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The Great Purge

The Great Purge
By: Marion Davis, Artistic guide

I am sitting here on New Year’s Day and wondering why I am writing a blog that won’t be published until the end of the month. However, experience has taught me how those projects creep up on me when I get busy and life intervenes.

I have reached a point in my creative projects where I have accumulated so many supplies that I can’t find what I want when I go to do a project. It takes me longer to pull products than it does to do a project. Since I don’t send nearly as many cards now as I used to when I was swapping I decided that is was time to try to sell my cards in 2012. That meant a lot of homework before I started creating.

First I checked out the local and state restrictions on retail sales like did I need a DBA (doing business as) and how to collect and report sales tax. Then I needed to figure out what records I needed to keep and where I would sell these. I also needed to know what my competition would be.  The stores in my area were out. They all carry cards already but most of them are mechanically reproduces and sell at such low prices that after the store commission I wouldn’t even pay for my materials. I decided to concentrate on Farmer’s Markets and Craft Fair.

The new problem was how I find these and again what are they already selling. June to October the local farmers markets have guest artists so I think that would be a good place to start. I also spent several weekends this holiday season checking out the fairs I could find advertised. Deciding what I was looking for was another matter. Most of the things I need to consider are:

  1. Are they well advertised?
  2. Are they well attended?
  3. Are customers buying or just walking around?
  4. How many other vendors are there that would be selling similar products?
  5. Are they local enough that I do not need to stay overnight to be there early enough to set up?
  6. What is the application process?
  7. Are they juried and if so do they require physical samples or photos.  (If photos I need to figure out how to get better photos of my work.)
  8. What is the fee?
  9. How large is the space?
  10. How can I take credit cards?
  11. And the biggest questions… What type of cards will I produce and how many do I need? If I do either physical or digital stamps I needed to check angel policies and be sure I only choose companies that allowed me to sell my work.

This led to the GREAT PURGE.  I went through all the supplies I had collected to see what I was hoarding. Boy was that an eye opener!

I collected all the handmade papers, peel off type stickers that are not greetings or borders and corners, specialty card stock, my stock pile of good intentions, (buy it now because I had never seen these before)  and anything else that was unusual. The volume was overwhelming. Yes, it is time to purge.

I am now in the middle of the creating process. I have decided that I need to stay away from the typical stamped cards because there was at least one Stampin Up demonstrator at every fair. They do beautiful work but I need to offer something different.  I promise in my next blog article to include some of the finished projects. Meanwhile I am working on my list of things that use up product like 3D Decoupage sheets I have had for years. Those are all assembled and ready to be put on cards.

 Photo 3 D decoupage

Cut N Tuck pieces and Spirelli pieces are in the process.

Photo Cut and Tuck

The larger Peel Off type stickers are applied to handmade or vellum paper and cut out. I want these cards to be WOWs… the kind of thing you buy multiples because you can’t make up your mind.

Photo Medallions

Wish me luck. If they don’t sell then I never need to make another card again except for my Stampers Quest commitments. I will keep you posted on my progress and what I am learning later this week.




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9 Responses »

  1. Best of luck to you Marion, your original post sure struck a cord with a number of folks.. *smile*

  2. Penny, Thank you for the offer. I have checked out your link and bookmarked it. One will never know when one needs something more. Right now I am waiting for the initial results to see what is selling. Then I can figure out where to put my energy.

  3. I will comment to all oof the wonderful responses that the most important revelation during this process has been that I am more efficient when I create several of the same type card at the same time. Maybe the papers or colors are different. Perhaps I change the layout a little but with all the tools out and I am not finding an putting away for more time than I create. Just to make you feel better I am currently missing 3 tools. Can't find them anywhere! Come on now. How can one misplace a Cropodile with those hot pink handles?

  4. Ah... the great purge! The topic itself is scary, isn't it? Two years ago I did a great purge too.. pulling and giving away so many sheets of scrapbook paper embellishments and even tools to friends, school teachers, and others... it was great to get a handle on my stash. Although I still have quite a bit of 'stuff'... at least I now know where most everything is. After a creativity marathon though, I have to regroup and put things away in order to find items... LOL. Everyone says you should put stuff away as you go... but that's not too realistic the way I work and create.

    I look forward to reading of your progress, I hope you'll share the results of your purge,creative pursuit and sales. I, too live in an area saturated with Stampin' up! demos (yes, I'm one too... ) Everyone has to find their own niche and a way to stand out amongst competition and other things that go on... Many of my downline would like be happy to just stay at home and create cards to sell. Finding that market niche is difficult. I wish you bounty and luck!

  5. Luck to you and your purge! I'm so impressed that you're actually making stuff and THEN selling it. If I went through my stash, I'd have to make 10 cards a day for the rest of my life to use all the paper and embellishments.

    I keep telling myself when I really retire I'll have so many toys to play with that I'll never be bored.

    All the family knows to call my girlfriends if I meet an untimely death. I mean, would the man and boys really have any idea what to do with the hundreds of Cigarette Cards of dogs and actors/actresses? the Santa Postcard collection? the everything-Tim Holtz-ever-invented collection? the every tool ever demo'd collection? the 3 trillion sheets of cardstock and paper? not to mention the uncountable rubber stamps?

    Oh, I have to stop, this is making me crazy. Like after I watch a Hoarders and have to go clean something.

    White Light to your project!

  6. I do wish you luck.. selling cards and actually making money from the process is indeed a difficult proposition. It sounds like you've gone about this in a very logical manner.

    I would like to invite you to use any of the 3d sheets I have on my photobucket. Except for those that are in the "personal use only" folder, all of these sets can be used to make cards to sell.. I made all of these myself, either from copyright free vintage art, or from photos I or my husband or friends have taken.
    All best wishes to you,

  7. I will keep you posted. There is so much to learn and to think about like sales tax and copyrights and all the other stuff I am finding out step by step. Just came across a new issue. One of the places wants us to have liability insurance.??? Need to talk to them before I commit.
    Always learning new things.

  8. I do wish you luck, and look forward to seeing more lovely designs and hearing about your progress (and, I hope, success). It was a really interesting post, thank you. (I'm at the point where I know I ought to be purging too...)

  9. Marion,
    I do wish you luck! Your cards are beautiful and deserving of being sold. I can totally empathize with your problem--I too have so much "stuff" I can't find what I need half of the time. So what did I do yesterday? Bought more "stuff"! I am also making making making as fast as I can in order to sell. My problem is, I can't part with what I have made! (I think they call this "hoarding"!"