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Craft Sale Inventory

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Project by RussInMichigan posted 04-28-2012 01:42 AM 2252 views 3 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was notified on Monday, April 23, 2012 that I actually got a spot in the Vermontville(Michigan) Maple Syrup Festival Art and Craft Show which takes place Saturday, April 28, and Sunday, April 29, 2012. I was told I fell through the cracks. Since notifications were supposed to have been made two weeks ago, I assumed I hadn’t gotten in, so I had no inventory. So, I busted my behind for the last few days to put together some stuff to display and sell.

The picture is what I produced this week. It’s mostly scroll saw stuff. I made animal puzzles, kokopellis, oven pulls, toaster and craft tongs, book safes(not shown in picture). This week I made:
nine moose puzzles
eight elephants
two dogs
seven cats
two unicorns
one pig
one cow
one kangaroo
15 nested penguin puzzles
fifteen kokopellis
one snake puzzle
35 oven pulls
52 tongs

The sale is tomorrow and Sunday. It was a wild, but productive, week. I spent a lot of hours at the scroll saw. I think I earned a promotion from novice scroller to apprentice. With all the puzzles I cut I had exactly one puzzle piece that needed a touch of sanding for a more desirable fit. I cut a unicorn in purpleheart, and lots of oak and walnut, and the only minor hassle I had was with a nasty piece of hickory.

If any of you lumberjocks make your way to the Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival, look me up at the art and craft sale.

Have a great one,

Russ

UPDATE: I just added the last five photos(Monday, April 30, 2012), including the happy customer one, though he was not from the craft show. I think the smiling face in that last picture encapsulates why we choose to work the wood at all. Whether the face is a happy child or a grinning curmudgeon, it gives me joy to know I can put something together having a bit of me in it that provides another person with a little joy of their own.





18 comments so far

View NormG's profile

NormG

4403 posts in 1728 days


#1 posted 04-28-2012 02:19 AM

Wonderful you were able get this much done. Let us know how it goes

-- Norman

View KMT's profile

KMT

591 posts in 1387 days


#2 posted 04-28-2012 04:26 AM

Good job. Now go sell,sell,sell!

-- - Martin

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7836 posts in 1644 days


#3 posted 04-28-2012 11:17 AM

Good luck with the sale! No matter what though, you will have fun and meet lots of wonderful people! I hope you have a great show! ;)

Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View spunwood's profile

spunwood

1194 posts in 1560 days


#4 posted 04-28-2012 12:16 PM

looks like great stuff, good luck.

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View jerrells's profile

jerrells

860 posts in 1609 days


#5 posted 04-28-2012 12:29 PM

you have agreat invenmtory – let us know what worked best for you.

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

View workerinwood's profile

workerinwood

2710 posts in 1792 days


#6 posted 04-28-2012 02:59 PM

Nice work!! Wish I could have as productive week in my shop.

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View Skylark53's profile

Skylark53

2565 posts in 1784 days


#7 posted 04-28-2012 04:36 PM

WOW you’ve been busy. I hope it makes for a profitable venture.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View nate22's profile

nate22

432 posts in 1600 days


#8 posted 04-28-2012 04:43 PM

I would be interested how your puzzles sell. Good luck and I hope you make something from them.

-- Gracie's wooden signs. Middlebury, In.

View SteveMI's profile

SteveMI

869 posts in 2019 days


#9 posted 04-29-2012 03:07 PM

My curse is procrastination, but have had that final 4 to 5 day mad work time trying to get inventory up to where it needs to be.

Make sure you give us an update on the experience.

Steve.

View seabiscuit's profile

seabiscuit

95 posts in 1148 days


#10 posted 04-29-2012 04:08 PM

How much do people make at these craft shows?

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

12075 posts in 1830 days


#11 posted 04-29-2012 05:30 PM

Wow you have everything but a partridge in a pear tree! Great going. Good luck at the show…..Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View RussInMichigan's profile

RussInMichigan

492 posts in 1505 days


#12 posted 04-30-2012 01:18 PM

Hi there, lumberjocks.

Thanks for all the encouragement.

UPDATE: I just added the last five photos(Monday, April 30, 2012), including the happy customer one, though he was not from the craft show. I think the smiling face in that last picture encapsulates why we choose to work the wood at all. Whether the face is a happy child or a grinning curmudgeon, it gives me joy to know I can put something together having a bit of me in it that provides another person with a little joy of their own.

The Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival Arts and Crafts Show was an interesting, although not at all profitable experience, so I’ll console myself with what Sheila said above, “No matter what though, you will have fun and meet lots of wonderful people!”

I did indeed meet lots of wonderful people and I did have some fun. However, there was a general pall hanging over the event in terms of vendor’s sales. I spoke with lots of vendors and every one of them said sales were dismal at best. It was a two-day event, but many vendors packed it in after the first day. Lots of people were taking long looks, but few were buying.

Sales for my wife and I covered our display fees and fuel costs. That was disappointing, given the time and materials expended. Not sure I’d want to bother with the hassle of it again. Anybody want a moose or a toaster tong?

Have a great day, fellow lumberjocks.

Russ

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7836 posts in 1644 days


#13 posted 04-30-2012 01:35 PM

Shows are tough, Russ. They are so quirky too. One day you can sell lots and others just sit there. From my own experience and what I hear from others, it is completely ‘hit or miss’ and has a lot to do with whichever way the wind was blowing. When I used to sell my mohair teddy bears, the fees for the show were high (over $500 per table – and that was over 15 years ago!) and you had to commit a year in advance. I didn’t know what I was doing the next day let alone a year from then! But I gave it a try and I had some good ones and some bad ones. I ALWAYS had too much stock though. Called some of my bears “frequent fliers” as they went from show to show to show. It wasn’t like they were bad, either. If one type would sell out at one show, I would make more for the next and guess what? None would sell. That would be it. It sometimes is very frustrating. I think you have to go into it with the attitude that it isn’t only the $$ you will earn that day, but the people you meet, the contacts that you make, and the enjoyment you get out of doing it and making the stuff. Most people I know use shows to justify their addiction. :) Your work is still wonderful and I am certain that many will agree!

Thanks for the update!

Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View RussInMichigan's profile

RussInMichigan

492 posts in 1505 days


#14 posted 04-30-2012 02:34 PM

Sheila,
Thanks for the feedback and the kind words about my work. I need to work out the pros and cons of the craft show thingy.

People liked what we had on display – we had lots of oohs and aahs and the plural of “that’s just beautiful” – they just weren’t buying.

You mentioned addiction and for me there really is an element of that to it. But, I can’t really justify the expense that would be associated with bulking up inventory for a show if I don’t see much hope of turning it over. If I sold through an online site like etsy, I could still satiate my addiction, but I would not not have the logistical overhead of the craft show circuit. But, on etsy, I wouldn’t get to see the kids playing with the puzzles or meet the people who would use what I’ve made.

My chats with vendors revealed a culture that was almost like the gambling-addicted who declare themselves a winner every time money comes in, and they maintain that winner delusion by blinding themselves to the fact that the 500 dollars they “won” cost them 2000. Rather than indulging my personal obsessions in that way, I’d rather just give cash to my kids.

I like my scroll saw and my other woodworking tools which may never pay for themselves in any formal accounting sense, but, as the sixth photo above shows, they can, at least occasionally, brighten someone’s day.

Take care.

View SteveMI's profile

SteveMI

869 posts in 2019 days


#15 posted 04-30-2012 02:50 PM

Russ,
I was hoping you would have different story to tell, since I am ready to start the show season this year and less than 100 miles from you. If you talk to the people who sold prior to 2005, they will tell you that their biggest problem was making enough stock and making more than $2,000 a weekend was normal at a $150 show. People did make a living selling at shows.

Economy, downsizing, fuel cost, frugality, generation change; take your pick have made smaller indoor items not sell as well. Even the jewelry people will tell you they aren’t doing anywhere what they did 5 years earlier. To me, the exception seems to be people who sell stuff on a stick that you put outside and in the garden, you see people walking out with them the whole show.

Sheila is right that shows are spotty for no reasons. Even shows that were better in the past can be a bust. In the past, my wife and I were frequent show goers and the sheer number of them on a weekend that compete is much more now with so many cities having a show. That has to be responsible for lower attendance at any individual one.

Talking scroll work, unless you are doing $200+ Intarsia that sells, e $600+ shows can’t really work once you add the travel and other associated costs. Divide the average price of your product into 700 and see how many you need to sell before being “even.” My twisted logic is not to apply for a show where the entry fee is more than 5 times my lowest item price.

The other side of the equation is that if you are making “Andy/Brit… Box” quality items, then $600+ shows are the only ones that will attract the clients to buy them.

Sheila – I thought that I was the only one who sold out of a given specific product, thought I hit the gold mine, made twice as many as ever and ended up with 99% of them still in a box 6 months later.

Steve.

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