Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sit and Sew or Knit or...

Need a few uninterrupted hours of crafting time? Join the Central Delmarva Fiber Guild for a Sit and Sew (or Knit, or Crochet, or Cross Stitch, or...) on Saturday, May 3, 2008 at the Snow Hill Library in Snow Hill, Maryland. The cost is FREE! We'll be meeting from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. - you can stay the whole time or just for a few hours. Stacy Mitchell, owner of The Fine Needle, will be on hand to help with quilting or knitting questions. You will need to call ahead or e-mail to reserve your spot.

April Meeting

On Monday, April 21, 2008, the guild offered the program "The Business of Crafting:"

Sue Kenny of Larry Leese & Associates, PA presented information for the small-business crafter about taxes and proper record keeping. Highlights of her presentation included being sure to register with your state in order to collect sales tax, and keeping business records separate from personal. Keep track of your expenses, breaking down purchases into categories (like supplies, shipping, advertising - and there are no "miscellaneous" expenses). A good place to find a list of categories is a schedule C form from the IRS.

Members Stacy Mitchell, Debby Lewis-Idema, and Shoshana Matthews led a discussion about marketing one's art through shows and fairs, the internet and promotional materials. Debby and Shoshana both sell at shows and art fairs and offered many good tips on how to find the right show for what you sell.

Finding the Right Craft Show
Keep in mind your price point (the price at which you sell your items) and pick your show accordingly. Craft shows typically feature a wide variety of artisans with price points averaging below $50. Fine Craft shows are sometimes juried (you have to be accepted to be a vendor) and feature artisans with a higher price point average - often several hundred dollars. If you make one-of-a-kind quilted jackets in the $150-$300 price range you are probably going to have a hard time selling at some of the craft shows, especially those lumped into other fairs (like Chicken Festival, County Fairs, and other local flavor events). Likewise, if you make hand-knit scarves and sell them in the $15-40 range, you may have a harder time selling at a Fine Craft show, where items are typically priced much higher and buyers are expecting a certain level of craftsmanship. [Not to say your scarves aren't great!]

Pricing Your Work
If you are crafting for a hobby and selling occasionally, please bear in mind that those who are selling for a living (and there are quite a number of people who's main income is from their craft) don't appreciate having their prices undercut. Professional crafters and artists have to sell their items at prices that not only cover their raw material costs, but also their overhead - insurance, booth fees at shows, electricity, travel, etc. - not to mention their time. If you make items to sell and only mark the price to cover your material costs and maybe a few dollars for your time then you are hurting yourself and your fellow artisans. Think about it - isn't your time worth more than $1 an hour! Value your work!

The Business Card
Stacy Mitchell, owner of The Fine Needle, spoke on ways to market your work and sell on the Internet. The number one marketing tool is the business card! Whether you print them yourself or have them professionally printed, be sure to include your business name, personal name, contact information (phone, address, e-mail, and/or website), and a description of your craft if it's not obvious from your business name. You're probably thinking "Duh! of course you need that info!" - but we all recounted the numerous times we received a card that was missing a way to contact the artisan.

Central Delmarva Fiber Guild Business
Carol Haarman provided a fiber interest survey for members and guests. Claire Otterbein provided updated membership forms and 2008 events flyers. We then followed with a short business meeting where we agreed to set up this blog! We will be posting information about upcoming events, as well as resources for the fiber artist and craftsperson - whether professional or hobbiest.