Craft Shows in Today’s Economy

March 2009

In today's economy where pinching the proverbial wallet is at the back of everyone's mind, the staff is always here to help.

How To Save Money as a Vendor at Craft Shows

In today's economy where pinching the proverbial wallet is at the back of everyone's mind, the staff is always here to help. There are many situations where we can find ourselves at odds between decision A and decision B. Often times, one will save you money, and the other will have you spending more. At craft shows, this is no different. From conserving gas to finding discounted suppliers, an artist can cut the cost of production down quite dramatically.

Finding a Discounted Supplier

Finding a supplier that isn't going to cost you an arm and a leg, and still have good quality might be a challenge at first. But, in my experience, it is always better to pay just a little bit more for good quality, than it is to buy bargain basement materials and have your customers be disappointed when the overall quality of your craft is poor. You have to ask yourself if the discount is worth the trade-off in quality.

However, once you combine your experience with the supplies and the experience of making the craft, you will soon realize where you might be able to save a few pennies on supplies, and where you should just pay for good quality. You have to be creative with how you minimize your craft show costs without sacrificing the quality of your art, nor affecting your overall sales. Here are a few tips on getting the best supplies for the lowest prices:

Comparison shop with several vendors.

Even after using one or two, keep an eye out for better deals. With a little bit of extra effort, you might be able to find the materials you want on sale, or at a lower price at a different vendor. Check regularly as they have special sponsored deals from art and crafts suppliers. Ask other artists for recommendations. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find deals. If you belong to an art group or if you know other people who craft, talk to them about where they are getting their supplies. They may give you a great lead on fantastic prices.

Always buy wholesale.

You will need your resale certificate to qualify. Wholesale eliminates the middle man in many cases and often times, there are tax breaks as well when purcahsing with a seller's permit. Buy in quantity for greater discounts, maybe even by partnering with another artist. It's the same is if you go to the grocery store – usually, the more you buy, the better overall deal you are getting. It may cost a little more out of pocket, but your cost per piece goes down significantly. Always be expanding your business. When other's are downsizing, YOU create market share and extend customer reach; this is the name of the game in today's economy.

Use recycled materials and recycle what you can from your past inventory.

You never know when unused scraps of other supplies will make great pieces elsewhere on your artwork. This is a great way to save money on your supply cost. Supply costs are one of the biggest costs when you are setting up your craft show business. As mentioned earlier, most crafts rely on materials of some sort or another. Controlling your material expense so your prices stay competitive and you sell more product is an art form in itself.

Make less frequent trips.

We live in an instant gratification world. It's no different when you need a couple of things for a few arts that are unfinished. We often take for granted that there is fuel in the vehicle (not so much anymore) and that we can travel across the city to the specialty arts and crafts store that carries our supplies. At almost $4.50/gallon of gas nationwide, we need to consolidate and plan car trips in cars more efficiently. Why not take stock of all of your craft supplies and see if you are near empty on a few other ones? By doing it all at once, you are going to save a great deal of time and money. This is reflected in your craft show business bottom line as well as your part in keeping the Earth greener.

Have a Plan

Each penny you can save when you are making your crafts is a penny that is back in your pocket. If you can reduce your costs by $1 for each craft, and you sell 100 crafts, that is $100 extra dollars in your jeans. All of a sudden, reducing costs seems well worth the work. If you take all of the above advice and create an organized plan by mapping out your cost, quantity, and capacity, you are going to give yourself a chance to make good decisions and reduce the cost of producing your art. Those with a plan are going buy more, spend less, travel less, save time, and be sustainable. This is the way to run a successful business.

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