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What do you do if your arts or crafts work isn’t selling?

Your items aren’t selling. Is it time to give up and get a job? I don’t think so. At least, not until you have analyzed what’s really going on in your business thoroughly. Before you give up, try some of the methods for increasing your crafts sales listed here. Begin by asking yourself these questions:

  • Are the craft shows I am trying to sell to, receptive to my work?
  • If not, where else will my arts and crafts be in demand?
  • Am I using the wrong display, colors, materials, or designs?
  • Can I increase the “perceived value” of my crafts to make them more attractive?

Market receptivity

shoppers browsing handmade crafts at craft fair booth displaysOften you will find pieces of your arts and crafts selling well in stores and going nowhere at art and craft shows, and vice versa. Some items simply don’t sell in every market, but this doesn’t mean the product won’t sell elsewhere or that you should stop making it.

Change your display

If the public is attending a craft show but not coming into your booth, change your display. It may cost you money to buy better fixtures, but if no one is buying your pieces, you’re wasting money to do the craft fair anyway.

How color affects sales

The public buys color — they are moved by it. Sure, you will always find a market for ‘natural’ colored arts and crafts, but without the diversity of a wide and luxurious selection of color combinations, you can’t compete with the vast array of products vying for your customer’s dollars. 

For inspiration of alternative color combinations, look through magazines like Ornament, Vogue, Metropolitan crafts, Better Homes and Gardens, and Architectural Digest. Look at the sky, the earth, the grasses, the birds, the mountains, and don’t forget the malls. See the book, Color Me Beautiful by Carol Jackson

Changing the materials to improve sales

Try using alternative materials to add texture, glamour, and distinction to your arts and crafts. For example, add shells,  braids, ribbons, reeds, antique buttons, leather strips, paper, fringes, dried flowers, etc..

Designing to sell

Some basic design principles can improve your craft’s attractiveness. A few of these elements include the fact that a rectangle is more attractive than a square, odd numbers create more interest than even, variety and diversity are more exciting than even spacing. 

Proportion stripes using the Fibonacci Series; a number system in use since medieval times that contains design elements found frequently in nature. Every number in the series is found by adding the two numbers before. 

For example 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 and so on. In designing a piece with bands of different colors, stripes of one color could be 3″, than another color 1″, another 5″, another 2″, a 3″ stripe, and then two different 1″ bands.

Increasing the perceived value

Perceived value is the worth the customer places on a crafts item. If a piece isn’t selling, you can increase its value in the eyes of the customer by various means. 

One way is to use more expensive materials and emphasize the exclusiveness of the finished crafts piece. 

Another way is to make use of hang tags, brochures, and packaging to add value to a piece. It is unfortunately true that the public today often buys the ‘packaging’ of a product instead of the contents. Though this may insult you as an artist, you might as well make use of the tendency.

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