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How to Cut Down Your Competition When Selling Your Crafts

As a crafter and a small businessperson, you can do your own craft marketing or pay someone to do it for you. Itís a balancing act. If you do it yourself, you must go to shows or run your own store or website. The more time you spend doing that the less time you can spend crafting.

Giving up some of the retail price of your craft items, gives you more time to devote to your art and generally a broader market reach for your wares. Gallery and shop owners advertise, promote your work and provide a place with regular hours where your work can be viewed by many more people than you can reach on your own.

However donít think of these approaches as the only options of craft marketing. They are merely the two ends of the spectrum: from doing all your own craft marketing and as much crafting as time allows; to using all your time crafting and paying your marketers.

Along the spectrum are a myriad of other approaches, some very simple, some quite high tech. If youíre looking for a better way to sell your craft items, try thinking outside the box. Go beyond the traditional methods of craft fairs, galleries and retail shops.

Below are a few craft marketing approaches that have worked for me, as well as some intriguing ones Iíve read about, but havenít tried personally Ė yet.

Breaking Away from the Pack

After three years of doing craft fairs and flea markets, I noticed several negative aspects. My work was being copied by other crafters who saw it at the last show.

• I had to keep coming up with new ideas to differentiate myself.
• I got tired of lining up alongside and competing against very similar products.
• Plus I got just plain tired. Craft fairs are a lot of physical labor.

I needed a better venue and couldnít afford to pay a retail shop or gallery up to 50 percent of my sales. I needed to think outside the box and break away from the pack.

Leverage Your Relations with Other Crafters

One positive thing I did take away from my years of craft fairs was a lot of new crafting friends who are also struggling with craft marketing. We help each other out as opportunities arise.

One very well established ceramicist participates in a huge annual expo that draws importers from throughout North and South America. He wanted something bright and colorful to dress up his booth and draw peopleís attention, so he asked if I would like to display some of my oilcloth bags. We both did well and it was pretty exciting to think of my bags traveling to another continent to be sold.

My crafting buddies and I send each other business. They order business cards and signs from me. I recommend them and sometimes display their work in my little shop (no commission, no charge). When they have their own shops, I know theyíll do the same for me!

Brainstorm Tie-Ins to Local Organizations

Brainstorm how your products can or could tie-in to some organization. If you do any craft that lends itself to personalization, such as embroidery or fabric painting or silk-screening, think about approaching local clubs or businesses and offering items with their logo. With their permission, of course. Logos are copyrighted material.

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