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Crafts Shows R Us #8: It's Cold Outside

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Blog entry by closetguy posted 2106 days ago 1487 reads 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: The Good, the Bad, and the Horrible Part 8 of Crafts Shows R Us series Part 9: Wouldn't you know it..... »

Today was the start of another outdoor craft show for me with a 6AM setup time. I got up at 4:30AM, looked at my outside temperature gauge, saw that it was 30 degrees, and went back to bed. Call me a wimp, but I don’t do below freezing. There’s something just not right about icicles hanging off a canopy, and my down comforter was beckoning me back to bed. The high today was 42 and windy, so if anyone showed up at that show, they are better men and women than me. I hated losing my $150 entry fee, but that’s business.

To make matters worse, I got turned down for the Sugarloaf festival in December. This was going to be my first big indoor show. It seems that they felt they had enough woodworkers represented in the wood category. I didn’t think you could ever have enough woodworkers. I have never understood why there are always a few woodworkers at these shows, but four times as many jewelry crafters. It must be a conspiracy.

At least the whole week wasn’t a total loss. I had around $600 in online sales this week from Etsy and my Appalachian Craftsmen web site. Most all of it was cutting boards and a couple votive candle holders. It’s funny that I am now on a first name basis with the UPS store people since I have made so many trips there this week. I hope this is an indication of increasing sales as we get closer to Christmas. There is a lot of anticipation with Etsy sellers right now about cyber Monday. I had never heard of this, but apparently the Monday after Black Friday is suppose to be heavy with online sales, so we’ll see.

I have no more shows this year so I need to concentrate more on my online sales to make up the difference. Up to now, Etsy had been a disappointment. I have had a store with them since May with some sales, but considering the volume of traffic at their site, I expected more activity. It’s a great site, well conceived and easy to use, but it’s become so big that things tend get lost and shoved down to the bottom of the heap due to listing volumes. I think 98% of the products on Etsy are handmade jewelry. The forums are a good source of information and can sometimes be entertaining. I have never seen so many women whining because they have not become millionaires in the two months they have been selling on this site. Everything aside, you can find discussions on any craft subject, except for woodworking. Of course, that’s what we have Lumberjocks for. Lumberjocks’ own Woodmosaics has done very well on Etsy, so it can be lucrative with the right products. I also have stores at shophandmade.com and handmadefuzion.com.

Shophandmade.com is only about a month old and has a very professional appearance. It’s free, but they ask for an optional donation as a percentage of each sale. You determine the amount as you list each item. It interfaces to PayPal and with time, may be a good alternative to Etsy. I’m not sure how they are driving traffic to their site, but since it’s so new it will probably take a while for all that to settle in.

Handmadefuzion.com caught my eye a few months ago before they opened. They billed this site as a juried site and everyone had to fill out an application and submit pictures. I was selected and had the first wood products listed. I thought this would be real good since it was juried and should eliminate all the flea market stuff that is listed on Etsy under the woodworking category. Their fees are similar to Etsy with a listing fee and 3% of sales. The site is clunky and has a low-tech look, so I elected to list one item and wait for them to fix the bugs and see if they would do a better job on the interface. Unfortunately, they seem to be allowing junk on it. Now I am usually the last one to criticize another crafter, but taking a piece of wood and painting some stupid slogan on it is not woodworking. This is flea market stuff. So I am no longer active on this site. I also tried handmadecatalog.com for a while, but dropped it after a few months. They charge a monthly fee plus a percent of sales.

The most consistent sales I have had online have been on my Appalachian Craftsmen site. It was initially dead for most of the summer, but when I started posting my pictures on Flickr groups, traffic increased significantly, as well as sales. Even Marc Spagnuolo has commented on some of my boards on Flickr. My web page stats also have shown an increase in traffic from Facebook. I have an account with pictures posted on my page. I also have a lot of friends and family that are very active on Facebook. They in turn, have friends, and their friends have friends, and everyone sees my pictures when I periodically post one on my wall. It’s kind of like a huge, growing spider web.

So what’s my point? Most online handcrafted stores don’t differentiate between flea market and quality wood products. Flickr is cool. Facebook is good if you have lots of friends that use it regularly. Your best online site will probably be your own site as long as you work constantly to promote it.

Oh, and it’s still cold outside…….

-- I don't make mistakes, only design changes....www.dgmwoodworks.com



8 comments so far

View trifern's profile

trifern

8132 posts in 2400 days


#1 posted 2106 days ago

Thanks for the blog. I appreciate all of your experiences you have been sharing throughout the series.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4435 posts in 2596 days


#2 posted 2106 days ago

Good infromation here. Thanks

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View sandhill's profile

sandhill

2119 posts in 2557 days


#3 posted 2102 days ago

It looks like you are going to stay with Internet marketing vs. Craft Show media. The big shows are hard to get into so maybe get one of the services that get you in. I have 2 shows I want to enter both in Sept and Oct and will most likely use them myself I wish I had tried earlier for fear that it may be to late all ready. Would-a, could-a, should-a. Famous last words.

-- Bob Egbert AKA Sandhill http://www.sandhillwoodworks.com/

View Zuki's profile

Zuki

1404 posts in 2710 days


#4 posted 2099 days ago

I look forward to your blog. Another good one.

-- BLOG - http://www.colorfulcanary.com/search/label/Zuki

View rob1973's profile

rob1973

2 posts in 2095 days


#5 posted 2095 days ago

I singed up for a shophandmade.com site myself but the other day I noticed something that really turned me off to using them. You may have noticed that when you list an item and you view the main page of the website your item(s) will show up quite often in the featured product list. When I first noticed this I was very happy that my items would get this type of exposure, as I’m sure most other sellers would. That was until I visited the site from another computer and noticed that my items suddenly were not showing up. I originally thought that maybe they just dropped out of the list over time as Etsy.com listings do. This was until I went back to my main computer and noticed that my items were always showing up on front page.

What I found out is that if you are logged into the site or your session is still active the site knows you’re online and cycles your products through the main page for you to see giving you the impression that you are getting front page exposure of your products. However, if you are not logged in or your session has timed out (you wont see the “my store” link on the top right) your items do not show up. So in essence it’s all for show to make you think you are getting front page exposure and you’re not.

View degoose's profile

degoose

6996 posts in 1988 days


#6 posted 1690 days ago

Here I am sweating…
Hey there I am just now re…reading all your posts… need more insight into the craft markets… and being in a different country… but still a woodworker….. trying to see how to go about it…. have just made contact with a boutique market… no junk… no imports… no franchises… no S.*&^... and so far no wood workers… or woodcraft… so… maybe I have a chance… only 58 on the waiting list… and it is a “Judged” market… first for me…but very upmarket… POSH even…
Wish Me Luck… LOL

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

View degoose's profile

degoose

6996 posts in 1988 days


#7 posted 1558 days ago

Update on the market… I got pipped by a doggie treats stand, and still no woodworkers… as you say lots of jewellry and even a boutique patty cake stall…

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

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112016 posts in 2210 days


#8 posted 1558 days ago

Interesting info

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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