Craft Fair and Market Tips ~ Our Products

If you have been following Twin Dragonfly Designs on Facebook or Instagram then you know that my mom and I have been vendors at our local Farmers Market this summer.

We began with a few indoor markets in the spring and decided to try our hand at a few summer markets as well.  It has been a huge learning experience that I plan to share with all of you.  I will be posting all that we have learned in the last few months and hope that you might find these tips useful.  

Attending the markets throughout the summer was a truly valuable experience.  We attended markets {located throughout the Okanagan} 24 times. We learned a lot about our products and how they sold.  A few of the things that other craft vendors said really stood out to me.  These are just generalizations and not how every craft vendor feels I am sure.

Etsy
I heard etsy being called “regretsy” many times.  Vendors felt that listing their products on etsy was a waste of time and many had negative experiences with the site.
Vendors were very protective of their “idea” and product.  One vendor said that she would never post her product on etsy for fear that the idea would be “stolen”.  She said that she felt most people went on etsy just to get ideas for things that they themselves could make.  
 You may have noticed that I no longer have many products for sale in my etsy store.  I have done this for a number of reasons 1. listing on etsy is a lot of work 2. packaging and shipping items is a lot of work 3. etsy is flooded with like minded hand crafters and it is hard to stand out 4. I don’t want my products to be copied and I don’t want other people to think that I may have copied an idea.

 Photographs
Vendors did not like photographs taken of their products.  Similar to listing on etsy, when a photo of their product was taken, they felt that that person may be stealing their idea.  I started to feel this way too.  I cannot tell you how many times I had people take a photograph of our Play Mats {that turn into a bag} and walk away saying {insert: I, mom, grandma} could make this.  It made me feel… cheap?  

Our most profitable days at the market were the last two weeks in July and the first two weeks in August.  These were also times when there seemed to be more tourists in town who tended to support the craft vendors more.  Our location seemed to affect sales as well.  A corner booth where are products were more exposed was ideal.

So what did we sell?
I have included our sales from March to August.
Check out our display for product photos.

Ruffle Dresses
Size 12 months – 8 years
$20 – $25 each
sold out ~ over 40 dresses

Ruffle Skirts
Sizes 12 months – 8 years
$10 each
introduced in July ~ approx. 16 skirts sold

Ya Ya Monster Dolls
Regular size
$20 each
Mini
$12 or 2/$20
our biggest seller all summer ~ details below

Soft Swords
$10 or 2/$15
we sold 14 swords

Play Mat/Bags
$25 – $30 each
our most commented on product ~ we sold over 13

Belts
$10 each
We had boy and girl styles.
we sold about 20 belts

Bow Ties & Ties
$10 or 2/$15
Leg Warmers 
$5
Boo Boo Birdies
$10
Lunch Kits
$12
Little Girl Hair Accessories
$2
We sold marginal amounts of these items.

We averaged a gross profit of $150 each market.  That does not take into account the cost of our materials, travel expenses, equipment costs or time.  We felt like we might have broken even for the whole experience.

All of our products were geared towards kids with a bright, friendly look to our booth.  We were often asked to make other things or people would tell us what they thought would sell well.  As sewers our time was very valuable and we learned that it was important to focus on the products that were selling well and not to experiment with what other people suggested.

I felt like it was important to fill a niche that was not being met at the markets and one that we could be passionate about.  To quote one of my favorites from the movie Robots, “see a need, fill a need”.  Creating products and accessories geared more towards little boys was a direction that I could definitely see myself taking as there are just not enough cute boy things in the marketplace.  I also made a very conscious decision not to recreate or sell things that other vendors we’re already selling.  For example we could have easily made Tu Tu skirts.  But why would we when another local entrepreneur had a booth full of them?  We would have created an unhealthy competition and reduced both of our potential profits.  As a local vendor it was important to me that we help to support and grow not only our little business but others as well.

I have many, many friends who crochet and attend local craft fairs.  I crochet and sell my products as well.  I have narrowed my crochet products down to the lovely crochet headbands with removable flowers that I make.  These are the only things that I make to sell to friends, family and online.  When someone asks me to crochet something different for them or requests a custom order, I gladly refer that customer to one of my friends.  It bothers me when fellow crocheters look at my headbands and say things like “oh, I could totally make those!”  Of course you could.  But why open ourselves up to unhealthy competition?  Why not refer potential customers to talented entrepreneurs who have a certain area of expertise?  It will only strengthen our relationships with our customers and fellow small business owners.  Find your niche.  I will get off of my soap box now 😉

Ya Ya Monster Dolls really took off this summer.  I plan to share a big reveal on the blog soon!  We sold over 50 Ya Yas and did a lot of networking with local vendors and shop owners.  The biggest pay off was making a connection with a local buyer who has since ordered 40 Ya Yas for her shop!  Other partnerships with local shops are still in the works.  Ya Ya Monster Dolls are protected under a registered copyright.  You can find all of the Ya Ya details on our Facebook Page.  I am BEYOND excited for all of the fabulous things to come for Ya Ya Monster Dolls!!!

So there are all of the nitty, gritty details of our summer!!I hope that you found this little series insightful!  
Thanks for following along.

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1 Comment

  1. Sky says

    Great, honest details here, Heather- all of this is such awesome information for crafters and handmade businesses! It’s true- of course you could make it yourself, but would or should you?! Also, everytime I go to a craft fair locally I think that a boy booth would surely do well! Have yet to do it though… maybe someday! Can’t wait to see and hear more of your Ya Yas!

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