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Message Board > Creative Sewing > suggestions for items to sell at craft shows ( Moderated by Lynnelle)

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suggestions for items to sell at craft shows
SydneyAnne
SydneyAnne
Member since 1/11/08
Posts: 74
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Date: 8/6/08 11:55 AM

Hi to All, I was wanting to embroidery some items to sell at a local craft show. Since my 4 dgd's are not infants anymore, I was wondering if someone could make suggestions as to what items are really popular and selling well. I was considering ready made bibs with cute sayings on them, also burp cloths, maybe embriodered pillow cases, or kitchen towels with scriptures, etc. if the market is not already saturated with these. I would love to hear from someone who is currently embroidering for extra money. Since I am retired, my focus is extra money toward a new embroidery machine. I would also need some sources to purchase bulk items, such as the bibs, pillow cases, flannel fabric. Since I am very new in this endevor, any help and suggestions from someone who has walked ahead of me would be appreciated. Thanks for your time, Sydney Anne

marykpfist
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marykpfist
Intermediate
TX USA
Member since 7/16/08
Posts: 154
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In reply to SydneyAnne


Date: 8/6/08 12:30 PM

Anne-
Your profile didn't say where you are located-- are you in Sydney, AU?

I'm in the US, in TX-- and we do fall craft fairs every year. In small craft fairs, there is nearly always someone who has burp cloths and blankets, and in medium size craft fairs there is usually more than one. In large craft fairs, I tend to avoid selling "sayings" and move toward custom work and outfits.

I'm not discouraging making these items, just suggesting you need to be aware of this, as it does affect pricing and profit.

I find I do better to have something unique that others might not have. Try to think 'outside the box' and you can increase your profit margin.

I do very well with toddler totes that are embroidered and appliqued to look like other things. (There's a time/profit ratio here though that must be met... most toddler totes won't sell at a craft fair for over $20 here locally, so I don't want to invest 3 hours embroidering plus materials something that will only fetch $20.)

One thing I'm doing this year is to use this time to "practice" sewing items I avoid. Bound buttonholes, welt pockets, specialty embroidery and the like. Many people who own embroidery machines do not actually sew (well) so anything a little more stylized or advanced you can do will make you stand out as well.
Many people (here locally) embroider RTW items, but I find fewer make the items. Things which are more handcrafted, then embroidered, sell better for me-- but they do of course take more time.

You also did not mention if you have the ability to digitize-- but that helps too. If you can embroider outside the common designs and move past words-- you'll broaden your customer base.

HTH!

Mary Kay

ETA- fixing spelling typo...

-- Edited on 8/6/08 12:35 PM --

------
Donated my fabric stash, now starting with a much smaller pile!

Portia Hirschman

Portia Hirschman  Friend of PR
Advanced Beginner
MD USA
Member since 5/22/04
Posts: 500
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Date: 8/6/08 12:36 PM

What sells well here are American Girl dollclothes, Christmas decorations (especially stockings,lace angels), casserole carriers and hot pads, wine bottle bags, and purses.

Michelle T

Michelle T
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BC CANADA
Member since 8/24/02
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In reply to SydneyAnne


Date: 8/6/08 1:36 PM

Unless you live in a very religious area, I do not think items with scriptures would sell well. In my community there is a large fundamental community and I do not recall seeing any embroidered scriptures at any craft fairs, including those in church halls.

Personally I love unique Christmas ornaments. I buy one for each member of the family every year. Some are embroidered, others quilted or made in other ways.

If you have cross stitch ability with your machine, try cross stitch ornaments. I bought stockings and toy soldiers one year that were machine done, then attached to felt. The seller had added common names to many, or could personalize on the spot.

I am cheap though and rarely will buy if the price is over $5.00 for an ornament. I do like it if I get a discount for buying multiples. So I would by 5 for $25.00, but I would not buy 5 if they were $6.00 each.

I love embroidered pillow cases, but only if the pillow case itself is very high quality fabric. If it is a Walmart pillow case, I would never buy it.

No babies, so no suggestions there.

------
Proud parent of a Dwight International School Honour Roll Student

popoagiesmiles
popoagiesmiles
Intermediate
TX USA
Member since 2/25/06
Posts: 1950
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Date: 8/6/08 7:48 PM

One thing that someone made and gave out as Christmas presents was those things you put on your eyes. They look like a sleep mask but thicker because they are filled with rice that may have essential oils of lavender or whatever mixed in lightly. You put them n the microwave to heat or in the freezer to make cold and store in a zippered baggie.

She made one size for adults and one for kids, a smaller one. She used neutral looking plaid flannel on one side and solid flannel on the other.

They are so relaxing when heated and so relieving (and depuffing) when cold. And, they fit into your toiletry bag when traveling, are great stocking stuffers, and are very, very cheap to make. Just rice, a bit of scented oil (or not), flannel and thread, plus the baggie. You could make a self-fabric drawstring case skip the drawstring and fold over but it's more practical to use a baggie because it keeps the oil smell in and the freezer smell out. And, baggies are much less work, so you focus on the actual item. Or, you could sell the cases separately as an add-on.

Of course, you could to larger tubes for the neck or back. I just like the eye one because it is so universally usable and takes so little material cost.

So, for the eye warmers/coolers, you could embroider cat eyes on them on one side or flowers or sunglasses or flirty eyes or deep black asian eyes or big blue eyes. For this, you might want to use solid flannel.



-- Edited on 8/6/08 7:51 PM --

------
"puhPOjhu"--a river that sinks into a mountain with fury and winds around underground for miles before emerging in calm down the road...

tourist
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tourist  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/6/08 7:56 PM

I think the eye warmer/coolers are great but I have to say I hate the smell of them when they are made with rice in them. Wheat is nice, though - smells like toast.

------
http://bgballroom.wordpress.com to follow the progress on my next ballgown.

popoagiesmiles
popoagiesmiles
Intermediate
TX USA
Member since 2/25/06
Posts: 1950
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In reply to tourist


Date: 8/6/08 10:34 PM

Quote: tourist
I think the eye warmer/coolers are great but I have to say I hate the smell of them when they are made with rice in them. Wheat is nice, though - smells like toast.

Oh, that does seem like it would smell good!!!

If making them from wheat, label it as such because some people are sensitive to wheat. Few people are sensitive to rice but some may be sensitive to certain essential oils. Probably best to label them and have some unscented ones.

There had been a shortage of rice at one time recently. Check out the price of a fifty pound bag at the food coop or some such place before committing, but really, there is so little needed that this shouldn't be a reason not to do it.

I don't know if it matters what kind of rice you use. There is probably info on the internet on these because they've been around for a while.

------
"puhPOjhu"--a river that sinks into a mountain with fury and winds around underground for miles before emerging in calm down the road...

Luckylibbet
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Luckylibbet
CA USA
Member since 7/28/03
Posts: 1405
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In reply to popoagiesmiles


Date: 8/7/08 0:58 AM

I've made my own warmers and after trial and experimentation have found raw flax seed (not the pre-toasted kind) to work well.

The flax seed has more oil in it, and the microwave warms the liquid, so the flax seed seems to last longer than the rice kind which seem to dry out after a few "nukes." The aroma is different than either wheat or rice - maybe not quite so toasty as the wheat, but not as unpleasant as burned out rice.

I mix the flax seed with lavender. I use Trader Joe's lavender dryer bags, which I cut open and mix with the flax seed before filling the bags. There are probably better sources for lavender, but this was the most inexpensive option for me.

In terms of craft stuff that sells - in my neighborhood anything that's made with organic fibers/fillers, pure & natural fabrics, with an Asian flair will work. But I live in a very definitely multi-ethnic community in Northern California - perhaps not the U.S. norm.

------
Suo ergo maledicto

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. - Steve Jobs

SydneyAnne
SydneyAnne
Member since 1/11/08
Posts: 74
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Date: 8/15/08 6:58 PM

Thanks for all the great ideas and worthwhile suggestions. I decided to make cell phone cases because I hope it will appeal to shoppers. I purchased a McCall's pattern ( can't remember the pattern number) that has some cute pattens for kid's cell phones. I am currently making my first one along with perfecting my own pattern. Thanks for your help.

tourist
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In reply to Luckylibbet


Date: 8/16/08 11:00 AM

Luckylibbet - I am glad to hear you have successfully heated flax bags. I have always assumed the oiliness of them would not work well for some reason. So the flax doesn't go rancid or leak out in any way? How long would you heat an eye rest with, say, less than a cup of seeds in it?

------
http://bgballroom.wordpress.com to follow the progress on my next ballgown.

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