This is the final part of Arts and Crafts Market Essential, and we are happy to have minifanfan to share her experiences with us. She has been participating in various bazaars, markets, and fairs for 2-3 years now!
I’d like to share my experiences on pre-bazaar preparation, which will also be applicable for online selling.
Participating in bazaar will not bring us tons of money, but it’s very important to showcase the best product quality to all potential customers. Customers ‘know’ you and your brand through the quality of your products. Selling low quality products will not only leave a bad impression, it will also cause customers to think low of local art bazaars. Always remember that customers will only come back for good quality.
Pinky The Funny Bob Girl Head No.2 by minifanfan.
Pricing is definitely a headache for many of us. Many artists/designers/crafters lower the prices of their creations, hoping that this will encourage more sales. But to me, I think that the prices should be based on the cost of materials, your time spent, and your skill. I’d like to share a thought that I’ve recently had with everyone here. My uncle was talking to me regarding the handmade market in Indonesia with me several days ago. He told me that a nicely sculpted wooden lampshade is selling at only RM10 in Indonesia. The craftmanship is really nice and it really shouldn’t be priced at only RM10, not even RM100. But why? Well, my uncle mentioned that they didn’t even have business cards. If you were to ask from them, they’ll write their contacts down on a piece of paper and pass it to you. What I want to say is that we are really lucky to be able to live in an environment with internet and all, and we can sell and introduce our creations to the world. These Indonesian artists didn’t know that they could be famous, and all they do is to continue ‘selling’ their labour and skill at a really low price – which in fact, to me, their creations can be sold at USD$100 at anytime! I’m not encouraging you to price your work ridiculously high, but I’m suggesting that you should price your creations reasonably and value your ideas and skills.
Also, if you plan to do consignment or wholesale with your creations, I’d suggest that you sell at retail price at bazaars and your online shop. That way you can standardise your price and earn money to feed yourself at the same time.
3. Business Card
I notice that many artists/designers/crafters tend to rush in participating in bazaars and always don’t prepare business cards with them. I personally think that it’s a pity, because many people will want to know you and your creations through the internet, and at times there might even be collaboration opportunities. It may happen immediately, but when your creations are getting matured and outstanding, these people will want to work with you. But if they can’t find the way to reach you at this particular moment, it’s when you have lost your opportunities.
I also like to include my business card in package that I sent out to customers for transactions over the internet. Who knows, your business card might be passed around to your customer’s friends.
Wonderland Hand Drawn Gift Stamp Sticker set of 3 by minifanfan.
Although I’m not really a ‘top sales’, but through my experiences at bazaars for over 2-3 years, I notice that having a real characteristic for you and your products is really important. From my observation, local art and craft bazaars are slowly emerging, but there is still a lack of work and creations with own characteristic. Many people are doing the same thing just like everyone – or rather, copying. I think it’s OK to copy what others do, but only as a form of practice. If you would like to build a brand, I strongly suggest that you keep the copy-work at home and start building your own style. People buy to express personal tastes and lifestyles. I don’t think anyone would like to build a self-image through buying imitations. I remember once I was told that copying is a form of learning when you first starting to design or craft. I couldn’t agree more. But I suggest that you only participate in bazaars when you are ready with your own style, because participating in bazaar is also a form of self-promotion – in fact it’s an opportunity to educate the public on the true meaning of ‘creative’ bazaar. How would people look at you when you are selling a copied work?
To fully utilise your packaging in both bazaar and your online shop, I suggest to have simple but creative ones. A complicated packaging will be very troublesome during shipping, and worst, increase your postage. But then again, not everyone can have a packaging style that suits them especially at the initial stage. It is something that needs time and experiment to achieve, but it’s definitely worth spending time to work on, because a good packaging is also one of the main reasons for a potential customer to choose your product. We humans decide with our eyes, and a good packaging will definitely encourage that buying desire.
These are my experiences from selling at bazaars and online. Everyone can and will accumulate different kind of experiences through participating and experimenting, and after some time, you’ll definitely be able to come up with something that will work for you and your creations. Cheers!
Thanks minifanfan for sharing! We will wrap up Arts and Crafts Market Essential for now, but if you have anything to share, feel free to leave your comment!