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Capturing The Craft Show Market
Finding the right product to sell at a craft show is extremely important in finding success on the craft show circuit. You may already have an excellent craft product or line of products you are creating or even selling, or you may be looking for a craft to produce in order to enter the business. In either case, market research is going to help you find a craft show product that you can produce at a low enough cost to net a profit - and one that you will enjoy making. If you don’t spend time looking into what everyone else has at their craft show booth, you might repeat what others have, or create a product no one really wants.
What exactly is a craft? The dictionary definition of "craft" is to make by hand, therefore, theoretically anything handmade is a craft. Although that's true, a craft typically falls into a category of items that are normally sold under the umbrella of arts and crafts that are either decorative or useful or both—and that consumers generally purchase for ornamental or practical use. The endless creativity of new craft show items is nothing short of remarkable. The product you choose will likely be one you enjoy producing or have a natural affinity for. It might be a skill passed down from generation to generation in your family, but you can also learn it on your own. You may decide to take classes or apprentice to a master to learn a new skill for producing a craft show item. Yet in order to make your craft business a success, you should consider doing a little bit of homework about what craft show item to make, ahead of time.
What sells? Wouldn't you like to have the answer to that question before putting all your resources into creating a product? How can you get the answer? Market research. Any large company that manufactures products utilizes market research before developing new products. You can use the Internet as well as common sense. You can ask friends, visit craft shows, galleries, retail stores, eBay and other websites to see what is selling and what isn't. Ask other artisans and craft show booth owners. Study trends by reading consumer magazines, trade journals, the fashion section of the newspaper or even watching TV.
Product ideas also come from everyday life—find a niche and fill it – and you will most certainly find success in craft shows. But, you need to make sure you stay on the cutting edge. Children, animals and nature can provide inspiration as well. Jot ideas for craft show items in your notebook or computer whenever you come up with something you think would be a hot seller. Compile a list of possible items and compare it to what you might enjoy producing. Then ask yourself if the craft show item is practical, decorative, unique, can be priced right (for profit), has a personal touch, is of excellent quality and offers exceptional value.
You might also want to check out the competition in any category you select. How can you put a spin on your product to make it distinct and stand out from the others? If you're a crafter, you're probably highly creative, so use your creativity to come up with something imaginative. Without plunging into it full on, see if you can make a few samples and solicit feedback from friends or store owners. Do a small craft show and gauge customer response. If all systems seem to be saying "go" then go for it!
Find a craft you enjoy making, that you can construct efficiently and cost effectively, and one you can sell, and you have the craft show market cornered. But, you probably aren’t going to land the perfect product without some groundwork done beforehand. If you want to find the utmost in craft show success, then take the time to deliver a product that you have researched, and watch craft collectors flock to your booth!
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