When you go to a craft show, what are you looking for? Could you have found it at a retail establishment? If you are like many people in the craft going public, you go to craft shows because you think Different Means Better. You don’t want to purchase the same gifts that everyone else is buying. You want to find something truly unique that says the recipient is special and deserves a gift that is one of a kind.
“Why aren’t you making Colorado flag emblem hats?” That is what one person asked me last year, since I make and sell crocheted hats. Yes, they are popular, and you see them everywhere. I responded very honestly with, “I could, but why should I since everyone else is making them.” Why would I want to put myself in competition with everyone else? How is that any different than mass-produced retail offerings? If everyone is making the same hat, as a consumer you are no longer interested in the quality of the work, but only in the price. That forces everyone to lower prices to be competitive. How does that benefit anyone?
Another common practice of crafters is that they make many duplicate items. Why not vary the pattern by making each item unique? Place different ribbons, buttons, bows, flowers, etc. to make that hat unique compared to all the others. Make the same pattern in different colors or materials. Choose cotton and colorful pastel yarns for summer wear and darker, warmer yarns for winter wear. If you make the effort to provide the buyer with something unusual, than different means better. It also means that your items will stand out from the copycats.
Crafting is attractive to you, because it allows you to be creative and expressive. So be creative! Vary the free pattern you downloaded so that it fits your child, your husband, etc. by making it smaller or larger than the given pattern. Add some color by using a variety of leftover yarns. Include a rainbow of color varieties so that it will attract people who like that color. How often do you turn away from a purchase, because you can’t find a color that you like? Offer your customers several or all of the colors of the rainbow in the items that you create.
Extra effort in making your craft has another benefit. It means others will respect and admire your products. It also means that your professional results can garner higher prices. We’ve all been tempted to reduce prices to move products. It took years of craft show participation to get the price that I wanted for some doilies. But lowering prices just lowers the value you place on your own hard work. Granted, I won’t be making any doilies to replace those sold, but I’m glad I stuck to my guns. Being different can mean waiting for the market to catch up with you–another good reason to have a variety of items in a range of prices to help attract a wider group of consumers.
Packaging is another way of saying different means better. It can mean a tag explaining how you came to create what you are selling; how you selected the material you used; or even what or who inspired you to make it. Don’t be afraid to tell a your story if it results in more sales. Packaging can also mean a nice box, colorful bag or clever container. If you save your customer some time and effort, they may just be willing to pay a little extra for that service. Packaging is another way to turn what may be an ordinary item into an extraordinary gift.
In researching this article, I found a website that crafters may find helpful. It is The Artful Crafter. Eileen has a simple, clean layout for her site and talks about all crafts. You might want to check her out. I hope she feels that some of my articles are equally informative. I happened to find her via Ezine Articles. I’ve included her in my Resources menu item.