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Sizzling Summer Crafts

Like it or not, summer’s almost here.  And that’s something to keep in mind as you plan your crafting inventory.  So what’s more likely to sell this time of year?

Think Beachy

What says summer more than sea shells? You see them everywhere these days, from Pottery Barn’s home accessories to Anthropologie’s jewelry.  Shells are easily crafted onto many items such as mirrors, candleholders and picture frames.  Just use your imagination.  Both shell and nautical-themed jewelry are always hot-selling summer items.  I make nautical-themed charm bracelets every summer and I’m always glad I did.

 

pottery barn shell hurricane craft boom post

We’ve all seen those recycled wood pallet signs with various trendy/seasonal/pinnable sayings on them.  So why not sell beach and lake house-themed signs?  The more rustic, the better.  Turns out I’m going to be spending a bit of time on Lake Michigan this summer, so I already went ahead and painted my own sign:  “Go Jump in the Lake!”  I mean, how cute is that?  Another popular saying (and one of my personal favorites) is “Life is Better at the Lake.”  Have fun with it.

life is better pic 3

 

Think Garden

Always remember the beauty of the garden, and those garden-themed items that sell like hotcakes in the summer!  Garden-themed booths at craft shows are filled with everything from actual gardening supplies like wellies, shovels and flower pots to more ethereal garden-themed items like tchotchkes, accessories and home decor.  Think outside the box with decorated pots and watering cans, painted plant stands and handmade bird feeders.

painted watering can craft boom

 Flower arrangements and summery wreaths are popular, too.

lemon wreath craft boom post

Anything garden-related is fair game!

Think Patriotic

patriotic necklace craft boom post

4th of July-themed items also sell well.  Even jewelry can be Old-Glorified with some red, white and blue!

4th of July t-shirts craft boom post1

Patriotic T’s are popular items, as well other patriotic textiles including aprons, tablecloths, placemats and napkins.  How about a picnic basket filled with red, white and blue picnic supplies?

patriotic picnic basket craft boom post

The sky’s the limit when it comes to selling summer crafts.  Using beachy, garden and patriotic-themed creations, your summer sales will soar.

What’s your best selling summer craft?

Have Fun Creating Loyal And Repeat Customers

So, you’ve started your online craft business. You’ve made product, it’s listed on one of the various online marketplaces or maybe you’ve already started your own webpage. The orders are starting to roll in. What now? Have you thought about how you will package them for shipping and delivery? This video has some fun and easy ways to make your orders stand out from the competition!

10 Crafty Questions With Jen Osborn (The Messy Nest)

messy-nest3Today, I’m speaking with artist, writer, and sewist, Jen Osborn, of The Messy Nest

1. What kind of art or crafts do you make?

I’m a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to creating. I started out in Mixed Media, but my love of making things with my hands quickly spilled over into jewelry, sewing, painting, and knitting. There is something so therapeutic about creating from the soul!

2. When did you get started – and when did you realize this could be a business?

I’m a 3rd generation artist, so creating has been a normal part of my daily life since I was very little. When my youngest started first grade thirteen years ago I needed something for myself, so I started a graphic design, website, and branding business from home. This quickly branched off into custom invitations. One day I ran across a copy of Somerset Studio while looking for wedding invitation paper. This was a GIANT light bulb moment for me; I couldn’t believe you could make a living doing something so amazing. Within a couple months I began publishing and writing tutorials about my creations, and I haven’t looked back since.

3. Where do you get inspiration for your projects?

Nature is a huge inspiration for me, and I pull a lot of my color schemes from things I see out and about.

However, I get the most inspiration from my friends and other crafters. I know some people get really discouraged when they see other artists creating amazing stuff, but if you can let go of your insecurity it can be such incredible creative fuel.

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4. What do you like best about selling through more traditional venues (craft fairs)?

For me, the best part about selling directly to the public is getting to interact with people who love arts & crafts face to face. I love getting that instant feedback, and even the criticism can be helpful if you can learn to filter out the rude comments. Every time I do this, I run across someone who has a story about something they’ve bought from me in the past; that is such a great ego boost and really keeps the creative fires burning. The obvious downside is it’s a lot of physical labor, and the older I get the harder it is to get excited about that part of the craft fair process!

5. Now, what do you like best about selling online?

I love how easy it is to sell from home messy-nest2these days. When I first started out the only place to really sell online was Ebay which can be both good and bad depending on how many computer screens you are able to reach out to. Then Etsy was born, and a whole new place of opportunity arose for the average crafter. I like having the control over how my wares are presented online, and being able to do it from the comfort of my home is a HUGE bonus.

The downside to this is there is obviously way too many people selling online these days to easily be found without a lot of promotion & a big online presence. It is also really time consuming to take photos, edit them, upload to Etsy or wherever, and create a description for every item you want to sell.

6. How do you price your work?

I have to confess that I am terrible about pricing my own work. It is one of the things I really struggle with even after all these years doing it! I generally look at how my peers are pricing their work, ask my mentors/peers what price they would be willing to pay for my work, and do a lot of finger crossing when it comes to pricing.

I think it’s really difficult for most of us to actually get what our time is worth when it comes down to it, and honestly the economy plays a huge part in what you can actually get for your creations. When families are having trouble putting food on the table they are way less likely to buy art for art’s sake. This is when creating useful items needs to become a priority over creating wall art.

messy-nest57. What has been your biggest struggle with your business? How did you overcome it?

My biggest struggle next to pricing has been promoting myself. I am a typical right-brained artist, and I find the number side of the business both confusing and extremely boring. I’m still in the thick of overcoming it right now, but two things that have really helped me is hiring an Art Coach to keep me on task with the number/promotion side of my business, and knowing how to ask for help in my weak areas.

I think we want [and even feel we should be able] to do it all, but it’s so important to know your strengths and weaknesses in this business! Time is money and you need to know when it’s more beneficial to hire someone else to do something you are terrible at and give yourself more time for the actual creating side of the business.

8. What has been the most rewarding part of your business?

Being able to share what I love with people all around the world. I’m one of those lucky artists who has way more ideas than I will ever be able to create in my lifetime, and having an outlet to share those ideas has really saved my sanity. I have met many of the most important people in my life through my art, and I cannot even imagine if I’d chosen another path and missed out on those connections!

9. What is something you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

The most important thing I would share is that it takes a lot of time, patience, and practice to get to a point where you have true confidence in what you create. We all tend to start out wanting to be amazing, and the only way to get to amazing is by creating a lot of garbage. There is a great blurb about this very thing by Ira Glass. I wish I had listened to this when I got started because it would have saved me a lot of frustration. The second thing is that there is room for ALL of us in this world of creating. The more of us create, the more attention it brings to all of us.

Don’t be tricked into thinking that anyone can take that away from you by creating their own stuff {even if it looks exactly like yours}. If your toes get stepped on speak out, but move over and make room for new artists/crafters every chance you get. You never know when they may be the one to come along and lift you up even higher!

10. Do you mind sharing a business goal that you hope to accomplish with your business?

Up until a year ago, my big big dream was to publish my own book. It took lots of time and patience to achieve that goal {almost a decade}, but I totally did it! My next big goal is to start licensing my artwork for home-goods and fabric. I love both of these things, and it would be such a gift to be able to sew with my designs or decorate the homes of complete strangers with my art. Wish me luck!

Video Tutorial: Crafty Romance On a Budget

Handmade flowers are B-I-G in the crafting world right now, and it doesn’t look like their popularity will be losing steam any time soon. So versatile, they can be made to fit just about any craft project you can think of. And from an economic perspective they sure won’t break the bank. I’ll admit that lately I’ve obsessed over how to make a number of different handmade flowers, some easier to make than others. So I was very pleased to come across this tutorial on how to make rolled book paper flowers. They’re surprisingly quick, cheap and easy to make.

Easy Crafts To Make And Start Selling Right Away

If you have been thinking about starting a handmade craft business, it can be overwhelming when deciding what to sell. Maybe you already have a craft business and you’d like to add a little variety, without having to invest a lot of time.

Easy Crafts to Make and Start Selling Right AwayThe internet is full of ideas. Pinterest alone can cause creativity overload! I’ve found five easy crafts that require only a few materials and are suitable for any skill level. Most can be made and sold today!

Chalkboard Frames

I’ve seen them all over Pinterest and they’re very popular right now. You can make these chalkboard picture frames from vintage or plain frames, picked up for next to nothing at yard sales or thrift stores. Create a chalkboard on the glass and add color by painting the frame. Cyndy at The Creativity Exchange will show you how simple and useful these chalkboards are. Be sure to check out her video link!


Mod Podge Glass Pendants

Jewelry is always a popular item at craft shows. These pendants are very cool and can be made from anything you have around the house. Crafts Unleashed uses photos and paper embellishments on theirs. I think you could also fussy cut pictures from magazines, craft paper scraps or recycled greeting cards. So many possibilities.

Handmade Soaps

Most soap recipes can be time consuming and use the potentially dangerous chemical, lye. I’ve found an easy method that doesn’t use lye and is called “melt and pour”. With this melt and pour soap making tutorial on Craftbits, you will be selling attractive and deliciously scented soap in only a few days It is so easy you’ll want to make several batches and experiment with a variety of ingredients and recipes.

Superhero Masks

Crafts for children are irresistible. Especially if they help foster their imagination. Red Ted Art shows how to make superhero masks with paper or craft foam and includes templates. I think felt would work really well, too. You could create a matching cape and sell them as a set.

Painted Heart Bags

This last craft is SERIOUSLY so easy and so cute! Vanessa Christensen of V & Co. teaches us how to make a painted heart bag. I can see this bag done with lots of other simple designs and colors. What about a watermelon slice with green and red paint and black seeds for summer? Make one giant star or maybe several smaller ones in both red and blue for Memorial Day or Fourth of July. Can you see where I’m going with this? What about monograms? Somebody stop me!!!

These are only five simple crafts you can whip up and start selling right away. I know there are many others. What ideas can you share? Do you know of any other websites with quick and easy crafts to make and sell?