Honestly, it feels almost embarrassing to admit that I am going to try selling handmade items at a craft fair or Etsy. I feel like there is a bit of stigma attached to this endeavor. Lots of people have encouraged me that I should "sell my stuff" but they are never fellow sewing/quilting friends. These friends understand that we are makers for the joy of it and the creative expression, not to the unrefined task of trying to make money. I do feel like it's a bit of a double standard because so many people that are critical of selling handmade items would jump at the chance to sew for a fabric manufacturer or designer to get free fabric or a little press/notoriety- so we are often motivated by other factors than simple artistic expression.
I think the other reason I feel a bit embarrassed/shy to talk about my efforts to sell handmade items is because I am a bit fearful that it will be a big failure. This is very new territory for me. I don't know very much about what will sell the best, how to price my items, what craft fairs are worthwhile, how to best utilize Etsy..... I have observed IG posts of people bemoaning very disappointing craft fairs and feeling so bereft because they barely made their booth fair back. It definitely feels safe to just keep making stuff for myself, family, and friends.
I don't like to be a slave to fear. I think it's worth a shot to give this new adventure a try. Here are my reasons I would like to sell handmade items:
- I enjoy making small items that are quick and fun to make.
- To my own surprise, I don't mind making the same thing over and over (yet.....? I realize this might change). I have already made 25 bibs, 3 zip pouches, a few crayon wallets (that my kids keep stealing for their own) and I am knee-deep in making 20 tissue cozies. Still smiling.
- I already have a lot of the materials necessary to make these items. I have a lot of fabric that may not be my favorite fabric that I am dying to transition into a heirloom quilt but it sure makes a fun zip pouch that I am hoping someone else will enjoy. A lot of the items I have made already are from scraps.... I have a lot of scraps......
- I enjoy making for my friends and family and most people are grateful and kind; but honestly, I definitely get the feeling that people would probably have been just as grateful to receive a gift card or store bought item. I like making small items- why not try to sell a few instead of gift them to people who don't care?
- I am hoping to learn how to make a profit and enjoy the earnings. My sewing habit is not cheap and being able to bring in some money instead of constantly spending it would be a thrill. I can only imagine my husband's delight if I made my hobby self-sustaining, or, even better- was able to contribute to extras for the kids and so on....
So I am starting this really slow. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?!) I missed a lot of deadlines for most of the local holiday craft shows. Even if I had prepared better, I wasn't super comfortable with fronting several booth fees all at once anyhow, especially because of my inexperience. I am committed to my son's school Holiday Market and I hope that that one experience will give me the feedback I need to proceed with an Etsy shop as well as how to prepare for craft fairs next year. I am on the waiting list for one other fair. Time is tight and I am realizing that I will have some late nights to prepare, so as not to neglect my family. I can already say that my "personal" sewing is on the back burner for now but I am okay with that. We've got a lot of little girl dresses and quilts in this house to tide us over for the next month or so ;)