I am getting lessons on selling sewing. I do meet all the seamstresses and quilters that prowl craft shows looking for ladies like me. I am always friendly and willing to talk about my craft. Why not. What’s the point in NOT being friendly. Of course I don’t expect them to buy anything. I should put up a sign: I know you CAN make it, but will you? Lesson Number 1: Keep your chin up and smile and you may sell your sewing.
The October 17-18th Fall Arts & Crafts Show at Cocoa, Florida Historic District had about 200 vendors. At least half are commercial vendors, franchises, Pampered Chef, makeup distributors and local businesses. An artist or crafter is positioned in between every couple businesses, it appeared. I will say there were lots of wonderful things to see. Lesson Number 2: Not my style, but sew it beachy and cheap!
Thousands of folks wander the aisles with their babies and dogs. Not many of them are there to buy; some are on bicycles or just off the beach. I think the Saturday morning folks were more interested in snagging the best of the best and most unusual. I saw some big painted wood items being carried out. I did not see one large painting go past me and there were many wonderful artists with that “beachy” theme. Lesson Number 3: Focus on making the unusual along with the marketable and sell it.
There is always competition for the customer’s dollar and hard to find the crafts shows that are (1) fun (2) the right venue for your craft. Even though shows advertise as “handcrafted items only” and ask for a photo showing you in your work space, that does not mean there will not be commercial vendors and cheap imports to compete with at an arts & craft show. Craft “fraud” is everywhere, unfortunately. All I can do is learn as I go which shows do not enforce their own rules and not return. Lesson Number 4: Limit participation in craft shows that allow commercial or flea market.
The vendors are generally friendly. One ventured she had done about 1/3 of the usual sales on Saturday. She thought the show was too big. I am a bit disappointed in my low sales, yet thankful for the lady that bought table linens on a credit card so I could actually see this new-fangled thing on my phone work!
Less Number 5: Sew different stuff and maybe sell more stuff!
Vintage Angels for 2016: My 8 inch vintage lace angels are going up for sale this weekend at the Cocoa Beach Historic District Fall Art & Crafts Sale. Just so you know (those of you that get my posts), I am taking orders for Christmas 2016 Angels. They can be customized by hair color and have a heart bracelet with a name lettered on the heart. The photo below shows a red-head but I can also supply blondes, brunettes and black hair. “Pigtails” are okay, braids don’t work. Body colors are usually white or light tan but I can do others if you want it. Purple any one? And, you can tell me eye color and any specific facial details you would like me to TRY to use; i.e. “smirk” “shy smile” “big blue eyes” “pink lips” and more. Freckles are too hard and don’t look natural. Halo is gold cord or can be tiny pearls. All have a hanging ribbon for hanging on a Christmas tree unless you specify not to include it. Ordering through May 1, 2016 for October 2016 delivery.
My angel’s dresses are a product of my imagination and rarely are there two alike. You will not be able to specify color as I shop antique stores for linen doilies that are lace trimmed and I cannot say what I will find. However, I do have white or pink vintage lace curtains on hand to use if you would like that. I would trim them with ruffly lace, like above. Crochet doilies do not work.
I only make my angels in the summer while traveling. It is fun for me as my angels are, at the least, 75% hand sewing. If interested, shoot me an email with your preferences. I’ll email you back with photo in Sept. 2016. Pay then: $39 plus tax. I’ll ship in a gift box. No commitment. If you don’t want it that’s okay, she’ll get added to the other orphans in 2016 fall craft sales.
I CAN make an angel from vintage material you have around (say, grandma’s handmade doilies or embroidered towels) but that requires a prepayment of $39 per angel plus shipping me the materials. This method does cost you more and requires a commitment from me. I will mail finished angel in a gift box and return remnants of fabric, if you want. Shipping paid.
The place: Tampa Garden Club on Bayshore Drive. Lovely venue overlooking the bay. Facilities were nice especially the big shade tree I was under. (See photo at bottom.) Well, except for the spanish moss that invaded my booth frequently. The weather was calm, too humid, too warm – typical Florida. OMG do I ever sweat when setting up! We were next to really nice crafters and I enjoyed talking to them and getting to know the ropes as it were.
Now the bad: No sales, no offers, a few requests for my card. I wasn’t surprised by this, after all it was the Shabby Chic Vintage Market. It appeared Shabby Chic people did okay and so did some furniture people. One neighboring crafter did well. Oddly, however, I did notice most of her customers are on a first-name basis and seem to seek her out. She must have something going there as she was selling strictly painted religious items, crosses and the like. Other “seamstresses” like me didn’t sell anything either. I know because the other two came around and asked because they too were new with this promoter. Even jewelry people were disappointed.
Obviously this is not the venue for most crafters and more the venue for people selling dip mix, makeup, painted wood items and crosses.
I’m glad I went though. I resolved booth issues and have a better feel for how to better present my products. I would rather experiment at an $85 booth show than a $200 one. Next weekend is a 2-day show at Cocoa Beach Historic District. Hopefully it is better.
My first show, a Shabby Chic Vintage Market Craft Show happens in a few days, Sunday Oct. 11 at the Tampa Garden Club. Hubby and I drove an hour to get there today to check it out. What a beautiful setting; along the bay and under huge trees. I am so anxious for Sunday to get here. Watch for a posted review of how it went — even if I don’t sell a thing, I expect to learn a lot from the people that come through the event which is heavily advertised on Facebook and in the Tampa newspapers.
My SHOP: Eventually, all this stuff I sew will be available for order/shipment from my website here. I have a few items under “shop” including this here cloth wine bag that I made from a vintage Christmas season tablecloth. I made 8 of them, using up the whole tablecloth. If interested, look at my shop.