Hey everyone, thought I would start a thread about craft booths and customer order forms, etc.. Not that I have much to share, but more on that I am hoping to hear what everyone else is doing out there.
My friend and I do craft shows about 3 times a year. So far we have yet to get it down to a science. Little by little we are working our way up in to a fashionable layout. But, I really need advice and maybe photos from other crafters out there. Also, does any one have any forms that they care to share that you maybe use for custom orders on quilts etc.
I have heard from several people that if you do a custom order you need to take a 20% non-refundable deposit or have the customer buy the material or something. I don't know how I feel about this. Currently I do not do this. I go on the honor system. Yes, I have been waiting on some checks but for the most part people come through and pay for the items they ordered.
Also, any advice on pricing, etc? Displays? Oh boy I need some help. Our booth is kind of sad looking and I am on a tight budget, so working with that too is rough.
Thanks in advance for any one chiming in with advice. Bev
Do you want a business? Or just a little extra $$$? If you want a business then you have to start out charging enough to really make a profit after you pay for ALL your supplies including electric to maintain that sewing space. Gas to drive around to pick up the materials and notions, etc. Not good at book work and keeping track of receipts? A good alternative is the online site that charges 3% of the selling price and customer pays shipping. You'll need a digital camera and a few tips on photography. Two of my sisters run their own businesses doing sewing, one has a long arm quilter in her home, the other a separate studio. I have helped out and have a pretty good handle on how to price items to stay in business. Don't charge wholesale if you are selling retail.
I want a business. My husband and I got our tax id this fall and our first show will be coming up December 3rd. I was doing show's before with my friend, she's been in business for years but she is an older woman and she said she never really did the math to see how much she is really making. So, she wasn't much help. I've sold before on the side and then people started telling people, and more people, etc... so I decided it was time for us to "get real" and start. We don't want to make millions, lol, but we do want to make some holiday money, etc.. I want to do everything right from the start and the biggest thing I have found so far is people ordering stuff, then taking forever to pay for it, and because we are on a tight budget of our own, going out and buying the materials for their project is a killer and then for them not to pay on time is just horrible. I just need everything, lol.. so any and all advice would be so much appreciate, VERY VERY APPRECIATED.. (not yelling, just stressing how much I appreciate your help). I'm just so loss at everything lately and yeah.
I've not done this and most likely won't. BUT I think if I were interested in startig a business, I would check out similar businesses on line. Maybe see what their fee structure is and how they set up payments, delivery, etc.
We used to require 1/2 down, for any custom work. But with the economy so bad we now require 1/3, that usually takes care of whatever we don't have on hand and have to buy. So no out of pocket expense. When we finish the project we require the balance before delivering the goods. For custom upholstery or draperies we have a $75.00 fee, non refundable but applicable to the order. This has eliminated customers who were not serious. No one wants to drive to a potential customers home, spend an hour with them and not get reimbursed for their time.
We separate the cost of hanging the draperies or curtains. We do not hang them for free. They are delivered if we hang. Otherwise the customer picks them up and they are pressed (steamed) and ready to hang. We have a minimum set up charge for Monograming and then a 50 cents per letter charge. Sewing lessons are $20.00 per hour. Client brings their own supplies. For alterations, check with several dry cleaners and see what the fee schedule is.
I always collect enough up front to pay for the fabric, especially if I have to go to a "real" store to buy it. And I tell them once I start cutting, there is no refund. It's all in writing & I get a signature.
Pricing for the actual work is a bit tricky. The more pieces per block, the more I charge for "my time".
When I was doing wood work, I made up simple form, and copied them at the library !! wow long time ago ! just make a statement of what you want...50% non refundable deposit, or what ever...you could do a few different ones for various sizes of quilts, and put in some blank spaces...to Fill in particular information...requests for colors, prices...anything you want to include.
I had the business name, address, and phone at the top. then the information. space at the bottom for the customer to sign, and space for you to sign. back then I had some of those lovely carbon sheets, and did two copies, one for me, one for the customer, customer got the duplicate...now you could most likely copy it for them on your computer...or get that paper for duplicates, if using at a show...
I did this after getting "screwed" a few times on custom orders. I had no problem getting the down payment from people that really wanted something made. and if they wanted an item mailed to them when it was finished, I had a few different "flat rates" for shipping... I did $5.00 , $10, and $20.00...
many people say the "formula for pricing" is three times the cost of materials, plus an hourly wage. and you do have to remember, all the little things...fabric of course, then the thread, the cost of electricity to run your machine...little in itself, but they do all add up!!!! can be very hard to figure out...
and of course a 9 patch takes way less time than a block with ohh 50 pieces!!!
go take a look around ebay, and etsy...even face book, blogs etc...see what people are charging for their stuff that is similar...
As always, I love my sister-n-law Thunder and her fabulous words of sewing wisdom, or in this case, her wood working knowledge, lol.
I haven't (knock on wood) gotten taken yet, but I have had people say, oh I can't pay yet, ummm, give me another week, umm, another month, and I have had the oooh I wanted this mailed NOW people too. They all just aggravate me, lol. It's especially frustrating when you work on something, hurry up and put them at the front because they need it by x date and then they turn around and you are waiting on them for the check!
Or just recently I did a bunch of work for this woman, turned out I was on a roll and completed it early! I kind of new this was going to happen so I sent her a message on Monday saying "hey, guess what I should have your stuff done early if you want to mail the check now, when I get it, your stuff will be ready to go" figuring if they mail it early they do, if not, whatever because I was on a roll. Well, they mailed the check and kept asking "did you get it?" "did you get it?" I kept saying no, not yet, will let you know, etc.. They mailed it late Tuesday night and I got it on Friday about 4pm when the mail finally arrived. I told her I just got the check, your package will go out Monday because I still had to go cash it, etc.. she kept complaining! Can't you mail it NOW!? Can't you do it tomorrow? Why do you need to do it on Monday? I finally said "LOOK, I don't work on the weekends and even if I deposit your check today it won't be cleared to mail until Monday" "and besides I am two weeks EARLY!" then she had the balls to say, "It's going to take too long to get to me, I need it mailed, I need it NOW" I couldn't believe it! I mean come on...
That's when I decided I needed help from fellow crafters to come up with something to deter those people and get me up front cash for the supplies I need to get the stuff made for them on time.
Bev, if you want to look at actual invoices for ideas, go to ANY place that does custom work of ANY kind. Wood working, drapes, heck even window shops or maybe a Stained Glass gallery. See what they use. They have some of the same concerns and needs. Do yourself a huge favor and get as much down as possible. If someone is SERIOUS, they have the money. I honestly do not think 50% down is unreasonable.
On the other hand, when I contract with someone to HAVE something done, I usually try to also get a penalty written into the contract for if they are late with my project. I've also seen bonuses for early finish time.
I did craft for a living when my kids were young so I could stay home.(in the 80s) Doing shows on weekends 1 or 2 a month. but selling a lot from home (make sure you have business cards). Back when it was about aveage $15.00 for a space & they knew we only want to rent it for a day or two not buy it ...lol in the 90s I went to selling on the web .. I did woodwork & fabric art & Quilts.
No 2 booths ever setup the same as I was always changing the things I made.
I learned to only take sample quilts as no one wanted the quilt in the color or size of the ones I hade with me ..
After getting burned on a quilt or 2 not being picked up I started the 50% deposit & still do today.
Except only 1% of the people to buy from you most people are just lookers. depending on the type of show you do