 days

#2 posted 1521 days ago

Thanks for the break down… I need to work out an inventory of only a few styles for the markets… This will give me more to think about…

-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ For lovers of all things timber...

View mauibob's profile


180 posts in 1701 days

#3 posted 1521 days ago

Very fascinating summary! It would be interesting to add labor hours and pricing into the equation—would make a great article. As the economy (hopefully) starts to recover again, I wonder if you will start to see a shift back to the pricier items.

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

View tyskkvinna's profile


1308 posts in 1620 days

#4 posted 1521 days ago

Very fascinating!

I have also noticed that the little cheap items are popular.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View steve1627's profile


15 posts in 2300 days

#5 posted 1521 days ago

Closetguy that is a most interesting review and just the kind of information that I wish were shared more often. As I near retirement age and am considering craft work as a supplemental income and expanded hobby, it’s good info.
I follow your blogs and profile often. Thanks.

-- Steve, Carrollton, TX

View poroskywood's profile


614 posts in 1998 days

#6 posted 1521 days ago

Interesting. I have a particular wood combo that I feel does really well (Walnut and Ambrosia Maple) This combo gets the most oohs and awws and sells the best for me so I make my inventory heavy to that style, sort of my signature board. I’ll add some pics to my LJ Craft Blog.

-- There's many a slip betwixt a cup and a lip.--Scott

View rance's profile


4130 posts in 1794 days

#7 posted 1521 days ago

Thanks for the info. I’m guessing Breadboards are similar to cutting boards, but with a handle (kinda like a paddle)?

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View SteveMI's profile


849 posts in 1928 days

#8 posted 1521 days ago

I’ve added $5 (bookmarks) and another $6 item in order to just keep the cash flow going. At the end of the day, week, month… the biggest data point is how much cash is in your pocket as opposed to the hourly rate you recieved for any one item.


View GaryD's profile


621 posts in 2003 days

#9 posted 1521 days ago

Thank for the info. I need to do this also. different strokes for different folks. Never know what will be hot the next time out.

-- Gary, Little River,SC I've Learned that the Lord didn't do it all in one day and neither can I

View Greg..the Cajun  Box Sculptor's profile

Greg..the Cajun Box Sculptor

5017 posts in 1942 days

#10 posted 1521 days ago

I have never been in a craft show but have gone to many to view. I have wondered how much money is made as profit at these shows after the craftspeople spent their time in building their crafts, their expenses in renting the booth space, expenses of tents and displays and the time spent at the craft show setting up, being there and taking all down after the show.
Most people I talk to at these shows complain about the sales and little profits.
Is this the same for Lumberjocks selling wood crafts at these shows?

-- If retiring is having the time to be able to do what you enjoy then I have always been retired.

View Jason's profile


654 posts in 2142 days

#11 posted 1521 days ago

Excellent breakdown. I’m sure this data comes in handy.

-- Jason - Colorado Springs

View Richard 's profile


388 posts in 1755 days

#12 posted 1521 days ago

I think I can relate to the customer. A few years ago, I was at a glass blowers studio and I was amazed at all the nice stuff, but money was a little tight back then. I wanted some of the bowls or glass fishes he was producing but for the lack of funds I ended up buying a multi colored glass paperweight. I think that is why the bookmarks are popular, they are cheap but they are a handcrafted item from the vendor of interest.

As for my story, I still wanted the more expensive item, but unfortunately the studio shut down and there were no more sales. Maybe you will have repeat customers who bought the bookmarks and will return later and buy the higher priced piece that they wanted. I still have that glass paperweight on my desk, and still waiting for the next open studio from this vendor.

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

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