Craft sales THIS year

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soapmaker

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Without knowing whether there will be any shows this Nov./Dec. I'm having a hard time knowing what to do about lotion. There is one I'd like to do if it is open. With Covid still lurking, I'm wondering if anyone has thought about how to do lotion testers or if we should do lotion testers. It is a sale that the vendor is not there so would have to rely on their staff. Any thoughts?
 

jcandleattic

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Without knowing whether there will be any shows this Nov./Dec. I'm having a hard time knowing what to do about lotion. There is one I'd like to do if it is open. With Covid still lurking, I'm wondering if anyone has thought about how to do lotion testers or if we should do lotion testers. It is a sale that the vendor is not there so would have to rely on their staff. Any thoughts?
Relying on someone else is a tough one. They are not as invested as you, and with this virus it could literally be devastating if it's contracted. Me personally, I would skip doing testers if you can't be there to control how it's done.
 

Misschief

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Without knowing whether there will be any shows this Nov./Dec. I'm having a hard time knowing what to do about lotion. There is one I'd like to do if it is open. With Covid still lurking, I'm wondering if anyone has thought about how to do lotion testers or if we should do lotion testers. It is a sale that the vendor is not there so would have to rely on their staff. Any thoughts?
I'll be doing testers like this....

20200524_161212.jpg

They hold approximately 3 ml. I heat seal them with a flat iron my daughter gave me. I'm thinking of stapling them to a business card so customers have my information handy, as well as adding a label to each sample.
 

TheGecko

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I’m putting my lotion bar testers in deodorant tubes. After someone uses it, I can sanitize the container with alcohol and scrape the top off with my planer. IF there are any craft fairs this year.
 

shunt2011

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I'm not counting on doing any shows. I do mostly outdoor shows and I'm concerned about having people breathing on me in a small space. So, I think I'm going to pass on it. Plus, COVID-19 is expected to kick back up more come October from speaking with the doctor's at my hospital. So, I'm going to just write off this year for mine and others safety. And I don't purchase lotions at craft shows ever. I'm too concerned about how they are made. I even quit selling lotion a couple years ago.
 
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soapmaker

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And I don't purchase lotions at craft shows ever. I'm too concerned about how they are made. I even quit selling lotion a couple years ago.
I obviously don't purchase at shows either, I have plenty here! But I have thought about that. I sell from the house and my customers just keep coming (front porch pick-up). They must have a high level of trust to buy handmade lotion during pandemic times. I wouldn't.

I'll be doing testers like this....

View attachment 47017

They hold approximately 3 ml. I heat seal them with a flat iron my daughter gave me. I'm thinking of stapling them to a business card so customers have my information handy, as well as adding a label to each sample.
And where would you find something like that?
 

Misschief

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I obviously don't purchase at shows either, I have plenty here! But I have thought about that. I sell from the house and my customers just keep coming (front porch pick-up). They must have a high level of trust to buy handmade lotion during pandemic times. I wouldn't.


And where would you find something like that?
Amazon
 

Megan

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I've pretty much given up shows this year. I've really cut down on production too (although I don't do lotions besides for myself). All the spring and summer and most fall shows within an hour drive of me have been cancelled. I'm not hopeful about the winter ones staying open either.
 

amd

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I haven't done any shows this year, although I'm scheduled for one July 31/Aug 1. Booth space is free, so I'm not too concerned if I decide the risk isn't worth it and back out. I have another (free) show the following weekend, and then nothing scheduled until October - I'm expecting that due to this crowd being mostly elderly this show will be cancelled, and likely the show I was looking at in November (which reminds me, that lady has still not answered me about where to send my check... maybe I just won't send it).

That said... given current times, I wouldn't put out any samples unless you are prepared to vigilantly watch and clean them after every use (I'm thinking a bottle that customers would pick up and pump or squeeze into their hand)... or if you were willing to say "I have samples, let me dispense into your hand"). I would consider single use samples such as Misschief does, although people may be more inclined to take it home (or not accept it all) rather than try it and buy it immediately.

[side note: actually even in normal circumstances I'm reluctant to put out samples because people are astonishingly gross.]
 

Misschief

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Our market (the little one that I attend), starts up on June 28 and every other week from then on. I've already signed on for July/August. There will be quite a few changes but at least we'll have a market season. They're going from about 40 vendors to about 25, leaving more space between tables, and limiting the number of people inside the building.

I would consider single use samples such as Misschief does, although people may be more inclined to take it home (or not accept it all) rather than try it and buy it immediately.
That's just what I'm hoping they'll do. I want them to take a sample home with them, try it, and then come back in two weeks to buy. Normally, I have smell testers but they're just not selling the product in most cases. Soap is different. People mainly buy by fragrance or by appearance; if the two go together, the soap sells well. However, I have numerous other products that are absolutely amazing and I can't sell them; I describe them, they can see, touch, and smell them but they don't buy them. I want them to try some of these products so, to that end, I'll be doing more samples this season.

I did give out samples of one of my creams at my last market by using little plastic spatulas and disposing after each sample (I did the dispensing). It did help to sell the cream, which is now one of my more popular items.
 

shunt2011

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I've made the decision to pull out of the last two I signed up for before COVID. One in August is generally 250 vendors. After speaking with some of my doctors I just don't feel comfortable being enclosed in a tent with customers who usually pile in. I'm also not wanting to wear a mask for 8 hours for 2 days each in 80 plus weather. I already have breathing issues and wear a mask all day at work. I don't want people touching and smelling soap even though they are wrapped. If they won't refund or carry over my money I'll just eat it this year. I would hate to end up sick or someone else getting ill. Hopefully, it won't stop them from accepting me next year. I just don't think the time is right yet. So, for the first summer in a long time my daughter and I are going to take our two grandkids on a vacation renting a camper and traveling to the upper peninsula of Michigan. It's one of my favorite places and excited to take the grandkids to experience it too.
 

amd

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That's just what I'm hoping they'll do. I want them to take a sample home with them, try it, and then come back in two weeks to buy.
I wouldn't want to wait that long for a sale. And most people aren't inclined to go out of their way to buy a product just from a sample. Getting the sale is really about making use of people's "ooh that's nice and it's right here and I can get it now" reactions. That's why immediate samples work so much better than take home samples. I have sent around 500 samples home with people over the last 5 years, and I used to claim my success rate was 20%, but taking a good hard look at how I get sales in 2018 and 2019, I realized that my success rate from sending home samples was closer to 1%. Most people just won't go looking for you, unless you happen to be somewhere they always go. And maybe the customers at this market do come back every week, and this will work very well for you. I post this as some cautionary advice, especially for those starting out, to not invest a lot of money/time into samples that are meant to take home, unless you have means of following up with every sample you hand out. That's how I got my 1% sales - I called or messaged people "hey Susan, I sent a sample of XYZ soap with your last order, how did you like it? I only have 3 bars left..."

So, for the first summer in a long time my daughter and I are going to take our two grandkids on a vacation renting a camper and traveling to the upper peninsula of Michigan. It's one of my favorite places and excited to take the grandkids to experience it too.
That sounds lovely! Enjoy your time with family.

So it looks like I am going out of business next year. It is looking like de-stash time which makes me sad.
Oh, that is sad! Hopefully you will find an outlet to continue doing your crochet.
 

shunt2011

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@cmzaha I’m so very sorry to hear this. This year is a tough one fro sure. I’ve thought about the same thing. Have some decisions to make. I’ve been out of the swing of things for over a year now so finding it hard to get back on track.
 

cmzaha

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@cmzaha I’m so very sorry to hear this. This year is a tough one fro sure. I’ve thought about the same thing. Have some decisions to make. I’ve been out of the swing of things for over a year now so finding it hard to get back on track.
It is a hard decision, isn't it? I am not hurrying into it, but the markets are no longer here. Also, most markets here went up to 60.00 per day/evening and that is just too much money for a soap booth. Sadly I really od enjoy getting out to a market once to twice a week, so I will hang in and see what happens next year.
 

shunt2011

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It is a hard decision, isn't it? I am not hurrying into it, but the markets are no longer here. Also, most markets here went up to 60.00 per day/evening and that is just too much money for a soap booth. Sadly I really od enjoy getting out to a market once to twice a week, so I will hang in and see what happens next year.
I hope things come together for you. I’m going to give myself some time. I enjoy making soap and doing shows but it’s been a crazy 14 months so just have to find the mojo again.
 

cmzaha

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If I do attend the holiday show I have decided to go with crochet hats and soaps only. I do have a customer base for lotions so I will take orders the first week if anyone is interested in lotion making it up for the second week of the show. I am just not sure anyone will want lotions. My other thought is to make up a small batch that I can bottle and fragrance which they can pick up on another show day. Fortunately, my holiday day show is a long-running community craft fair which the community looks forward to. Many of the shoppers come out the first couple to look and will come back on Sunday or the next week to buy. So my plan can work and frankly lotion is not expensive to make or at least not may best-selling lotion. My face lotion is expensive to make so it will only get made if I get orders.
 
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