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Selling My Cards – Update

 Update - Selling My Cards

By Marion Davis, Artistic Guide

Wow! What a summer. The excessive heat and humidity has decidedly affected my stamping. I found myself getting up at 5 AM so the house would be cool enough to do some work. I also found that the humidity had an impact on my papers even with the AC running. There was one day that the paper was so damp that the inks feathered out when I used die based inks. I also found myself reverting to colored pencils as my choice for color.

Anyway here is a progress report on my adventure into selling my cards. I have made a few discoveries. If you decide to try this hopefully it will help you avoid some things I found out the hard way.

  1. Farmers markets are a great way to get to be known IF you go on a regular basis. People come with “food” money to farmers markets, so being able to accept credit cards made a marked difference in my sales. If you need more info on what I am using email me or comment. I will be happy to share but I don’t want it to become an advertisement on this site.
  2. Signage should include the next date you expect to be there, the forms of payment you accept and handouts with the list of shows you are scheduled to do. You want repeat customers. Also include special information; i.e.,  if you have Jewish New Year cards be sure your signage gives the dates for the holiday. This year Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) is September 16 and Hanukkah is Dec 8-16. If they are not aware how early it is they may need to buy from you quickly in order to send them out in a timely fashion.  Photo: Woburn 3
  3. Price your cards so that you can afford to do a show special. I do "Buy 4 get 1 free". It has people buying an extra 1 or 2 to get the free one.
  4. Take special orders if you know you can fill them. Be sure to get a name, address, phone number and deposit for the work. You can never guess what they want. It says Happy Birthday …they want Get Well Soon. If possible have someone with you.  That way you will have coverage when you need to move or go to the bathroom. If they can’t stay the whole day ask them to come for a short while. My son covers for me around noon when I work in the town he lives in. By then things usually have slowed down and I need a break. Photo Woburn 1
  5. Be sure when you commit to an outside show you have the right to cancel if rain is predicted. Even in plastic sleeves your work can be ruined by a rainy day (Fortunately I did this before anything happened to me.) When in doubt stay home.
  6. Each of your cards MUST be in a clear bag or protected from fingers and food in some way. They may seem expensive but without them you could be throwing away a lot of stock.
  7. Make a decision on whether or not to stamp inside. I decided to do note cards rather than greeting cards so I leave them blank. If you do stamp inside, include a duplicate of the interior sentiment and include it visibly in the packaging.
  8. Take the following with you:
  •  Twice as much water as you think you will need.
  • Your own food because you may not be able to find something handy.
  • Bandaids
  • A small kit to repair a card if needed.
  • Plastic table cloths to quickly cover your display in case of a sudden shower.
  • If outside, bug spray and sun screen.
  • Also if outside take double faced tape to stick the display cards down so they won’t blow around.
  • A light weight shirt or jacket to protect you from sun and wind.

Just for the record, I have made almost 800 cards since March. I have worked very hard during the summer because I have 4 or more shows per month from September to December. I won’t have much time to make stock between.  Photos Waltham 2 and Woburn 2

Hopefully I will be getting up early to work during the week.

Wish me luck.





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7 Responses »

  1. Ladies I had answered Kathy privately. In essence I told her that there were 2 keys to pricing. Cost to me including the space rentals which I attempt to double and having something different than all the others.
    The latter I work very hard at doing. My cards range between $ and $6.50. Special orders are priced individually and don't forget to add shipping if you are not nearby or they are not picking them up at a mutually convenient place.
    Craft fair season is here. Spend some time going to see what the vendors are offering and then do something else.

  2. Carol,
    In answer to your question it depends on the venue and the people there. If you are planning to pay bills with the profits...probably not. However, I am retired and this keeps me very busy and also gives me a reason to focus on my crafts. I promised myself I would use what I have in my stash and with the exception of purchasing some digital stamps, I have kept to that. I might actually use up the majority of my paper. . Some shows I barely cover table costs. Others like yesterday's, which was an expensive fee that I have intended to share with a cousin but he backed out, I more than tripled the fee. The first year I would say you will not make a profit. I was told by my accountant that the government gives you 2 1/2 years to show a profit. My biggest asset this year may be a refund on my taxes. However, I went into this assuming it would take me a full year to learn what to do and how to do it, so I committed myself mentally for 2 years. This year I have had some wonderful shows and others that were a disaster. I have l;earned a lot and will make more educated decisions next year.

  3. Leigh,
    I live in Massachusetts near Boston. I do shows in MA and NH at this time. Where are you located?

  4. Good luck with your selling. As you can see I live in the tropics (in Australia) where for 4 months of the year our humidity can best be described as yucky as. However I rarely have problems with damp papers as I save all the air freshers out of shoes and food packets, and friends in the know give me theirs. I just toss them in amongst my paper stash and rarely have problems. IF papers do go yuck - then they are very old.

    If you are worried about anything breeding in precious paper (we all have some) simply place the paper in a freezer bag and place in the freezer - of all places - for 48 hours, and then set it aside to gently thaw out. I'm also a volunteer at a local museum and we do that with EVERYTHING.

    ps I rarely get time to check out SQ - so I guess I was meant to see this

  5. I do have one question that came to mind right away: Is all that work worth your effort and the profit you make? I should sign this comment: Lazy CarolB.

  6. Marion, this is very generous of you to share with us. May I ask what area of the country you are usually selling in? I'd love to get a chance to see you.

  7. your set-up looks really good..........easy to flip through.

    wondering what prices you are getting for your cards.........so many card makers don't price theirs high enough.

    but it's fine line....you want it to sell too.