Two years ago my sister invited me to offer something for sale at the annual holiday craft fair held where she works (in a state office building). I’d just gotten back into knitting after a very long hiatus and was brushing up on my skills — as well as learning a ton of new ones — by knitting scarves with craft store brand yarns. The yarns were mostly acrylic and some wool blends, with some ribbon and ladder yarns thrown in for good measure.
Most of these scarves I knit for pure pleasure. I’d finally been bitten by the knitting bug, and it gaveme great satisfaction to start a project and actually finish it. I chose the patterns completely at random; if something looked like fun, I’d knit it.
By December I had two big tote bags full of scarves, some thick and warm and others more fashion-oriented. Per my sister’s suggestions, we priced them between $10 and $30, depending on their size, intricacy, and potential popularity.
I sold a few of the scarves, but most of them came back home with me.
The second year I didn’t knit anything new for the sale; I stayed home and sent the remaining scarves to my sister. She kept the prices the same as the previous year, and she managed to sell a couple more. The rest came back to me again, where they sat in their tote bags. I couldn’t decide what to do with them, although I considered donating them to a homeless shelter or other charity.
It was my intention to completely ignore the craft sale this year. I didn’t believe anyone was interested in my scarf remnants, and I certainly wasn’t going to knit up anything new. But an idea was simmering in the back of my mind.
I decided to go a different route. I had tons of kitchen cotton, in all sorts of colors, that I’d collected over the past couple of years. I chose a very simple pattern and very quickly knit up about 30 simple dish cloths. I even figured a way to knit up to four of them at a time.
I made up a display board with photos (taken with my Nikon) showing all the different uses for my little 6×6 inch cloths — washing dishes, wiping up messes, holding cookies and milk. I honestly didn’t have high expectations of selling, but I had a blast churning them out and coming up with my “marketing” plan. I priced my new merchandise at $3.50 a piece.
When the craft fair was over, I had sold two dishcloths, and a few more of the scarves.
Am I disappointed? Sure I am — but not because I expected to make a fortune. For a minute there, I actually believed I might convince a few more people to go green and save some green. You know, to grab a dish cloth instead of a paper towel. To choose reusable over disposable.
Not to mention that my little foray into advertising clearly fell flat. Oops — I guess I didn’t learn as much from watching Mad Men as I thought I had.
But overall, I’m satisified. I’ve got a bit of extra money to spend on some delicious Malabrigo wool I’ve been eying — AND I’ve got myself a big stack of dish cloths that I’m definitely going to be using around the house.
As for craft fairs, I’m over them.
P.S. — I desperately need some lessons in formatting my posts and getting the images to stay where I want them to be. Seriously, an hour to post this one entry and the photos (and I’m still not satisfied with the way it looks)? That’s one big reason I don’t blog more often. Ugh.