Why aren't my products selling?

Why aren't my products selling?

Post by MDTM » Wed, 23 Jul 1997 04:00:00



Quote:

> I'm tired of fighting the "cutsie wootsie" look (dolls and
>knick-knacks for that "country look") and wonder if anyone else is having
>this problem

Boy, can I relate !!!  I'm still searching for a market for my polymer
clay work....you're right, the cutsie, country stuff 'rules' most craft
shows, at least the ones I've been in.  I'm looking for a more artsy
'upscale' type of crowd to show my stuff to, and hopefully start making
some real $$$......I haven't found it yet, perhaps because my salesmanship
and business savvy could fit inside a polymer clay thimble <VBG>!!!  I
hope others will share their experiences in this area as well.
Dora from RI, who would love to be able to afford a business agent to
promote her stuff !!
 
 
 

Why aren't my products selling?

Post by SPJOOL » Wed, 23 Jul 1997 04:00:00


I have been doing this about a year, with surprising success.  I think you
just have to keep looking for your audience.  If you stuff is kinda high
end, you might not sell much at a "taters & onion " show.  I have checked
out stores in my area that do cater to my audience, and have just started
selling in one of them.

I really don't believe that people understand polymer clay very well.
They just don't appreciate the work.  I spoke with a bead shop owner who
daid that she did't carry polyclay beads on consignment because the
customer just doesn't understand.  

And it just doesn't appeal to everyone.  I also think that it up to us to
teach people about what we are doing.  Shoe them how the work is done.
People are fascinated with the*** process.  I always have  demo of
sorts at my booth.

Keep on looking.  Good luck
Sally in Raleigh
Sally Phillips

 
 
 

Why aren't my products selling?

Post by Sherry Bail » Wed, 23 Jul 1997 04:00:00


Well one suggestion is to aim for "ART" fairs no t "craft fairs" which seem to
me to emphasize the country look, and all that other cute stuff. (My measuring
stick is calico -- it calico is in, I'm not!)

Also, aim for higher end galleries and gift shops.

If the work is high quality in production as well as sophisticated in design,
you should do ok in serious venues. Wendy Rosen's craft marketing book lists
some of the better shows.

Be sure other people objectively agree with your perceptions of your work, of
course!

Crafts Report Magazine might be something to subscribe to if you feel you are
in this boat.

Sherry

 
 
 

Why aren't my products selling?

Post by Eileen C. McDonou » Wed, 23 Jul 1997 04:00:00


Quote:

>I've been showing my work at craft fairs and several outlets for a few
>months and have become disheartened at the lack of response from
>customers. I'm tired of fighting the "cutsie wootsie" look (dolls and
>knick-knacks for that "country look") and wonder if anyone else is having
>this problem-also how to access a better market. I know I have some
>really nice stuff, but nobody seems to care. Any suggestions? Anyone in
>the same boat? I'm really discouraged about this..and I'm one of the few
>who are doing PC around here!

Are you entering craft shows or art fairs; there is a difference. If
you are in craft shows,  people are usually looking for the country
stuff. Art shows bring in the customer with more eclectic tastes. Also
how do your prices correspond to the deaalers around you. If your show
has many inexpensive dealers, you may be pricing yourself out of the
game.
Good luck.

Eileen - Gar'goils'

 
 
 

Why aren't my products selling?

Post by Rebecca9 » Thu, 24 Jul 1997 04:00:00


If you are making jewelry, consider looking at the shops where people buy
the clothes--a smaller store may be willing to take some on  consignment
if it compiments their line, and people may be more interested if they can
see it "going with" something they will wear.

This obviously won't work with stuff that is too far out to be worn by
anyone but the daring fashion statement person--I stick to things that are
more middle-of-the-road, and try to work some of the time in black and
white, denim blue and other colors we see a lot.  (it does not need to be
cutsie just because it is in a popular color!)

If you are doing jewelry, don't forget the clip earrings--there are a lot
of people out there without pierced ears.  We usually do several necklaces
and six or eight pairs of earrings (dangle or post, clip or pierced) from
a set of canes, the people can chose the looks they like.  Also, consider
wearability--a necklace should have room to go over a collar if it is not
a choker, and small beads at the back for comfort.  I don't wear much
jewelry and find that I am very picky about such things.  Remember that
matronly ladies are more likely to be able to afford good stuff!

Good luck,

Becky Preston

 
 
 

Why aren't my products selling?

Post by Barcy » Fri, 25 Jul 1997 04:00:00


I've been there, and yes, craft shows are NOT the place for our work.
Since much of my work runs to mythical and fantasy figures, I do very well
at Science Fiction/Fantasy conventions.   I did have a rep taking my work
to various shops and galleries.  They wanted to know what awards I had
won,  and where else my work had been shown.  {Gulp!}  I entered a piece
in a local Christmas competition, and received a merit award (one down).
It was the only sculpture in the competition.  Then I put several of my
better pieces in my hometown art gallery.  This was free, and they didn't
collect a commission on sold works.  (two down)  Never slight a venue:
always make it sound like a Manhattan Premiere Art Gallery.  Attitude
counts for a lot.  Many art dealers/galleries will not even consider
looking at anything that might have a whiff of "Country/Craft"  or
"homemade" about it.  They are  proven to be quite snobbish, sometimes not
even waiting on customers if the customers don't fit their ideas of who
should be buying their art.  The same holds true with reps.
Unfortunately, my rep was warmhearted, exuberant, but lacked polish.  
Good luck!

Barcy

 
 
 

Why aren't my products selling?

Post by Eileen C. McDonou » Fri, 25 Jul 1997 04:00:00


 Attitude

Quote:
>counts for a lot.  Many art dealers/galleries will not even consider
>looking at anything that might have a whiff of "Country/Craft"  or
>"homemade" about it.  They are  proven to be quite snobbish, sometimes not
>even waiting on customers if the customers don't fit their ideas of who
>should be buying their art.  The same holds true with reps.
>Unfortunately, my rep was warmhearted, exuberant, but lacked polish.  
>Good luck!
>Barcy

Gee, you're lucky; my agent also lacked integrity and scruples. As the
list of places who wished to show my pieces grew, she stsrted putting
her name on them.

Eileen - Gar'goils'

 
 
 

Why aren't my products selling?

Post by Topaz7 » Sat, 26 Jul 1997 04:00:00


Quote:

>If someone is buying this attracts other customers. Rattle that bag and
>rattle that change! Go around to the front of your own booth (when it's
>slow) and act absolutely facinated with an item on your table. People
will
>come over to see whats up.

   I could not agree more with this!  I am rather new to doing shows, but
as an example of the truth of this:  Doing a show, slow day, not many
customers.  It just happened that my brother and his wife, my sister and
her husband and his sister all happened to stop by at about the same time.
 My booth looked very busy.  This is also when the CUSTOMERS started to
show up!  I sold more at that point than the rest of the day combined!

Just my two cents, and an anecdote that could use a few explosions, and a
car chase...

  Topaz

 
 
 

Why aren't my products selling?

Post by SHANEANG » Sat, 26 Jul 1997 04:00:00


I have a few pointers or at least some things to pay attention to.

Make sure you have a classy looking booth/display. Yeah, I used to use
sheets for tablecloths until I could afford the real thing.

Pay close attention to what DOES sell and make more of those.

Really listen to the customers coments about your work. If something comes
up over and over again, go with it.

I have found that many things sell better than a few. If I only have 6
angels left to sell they take forever to sell at the show. If I have gobs
of them all around I sell a lot more. A display of a full basket of beads
sells better than just a few scattered around.

Packaging believe it or not is a big thing. People love boxes. I buy clear
top gift boxes and string my items to a piece of mat board I've cut to fit
the bottom. I have many angels that are sold this way and I've sold many
necklace and earing sets this way too. I always use the same color of mat
board for everything. I offer a 'bakery box' at the time of sale for a
quarter. I pay .15 and give some away as well. I've bought tiny white
cardboard boxes and put a pair of earings in through the mat board again
and sell those.

Keep things consistant and try to go for a 'look'. I use all the same font
from my business cards to my order forms and tags. I use all the same
color (navy blue) from my tablecloths to my mat board to the display
racks. People begin to recognize the look.

Everything should have your name address and phone number and e-mail.
Tags, reciepts, business cards, letter head, bags, photos, slides.

Hand out your business cards like confettii.

Having one or a few really big expensive pieces with the smaller less
expensive items sells the less expensive stuff. I have framed elegant
angels standing on easles for 200.00 next to a display of angels for
13.95. Sometimes I actually sell the big ones but mostly they are for
show. I think they really want the big one but buy the less expensive
instead and feel like they got a deal or got a piece of something really
great. Put some big prices out there (without ever intending to sell it)
to give your work a good looking 'high' mark. Of course you have to sell
it if they want it but you know what I mean.....

A show billed as an art show or that has art in it's title is usually the
better show. Go for juried shows and ones that ask for slides. Ask other
crafters where the good shows are. They usually know.

If someone is buying this attracts other customers. Rattle that bag and
rattle that change! Go around to the front of your own booth (when it's
slow) and act absolutely facinated with an item on your table. People will
come over to see whats up.

Bring clay and pieces of cane to demo. This has attracted quite a crowd
for me and others want to get in on whats up in that booth with all those
people.

If the booth next to you is setting up to sell puppies, just leave. Forget
the fee, just go home and get out the clay.

Shane

 
 
 

Why aren't my products selling?

Post by Wheat Car » Sat, 26 Jul 1997 04:00:00


As most of you know I dont get to visit here very often, but what an
interesting topic.  

Bluntly put - maybe you are trying to sell in the wrong places.

As part of our research for our "in the process of opening" bead shop
and gallery, was finding out where Bead & PolymerArts folks were showing
their work. And if it was selling.

The answer is - when placed properly it sells.

"Country Crafts" is not usually a good venue for either Bead or Polymer
Art work.  The shoppers are looking for Cute at low end pricing.

Higher End/Juried shows may or may not appreciate the craftsmanship.
But, that is the market place expecting to pay top $$

Another possibility is the local bead shop if they are willing to
display your work, but be prepared for low sales there because most of
the folks coming in the door really CAN do it themselves.

This is why we carefully chose to locate our bead shop/gallery in a
facility that is geared to attracting folks who (a) have $$$ to spend
and (b) come there to spend them.  

There are many of these types of "attractions" around the country - and
being a member of the artisitic community, you very likely already go
there to at least look.  Many will accept consignment (yes we do)

Talk to a few.  Do not get discouraged and ASK lots of questions before
you consign your work.  Remember, not all such shops will be as
responsive to your best interests as you would like.

Frankly I have often walked out of what could have been a good deal
simply because the shop tried too hard to talk down my price.  That is
why we decided that our artists set their price - we add what we
consider to be the necessary percentage.  It may mean that we both have
to wait longer for a return on our investmnt, but at least when it comes
it will leave a good taste in mouth and a fair price in our pocket.

This is getting too long!  But you get the idea.

Peace
 Wheat
--

Savage Mill/Bollman Studio 206 - 8600 Foundry St -   Savage MD

 
 
 

Why aren't my products selling?

Post by Jano » Sun, 27 Jul 1997 04:00:00


Shane,

I copied your post, and will refer to it as I do my first craft shows this
fall.  There is a wealth of knowlege in it that would have taken quite
some time to find out--mainly from experience!  Thankyou so much for
taking the time to put down in black and white what must have taken years
to learn, and saving those of us the pain of learning through trial and
error!

I love this newsgroup!

Jan

P.S.  If I hear yapping nearby, I'll just leave my stuff in the car, and
go play with the puppies!

 
 
 

Why aren't my products selling?

Post by Chickl » Tue, 29 Jul 1997 04:00:00


Just to re state what several people have said- DEMONSTRATE!
Whenever possible show people what you make and how skilled it is ( and
believe in your skill otherwise it won't come accross)  Although my
product is miniature wicker furniture ( i'm a lurker from the dollhouse
newsgroup. don't tell anybody) I once had a'customer' pick up one of my
chairs and say to her friend "thats a lot of money for cheap imported
stuff!"  I was so gobsmacked (I love that word!)  I never said a word but
now I always have my work-in-progress with me.  I don't give away all the
secrets but I share my knowledge and physically show them how time
consuming and skilled my work is.  The other bonus is that at the end of
the day I often have extra stock!   You may also find some fair organisers
will give a discount or free space if you offer a demo-worth checking.
  I love this news group you all share so much.  I don't do much in PC but
I have picked up many tips from you all, Thank you.  I will now return to
Lurkdom!
                         Sue  ( Chicken Little Miniatures)

 
 
 

Why aren't my products selling?

Post by Sherry Bail » Sat, 02 Aug 1997 04:00:00


With regard to consignment, some lessons learned...

I just yanked stuff form a shop where I have halfheartedly consigned for a
couple of years. They mail inventory sheets with sold items highlighted with a
check once a month or whenever sales make it worthwhile. I cross checked my
copies of the inventory I placed there with what they have told me has sold
(and for which I was paid) and we are talking over two-three years of a couple
of hundred dollars missing. Some of it may be stored, some of it undoubtedly
was shop lifted, but the things are cheap (mostly my experiments, nothing I
put top dollar on) so there are LOTS of items missing.

M***of this story? Even if you are casually consigining things with people
you like and trust, CHECK the paperwork every month, stop in and do random
inventory checks against YOUR copy of all lists (which, by the way, make sure
you have.) If you are simply forfeiting things, giving them away, might as
well do that where it counts, not at somebody else's shop!

Before consigning, see and approve of the display approaches, security,
neatness (this place never gets dusted -- my beads,*** on map pins on the
wall, were cruddy!) etc. and agree to how long something should remain in the
shop unsold before you retrieve it and replace it with something fresh.

I was lazy -- I didn't want to have to be businesslike, even though I know
better, and it cost me. (At least I have my copies of the inventories, so I
KNOW what I lost!)

I sent copies of my discoveries to the shop -- we will see what they have to
say about the problem.

Sherry