Archive | knitting business

Fingerless Gloves Under Your Christmas Tree!

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I had a burst of motivation last night and finally finished a bunch of fingerless gloves! They are all hand-knit from beautiful blend of Chinese Tussah silk and merino wool, and they feel like a soft cloud wrapped around your hands. When you’re texting or driving or working with your fingers, they keep your hands and wrists cozy and warm.

Can you think of someone you’d like to give them to? Would you like a pair in time for Christmas? Order by Saturday, DECEMBER 20, within the U.S.A. and you get your wish! You can contact me directly, or I will also be listing them in my Etsy shop very soon. Only these five pairs are available this year!

Each pair is $25 each. Shipping will be $5 per order, which is a discount from the true Priority Mail cost, but I want to be sure you get them in time!
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Bright yellow and deep purple, size small (fits most).

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Fuchsia and yellow, size small (fits most).

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Colors are brighter on your screen than in real life. These gloves are a beautiful peachy-red and sea blue. Size small (fits most).

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Gray and deep red, size small (fits most).

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Bright blue and yellow, size medium and extra long.

And MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYBODY!!!

——–

Update: All these gloves sold within 36 hours of me writing this post. Thank you, friends!!!

5 :: in knitting business, Making Room {Handmade}

bits and bobs

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It’s a blustery January day here in Sicily, and my laundry is snapping dangerously in the breeze outside. I might have to use a few more clothespins to make sure some pajamas and socks don’t blow away!

It’s been a quiet week, and there isn’t too much to share, so I thought I’d just give you a picture of the little sweater I’m knitting for Gil. After heaps of craft fairs during the holiday season, I am ready to stop making things to sell to other people and start making things for my own family! Right now I’m working on this little striped sweater for Gil. It’s made entirely from extra fine merino Italian yarn that I purchased here in Sicily, which knits up beautifully.

Besides knitting, I got this new book at the library yesterday, and now all I want to do is read it. Did you know Robert Galbraith is J.K. Rowling’s pseudonym? Elliott teasingly asked me if I was interested in the book before I found out that she wrote it. I’m not sure. But it does make it that much more intriguing!

And finally… today is our fourth wedding anniversary! Four years. It still somehow seems so short considering all we’ve packed into it: buying a house, a year-long deployment, a move to Italy, losing my sister, and welcoming two children. Our married years have been busy. We couldn’t have imagined all those things — some blessings, some challenges — when we wed on that snowy Saturday four years ago. Perhaps it was a good thing we didn’t know because we both might have thought twice about walking down the aisle! I’m grateful these things were hidden from us and that instead we were given each other — flawed but faithful — to walk into those challenges together.

You’re my best friend, Elliott, and I love you!

P.S. Some wedding photos here!

17 :: in home sweet home, husband, knitting business

Craft Fair Tips & Tricks

Well, dear readers, here it is: the craft fair advice post!  I didn’t know I had learned so much until I began to write it all down for you.  A craft fair is a lot of work with a steep learning curve from start to finish!

Here are my tips as well as my checklists, a few pictures, and some more resources at the end.

Table Decorations & Props 

I felt rushed to build up my inventory (because I only found out about the craft fair three weeks before!) so I spent very little time thinking about how my craft fair table would actually look.  I should have designed my display on my kitchen table before the event so I could play around with spacing, props (like bowls or dishes or pretty trays), and even the amount of products I wanted to display.  Therefore I only had a basic vision for my table and just played around with the design once I got to the fair.  Since I had a couple of hours before the fair began, I could arrange and rearrange a dozen times.

A couple of things I did know ahead of time:  I wanted to use a plain white tablecloth over the dark wooden table to really make my brightly-colored products pop.  I wanted to display smaller items in matching Polish pottery bowls, which are the prettiest things in my kitchen and are very complimentary to my fabric choices and personal style.  I also planned to hang a homemade pennant banner on the front of my table so I didn’t just have a plain white tablecloth there.  (Some of you will remember it from Lena’s first birthday party.)

As you can tell from my photos of the craft fair, my friend Anna spent a lot of time thinking about her display and had some darling ideas and a beautiful vertical display for her chef’s hats.  Her attractive use of space definitely drew customers in!  She also had printed a larger version of her logo to hang on the front of her booth.

Because Anna and I were sharing a table, we both had to crowd our displays in order to show all the items we offered.  Considering this, we took a lot of care to make sure that all our items were grouped well and that we kept any extra inventory off the table to provide as much calming white space between items as possible.  In the end our table looked rich with attractive choices but not overcrowded or overwhelming.

We both encouraged people to interact with our displays and products, meaning Anna was happy for kids to swirl her whisk around a bowl with her felt sugar cubes and felt eggs.  I also cheerfully suggested that people try on my gloves whenever they paused to look at them; I know they look so much more attractive on your hands than simply lying on a table. 

Business Cards and Logo 

Most professional crafters will have invested in a professional designer create a logo for them.  I haven’t done this yet, so I just made my own sign with the name of my shop, a tagline (“Knitted and Sewn by Becca Garber”), and the addresses of my blog and Etsy shop.   In retrospect there were a dozen things wrong with my sign design (ie., it wasn’t colorful, the web addresses were long and distracting), but hey… better next time.  I printed a sign with my shop name, tagline, and web addresses on fine resume paper and framed it in a picture frame we had in our house.  I also printed “business cards” that looked exactly the same as the sign.  These I printed on resume paper and then cut out myself with a craft paper cutter.

Price Tags 

All the resources I read before the craft fair emphasized that your prices must be obvious.  They suggested framing little price signs by each category of your inventory.  I didn’t have enough little frames for that, so I made little paper “price tents” with the name of the product, a description, and its price on the front.  Here’s an example from my bean bags:

The “price tents” were easy to make on Microsoft Word.  I formatted a page to have two columns, typed up a product description and price in each column towards the bottom of the page, and then printed the page.  I cut the page in half lengthwise—two strips of paper, each with a product description and price near the bottom—and then folded the strip in half and folded the ends underneath.  I taped the ends together and this made a little 3-sided tent with the product description and price on the front side.  These stood up well by themselves and didn’t lose their shape throughout the day.  When I packed up after the show, I carefully peeled off the tape and smoothed the papers out.  They’ll be used again!

For individual products like a scarf or hat, I made price tags on fine resume paper and attached them to the product with a natural cotton yarn.  I also made “original price tags” and then “alternative price tags.”  The alternative price tags were $5 less for everything in case I decided to lower my prices to encourage sales halfway through the show.  Kind of awkward to decide this and then have to rewrite your prices with a Sharpie.

I made sure every sign was printed (no random handwritten signs) using the same type of font and the same kind of paper.  This consistency gave cohesiveness to a table full of various products.   

Gift Wrapping  

It’s a nice touch to hand your customer their purchase in a pretty bag or box.  I bought brown paper lunch bags at the grocery store; they were big enough to fit most of my products.  I would have liked to glue on handles with a hot glue gun and twine, but I ran out of time.  I did manage to use a hot glue gun to quickly attach my business card to the front of the paper bags, and that was a nice addition and guaranteed that my customers would go home with my card and all my contact information.

I bought cute red-and-white-striped tissue paper to go inside each bag.  This made the new purchase look more like a gift and reminded everyone that they were shopping for Christmas… yay!

Paperwork: Receipts, Custom Orders, and Inventory Checklists  

These are a few pieces of paper that you might like to have with you at the fair:

The first is receipts.  Some customers might like a receipt of purchase, particularly if they just bought a large item.  You can create your own in Microsoft Word or download a customizable template here.

Secondly, if you are willing to offer custom orders, you might be opening yourself up to a whole new scope of your business.  I was eager to offer custom orders on my gloves, particularly because I’d only had time to make three pairs before the show.  Every time people showed any interest in the gloves I encouraged them to try them on and then pulled out a bag full of yarn so that they could imagine a pair of gloves in colors that appealed to them.  This way I got three custom orders in a three-hour show, which is $75 I wouldn’t have otherwise made!  I designed little custom order forms.

Lastly, you will want to keep an inventory checklist so that you know what you’re selling.  I made a nice one on Microsoft Word but ended up just keeping a running list myself of what I had sold and for how much.  This tally of how much I had made thus far also motivated me to keep selling hard! I’m glad I have this record because my memory fades quickly and I’ll need to know these figures for taxes in April.

 
Ploys

By this I mean candy or cookies or your business logo stickers or whatever encourages people to come on over, snag a handful, and take a look.  I wanted to accommodate all those who might be tempted by chocolate!  I set out an attractive Polish pottery dish that matched my other display dish and filled it with Hershey’s kisses wrapped in Christmas-colored foil.  These were a hit… especially with me.  

Craft Fair Checklist

  • Your inventory with price tags either attached now or made to be attached later.  I recommend packing everything in a rolling suitcase!
  • Table decorations and/or props
  • Receipts
  • Custom order forms
  • Inventory checklist/price list
  • Paper towels for unfortunate spills or accidents or to provide shape to your products (like stuffing hats instead of laying them flat on your table)
  • Mirror so people can see what they look like as they try your products on!
  • Cash—I had $20 in $10, $5, and $1 bills and it was more than enough as people began paying in cash immediately and bulked up my stash.  I also accepted checks.
  • A small table or a chair on which to place your cash box, paperwork, pens, and water bottle, as it’s awkward to have them on the floor and you need to use your table to display your wares.
  • Office supplies
    • Tape—masking tape for securing your tablecloth/décor and gift tape for odds and ends
    • Pens and Sharpie
    • Pins—preferably plain metal straight pins so as to be as invisible as possible in your display
    • Safety pins
    • Scissors
    • Needle and thread
    • Calculator
  • For yourself
    • Camera
    • Phone
    • Water or drink of preference (ie. decaff coffee for that early morning for me!)
    • Sweater if the craft fair location is cold
    • Food—consider including a full meal if you’ll be there all day, but also consider that the booth down the hall selling fresh Mexican street tacos might be calling your name!  Also consider if you want to eat behind your table (not recommended for appearance’s sake…) and who will sit there in your stead while you go eat.  Can your husband or a good friend relieve you for 30 minutes and also be trusted to bring in sales while you’re gone?
Resources and Other Considerations

OK, now go forth, craft, and sell!

69 :: in arts and crafts, knitting business, Making Room {Handmade}

craft fair preview!

Saturday will soon be here, the day of my first craft show ever!  I’ve been working in every spare moment to prepare sweet knitted and sewn items for sale, and I’m imagining how to arrange everything on my table when the day comes.  No matter what sells, though, the point is… I am going to actually sell at a craft fair! 

Here are a few of the things I’ve been working on:

Little jelly bean-shaped bags of rice will be fun “bean bags” for kids 
or can be hot/cold packs for adults.

felt tooth fairy pouches & felt baby shoes
For the pouches, the child tucks their tooth in the tooth-shaped pocket on the front and then Mom tucks the money inside the pouch!
knitting baby hats and attempting to read at the same time… not always successful
sewing up fabric beach balls
& my smallest fabric ball wearing a baby hat I just finished
fingerless gloves are ready to go
& every crafter deserves a chocolate break!
For those of you out there who have sold at a craft fair before, do you have any advice for me?
15 :: in arts and crafts, knitting business, Making Room {Handmade}

a moment to be still.

Lena is sleeping.  The kitty is lounging.

The menu for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving meal is looming.  The kitchen is dirty.  The floors are dirty.  The laundry is clean, at least, but needs folding.

But for just a moment… let me sit still.

I like doing a travel series and sharing photos with you, but in the middle of that it’s hard to share what’s going on right here, right now, this week.  So here’s a bit about life around here, and why it feels so good to sit, and why I would like to curl up with a book until the end of nap time.

This holiday season is a busy season.  I think I didn’t quite realize it until all at once the deadlines were approaching and the holidays were upon us.  I also recently decided to get much more involved in my community by joining or taking positions in my women’s Bible study and the All Officers’ Spouses’ Club, and with these commitments comes a lot of (joyful!) responsibility.  While most of the year these two organizations have minimal commitments, around this time of year there are holiday parties, book club meetings, Thanksgiving potlucks, and party planning committees galore, not to mention creating all the sweets and treats that are fun to bake, cook, and prepare to share at all these events.

The biggest upcoming event is Night of Noel, a beautiful evening of food and fellowship for the women of our community, and I am responsible for all the decorating for the event (yikes) as well as hostessing a table and making a dessert.  I’m thinking multiple Christmas trees and twinkle lights, gold spray painted pine cones, and fondue, in that order.  Thoughts?

I also somewhat randomly decided to sell my handiwork at my first craft fair ever.  (Double yikes!)  The craft fair will take place on December 1… a little over a week away!  I spent most of last Saturday at my sewing machine and spend every evening with my knitting needles between my fingers.  (Why is it that I only get crafty in the fall and winter?  I need to stay crafty all year so that I have a good inventory!)  Honestly, I’m somewhat ridiculously excited about actually attending and selling at a craft fair, even though it’s only three hours long and I fully expect to sell nothing.  It’s the anticipation… the camaraderie… the officialness of it!  I’m a real craftswoman. 

Anyway, that’s a little bit of what is constantly running through my mind these days.  “Knit gloves… finish book for book club… email about decorations… run over shopping list again for Thanksgiving… sew fabric beach balls… etc. etc. etc.”  Not to mention playing with Lena, cooking meals, keeping the house clean, dealing with our chimney repairs (still not finished!), and all the other sweet trifles of life.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the holidays or just caught up in the joyful busyness of it all? 

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6 :: in holidays, knitting business, Siena, thoughts

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