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I am wondering if any of you all offer stuff for sale unfinished at craft shows?

It seems to me I could offer more items if I didn't have to finish them. Just let the crafters do their thing. Obviously, the cost of the items would be less than those that are finished. Custom orders would always be an option.

So, what are your thoughts? I have a lot of ideas but not near enough time (and energy) to do them all.

I guess the Christmas in July craft show could be a target rich environment. :grin:
Thanks.
 

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John
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it will work but usualy you have to finish some to show what can be done with them, if you put steep price on the finish ones it make the unfinish ones more attractive
 
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I always take some unfinished stuff - --- with a tag "as is" or "will finish as you desire". Had a 24" polish eagle (what else) carved in one of those round panels from Lowes that I cut one night of the show with no time to finish -- lady came by, took a pic, sent it to her husband, and walked off with it right there. They were going to match it with their room colors. You can also take some carved signs with just the text painted and leave the rest unfinished.

Once you go to one or two you get a feel for what will go and what price range you have to be in. Hint ....... you never have enough of what sells and too many of what you think will go.

Have plenty of cards and brochures or printouts available cause there will also be some calls coming in after the show. Craft shows are a trip -- just don't depend on them to eat.

Plus, it gives you a chance to eat junk food without getting hollered at.
 

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Theo
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it will work but usualy you have to finish some to show what can be done with them, if you put steep price on the finish ones it make the unfinish ones more attractive
Yeah, that's basically what I'm thinking. I'm thinking of offering some of my canes unfinished, no design, no finish, just the basic cane, then they can come up with whatever design they want. These would be likely about $5 less than the next step up. I think quite a few people would like unfinished canes. Then instead of being locked in with a design of mine, they could come up with something all their own.
The next step up, a design of mine, hand sketched with felt tip pen, and a finish - but the buyer could color the design using colored magic markers if desired.
Then finally, there would be a few of my designs that would be in full color (of my choosing), and a finish. These would be considerably pricier than the middle step, because I find it a major PITA to paint my cane designs. Unless the cane is for me, of course.

So, I'd say, go with some unfinished. If they don't sell well, you can always decorate/finish them later. Nothing lost but some time.
 

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Theo
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A couple of color samples are good for display, but for crafters, raw material is the way to go. You can make a red one, a white one and a blue one, and the customer will say ... "I would have bought this, if it was green." By selling it RAW, they cannot complain about the color.

Joe

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I'm not about to paint a whole cane of mine. If the buyer wants to desecrate one, up to them. The only painted cane I have at this time is my test cane. Years old, no finish except the panted design, and holding up pretty well. On one side I painted over the paper pattern glued on, and the paint didn't hold fantastic on some of the painted area, so eventually touched it up with magic marker. Which decided me to not use markers on my canes. The other side is doing well. And don't ask what it is, because I'm thinking it is from looking at Aztec and Mayan pictures, possibly a bird, maybe.
 

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Rick
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Personally, I’d want the product unfinished. I have seen to many things painted that I thought we’re much nicer before hand .
Just my 2 cents
 

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I think it may depend on the item. For me (cutting boards and furniture) I finish everything.
Seems to me most people would not know how to finish it or have a place to do it. If I had
the right item I would try is unfinished.
 

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I am wondering if any of you all offer stuff for sale unfinished at craft shows?

It seems to me I could offer more items if I didn't have to finish them. Just let the crafters do their thing. Obviously, the cost of the items would be less than those that are finished. Custom orders would always be an option.

So, what are your thoughts? I have a lot of ideas but not near enough time (and energy) to do them all.

I guess the Christmas in July craft show could be a target rich environment. :grin:
Thanks.

Mike, a lot of people don't know how to finish and if they finished it and it looks bad they will not be back nor will the people that see it in their house. Say you made a box like "The KY Woodchopper" and left it unfinished someone would take it home and say that would look cute painted RED. :crying:
 
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Thanks for everyone's thoughts. I still haven't made a decision on whether or not to sign up for the craft show. There is one in April and another in July.

Some days, I wake up in a ball of fire (for about an hour or so :surprise:), and other days, I want to stay in bed.:grin: Dang this being retired, and getting older by the day, is tough some times. >:)
 

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We'll do maybe 4 big ones this year. May, July, August and maybe and/or Labor Day or November (for Xmas). That's enough. Still have time to make things and not be "pressured". If you choose carefully, that's all you need, especially with a website and/or an Etsy (or something similar) store open all year.

Two of the ones we will be going to are 3 day Polish Festivals. The Polish Eagles fly there. Debating on the Italian one this year. Have to come up with some things specific (any Italian ideas) for it if we go. That's a bigger party than the Polish ones. Somehow, I keep getting asked for the Polish stuff. Might have just been around at the right time. But ............. this production stuff isn't near as much fun to do as the one of a kind custom jobs. But it pays better. Almost like a job. lol

Gotta make enough extra for that new Meteor. Accounting can't say too much if the cash is there up front.
 

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Mike
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Unfinished items just cover the crafters or people that don't care if it is finished. The other people might buy a finished one but they sure don't want to do it themselves.

I have seen sellers that only had items for crafters. Cutout letters and shapes, small shelves shot together with a nail gun and no glue and cheap quilt racks. I think it would probably get old after awhile but that is just me. Unfinished signs would be a different thing because you can make them with all kinds of sayings and pictures.

It really is a personal choice.

Don some people would buy a great looking box that had a great finish on it and still paint it red!
 

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If your raw stuff is well sanded, they could finish it with spray or brush. I'd consider shooting a little video on how to finish it eaither way, and letting it run all day. It will help them overcome the fear of finishing. I'd have grandchildren helping with the painting and people finishing while smiling and having fun in the video. I also like the pricing strategy of finished goods marked up a lot compared to the unfinished stuff. It puts a number to the perceived value of the customer's own work. I really loved the coin banks someone posted in the last few days. I'd even make a simple order form so people could order the date they wanted, price with S&H already in it. Use post office's cheapest rate and make the item a just right fit to a cheap shipping box. I found bubble wrap in green at HD and it was half the price of the clear stuff. Sounds like fun. Hire a high schooler to shoot your video and pay them a little, or buy or make something they could use. Many high schools now teach video production, give them an onscreen credit.

You now me, entrepreneur to the core. :grin:
 

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Theo
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This is about my favorite cane. I think it is based on a combination of birds, but who knows? It is very comfortable tho, no finish of any type, no design of any type. And I like the shape. If I can ever get to selling, I will make several versions of this, each with different designs - which is very easy to come up with on a shape like this. And have a stock of unfinished canes. Look at one for a minute or two, take a felt tip pen, and viola, a cane with a design. Some colored magic markers and you have a colored design. Then thin some wood glue down at least 3 to 1, apply a few coats (dries fast), and you have a finished cane, at a considerable savings (especially since I would charge a LOT to color someone else's cane). And the best part, for the customer, it is a custom designed cane, done by them. Not saying this idea would work on everything, but I do think it would work well with some types of items.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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We've decided we want to do one or two but still up in the air about which one to do first. The big thing for us is sufficient inventory. To have 10 cutting boards and 20 trivets on hand, for instance, seems like a lot when it's at the house but would look like a drop in the bucket at a show.

A friend is going to be doing the Canton, MS Flea Market in May and he asked me to put everything we can into that event in his booth. What he and his wife do fits in with what we do so there's no conflict and he's already cleared having our items in his booth. It's nearly a 4 hour drive for us so we're trying to figure out the logistics to get everything over to him before the show.

I don't necessarily want to be 4 hours away and letting him represent us and our goods but we might do it and then just leave early that morning and get there early enough to assist (it's on a Thursday).

But more to the topic, we'll finish everything. The cutting boards and trivets are bathed in mineral oil, which is time consuming but easy. Any signs or plaques I do are sprayed with Nitrocellulose lacquer and they'll be done well ahead of time. If someone wants an item unfinished then I'll treat it as a one-off so they can prepay and we'll ship it to them once we get back home.

David
 

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Whoa. This thread amazes me.

We've been doing art & craft shows, street festivals, holiday boutiques ... whatever you want to call them. We're in year 5. We've done 124 events, as of today.

I have never seen raw objects sold for a crafty spirit to finish.

At the shows I go to, it's more about the customers appreciating the craftsmanship. Wanting to own the art. If the craftsman has a unique skill set, then the customer should want to buy that ... because they don't have that skill.

Maybe it's me. Maybe it's because I live in the land of fruits & nuts ... but I finish what I sell, 100%.

The SOLE exception to that is one cutting board I made for a guy that found me at a show in the San Diego area. He provided the wood - camphor - and wanted me to build a beautiful cutting board like he saw in the booth. However, he wanted the alleged therapeutic benefit of the camphor, and he wanted the board raw. So, I STILL "finished" the board, but he didn't want the typical mineral oil/board butter finish I put on all food-ready surfaces.

Final thought: most entrepreneurs are great at making, but lousy at marketing their product. Most entrepreneurs don't really know what the marketplace will support ... which is a key reason why so many new businesses fail. I submit the best way to approach craft shows is to make a variety of items, and see what sells. The results may surprise you.

What do I do? I make cutting boards. What does my sign say? Cutting Boards ... Serving Pieces & More.

What's my # 1 selling item? Magic Bottle Openers.
 

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Theo
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Final thought: most entrepreneurs are great at making, but lousy at marketing their product. Most entrepreneurs don't really know what the marketplace will support ... which is a key reason why so many new businesses fail. I submit the best way to approach craft shows is to make a variety of items, and see what sells. The results may surprise you.
What do I do? I make cutting boards. What does my sign say? Cutting Boards ... Serving Pieces & More.
What's my # 1 selling item? Magic Bottle Openers.
And thusly the phrase, "Don't quit your day job", was born.

I would have thought it was basic, to take a variety of items.

What is a Magic Bottle Opener? And does it come with a female assistant?
 

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Thanks for everyone's thoughts. I still haven't made a decision on whether or not to sign up for the craft show. There is one in April and another in July.

Some days, I wake up in a ball of fire (for about an hour or so :surprise:), and other days, I want to stay in bed.:grin: Dang this being retired, and getting older by the day, is tough some times. >:)
Mike, I have some bad news. It gets worse. :frown:
 

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Theo
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You're not looking on the bright side Mike.
 

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