Creative Entrepreneurship

The list from Handmadeology is about Etsy sales but many of these are relevant to sales at craft shows and art fairs too.

There are several things that usually jump out at me about items I see for sale at these type of events:

11. Your items don’t stand out.
If you’re selling the same bracelet as at least 12 other Sellers on Etsy, then you are competing on price. (That’s a race to the bottom you really don’t want to be a part of.) Being unique and different is the easiest and most sincere way to direct browsers to your Etsy shop. And when other less creative sellers catch on and start copying you? You’ll already be developing and listing even more unique and different products for them to scramble over.

If people are walking past your booth and saying, “I could make that,” they probably can. Will they? Maybe not. But still – consider honing your skills to such a level, using such amazing materials, that you only hear the opposite, “Wow, I could never do what you do!”

Needle Felted Creatures by Casey Wright of Peaches Products, now available at Fairport Pharmacy

Needle Felted Creatures by Casey Wright of Peaches Products, now available at Fairport Pharmacy

19. Your shop is all over the place.
A cohesive shop not only speaks of a strong brand, but keeps the browser from feeling overwhelmed with scattered product options. A little tailoring and trimming goes a long way towards presenting a more fluid storefront.

I’ve seen spaces that offer so many different types of products, instead of seeing all, I see nothing, my brain is too overwhelmed. Is this person a jewelry designer, fiber artist or candle maker? I feel like it looks a little desperate. “I can make all of these things – please like something!”

Along the same line, I’ve made the mistake of thinking I should be using every inch of real estate in my booth. When I participated in the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair in 2013, I worked really hard to use my 3′ x 4′ of table space to the fullest. I filled the 4′ wide and went vertical as well. I thought I was so clever. In real life, I couldn’t interact with my customers easily and it was all just too much. Less is more and finding the right balance is important.

I must have deleted, out of embarrassment, any photos I took of my overcrowded space at the 2013 Buffalo Small Press Book Fair – so instead I’ll show you how it’s done simply, correctly and beautiful!

28. You look like a faceless corporation.
Most shoppers on Etsy want the personal touch of buying form an individual, or at least from a small company. If everything looks like it’s been taken from a stock photo website, and there is little to no voice in your written content, you may be getting confused with a massive reseller as a brand. A few personal touches, sprinkled in your product descriptions, photography, and packaging can go a long way in having you recognized as the one-of-a-kind individual you are.

This goes along with something I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time but it’s such a huge hot button for me, I haven’t been able to figure out how to take a breath and write calmly and rationally.

I visit a lot of artist websites and Facebook pages. A lot. My number one pet peeve is when I can’t find the artist’s actual name. People like to know who they are buying from! My second pet peeve is when there is little to no contact information. I dislike the comment form on websites but I understand why people use them. I’m also not a big fan of or Even just a is way more personal. And when Facebook went to that ridiculous format where they changed everyone’s primary email address to, for example, I about lost my mind. And now this Ask For Stefani’s Phone Number, etc. business? Pul-ease! Are you in business or not? Be accessible. If I have to work too hard to figure out who someone is, I lose interest. I rarely connect with anyone on any social media if they haven’t even changed their profile pic or avatar from the generic one that comes with the service. Sorry, you bore me. Be there or don’t.

To be clear, I’m only talking about business pages. If you’re a security freak or worried about spam, maybe an online presence isn’t for you. To me, spam filters are so sophisticated these days, I honestly have to deal with very little spam. I glance over my Junk Folder before I delete the emails, done.

This is obviously my opinion about what works for me, but I really think the possible opportunities missed far outweigh any negative results from making your business personal and accessible.

Here is the article that got me thinking about all this today. 50 Reasons You’re Not Getting Etsy Sales, by Megan Peterson.


Comments on: "Why You’re Not Getting Sales at Craft Shows" (4)

  1. Great post!


    • Rochester Artisans said:

      Thanks Linda! Your beautiful Pysanky eggs certainly show a high degree of technique that prevents most people from saying, “I could make that.”


  2. I just read this blog on Handmadeology today. I was going to post it to RNEST/RA too so was glad to see you had already done so AND written a blog in regards to it!
    This seems to be a slower time of year for sales being in between holidays so good article for thought!


    • Rochester Artisans said:

      Thanks Betsy! Handmadeology really has a lot of good information that is as relevant to in-person sales as online sales.


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