In my community, craft fair season is fast approaching and I would like to try selling my own handmade items. Since I have never done this before, any suggestions would be helpful. What sells well? How do I determine how much to charge for each item? (For example, I like to rag quilt, so do baby quilts sell better than twin or full size? I'd rather make 3 baby quilts that sell than 2 twin size that don't.)
Do I need to claim my earnings on my taxes and do I obtain a tax-exempt number to buy my materials? If so, how? I have been told that I can't sell fabric items with licensed characters on the fabric, why? Thanks for the help?
By Marie from Idaho Falls, ID
What sells and what price to use will depend on your area. Things are different in all areas. Unless you are really lucky I don't think you will earn enough to worry about taxes. There is also a possibility that you would have to pay state sales tax. At most craft fairs you have to pay for the space that you use. You also have to furnish the space to display your items to the best advantage. As far as the items with licensed figures on them my guess is that it is because of copyright issues. I have seen a lot of free patterns that state they are for personal use only, not to make items to sell.
You could inquire at the Economic Development office for your area. Might find the one nearest to you by web search. They offer advice and legal info for new businesses in town and could answer your tax questions. That or a tax prep agent/agency. I am willing to bet it will be a State issue rather than a Federal one, due to the income amount.
Copyright for some fabrics is an issue, but it is something the Copyright holder would have to pursue to get you for. I have seen "character fabrics" used at local fairs, and never really thought about it. I guess if you are an upstanding citizen and follow all the rules you will stick to nondescript fabrics. Lol. My thought on the matter is this; while characters are fun, they are hard to pass on to others that don't have the same interest in the character. A quilt is to be treasured, used well, kept nice, and passed on. Ginghams, florals, and the like make a pretty quilt too, and a great color scheme is just as desired as "Pooh" or "Mickey".
I think I would try to use the colors IN the popular character fabrics though, for a selling point.
It is my opinion that Baby Stuff is probably easier to move than kid stuff. Expecting families spend lots of money on newborns! Kids themed items go out of style quick! You don't want to have out of style stuff sitting on the shelf.
Maybe you could find a way to do cool throw pillows for kids/teens? Or maybe buy some inexpensive small table lamps and shades and dress them up with some "Rag" accents? Decoupage some picture frames with scrap fabric? Make some shoe caddies? Some pushpin boards with cardboard insides, and a padded fabric face? Tote bags?
Anyway, Good Luck!
Be sure to have some inexpensive items they are far more likely to sell. Most people don't carry a hole lot of cash with them. And its a good idea to bring some business cards with you just in case.
A voice of experience, stick to one or two items, vary the style if you want but don't offer too many different products or people tend to get lost looking and not buying.
As for pricing most of the time I round my materials for an item up to the nearest dollar, then double that. Sometimes I add another 10%. Then take a good look at it, put yourself on the otherside of the table is it too high, then I don't make anymore of that item. You have to be able to make money or it isn't worth it. You will find you have more expenses going to craft fairs than you realize.
Baby quilts have been a good seller for me at times you never know, there are a lot of people making them. It is very hard to come up with something unique anymore.
In our area, it is "required" to have a business license which takes care of the tax issues. However, I have never had anyone ask to see it. Ours cost only $50 a year. Your license then provides you the tax exempt information needed by your suppliers.
Here in Lawton, Oklahoma our craft club has one large craft show a year. We mark off 211 10X10 ft booths. We rent these booth to mostly crafters. If we do not fill all booth we will allow select comercial booths. Items have to be sold not party set up. We have great sucess each year. We are always looking for new crafters.
Many of our crafters have campers and stay on the grounds where the show is happening. There are hook ups for campers. We provide security inside the building each day and over night to protect our booths. We have some members who live out of state. Many of our crafters who are not members come back year after year. Contact ivazimmerman AT aol.com for more information.
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