Selling Handmade on Poshmark- adding to my business wheel

Selling Handmade on Poshmark- adding to my business wheel

Handmade business is all about diversifying.  You can’t just keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect to continue staying in a creative and evolving business.  I like to think of my business as a wheel with sprockets- like a bicycle wheel.  At the center is me, the artist (aka Virginia Lindsay).  The sprockets are the different aspects of my business- the PDF patterns, the handmade items, the blog, the books, the youtube channel, the sewing classes, etc.  I can talk more about that in another blog post if you are interested!  The other day I made a video showing how I have begun selling on Poshmark.   Poshmark is a buying and selling app that is FREE and you can download it here. So far I am selling these necklaces that I made using this tutorial I did for Sew Mama Sew a few years ago.  I love how they add such character to a basic outfit (and let’s face it, 95% of my outfits are basic!).   You can get the instructions to make on for yourself here! What are some places you are trying to sell your handmade items besides etsy?  Have you had some success?  Have you tried poshmark yourself?  Let me know your thoughts!  You can get the app...

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Priced to Sell a Handmade Crayon Folio

Priced to Sell a Handmade Crayon Folio

Thanks for all the interest and comments on my Booth tips last week.  I decided to follow up with some talk about pricing!  A much debated topic but I hope I can help you by sharing my thoughts and ideas. The first thing to understand about pricing handmade items to sell is that your time and effort are THE biggest factor in the process when you are sewing.  YES, material costs are something to think about but they really only add pennies instead of dollars to the bottom line.  Here is my story of sewing crayon art folios to help you understand my pricing process. My biggest seller from over the years is the Crayon Art Folio.  Year after year after YEAR, people keep buying them when I do a holiday show.  When I designed the sewing pattern back in 2010, I made a few (maybe 7) for the holiday show I attended that year.  They sold out quickly and I wished I had made many more.  The following year, I made 20, and priced them at $20, and again, ALL sold!  Wow!  That was $400 dollars.  The following year, I made 20 again and priced them at $25.  Only half sold to my disappointment but not my surprise.  $25 was too much for a crayon holder even if it did have cute designer fabrics, crayola crayons and a nice paper pad.  But honestly when I calculated my time, $25 was a more realistic price for all my efforts!  There are lots of parts to the crayon holder- the fusing of interfacing, the sewing on velcro, the individual tiny crayon pockets, and then, top stitching through thick layers, etc. My customers (in Pittsburgh- a pretty frugal market) are willing to pay about $20 for this product.  I tried $22 and that sold OK, but $20 is the sweet spot.  They feel like they are getting something really nice for their kids and even though it’s a little much for crayons and paper, its something that will last.  For me, I needed to figure out how to make ME feel comfortable with selling for $20, not try to get THEM to change their whole understanding of the worth of handmade.  Other things can sell for more- designer pillows, chic purses, etc.   Nothing is worse than person after person at a show praising your work and then after looking at the price walking away! Ouch. Here is what I did to get ME comfortable with $20.  First- I looked at the design.  How can I make this quicker and easier?  That is the question you need to ask your self over and over again.  Selling handmade is about craftsmanship, but you can very...

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Sewing Business Series: Behind the scenes with my current Social Media Strategy

Sewing Business Series:  Behind the scenes with my current Social Media Strategy

I thought some of you might be interested in how I am running my sewing business behind the scenes.  Someone who write about this quite a bit is Abby from While She Naps  if you want to really learn some good info and detail- like in depth extensive detail, you can go check out her blog. I find myself easily overwhelmed by too much info on how to run my business.  I am keeping my head afloat by using simple strategies and trying to be consistent.  One foot in front of the the other and keeping myself focused on doing thing I love!  Two things are really exciting and helpful for me right now- Canva and Tailwind.   Both charge a monthly fee but I think they are well worth it! Tailwind in a scheduling app that I find really helpful.  I originally used it just for Pinterest but now they have an instagram scheduling too.  That is been so awesome!   Here is how tailwind looks when you have the schedule going. I took an online video class from Simple Pin Media to learn how to use Tailwind to schedule my pinterest strategy.  It is a good course and I may revisit it again.  I think you could learn quite a bit from tailwind’s own video tutorials also. What I like most about tailwind is planning pinterest out for a month in advance.  I like promoting old and new content from my blog AND promoting other people’s good content and tips about sewing, travel, cooking and parenting.  I do about 50% my stuff and 50% other people’s stuff.  Once a month, I spend a couple hours pinning and going through my own blog and website content and loading up my schedule.  Then I don’t think about pinterest again for a whole month! I think that saves me some serious time.  And, I have grown my pinterest followers and repins by about 25% since I began doing this 3 months ago. Tailwind is getting involved in instagram scheduling too.  I love IG but find many days I have nothing to new to share.  The weather is terrible (so no pretty sunny light), and I am not sewing anything special, etc.  It’s no secret that to grow your IG, you need to be engaged with not only liking and commenting on other people, but also posting your own.  I don’t mind looking and commenting (people are making such beautiful things all the time!) but it’s the sharing myself that sometimes gets me in trouble. Below is from my dashboard on the tailwind website and shows what I have been posting on IG lately.  Tailwind allowed me to upload a bunch of photos...

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Day out Purses for Craft Shows 2015

Day out Purses for Craft Shows 2015

Do you remember that cute Day Out Purse I made for Sew Mama Sew last year?  They were an extra project from Sewing to Sell that I was able to share.  I made some for the holiday craft shows I did back in November and Decmeber 2015. They were fun and quick to make.  Since they are 6” x 7”, you can use some of those bright and colorful FQs you have laying around.  Also- it’s a great chance to use up some of those trims you have been saving for who knows what.  Here they are in action in my booth~ My girls were really hoping they would get one of these after the show- even though I already made them their own back when I wrote the pattern!  But, too bad for them!  These all sold.  I prices them at $22.  Since I used odds and ends to make them, and they are small, I felt like it was a fair price. You can get the COPY RIGHT FREE pattern here on Sew Mama Sew and make your own!  If you plan on selling online, I do appreciate credit for the pattern.  In the versions above, I used a magnetic snap and a zipper as alternate closing.  I also omitted the interior pocket to make them faster for the show.  ...

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2 shows! GULP… But 2 shows is not as hard as you think!

2 shows!  GULP… But 2 shows is not as hard as you think!

I applied to 2 fabulous shows in Pittsburgh this holiday season and got into both of them!  My first reaction was YAY!!!  My next reaction was OH MY GOODNESS- I have a lot of work to do.  But it’s fun work- good creative work! I found out this news several weeks ago and have already been sewing up some things- crayon holders, modern folksy kitties, market bags, etc.  I haven’t done a big show in awhile (actually, since before my book, Sewing to Sell, was released) and I am really excited to get back into all the sewing and planning involved in creating a craft booth. I thought I would share this journey with you here on the blog and give some tips and strategies along the way.  Here is the the first thing you might not know about sewing for craft shows… The shows that I am participating in are the I made it Holiday market (first time ever doing this show!!) and the Handmade Arcade.  I have participated in the handmade arcade for years and absolutely love it!  Both shows are labeled as “indie craft shows”.  This means that although traditional crafts are represented, they are presented in a more modern and edgy way.  I have never thought of myself as edgy, but I do have a modern aesthetic and the shoppers at these shows are more interested in what I sell than at a traditional craft show. The truth is, although I love meeting the other artists and spending a day talking with customers (i really do like that part!),  I don’t do these show just to socialize.  I do it to make money!  Of course, right?   What many craft show veterans know, and that you may not know, is that getting ready for ONE show is a lot of work.  But getting ready for 2 shows is only about 1/4 more work than getting ready for one. How can this be?  First, at a good show, you sell about 1/2 of your inventory.  So, if I count on selling 1/2 of my stuff, I don’t have to sew twice as much for 2 shows- I have to sew only about 1.5X as much.  For example, to prepare for one show, I might sew 6 kitty pillows.  To prepare for 2 shows, I would sew 9, not 12!  Or, to prepare for one show, I might sew 3 large duffle bags.  But to prepare for 2 shows, I will sew 5.   Make sense? But preperation for a craft show is not just about sewing (or knitting, or embroidering, etc).  Planning you booth, pricing everything, and getting your promotional material together takes quite a bit of time and...

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Staging Lucky

Staging Lucky

Something I have been thinking about lately is how to take better photographs of my sewn things.  Especially things that I made a pattern for since I want people to be able to envision making one for themselves.  The other day I sewed up a new Lucky Elephant pillow and experimented with “staging”.  Instead of just the plain background, I added some things to make him more stylish and also show his size.  I will show you the winner first~ Cute huh?  After using the books I thought of changing the spines to have the title and that is my favorite part!  Here is the other winner that isn’t the title but made the product page in my pattern shop~ I think this one above is really my favorite but but I needed something more square for the title to look good on the whole GIngercake pattern page. I thought you might enjoy seeing the progression of “staging” pictures to get to these final ones.  Let me know what you think!  Did I choose the best?  Can you see the changes? This first one is really good too… They are all pretty good, right?  That was kind of like that game, What is different in these pictures?  I really fussed over this and for once, I think it was worth it.  Do you think it is worth a couple hours of precious nap time to take the perfect photo of something?  Not only the photo taking, but the editing, too.  Only time will tell if more people buy this classic Gingercake Sewing Pattern.  I know that I like looking at him on my website more now 🙂...

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Sewing to Sell Blog Tour Update

Sewing to Sell Blog Tour Update

The Sewing to Sell Blog tour is still going strong!  Last week, Jenny from The Southern Institute wrote about getting your finances in order when starting (or fixing up!) a handmade business.  Be sure to go over and read her blog post– you might learn something new and valuable… Yesterday, Shannon from Little Luvins shared this beautiful tablet sleeve she made from a project in the book.  I love this arizona fabric combo, don’t you? Head over to Shannon’s blog and leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of the book!  Shannon is already a successful etsy seller so I really liked her insights. The end of this week is Vanessa from LBG Studio!   Her blog and photos are wonderful so be sure to head over there on Thursday....

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Pin Cushions and Placemats- Back to the Basics with Sewing to Sell

Pin Cushions and Placemats- Back to the Basics with Sewing to Sell

Two of my favorite bloggers reviewed Sewing to Sell this week so far- Tara Faul of Girl Like the Sea and Monica Swift of Adirondack Inspired. First, Tara tried out the boxy pin cushion.  Can you believe that she has never sewn a pin cushion before?  This one is gorgeous.  Head over to her blog, Girl Like the Sea and read about photo taking, sewing style, and pin cushions.  Leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of the book! This morning, Monica of Adirondack Inspired wrote about her pretend play placemats she made that were based on the placemats from the book.  Even if you are not wanting the book, go visit Monica and leave a comment to tell her how perfect these placemats are! Thank you so much to these talented ladies for taking time to read Sewing to Sell and blog about it!...

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Sewing to Sell Blog Tour

Sewing to Sell Blog Tour

I am so pleased to present the entire list of bloggers who are reviewing Sewing to Sell!   I am crazy excited to see what they all will say about the book and what wonderful extra information WE are going to learn from reading their blog posts on this topic.  I mean WE because even though I wrote this book, and I learned so much in the process, this is conversation that will continue and evolve as long as online selling and craft shows exist, right? So far,  Erin of Our Family Four made adorable pin cushions from the book to sell in her shop but also brought up the importance of connecting with other sellers to make your own shop better.  That’s not in the book!  But it is such great advice!  It can be hard to reach out- especially when you are just beginning and you feel shy about your handmade items.   Reach out to groups on Facebook, etsy teams, and see if there is another local person who is selling and maybe ask them to meet you for coffee.  I truly believe that people want to help each other. Veronica of SewVery made items for a fundraising event.  I cover this topic only briefly in the book but it is a great way to help out in your area and to test the waters for selling your own handmade items.  She made cute set of zippered pouches.  We will have to check back in with her to see if her suggested price (using the book guidelines) for the bidding was right. I would love to hear your input along the way too.  Do you have something you would love to share with others who are beginning their handmade business?  What has making and selling handmade done to help your life?  I would love to hear from you!  You can comment here or send me an email!  Even better, write a blog post about your thoughts and I will link up to you!  I’ll be sharing lots of stuff to help all of us entrepeneurs the next couple of months, so join in the conversation. Last- through Goodreads, I am giving away FIVE copies of my book.  Use these links below to enter… Goodreads Book Giveaway Sewing to Sell the Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Craft Business by Virginia Lindsay Giveaway ends December 06, 2014. See the giveaway details at Goodreads. Enter to...

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Scrappy Pumpkin Tutorial Longified

Scrappy Pumpkin Tutorial Longified

Hello Sewers!  With my book coming out in only 6 weeks (whoopee!) I have been thinking a lot about marketing and trying things out.  One thing I have been looking at for a long time are those long Pinterest photos.  Supposedly, those long ones get pinned more often!  Did you know that?  Pinterest is a huge help to Gingercake Patterns and Design,  so I thought I would try one out a long pin with my Scrappy Pumpkin tutorial.  What to help me out?  Let’s pin this baby and see if the long ones really do make a difference!  I’ll reveal the results here next week and teach you how to do one yourself.  The post with the full tutorial with many more photos and well explained directions is here....

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Useless but Wonderful

Useless but Wonderful

I have been doing this handmade business for 6 years almost.  Six years full of creating and learning and success and failure.  What brought me to sewing was all the wonderful creative and useful things I could make- dolls for my kids, pillows for my sofa, hotpads for my kitchen, handbags for my friends.  I LOVE making useful and beautiful things.  It is the essential hook of sewing for creative and PRACTICAL people like me.  It’s true!  I am very  practical.  I have four kids  and I drive them around to soccer and piano and gymnatics and baseball.  I make PRACTICAL dinners every night and I clip PRACTICAL coupons.   I even have a PRACTICAL schedule for when I vacuum and clean my house!  I am sad to say that in my sewing room lately, I approach my work much like the rest of my life…   It is starting to wear on me!  I was thinking “I am a business woman now and I need to act like one!”   But a creative business needs to be nurtured, and mine has been neglected due to my practical side shoving her way in there.  Practical side says “YOU CAN”T MESS AROUND DURING WORK TIME!”  (and I am not talking about the kind of messing around I was doing in my last post!)  Creative side says “But you are starving me with your schedules and business agendas!” I finally heard creative side complaining and this sweet, silly and fun project is the result.  It is not high art friends.  Believe me, I know!  But it was fun and loose and totally not PRACTICAL.  It was an hour of ripping sheets and digging through trims and the result is a happy reminder hanging on my sewing room wall to encourage me to nuture my creative soul more often. Practical side was like “How can you just waste all that good trim and vintage sheet strips on that wierd hoop thing you just made?!”  Do you rememeber the book “The Artist’s Way” back in the late 90s?  It’s a good read!  Making this hoop reminded me of her assignments and “artist dates”.  Creative people need to have time to refill to get their juices flowing!  Projects like this can give you a good dose of that creative juice. What do you do to get back in sync creatively?  Iron and fold your fabrics?  Organize your trim and thread?  I do those things too!  For me,  I felt so creatively blocked I had to take it a step further can make something totally impractical.  Hanging this on my wall as a reminder that my work is based on creativity and it’s not just another something to check off...

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