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  • help me I'm new and have lots of questions!

    hi all, since last year I've been thinking of making craft items, decorating wooden shapes, plaques, cushions, hampers etc. Sooo now we're in 2013 I'm finally going to get cracking. Now I have sourced a lot of the items I need to get started, and found competitive prices so I think I'm ready. I am unsure how successful the sales will be so I'm thinking of making a range of items and selling them at car boot sales/Facebook/fares and markets. is this a good idea to test the water? then if successful I can start to think business name, tax insurance etc? and I am struggling on how to price things, yea handmade items are made with love but how many buyers care? surely we all just want a bargin? After what my items cost, what percentage do others add on for time and profit? for example I have decorated some 150mm wooden hearts 6mm thick, so cost for paint,wood,buttons,ribbon is minimal (under a pound) any ideas on what to sell them for? I'm still learning so shabby chic is exactly what they are. but I have also spend time and effort on these so don't wanna sell them too cheap. plus if I did get a few orders I don't want to be up all night finishing these for only a few pence profit. sorry for the question overload. thank you xx

  • #2
    Hi, can't really help with your question but just wanted to say to the forum.

    Jo xx
    Things to make and do
    Things to make and do's Facebook page
    Michael Lovejoy's Art

    Comment


    • #3
      Welcome to the forum. One thing I think is a no, no is selling handmade at boot sales. people who go there are after a bargain and do not appreciate the work that goes into handmade. You also would be better keeping to one type of medium and getting to perfect that skill first, you are sounding more like a one man shop than an artisan. Most decorated plaques if done well can go for about £8.50 upwards.

      Costing you have to allow raw materials, overheads (this is light, heat, postage costs, pli insurance (which is a must)) plus to be able to pay yourself the minimum wage, plus profit for wholesale price then again for retail. Several threads on pricing but also check out Handmade Lives a blog with a wealth of information and sensible advice. Never under sell as handmade is worth more than items made in China on the cheap. As handmakers we are constantly striving to raise the profile of handmade and selling cheap is not part of it but sell something for what it is worth and reaching an audience that appreciate what we do as designers, business men and women and makers.

      Comment


      • #4
        thanks Carole, that's fab advice, I am certainly going at it alone, I have 2 small children's and a job too so don't want to go full throttle until I know if it's profitable. is it a good idea to jump in feet first when just setting up? how about the Facebook site selling / summer fares / markets? I've made some items and I don't really know where to go from here?? definatly taking your advice on sticking to one idea, it's just I'm bursting with ideas at the moment and want to do everything! this site is fab! I have practically filled my notepad with ideas and tips today ...'......................... THANK YOU XXX

        Comment


        • #5
          You will need to register with the HMRC when you start selling, you can prepare your stock in advance keeping all receipts, well you used to be able to so best check with them. They are not scary and very helpful and better to be legal than a fine.

          You will need pli again several threads on here, a good organiser will ask to see sight of this before they rent you a table. Never sold on FB so cannot comment but have you considered Folksy, Etsy etc, they are large so be prepared for your first sale to take some time. I have my own website but also sell on Wow Thank You. Be wary of gift fairs this means they allow franchises and bought in goods, some can be good but others are not for hand made.

          You will need business cards to hand out at events and send with any item sold, I have gone away from the small bus card and now use postcards with a photo, more memorable and less likely to get lost. Vistaprint do some good deals.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi & Welcome.
            You sound like a ball of energy. Listen to the good advice you've got and take one step at a time and I'm sure you'll do well.
            James x
            www.facebook.com/CraftyCath

            Comment


            • #7
              I cant help but wanted to say hi and welcome
              CraftyBird3000 / Peacock Blue
              my blog - http://craftybird3000.blogspot.co.uk/
              my twitter page https://twitter.com/CraftyBird3000
              my facebook page for my new business
              https://www.facebook.com/Peacockbluehandmade

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi there - I would agree, don't go selling at car boot sales as people only want cheapo bargains.

                Whatever you do, contact HMRC and tell them you plan to sell. They may say, "call us back when you've made your first sale," or they may say, "ok, tell us your info now," which will mean you thinking about how much you think you might make in your first year of trading - or in fact between now and the beginning of April I guess - and what your trading name is. You'll be a sole trader initially.

                Make sure you get some insurance - there are other companies out there but I use G.M. Imber and it costs me £55.

                Some people seem to do well selling on Facebook but be aware that due to the changes FB have put in place your business page posts won't be seen by many people - you might do as well to set yourself up through a personal page and build a following - like all Internet selling it takes work, you need to interact and like and comment on other people's stuff/posts too in order to even get your personal posts seen.....

                I sell through Etsy but like any selling platform it's hard work - you can't just stick a few things up and then wait for people to come. Do everything you can to get seen - make sure that all your pics are as good as they can be and then title them with what they are. Then when you use them you increase your chances of getting seen if someone types in what you make, so "Hand painted dog plaque" (for example) gets you a better chance of being seen than the way your camera tags something. I have had commissions come from people finding my pics on Google images and then tracking through to my website.

                There is lots of info about good Search Engine Optimisation if you have your own website - don't think you won't be able to do it, check out what your web hosts offer and see what their advice is first, then Google is your friend in terms of learning more....

                You can also use Stallfinder to find some craft fairs near you but be aware you'll probably need your insurance in place before you can book a slot.

                Be aware of this though (and I don't mean to be patronising) we are in the midst of a huge recession and people are not buying like they used to. They just aren't. Some people are and I hope you find them. But lots aren't, so don't get too disappointed when you don't sell a shed-load in your first week online.

                Having said that, good luck!
                Custom tribal belly dance costumes & accessories

                Unique jewellery for those who love to turn heads

                Comment


                • #9
                  I just have to reiterate that you can't sell 'to test the water'.....If you're selling you need to be registered. Make sure you keep receipts for everything you spend on the business to do your tax return (which is done a year after starting I believe). It sounds like a lot of work, but it's best to start off on the right path. I've said it before, The taxperson you speak to about registering is friendly and will help you sort it all out.....the one that catches you trading unregistered is NOT!

                  I too would advise against car boots....and EBay as people want cheap as chips items at both and this will seriously under value your work. Try craft fairs and places like Etsy, Folksy and WOW thank you and even try your own website (I'd recommend www.create.net)
                  Starting up and running your own business is extremely hard work....we are in a recession and people has less disposable income....BUT some people are spending, you just need find them and direct them to YOUR work....(easier said than done unfortunately)
                  Please don't think I am being negative....it's great and I love it but it ain't easy xx
                  Sarah x

                  ~ The Lilac Dragonfly- Handmade Jewellery ~

                  ~ Facebook Page ~




                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hello, welcome to the forum and good luck with everything!
                    "If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." Roald Dahl

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I use my crafting to let off steam so speed and hence accounting for time isn't important. I do sometimes make multiples of the same design for my xmas cards or to swap with other crafters. Once you have designed the card even complicated cards with lots of hand stamping can be made really fast if you make them production style. I got my xmas cards down to 10 minutes per card. I wouldn't like to make them like this for a living but its perhaps worth considering if you want to make a living making cards.

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                      • #12
                        Welcome to the forum
                        View my flickr

                        'I am sure it must hurt your eyes to work filigree by candlelight.' - Jane Austen

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                        • #13
                          I'd say give it a go, you never know.
                          To jump in hell for leather or to creep in slowly?
                          I've done both.
                          My Annie business started small and has grown to give me a living wage for part time work. With this one I listened to what people wanted and made or found it for them. I sold a tiny basket of stuff and put the money into making two baskets of stuff. I can fill 3 tents now. People find me at specific fairs or by word of mouth.
                          My Anna business started with a suitcase full of stuff and I have to persuade people they'd like to have my stuff (not the same as need it!) and finding the 'right' fairs and customers has not come easy. It's grown to one tent full of stuff. I've battered my way through the credit crunch, the recession and a falling pound and I really feel I was gambling with the money I put into buying stock (South American craft work).

                          So do you feel like a hare or a tortoise?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            We have started slowly by designing a protective sleeve for an iPad and then duplicating it in a range of fabrics. Our intention is to then add a whole range of products that match, such as make-up bags, jewellery rolls for travelling, etc.

                            We decided not to use eBay or car boot sales, but will go to craft fairs and maybe local school fairs to get a bit of a boost. We have a website, which has generated a small amount of interest but have not been able to sell anything through it - we get more interest when people see the items and see how good they are. We did wonder about Amazon Marketplace, but quickly realised that will not work for individual, items which is a shame. I hope with our range it's just a question of getting it out there to find the right people.

                            I've seen some interesting comments about etsy, which I think was in this thread, and when I looked I agreed with them - there is a lot of stuff on there and again it's a question of getting your products to the top of the list.

                            This is a very new venture for us and has been a real eye opener, I'm glad I found this forum though so I know there are other people out there with similar problems and also success stories. I wish you luck in your new business.


                            Good luck with your business
                            Julie and Beverley - JuBerry Fabrics & Designs
                            JuBerry Website
                            Facebook Page
                            Etsy Shop
                            Blog

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bdcbdc View Post
                              We have started slowly by designing a protective sleeve for an iPad and then duplicating it in a range of fabrics. Our intention is to then add a whole range of products that match, such as make-up bags, jewellery rolls for travelling, etc.

                              We decided not to use eBay or car boot sales, but will go to craft fairs and maybe local school fairs to get a bit of a boost. We have a website, which has generated a small amount of interest but have not been able to sell anything through it - we get more interest when people see the items and see how good they are. We did wonder about Amazon Marketplace, but quickly realised that will not work for individual, items which is a shame. I hope with our range it's just a question of getting it out there to find the right people.

                              I've seen some interesting comments about etsy, which I think was in this thread, and when I looked I agreed with them - there is a lot of stuff on there and again it's a question of getting your products to the top of the list.

                              This is a very new venture for us and has been a real eye opener, I'm glad I found this forum though so I know there are other people out there with similar problems and also success stories. I wish you luck in your new business.


                              Good luck with your business
                              Good luck with your venture - there are so many products you could develop on a theme!! However, one thing regarding your website is that it is not compliant with Distance Selling Regulations which may explain why you are not getting sales.

                              The two major things that are legally required are: 1. A full postal address and landline telephone number and 2. Returns policy with a 'cooling off period' of a minimum of 7 days. Full details can be found online (just put in Distance Selling Regulations). There are a lot of fraudulent sites out there during these tough times & one of the first things consumers are told is not to buy from any site that doesn't have all the information required by DSR.

                              I would also put a lot more photos on your site - especially on the home page. Your website is your shop window & at the moment, the blinds are pulled down.

                              Sorry if this sounds negative - your products look lovely, you just aren't enticing the visitors to buy!
                              Ali x

                              Etsy Shop: aliscraftstudio.etsy.com
                              Facebook: AlisCraftStudio
                              Follow me on Twitter:
                              @AlisCraftStudio

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