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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How to set up a Simple Craft Show Table that looks great!

How to set up a Simple Craft Show Table that looks great!

Last week I participated in a pop up craft show in downtown Pittsburgh.  Although the show was not well attended and I felt silly for not having researched it properly (the location and glamour of who was running it fooled me!) I did create a nice, simple table that I thought would be great to share.  This table would be really easy for anyone to recreate on a budget but still look professional.  For more detailed info on starting a sewing business from scratch, you can purchase my book, Sewing to Sell! 1.  Vertical shelving:  It is important that you make use of vertical space.  It catches shoppers eyes from farther away and gets your products up to their eye level.  This shelf is made using PVC pipes and joints.  PVC is cheap, easy to cut to size, sturdy and EASY TO CARRY!   To top off the shelf, I used a wooden shelf with a cute trim I found at a construction recycle place.  But you could easily use some other kind of trim to make that shelf topper look nice.  This is a 5ft long shelf and PVC set up.  This means it will fit on both an 8ft or a 6ft table. 2.  Simple table cloths:   You are going to need that space under your table to hide boxes and extra supples.  Make sure your table coverings fall all the way to the floor.  My cloth is yardage of 54” decor fabric.  It does not go all the way to the floor on the back side of the table and that grants me easy access to what I need under the table- bags (I bought these from U-line), extra business cards, snacks, etc.  I also covered the top of my table with some burlap for texture.  I like how it kinda of tones down the bright colors of all my fabrics and add an earthy base to my products. 3.  Brand Signage:  Although you can easily have signs printed by Kinkos or with some planning, Vistaprint, this banner is also an easy option.  You can either print or trace the letters of your business on paper, cut it into triangles and sew it all together with some fun trim.  This banner was supposed to be a temporary solution for me but I like how it adds some fun decor to my table.  It is important to have a name for your business!  It adds professionalism and interest.  People always come and ask “Why Gingercake?” 4.  Merchandise:  What I planned and sewed for this show had several things in mind- price, size, shape, and customer. For the price, I wanted a variety of prices- from a $15 jewelry pouch to a $65 quilted 24”...

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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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Gingercake’s Big Sale & New Secret Weapon

Gingercake’s Big Sale & New Secret Weapon

Sale time!  For 10 days, 30% ALL PDF SEWING PATTERNS.  This is the biggest sale I do each year.  The only time every pattern is on sale for that big of a discount.  So, stock up and start making! Another thing I wanted to share with you is my newest secret weapon to make beautiful and professional graphics.  No, I didn’t purchase anthing expensive or hire anyone.  I am now using CANVA.  Have you heard of it?  It is pretty awesome and FREE.  If you are trying to promote your handmade business or jut want to make a cute invitation or a cool flyer for your bake sale- you should try Canva out!  It is easy and I have really loved the results.  Above is the promotion I made for the sale.  Below is my new holiday shop banner… A big portion of the canva graphics are free, but they do have some stock photos you can buy for $1.  This photo above was $1 and totally worth to give me that nostalgic handmade chirstmas feel I was looking for. Another cool option is that you can make your graphics specific to different sizes of where you want to use it.  The first sale ad is made in a square- I knew that would work for my newsletter and for instagram.  Below is the graphic I made for twitter.  They start you off with the perfect size so that when you do a twitter post, there is no cropping. I really like that since keeping all the social media sizing straight is too much for me! I also made a holiday Facebook banner that was FREE.  They even put that little left corner box in there so you know not to put any important words in that section.  I love the sequins! Finally, when I am running a sale, I like to run a Facebook ad so that I can reach more people.  But my cute sale graphics above would not be approved by facebook since there are too many words.  Canva has a layout to do a simple mosiac so I can show a bunch of pattern photos and Facebook will run my ad with no problem. In the past, I made these in PSE and it was really time consuming.  But this was super fast and I only had to upload the photos to Canva and then drag them into the mosaic sections. I have not been in touch with Canva at all, so this love is totally uncompensated.  But I am really excited about this FREE service to all of us small business people.  I hope this is helpful to you and you can start making pretty graphics and...

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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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Great Big Tote Bags by BeachBabyDesign

Great Big Tote Bags by BeachBabyDesign

This morning I got an email from Tina of Beach Baby Design on Etsy.  She wanted to let me know that she made some great big totes (a pattern from my book, Sewing to Sell) and listed them in her etsy shop.  These are so fun, summery and beachy, I really wanted to share.  Head over to Tina’s Shop to read more about these fabulous bags (and zipper pouches- another pattern from Sewing to Sell!) You can click on the photos to take you directly to the listing.  It’s hard to get your product found on etsy, but Tina has a leg up with these bright photos that are well staged (the pool to envision yourself poolside with these cute bags!).   Great job...

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Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day Spring 2015

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day Spring 2015

I love Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!  This week I am giving away a signed (cuz I’m so not famous) copy of my book,  Sewing to Sell.   This book is a great resource for starting a sewing business AND it offers 16 copyright free sewing projects. I made these 3 quick and Cool Grocery Totes (a pattern from Sewing to Sell) for my mama for Mother’s day.  It is one of my favorite projects from the book since it’s quick, there is little fabric waste, and the result is a fun and useful bag.  I really like the idea of making sets too-  Wouldn’t groceries look adorable in these bags?? I also made a set for my mother in law, Trish.  I love these bright colors and I hope she will too!All fabrics were from JoAnn Fabrics.  The yellow lining fabric on the fruit bags is Lotta Jansdotter for JoAnn.  They also have some really pretty Cloud 9 fabric there now too! I made a youtube video about these Quick and Cool Grocery Bags that you can see here. To enter the giveaway for the book (which includes the pattern for the grocery tote!) please leave a comment here answering one of these questions: What are you hoping to sew this summer?  What is your favorite handmade gift to give? YES- I will ship the book internationally. The giveaway is now CLOSED.  Thanks so much!  The winner was #192, Kelsey!  Thanks so much for all your comments.  I loved reading them all. I would love to have you join my newsletter!  Sign up over there on the right top corner of my blog....

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The last but not least from Sewing to Sell Blog Tour

The last but not least from Sewing to Sell Blog Tour

Yes- it’s true.  My blog tour of Sewing To Sell is over.  Sigh.  It was so so wonderful to see all the things made and read all the nice things said about my book.  I truly hope the book is out there helping people follow their dreams and start their own handmade businesses.  We gave away over 25 books on this blog tour!  It was so fun. I shared all these on my Facebook page, my instgram and even my newsletter.  But, just in case you missed them, here they are again on the blog.  For a complete round up of these Sewing to Sell Projects, you can visit my special Pinterest Board too!  If you have blogged about a project from the book , be sure to let me know and I will add you to the board. Below is the messenger bag by Christine of Heidi and Finn.  Christine has a really great line of children’s patterns and accessories in her shop.  I love the way she made these bags sweet with the animal applique but kept them looking stylish and modern with the gray.  Visit her blog here to read more about the bags. Heidi from Handmade Frenzy has a lovely and bright modern style.  She chose to make the oven mitt pattern from Sewing to Sell.  I love the bright solid coral and the modern fabric.  AND, her tags are so cute and professional looking!  You can visit her blog and read more about these mitts here. I am really loving the blog Glitter + Wit and the fun and unique projects made by Tasha.  Here are her zipper pouches she made from the book.  Her blog post is definitely worth reading since she also did her first craft show too!  Real life with first craft shows are always a good learning experience.  Go here to read about these pouches. Jess from If only they would nap made this super cool great big tote.  In the book I use canvas drop cloth but I really like the leather she used here too!  One of my goals this year is to sew more with leather.  It looks so great on handmade! Hayley from Welcome to the Mouse House shared these colorful and fun bibs on her blog and shared her thoughts about selling and packaging.The cover of the the book features the lunch bag project that Jenn of Jennuine Designs chose to sew for her day on the blog tour.  I love this elegant and version!   A perfect bag to take to work.  Jenn also shared some very valuable photography tips that you will want to see! Sara from Made-by Sara, sewed this sweet and functional organizer....

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Lots of things being sewn! Just not by me…

Lots of things being sewn!  Just not by me…

I cannot seem to start sewing!  Who knows how to break sewing block in the new year?   Oh well, maybe I should just start making a huge scrap quilt or something crazy like that.  That would get me going, right?? BUT, these wonderful bloggers below have been sewing things for the Sewing to Sell Blog Tour.   The feeling of seeing someone sew something from your book is pretty fantastic.  And these ladies are so so good! First, Vanessa sewed this gorgeous Organizer.  Head over to LBG studio and see more photos of this one!  Vanessa is super talented and is actually one of the sewers that I interviewed for the book.  She has her own pattern shop and is a contributor to Willow & CO. Justine from Sew Country Chick is a California lady doing things with her own unique style.  She is so so cool.  Too bad she lives 3000 miles away from me or I would be knocking her door and asking to be friends.  Head over to her blog and read about this tres chic LEATHER slouch bag she made.  Leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of Sewing to Sell!The calm and serenity of Probably Actually makes me feel so happy.  Gail is one of my favorites and her sewing is always so lovely.  Head over to Gail’s blog and leave a comment for your chance to win Sewing to Sell!  Gail admits something that we all feel when we begin sewing- that yes, actually, we would like to make money from all this sewing!  But it’s hard to cross the bridge, right?   Here is her version of the Ipad sleeve project from the...

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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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American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast with Moi…

American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast with Moi…

  I will be chatting with the lovely Pat Sloan on American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast today.  I am so excited.  She seems so nice and I am looking forward to chatting about my book.  Come listen so I know I have some supporters out there!  here is the link to go to at 4:00 EST.  I will be on at about 4:10. http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/radio/index.html If you don’t make it to listen today,  it will be on the website to listen whenever you want.  be sure to sign up for Pat’s Podcast!  It is full of wonderful information and great guests!  ...

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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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