Pens at Craft Fairs

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Forum topic by JohnGreco posted 05-22-2011 11:30 PM 5996 views 2 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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283 posts in 2986 days

05-22-2011 11:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi LJ’s, I have a question (or 2) about selling pens at craft fairs. I’m not new to selling at fairs, but I am new to making and selling pens.

Most of the items I make have a price tag on them somewhere. Do you tag your pens? I’ve seen the barbell tags as well as hang tags a lot, but have to wonder how that affects the customer’s ability to really take in the detail of the pen.

Also, do you try and display all of your pens at once?

Any other pen tips are very much appreciated!

-- John

9 replies so far

View Luke's profile


545 posts in 3224 days

#1 posted 05-23-2011 12:01 AM

I just did my first festival the other week. Sell them for as cheap as you can afford and still get paid modestly for your work. In my case it is not what I do for a living so getting what I paid for them plus a little money for the work is nice and allows me to keep making them and getting better at it. If I don’t sell them they will pile up or I will quit making them so the price doesn’t seem to be a big deal. I felt before the festival that I should price them high because it is my valued custom creations and should be appreciated as such. Well everybody did appreciate them but almost no one bought. I was priced very high (In my opinion) and had tons of people say how great they were but just out of their price range. I am going to try to sell them for what I paid plus $15 for the time I spent making it (usually an hour). I’ll see how this works out. I really like making them and don’t want it to just end. I will work on more complicated and expensive kits as I move along in this endeavor, but I will never get their if I have thousands of dollars in pens just sitting around collecting dust. I want to get my website together and sell them on there which I feel will be easier and will get more views with interest than at fairs.
All this said I have sold a few at the higher dollar and it has felt really really good.


-- LAS,

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2637 posts in 2852 days

#2 posted 05-23-2011 12:43 AM

Many pens are displayed but few are sold, around here at least. Craft fairs , for the most part, only sell under $20 items.

-- No PHD, but I have a GED and my DD 214

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4058 days

#3 posted 05-23-2011 01:07 AM

Most of the juried craft shows that I attend are now strictly limiting the number of pen vendors. Those chosen must have exceptional products and a lot of inventory. A friend of mine that makes stunning pens averages about $45 per sale.

Hope this helps…

-- 温故知新

View JohnGreco's profile


283 posts in 2986 days

#4 posted 05-23-2011 03:00 AM

Thanks for the replies, I appreciate it :)

I’m not having trouble selling my pens online or through word of mouth at my current prices, I was just wondering more about actually displaying the prices at a fair.

-- John

View Puzzleman's profile


417 posts in 2875 days

#5 posted 05-23-2011 11:36 PM

I have seen it done several ways including the ones you mentioned. I don’t make pens but do sell at many craft shows around the midwest. I personally dislike the tag hanging on each one as it interferes with my trying the pen on for feel.

My favorite way to price pens is to have the pens sorted by price. This way the people that don’t want to spend much will only look at the cheaper offerings while the ones that appreciate quality will look at the higher priced ones. By having the prices displayed for them easily read, they won’t bother you if you are out of their price range. Put the cheaper ones closer to the front and the expensive ones in the back. Make sure the expensive ones have a better box / display than the cheap pens. Let the people that want the higher price feel that they are getting the premium select product.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

View Jack_T's profile


623 posts in 2962 days

#6 posted 05-24-2011 12:03 AM

John and Puzzleman, I am wondering if you would be willing to tell us what your selling your pens for?

-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

View JohnGreco's profile


283 posts in 2986 days

#7 posted 05-24-2011 12:33 AM

Thanks, Puzzleman. The interference from the tag was my biggest worry.

Jack- I am averaging around the $30-35 mark. I was offering an introductory price for my pens having just gotten into making them but June 1 the prices of most of my pens will go up. Here are a few I’m selling now for reference:

-- John

View Puzzleman's profile


417 posts in 2875 days

#8 posted 05-25-2011 12:01 AM

Jack, I don’t sell pens but do look at and purchase them at craft shows. My latest one was $80.00.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

View CiscoKid's profile


338 posts in 2804 days

#9 posted 06-20-2011 06:57 PM

I do not sell pens at markets. With that said, I sold two yesterday and got orders for five more. I sell goat cheese at local farmer’s markets and am one of the only vendors that take plastic. When I ask the person to sign the sales slip I always hand them one of my handmade pens. Sometimes they will remark on it and ask me where I got it. I tell them that I make them. When they ask if they can buy one I let them know that I really am not there to sell pens. I have yet for one of them to take no for an answer and I end up getting my pen case out of my truck. I only make the high end pens and lately the fountain pens have been moving briskly. I had one woman buy two off me and the next week she showed up with a friend of hers and this woman purchased one and placed a special order for another. I try to price at two times what the kit cost. This still places me under what others are asking and lets me buy more kits with the profits. I have to make three Emperors in fountain pen, one Statesman rollerball and one Junior Statesman rollerball for next weekend. I use 20 thin coats of cyanoacrylate and polish with MicroMesh for a long lasting finish. I place no tags on my pens and let the customers ask me about the burls and timbers themselves.

-- Al, Culpeper VA

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