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New Pal

24 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2006 :  3:18:04 PM  Show Profile Send pookel a Private Message
My question is about potential profits, not about copyright issues with patterns (I see that's been covered already, and doesn't affect me much since I don't use patterns!).

There's a farmer's market/art show/craft fair event that goes on one day a week here during the summer. You can't sign up for just one week, you have to get a booth for the whole summer. A friend and I have been talking about starting up a new knitting group in town, and it occurred to me that we could get a shared booth as a group, with everyone putting items out for sale and taking turns manning the booth.

Do any of you have experience with selling items at this sort of craft fair? What sells, what doesn't? How do you present things? Have you found that it's manageable to have multiple people selling things at the same booth, or is it too hard to keep track of?

I know that I probably can't make much of a profit in terms of hourly wages for my work, but if I make a profit based on the cost of supplies, I'll be happy.

Permanent Resident

1207 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2006 :  4:45:10 PM  Show Profile Send knittingbaglady a Private Message
I think it's a great idea! Sharing the space/time sounds great as it'll keep if fresh for everyone.
Might be a good idea to have different priced items...some fun (for kids...bean bags etc...) and then very nice scarves, shawls for those who are willing to spend. My little piece of advice is to price what you want to get for it, not price it low just so it will sell.

Good luck, sounds fun!

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New Pal

27 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2006 :  7:15:44 PM  Show Profile Send sarasmile a Private Message
I agree it sounds like a fun idea. My first thought would be socks. You could sell them year round, people don't have to worry about trying them on & they're small enough so people could carry them around with them and not feel bogged down while enjoying the rest of the market. Good luck!
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Permanent Resident

3291 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2006 :  7:25:59 PM  Show Profile Send ozknitter a Private Message
Hi Pookel,

In the 80's when those long jumpers were in fashion, I was making them for a shop and getting paid next to nothing and they were selling them for $350+.

So I hired a market stall, Trash and Treasure and sold them for a $100 each and I was very happy with that, but only did it the one time.

Knit in peace and harmony.

Rose in Melbourne, Australia.
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Permanent Resident

New Zealand
2969 Posts

Posted - 03/30/2006 :  5:34:51 PM  Show Profile  Visit KathyR's Homepage Send KathyR a Private Message
No advice for items but a suggestion for selling - have different coloured price stickers for each different seller. The sticker could have a seller's code on it as well as the price. Whoever is "on duty" on the stall can take these off the item and stick them in a book. There is then a record of who sold what for how much without needing to take the time to write everything down seperately each time a customer buys something.

Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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New Pal

24 Posts

Posted - 03/31/2006 :  01:19:11 AM  Show Profile Send pookel a Private Message
Well, here is a new kink in the situation.

They require vendors to have a sales tax permit, which is not difficult - and proof of liability insurance, which, wtf?

I suppose it isn't unreasonable for them to require insurance, but I don't have a clue where to get started. Is this something my home/auto insurance company could offer me? Are there special places to go to get insurance for craft fairs? And would the cost make the whole thing not worthwhile?

Any insight would be appreciated.
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Permanent Resident

3702 Posts

Posted - 03/31/2006 :  06:47:17 AM  Show Profile Send knottyknitter a Private Message
IS there somone on with the organization who you can ask about the insurance? I'm sure you're not the only potential vendor with this question. That baing said, it's very likely something your homeowner's insurance company could add on. I have no idea of cost though; I'm sure that would depend on exactly what they're talking about. Does seem a bit strange to me.

My blog at
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Permanent Resident

7254 Posts

Posted - 03/31/2006 :  07:20:14 AM  Show Profile  Send gwtreece a Yahoo! Message Send gwtreece a Private Message
My SNB group got a booth together for a street fair. Insurance shouldn't really be an issue, contact your agent and he/she should be able to help you out. The color coding for the different sellers is a wonderful idea.

Another idea is to find a more upscale 2nd hand shop. Where the sell gently used. I knew someone that was selling her scarfs and stuff in one of these shops and it was all she could do to keep up with the demand. The ladies were paying a lot for them since they were all different colors, etc.

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Posted - 03/31/2006 :  07:23:06 AM  Show Profile  Visit's Homepage Send a Private Message
This is not something that the homeowners insurance will cover. Be sure to speak to your insurance agent. In fact, the homeowners insurance will exclude specifically this type of activity.

You may find that the cost of insurance is going to outweigh any potential gain to be realized from the sale of items. It'll be a basic business policy you need.

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Permanent Resident

1770 Posts

Posted - 03/31/2006 :  07:25:43 AM  Show Profile Send yarnlover a Private Message
I had to get liability insurance when I had a permanent booth in an Amish market some years ago. Just go to your insurance agent, with whatever information you have from the organization, and get a policy. It's very limited, just covers your space in case someone falls or gets hurt, so the cost should be reasonable. I think I paid around $100-125 or so for one year. Since you are sharing, and since you need a tax certificate, you might want to register a business name. That way everyone works under that umbrella, and not everyone has to get a tax certificate. Then ask your insurance agent about the details for the liability part of it.

If all of this is too much to do, just have one person take care of the business side of it, and consider everyone else's items as "consignments." So one person is responsible to pay the sales tax and gets the insurance and the others work the booth. If you do go ahead with this, I'd also suggest opening a separate checking account and keep all outgo and income separate from your personal funds.

See My Stuff: Here

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Tangled Jane
Seriously Hooked

750 Posts

Posted - 03/31/2006 :  08:14:38 AM  Show Profile  Visit Tangled Jane's Homepage Send Tangled Jane a Private Message
Just don't sell yourself short. There's a whole science concerning the business of selling knitted stuff that goes into cost of materials plus the actual time you spend knitting the item. Often, after calculations, you may come up with the dismal realization you've been working for minimum wage, if that. Luckily for me, I'm not science-orientated but I do try to think in a business-like fashion.

It seems that if you're sharing booth space you need to all agree with one another a reasonable price to put on your respective goods or you'll be undercutting one another. Tedious stuff.

Which is why I just end up selling my things for what I can, remaining endlessly grateful that people like an item enough to lay down cash for it and (deep breath)have fun.

Always for fun...

I've been designing patterns for my knitting for about a year now but I certainly do it DIFFERENTLY than the patterns I typically see in books, mags or stores. I could never afford to print them because I use too much color photography to illustrate my color knitting. I use PDF download exclusively but I don't know if this is cutting me out of the market. Anyone else trying this? Any thoughts?

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Gabber Extraordinaire

491 Posts

Posted - 03/31/2006 :  08:39:08 AM  Show Profile Send JGOLOSO a Private Message
Hi Jane,

I love your designs! I can't wait for the panel scarf pattern. I see your online shop similar in style to the online PDF downloadable designs that Stitch Diva used to offer exclusively online and on E-bay. She only had a couple and it seemed like a very small operation. Now, I see the patterns in stores and she also has booths at Stitches and other shows. I know she has received a lot of press, which has been helpful, I think. I am sure that if you wanted to, you could easily grow your business in the same way. Your designs are beautiful and original. I am sure there is a huge market out there for that.

I know nothing about business and am not affiliated with any site, don't know Stitch Diva (I'm just a customer!), but I find it interesting to see these small operations grow so quickly. I think it's great and I love the offerings by smaller, more creative design sources.

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New Pal

24 Posts

Posted - 03/31/2006 :  3:02:56 PM  Show Profile Send pookel a Private Message
Originally posted by

This is not something that the homeowners insurance will cover.

Obviously not - the question was whether the company I get my home and auto insurance from is likely to be able to offer me a business policy as well.
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New Pal

24 Posts

Posted - 03/31/2006 :  3:06:48 PM  Show Profile Send pookel a Private Message
Originally posted by yarnlover
If all of this is too much to do, just have one person take care of the business side of it, and consider everyone else's items as "consignments." So one person is responsible to pay the sales tax and gets the insurance and the others work the booth.

There's a nice thought - I'd happily volunteer to do the business end of it if others would work the booth. I don't mind the idea of working the booth, but I have a baby and a full-time job, so it would be difficult to manage that end by myself.
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Chatty Knitter

175 Posts

Posted - 04/02/2006 :  12:40:06 PM  Show Profile  Visit meknits's Homepage Send meknits a Private Message
The sales tax thing can be a headache. You need to be very well-organized and make sure the others know what the percentage is. Remember this when pricing items--you either automatically add it to the price or calculate it when making the sale.
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