If you are thinking it’s time to turn your craft into cash, here are few suggestions for venues you may not have thought of.
If your local area has a farmer’s market, that’s an obvious outlet for selling your handmade edibles such as cupcakes or artisan breads. But even if you make jewelry, textiles or cards, many farmers markets are now allowing non-food items for sale. One of the benefits of selling at local farmers markets is that they attract a more conscious buyer. A consumer who cares about supporting local growers and eating fresh organic produce will most likely be someone who appreciates handmade crafts over mass produced items.
Another place you’ll find the more discriminating clientele is at a brick and mortar market that sells healthy food. While it’s easier to get in with the small local proprietors, sometimes even large chains like Whole Foods will allow you to have a show and sale of your craft. In an independent shop, you can offer to give a percentage to the establishment whereas in the case of a larger, national chain, they may be happy for you to give a donation from your sales to a cause they support.
Sometimes medical offices will be willing to showcase your craft. If you make fine art such as photography or painting, a doctor’s office may be happy to sell it in exchange for having unique local art hanging on their walls.
An optometrist or ophthalmologist may be happy to sell your handmade eyeglass holders simply as a courtesy to his patients. As always, be sure to have your contact info on the label so that the purchasers may contact you to see the other work you do which is not on display.
Locally owned, independent coffee shops and cafes are also a great venue and will be happy to show and sell your wall art, knit wear or jewelry.
Artists are always surprised when I suggest these unlikely venues but report surprising results once they approach the proprietors and begin to showcase their craft. Not everyone will agree and some places might not be winners but if enough are, it’s worth the work. You won’t know until you try so don’t be afraid to ask.
Showing and selling your work in out-of-the-ordinary venues is a great way to begin turning your craft into a business. It will be less expensive than renting space at a large craft fair and give you the experience communicating with shoppers and buyer feedback on your products before you jump into the higher cost, higher volume shows.
You’ll have fun, test the market and meet some new neighbors.
Have you sold your work at unusual venues? What has been the best experience for you?
Terri Belford has been self-employed for more than 30 years and been on all sides of the art and handmade craft business as an artist, gallery owner and consultant to artists and crafts people. You can follow her on Twitter@craftbizcoach and Facebook. And follow her blog for more craft business articles.
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