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HELP!! there has to be an answer to this sales problem..?

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  • HELP!! there has to be an answer to this sales problem..?

    I have been making handmade cards for friends and family for a few years now, with one small venture into selling through a shop, which unfortunately did not go very well, as they took the cards on 'sale or return' and I never saw any income returned to me, as they claimed they had been stolen and then handed back all of the other cards as 'unsold' and they were virtually all damaged!...
    Having just been made redundant and having a daughter who demands a large amount of my time due to difficulties.....I have decided that if I don't try to start my business properly now, then I never will, so having booked a craft stall at a local farmers market (hand produced produce only) I am really excited and looking forward to the coming challenges....

    I accidentally found this site and would like to ask one question for which I have yet to find a solution myself...wonder if anyone else can help?

    If I take a selection of my more expensive cards along to the craft fair as examples for people to order, how do I take the orders? also, how do I take the orders for wedding stationery..?
    I can post them or deliver them, but this will incur extra costs....
    My main concern is how much do I ask for as a deposit and how do I gain the reminder from the 'client' once the order is completed?

    Any ideas welcome!!!! PLEASE!!! the fair is next week...:-)
    Nutty Tigger (in progress)

  • #2
    ok, personally I would get myself an order form (you can make these up easilly in Word - check the templates). I would take 20 - 50% of the cost as a deposit and then contact the customer for payment once the order is completed. Once the funds have cleared, post the order to them.

    A mind is like a only functions when open


    • #3
      oh and add the P&P to the order - most customers expect this - but be upfront with the customer about this before accepting the order.

      A mind is like a only functions when open


      • #4

        Thanks for that Pagan...although was wondering more along the lines of gaining payment ie using paypal if purchaser has it online, as I can send an invoice for the item once completed...however, if they are ordering a birthday card or new baby card, I wont have time to check if the payment has completed before sending and feel cheeky expecting them to trust me and asking for full amount on the day...very difficult to
        I dont think this is an easy one to answer really...
        However, your guidance is appreciated and I will try this method if nothing else comes forward to resolve it...Thanks!
        The only other idea I had was charging for full amount plus P&p and offering to send card pre-written tot he recipient...just a thought...but would only really work for birthday cards and such like...
        Nutty Tigger (in progress)


        • #5
          Just a thought but would it be easier to sell the special cards on the day? Taking stuff to and from fairs inevitably leads to damage of some kind and I would imagine cards are easily scuffed at corners etc. I know if I was buying cards I would want them there and then and this can increase the impulse buys.
          As for Wedding invitations etc take a decent deposit, making it clear the deposit is non refundable and goods are available on cleared payments. Do you also get them to approve a proof? That way you have all your bases covered.
          Chris xx
          My Website
          My Blog


          • #6
            [quote=Kiamyka;96641]Just a thought but would it be easier to sell the special cards on the day?

            I would take the special cards on the day, the only problem with this is that this would incur a larger outlay as the special cards obvioulsy cost more to produce and more time to make...if they dont sell, this in turn leaves me quite serioulsy out of pocket as I could have spent more time making the 'faster' cards...

            I will be looking to take at least a 30% deposit if not 50% deposit before making the wedding stationery, and I would definately supply a proof, this I think will be easier to fulfill the contract on, as mostly they will not be needed for a good while after ordering...which leaves time to discuss and send proofs etc..

            My main concern is with the special cards I intend to sell....maybe it would be best to just take a selection and see what sells on the day and cope with the fact that I need to make more the next time and that I will have missed out on some sales...maybe keep one of each back to enable people to see what I can do and take orders based on these ones if I run out...or let them have my card to contact me to arrange when and where they want it if I have none left on the stall?....still unsure...
            thanks for the suggestion though!...appreciated!
            Nutty Tigger

   (in progress)


            • #7
              I dont make cards but I know if I'm buying them I like to buy there and then as Kiamyka said. I think I would be inclined to take an album with the more expensive ones in as with samples of your wedding stationary to limit damage to them and this presents them nicely. Also make sure you ahve plenty of business cards to hand out to everyone and anyone.
              Good luck with your fair.
              by Nicki

              Home Decorations & Gifts with Country Style


              • #8

                I have done a fair few craft fairs and most people want to buy the cards there and then. As they are usually buying on inpulse or for birthdays occasions comming up in the next month.

                Unfortunately it is a gamble two places/venues selling are never the same. What I mean is one type of card can sell one day and not the next, at the same venue.

                People like chose and more designs you can produce the better.

                What I do is make a few of the same design. Then when you sell one you can replace it on the display. You will allways have cards left over but you have a basic stock level to expand on for next time.

                On wedding stationery - (I also do this) I agree also that you will be very lucky if people place a order there and then. I would produce a simple brochure with pictures of each design & price list for people to take away. Produce a portfilo book with your design in. Saying to people that if they like a particular design you can produce and spend them a sample in their chosen colour scheme.

                Hope this helps



                • #9
                  I don't make cards but agree with comments above

                  I had wedding jewellery with me at my last fair and it did not sell, lots of people liked it and commented on how nice it was, but my opinion was that someone is unlikely to buy such high priced items from a farmers market, I took the stuff really just to attract attention (v. sparkly!)

                  I would just take a selection and use it as a test to see what sells and what doesn't, you can't get it right first time


                  • #10

                    What about having a website if you dont already .....have business cards with you so that peeps can order and buy online at their own leisure.....people always pay up front in full online........


                    Mothers hold their childrens hands awhile and their hearts forever xx


                    • #11
                      actually, nutty tigger, you've raised a really interesting point. i tend to avoid craft fairs, and approaching some local gift shops and craft galleries was something i was going to do. i'd already assumed anything left would be on a sale or return basis, but it hadn't occurred to me about damage to goods, theft etc, so thank you for bringing that up!

                      maybe, that kind of thing is covered by taking out some kind of insurance policy on your stock?, i think i'll have to look into this myself too.

                      pagan has already given good advice on taking order forms to the craft fair, from my experience, people who go to craft fairs are looking for things priced at 'pocket money' prices, ie cheap!
                      lucykate crafts... blog

                      lucykate crafts... on etsy


                      • #12

                        I feel that I must interject on the idea that people only go to craft fairs looking for something cheap - if things are of good quality then in my experience of well over 20 years attending events then the pieces will sell. Perhaps you need to attend better and larger events than small school halls etc. I keep urging crafters to stick to your guns and quality will out - do not devalue your product or standards just to sell. It may cost more to attend large events but they usually attract people who want to buy!


                        • #13
                          I normally display some samples of larger pieces or commission work on my stall at craft fairs, such as house signs, wedding work, etc. If I don't have such items to physically show, then I make sure that my catalogue of work has images of such designs to attract the attention of potential customers.
                          You may not get a direct 'sale' or large order on the day itself, but you may make an impressions and lodge your work in someone's memory so that one day, they remember you when they or a friend needs that certain special something.
                          I would take samples of your wedding work along with some good posters and lots of flyers/business cards. That way, you can talk to people who ask about your work and provide yourself with some orders at some point further down the line, so to speak.
                          People may not be expecting to order wedding stationery at a craft fair, but they may see your work and realise that they are looking for something unique, special and fitting for their big occasion.
                          Promote, promote, promote yourself at these events... best of luck to you!

                          Wood Tattoos
                          Decorative Pyrography for all Occasions - Author of "Woodburning with Style" (2010) and "Learn to Burn" (2013)