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  • Nicole Seafolk

Five Splurges that changed my Handmade Business : Craft Fair 101

There is no question that starting a business, any business can be expensive. Starting a craft business is no exception. There are hours of work involved. Many varied materials that you may need to purchase in bulk. Signup fees for craft fairs and vendoring events. Listing fees if you choose to sell online. The list goes on and on.

It can be hard to know if these expenses are worth it in the beginning, especially for a new startup. Spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on a small, handmade business that you aren’t sure will work out can be daunting to say the least.

I experienced all of these fears myself when starting up Sew Uprising Handmade and getting ready for my first few selling events. Before my first event I was $540 and 60+ hours in the hole and had no idea if the things I was making were even going to sell. It was a leap of faith.

That $540 included all of my supplies, tabling registrations, business cards, a dedicated email address, stuff for my display, and more. Some of the things I purchased when I got started were immensely helpful and some… weren’t. So in an effort to keep you from making my mistakes, wanted to share with you all today the 5 small “splurges” I made to help get my craft business off the ground and turning my first profit!

A dedicated email address – I have been using a free email account to run the blog through for the last couple of years and I worked out fine because I really wasn’t receiving very many “business” emails. But when I decided wanted to start selling I set up an “@sewuprising.com” email address for my new fledgling business and it was the first good decision I made!

Having an email address that ends with your business name instead of google, yahoo, hotmail, or any other free hosting address gives you an instant boost of professionalism. It looks better on business cards and applications, and isn’t that expensive. I pay $5/month for hosting )and can have multiple email address under that) but the credibility it gives my business is well worth it.

Branding for each item – A strong brand is everything in the business world and one of the first decisions you have to make for your small business is what your “brand” will be! Then it si all about sharing that brand with the world! i chose to do this through my buiness cards, emails, etsy, and through branding each and every item I sell.

I splurged on custom labels through an Etsy shop before my first ever sale and am so glad I did! Having your name on your product makes it that much easier for customers to know who you are and to rememebr that every day when they use your product. It also helps them identify genuine products from you, and gives your items a little extra pazazz to help them stand out in a crowded room.

I bought labels from this Etsy seller because I was able to send them my logo and have it printed exactly so my fonts would all match and I am obsessed with them. It was about $35 for 120 labels which works out to bout .30 each which is totally worth it in my opinion.

Hardware to make production easier – things like a rubber mallet for smashing seams, a special set of pliers for closing key fob hardware, acrylic templates of pattern pieces I cut out every day, and metal zipper end caps. All of these things and more were small “luxuries” that I didn’t truly need to make the items I sell but that have drastically cut down production time, improved the quality of my product, and saved me a whole lot of time.

For the first few months I was being frugal and held out of buying a lot of these specialty items but once I finally got sick of having to reprint paper patterns and spending hours perfecting the little squares on the end f my zippers I broke down and spent a little more money to buy things that would simply make my production easier and in the long run because of all of the time I up saving it the costs evened out and didn’t affect my end prices.

If you’re making items every day and something will make that easier, don’t be stubborn, just buy the thing! (within reason of course! if the thing is crazy expensive maybe dont do that right away lol!)

“High-End” display items – High end here is a relative term but I did spend about $100 on spandex table clothes, wooden crates, copper baskets, and a metal clothes rack to help my items put their best *metaphorial* foot forward. First impressions are a very real thing and spending a bit of money to help my booth look organized, polished, and all of my items well displayed believe is one of the best things I spent my money on when I was getting started.

If there is one item over all of the others I would recommend getting it is the spandex table clothes. The fact that they dont have to be ironed but look fitted and polished right out of the bag is AHHHMAZING! These particular ones are made for tabling events so they are higher in the back which makes it a breeze to store things hidden away under the table during the show

Collapsible wagon – For hauling products and displays in and out of shows this is a literal god send! especially if you don’t have anyone helping you get yourself a wagon. It means a lot less trips in and out and it is a lot easier on your back as well. I seriously am considering buying a second one this year!

This is the one I own and it has held up great! (and it has cup holders!)

Bonus: A reliable, easy planning tool. This one is a small business ( and general life) game changer!

I have used google calendars in the past to help me keep track of all my personal, business, and life activities but always found myself forgetting about important events or meetings and

A few months back I found Artful Agenda and instantly became hooked. Artful Agenda gives you all of the function and beauty of a paper planner but with the easy and simplicity of a digital calendar. It syncs across multiple platforms and your google calendar making it super easy to get to and I love that all of stuff is in one place!

Use my referral code RN39033 for a free trial, I am sure you will love it as much as I do!

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