Tag Archive 'craft show selling'

Feb 12 2012

Tutorial – Making a Gift Box for Quilling

In an earlier post, I shared how I package my quilled ornaments in a little handmade gift box for craft shows.  I gave general information and some tips, but have been asked to provide detailed instructions on how they are made.  I created a tutorial in case you would like to know, too. 

 

Box Bottom

1.  Cut a 5” x 5” square from heavy scrapbook paper or card stock.

 

2.  Score the box 1” from each side (inside square of box will be 3” x 3”).  Fold sides up at score lines and flatten back down.

 

3.  Following the score line, cut 1” slits on two opposite sides of the square.

box bottom

4.  To make a nicer box corner, cut a small notch in each corner.

cut corner notch

5.  Fold up the box sides and glue the 1” tabs on the inside.  You could also use double-sided tape or a tape runner, but I found that the glue held the sides together better.

inside box bottom

 

Box Lid

The construction of the box lid is the same as for the bottom, but you will want to adjust your measurements so that:  (1) the inside square is slightly larger than the bottom so the two box halves fit easily together, and (2) the sides of the lid are shorter than the sides of the bottom to make the box easier to open.

 

1.  Cut a 4-3/4” x 4-3/4” square from heavy scrapbook paper or card stock.

 

2.  Score the box 13/16” from each side (inside square of box will be 3-1/8” x 3-1/8”).  Fold sides up at score lines and flatten back down.

 

3.  Following the score line, cut 13/16” slits on two opposite sides of the square; notch corners.  Fold up the box sides and glue the tabs on the inside. 

 

Finishing

quilled ornament in a boxThat’s all there is to it.  Just put your 3” x 3” square of batting into the bottom and you are good to go.  As I mentioned in the previous post, I open the box so that the quilling can be seen and place the whole thing it into a clear sleeve.

 

The easiest way to make the box a little more special is to use two different coordinating papers for the box lid and bottom (this is what I do). 

 

If you wanted a really fancy box, you could decorate the lid by:  cutting the box lid square using decorative scissors so that the top had a pretty decorative edge, embossing just the sides while they are still flat before gluing the tabs, gluing decorative ribbon around the sides, making the sides even shorter and gluing a pretty ruffled lace around the edges, adding decorative stitching, etc.  You are only limited by your imagination!

 

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Nov 27 2011

Packaging Quilling Ornaments for Sale or Gifts

I have participated in many craft shows over the years and have found one that I really like sponsored by the South Cobb Arts Alliance.  Unlike traditional 1-2 day shows where you set up your booth and then personally sell your merchandise each day, this 11-day show is set up like a Christmas house.  You bring your items for the initial set up, work two 3-hour shifts, pick up your unsold items, and they mail you a check for the items that you did sell.  It is wonderful!

 

The only down side is that you are not there to watch over your items.  That is where creative packaging can be a big help.  Along with my “captured ornament” series, this year I am offering three different quilled ornaments for sale.  And while I know that paper ornaments are quite sturdy, I really didn’t want to put them out without some type of protection.  I would hope that adults would treat them with proper care, but the tables are low enough that little ones might be tempted to reach for them.

 

To solve this problem, I created a simple gift box for each ornament and then placed it inside a plastic sleeve (like those used for cards).  Packaged with the box open, potential buyers can see exactly what the ornament looks like.   

 

I make the gift boxes from heavy scrapbook paper or card stock.  I like using a nice printed paper for the top and a solid color for the bottom.  I purchase the paper during the year when I find it on sale, that way the boxes cost next to nothing.  My boxes are roughly 3-in x 3-in square, but you will want to make yours sized to fit your ornaments.  Just be sure to make the lid a little bit larger so it will fit over the bottom (trust me — I speak from frustrated experience).  I also make the lid height a little bit shorter than the bottom height so that the box is easier for the recipient to open.  There are several good scoring tools on the market (I use the Martha Stewart one, but Score-Pal is very popular, too) that make creating these boxes a snap.  For those who would like detailed instructions for making these boxes, I have posted a step-by-step tutorial.

 

For an added touch, I cut a piece of white quilt batting to fit inside the box.  I purchased an inexpensive roll of batting at my local JoAnn store (using a coupon, of course!).  I’ve probably made five dozen boxes and still have plenty of batting left for next year.  This gives the gift box the feel of an expensive jewelry gift box.  I did find, however, that my white snowflake did not show up well on the white batting, so I cut a piece of pale silver tissue to sit on top of the batting underneath the snowflake. 

 

Since my ornaments are for sale, I include my custom hang tag which contains basic quilling information.  This tucks away neatly underneath the batting.

 

Even if you don’t participate in craft shows, you might want to give this idea a try.  Think of how delighted your friends and family will be to receive your quilled ornaments inside their own little gift box.

 

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Sep 26 2009

Sell Your Quilling at Craft Shows — Choosing the Right Show (Part 2)

Published by under Sell Your Quilling

The best advice I can give you about finding out whether a craft show is right for you and your quill art is to ask questions.
 

Talk to the Customers

 
As you wander around, talk to the customers.  Have they been to the show before?  How did they hear about it?  Are they looking for anything in particular?  If a regular attendee, do they have a favorite vendor?  Did they have any problem finding a parking place?  Do they attend other craft shows?  If so, which one(s)?  You don’t need to ask each customer you talk to all of the questions or they may feel like they are being interrogated, but I have found people to be quite friendly and willing to chat at a craft show. 
 

Talk to the Vendors 

 
You will want to wait until the vendor doesn’t have any customers and then let them know that you are thinking about participating in the show next year.  Explain that you create quill art and be prepared to briefly describe what it is if they are unfamiliar with it.  Once the vendor knows you won’t be a direct competitor they will be more likely to answer your questions.  Find out their opinion of the show.  Have they participated in the show in the past?  Have they had any problems with the show management?  Do they do other shows?  If so, which ones and how do they compare with this one?  You might be tempted to ask them about sales, but it is so subjective that the same dollar amount might be seen as great for one vendor and dismal for another.  A better way to determine show sales is to stand back and see if people are buying.  Are customers walking around with bags of goodies, or are they leaving the show empty-handed?
 

Talk to Those in Charge

 
Find out who is in charge and ask them how to obtain a vendor application for next year.  Ask if attendee and sales information is available.  You’ll want to know:
 
  • Fees:  What is the booth fee?  Besides the booth fee, are vendors required to donate a craft item for a silent auction benefiting the sponsoring organization (this is especially common for non-profit and church sponsored events).  This donation needs to be added to the entry fee when comparing costs.  In addition to the booth fee, some show promoters charge a percentage of sales.  Many times, this percentage is different for those exhibitors who are members of the sponsoring organization versus non-members.  There may also be an additional fee charged for electricity (if required), or for the use of tables provided by the show venue.
 
  • Booth & Setup:  What is the size of the booth?  Booth sizes generally depend on the exhibiting venue and are are not standard.  Some sizes I have seen through the years are 8’x8′, 10’x10′, and 5′ x 15′.  Each show I have been in required that tables be covered to the floor so that boxes and extra merchandise is neatly hidden.  Usually, the nature of this covering is left up to the individual crafter, but I did run across one who required that all tables be covered in black.  If you have brown table covering and need to purchase black, it will add to the cost of entering that show.  Not all shows require a booth, however.  I have been accepted into a Christmas House sponsored by an arts organization I belong to.  I bring my specially tagged merchandise to the house several days before the show and the show volunteers display my wares.  There is nothing for me to set up — but I have no control over the display. 
 
  • Length of Show:  While weekend shows are most common, shows may be anywhere from one day to two weeks.  You need to be aware of how much display time in front of potential customers you are buying with your show fees.   
 
  • General Info:  Find out the set-up schedule.  If you are required to set up by 7:00pm Friday night for a Saturday show and you don’t get off work until 5:00pm, you might have a problem and will need to pass on the show or get someone to help with the set-up.  Are only handmade items accepted, or is buy/sell merchandise allowed (mass produced items imported for resale).  Is it a juried show?  Will you need to submit a photo of your booth set-up along with photos of your art to be considered?  Most craft shows have an application process with deadlines much sooner than you would expect.  I enjoy shopping at a local craft show that takes place mid-November.  It is so popular that returning vendors must reserve their spot by May 1st and the show sponsors stop taking applications from new vendors on June 1st.  
 

Take the Next Step

 
If you kept good notes, you should be able to compare the various craft shows you attended and pick one or two you would like to participate in.  There are no guarantees, but at least you will be making an informed decision to give yourself the best possible chance for a successful show.  Be sure to mark your calendar with the application deadlines for your chosen show(s) so time doesn’t slip away and you find yourself next fall wishing you were in a Christmas craft show instead of just attending one.
If you missed it, click here for Sell Your Quilling at Craft Shows (Part 1).
 
Craft Show Tip:  Talk to your crafting pals to see if anyone is interested in sharing a booth space.  It is a great way to dip your toe into the craft show waters without jumping all the way in.

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Sep 22 2009

Sell Your Quilling at Craft Shows — Choosing the Show (Part 1)

Published by under Sell Your Quilling

craft-show-displayFor those of us in the Northern Hemisphere (United States, Canada and most of Europe) autumn begins today at 5:18 pm EDT.  And you know what that means — cooler air, changing leaves, and craft shows are right around the corner.  I have participated in many craft shows over the years and have learned a few tricks along the way which I am happy to share with you. 
 
If you have been toying with the idea of selling your quillwork at craft shows, now is the time to start preparing for the 2010 season. 
 
Keep an eye out for all of the shows in your area and attend as many as you can.  You may see an ad in your local newspaper or hear about it on the radio.  Where I live, some craft shows are listed in the Events section of my water bill and electric co-op monthly magazine.  If you live in large cities, you could try Internet searches. 
 
Before attending any show, purchase a small purse-size notebook to take with you to record your comments and observations.  This will become an invaluable reference guide in deciding which show(s) will be the best match for your quilled art.
 

The Craft Show Itself

 
Promotion.  For each show, make a note of how you found out about it and whether it was promoted in several places and how often.  Why is this good to know?  If you have a hard time finding out about a show, so will the paying customers and attendance will be off.
 
Location.  Is the show an outdoor show or inside show?  Your booth display needs will be different for indoor and outdoor shows.  Personally, I have chosen not to do outdoor shows since I don’t want to deal with possible weather issues, but that’s just me.
 
Type of Venue.  Is the event primarily a craft show, or is it a family fun day like a community or school fair (pony rides, games, face painting) with crafts added as an additional revenue stream for the sponsors?  If people are paying for other activities, they won’t be buying the crafts.  The craft section of the event will be viewed as another form of entertainment and won’t draw serious shoppers.
 

Show Observations

 
Spend some time just looking around and try and get an overall feel for the show.  You also want to see if sales are being made.
 
Parking.  After parking and while still in your car, take a moment to jot down a few observations.  Were there signs along the route announcing the show?  Is there adequate parking?  Is there a fee to park?
 
Show Venue & Layout.  Is there a fee to get in?  Are the isles wide enough for people to stop and look at the booths without blocking traffic?  If the shoppers are constantly being bumped into, they won’t linger over your merchandise.  How is the general lighting?  Are there dark spots in the room?  Is music being played over the speakers?  Is it pleasant or too loud?
 
Vendors.  Do you notice a diversity in the crafts being offered by the vendors?  If more than one vendor is selling a particular type of craft (beaded jewelry or pottery, for example) and are they dispersed fairly evenly around the area?  Are the booths attractive with covered tables and display pieces, or are the vendors using card tables with their wares scattered about?  What is the general quality and pricing of the merchandise?  If you are trying to sell high-end framed quill art in a church bazaar setting, you probably won’t make many sales.  Smaller pieces such as quilled magnets, bookmarks, and coasters might work better.  Jotting down the price range of the other vendors’ merchandise allows you to adjust your product line and pricing should you decide to do the show the following year.
 
You’ve walked around and written down your initial observations — now what?  I’ll answer that question in Choosing the Right Show (Part 2)
 
Craft Show Tip:  Selling at craft shows requires a certain investment.  To keep costs down, at least until you know if you even want to do shows, choose local shows so you won’t incur additional traveling and lodging expenses. 
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