I have been doing a lot of thinking these last few days about my business and it's direction. I am trying to come up with new pieces for my line and looking for a better way to move forward.
As much fun as craft shows can be they really are not money makers at this time because most are not run in a way that maximizes business for the artist/crafter. I understand they need to sell the spaces to make money, I just wish they would limit the type of artist categories better. I find that most shows I attend are so saturated with similar arts that it causes the customers to loose interest and they leave feeling that nothing was original even though it all is very original. Plus it makes the artists frustrated and go home with a much less profitable day. However if you can find a good show or group that runs them keep doing it. I have found an alternative a craft mini shopping area that rents stand alone Shanties every summer for a very reasonable price and I will do it every year if they let me because it is very successful.
I also find that selling to stores is very difficult because especially in this economy they want your awesome goods for a fraction of the cost you need to make in order to keep making the items. Or the boutiques have all ready got more jewelry than they can handle and yours gets lost. When you find one that does neither you are blessed, so hold on to them with all your might. (I have been lucky and have two that I can not be happier with and I intend to keep them).
Then there is the home show. This is by far the hardest to get and the most profitable for me. I love to do these, but man is it hard to get people to do them. I enjoy the one on one you get with the customers and they always enjoy them. However most customers have become afraid of how many in home shows try to get you to join their business and hassle you to book a show, and our friends try to come up with other plans to avoid them. What ever happened to the days my mother and her girlfriends had home parties to get away from the family and have a good night drinking some wine and spending money on themselves because , damn it they deserved it.
Trade shows are another good option. At the moment I personally don't have the money to be a vendor at the shows, but I am hoping to some day. The only one I attended a few years ago was a huge waste of money because it was not advertised well and apparently to far from a big city that almost no one attended. But if you have the time and money you can do very well at these. The trick is knowing which ones are successful.
The last thing I have considered and am using very extensively is the internet. But as with any tactic it takes time, lots of effort and research. Of course the internet is also very saturated with others trying to do the same thing as you, however the amount of customers out there are infinite. And so I am trying with all my might to go this route for a few reasons. It doesn't require travel, loads of money, or even a 9a-5p schedule.
Anyway as I go forward and try to navigate the direction of my business I am learning and stretching out beyond my comfort zone often and that is good. It keeps me honest and it keeps me motivated most the time. I am also learning that what works today doesn't always work tomorrow, so remember to be flexible and not stuck in your ways or it could be your undoing.
So good luck with your ventures and may you find success.