Tag Archive | sale

In The Right Place, At The Right Time!

img_1127I am rarely in the right place at the right time. I am usually a day or two or an hour or two off the mark, but not this time. This time I was at the right place at the right time for an awesome sale at Joann’s Fabric. Despite my continued vows of purchasing no more fabric, I decided to shop this sale and I am still super excited about the deals and savings that I got, so let me tell you the story.

It was my day off and I was running some errands, when my phone chimed that I had a text.
The text was from Joann’s Fabric telling me they had a special offer just for me. Usually, I ignore these texts, but I was waiting in a line, so I decided to actually read the text.

The sale was for $20 off a $50 purchase of any regular or sale priced purchases from 4:00pm until closing that day only.

img_1136Wait a minute, that was an awesome deal!

$20 off of a $50 purchase is very close to 50% which is half price. I quickly pulled up the Joann’s app on my phone and searched the current ad. And there it was, 50% off licensed prints.

YES! 50% off the regular price plus an extra $20 off at the register? Lets go shopping! I would have no problem spending $50.00. And what made this sale even more sweet was that I was already in town and it was close to 4:00pm so it would be no trouble to swing by and pick up some beautiful new fabric to add to the stash!

img_1150I made the husband come to Joann’s with me. I also made him download the Joann’s app and coupons on to his phone. I figured that he needed to take advantage of this awesome sale as well, didn’t he? We headed down the licensed print aisle and quickly filled the cart with bolts of fun Peanuts and Star Wars prints. We then headed to the cutting table where I made a pile of bolts for the husband and a pile of bolts for me that would add up to just over $50.00 each.

Since I had instructed the husband on what and how much to have cut, I wandered off to the fleece while the husband was getting his img_1159pile of fabric cut. I found some licensed no-sew fleece blanket kits on sale for $9.99. There were several Peanuts and Star Wars blankets in the piles but I had already selected the fabric for my $50.00 purchase, so I would not be purchasing any no-sew fleece blanket kits this time.

After the cutting of our fabric purchases was done, we checked out and headed for the car. As I was reliving the savings I had just gotten again to the husband I was bemoaning the fact that I had not got any of the blanket kits. That was when the husband surprised me by saying “Well, go back then.” What?!? Go back and buy some more? What about the coupon? I only had one coupon! I looked on my phone and the coupon said it was still valid so I turned around and went back in the store.

img_1120I picked up 5 blankets and one package of dollar stickers to add up to $50.00 and headed for the register. I held my breath as the sales associate scanned the coupon on my phone. The register took the coupon and sold me my 5 blankets for $30.00 making them $6.00 a piece. What a savings! I was beyond excited! I hurriedly headed to the back to get 5 more blankets for the husband to purchase, but the husband stopped me.

Ok, ok, he was right. I had just purchased a ton of fun fabrics and now 5 blankets, and that was enough for today.

img_1141Ever since this experience, I have more carefully read the texts I receive from Joann’s, but none have been for the fabulous savings I received from that particular text that I got at the right place at the right time.

But now instead of reading more texts and planning my next fabric shopping adventure, I need to get busy sewing all of the fun fabric I purchased from this sale. So, stay tuned to see what fun things I make from all of it!

Until then, sew forth and sale on!

COGS and COSTS

img_4652-1I was recently presented with the opportunity to sell some of my amigurumi’ s and children’s clothes and blankets at a farmer’s market. Most of the venders at the market were selling produce but there were a few craft vendors so I decided to join them. I would like to tell you about my selling experience and what I learned from selling my wares.

First off, I do not want to start a crafting or sewing business. Crocheting and sewing is my hobby. It’s what I do with my down time to relax. But, with that said, supplies are expensive. Yarn and fabric cost money. So, I decided that I could sell some of my amigurumi’s and children’s clothes to help pay for the supplies to make more.

img_4645I have thought several times before about selling some of the items that I have made, but every time I looked into the cost of doing so, I stopped there. I could set up an online Etsy store, but with the many amigurumi’s already being sold on Etsy, would I ever sell anything? Plus if I did sell something could I charge enough to make enough money to cover the cost of the store and shipping costs along with the cost of supplies to make the items? I could sell my items on eBay, but once again, after paying eBay and PayPal fees plus the cost of supplies would I make any money doing that?

Over the years, I have thought about selling some items at craft fairs, but once again, the cost of the booths stops me. When I asked how much a booth would cost at most craft shows, I was quoted between $75.00 and $125.00. That was too much for me. I did not believe that I would sell enough items to even cover the cost of the booth at those prices, let alone the cost of supplies.

img_5484You will notice that I never include the cost of my labor to make the items in my questions above. I learned long ago if you make around 50 cents an hour for your labor to make your crafts, you are doing quite well. Because of that I didn’t bother trying to include the labor portion of my cost of goods sold into the equations above.

When I talked to the manager of the farmer’s market, she said the cost would be $10.00 for the spot for the season plus 12% of my profits. That did not seem like too much to me, plus rather than laying out money up front, the cost was based on what I sold.

img_4647If I sold only a little, then they only got a little of what I sold. This sounded great, but, of course, there was a catch. I had to have my own tables and a canopy. I did not already have these things, so I would have to purchase them to be able sell at the farmer’s market. Luckily, I found both folding tables and a canopy on sale, but the cost was still about $100.00.

This initial startup cost almost stopped me from selling at the farmer’s market but after some thought, I decided that these were useful purchases, and could be used for other purposes other than for selling at the farmer’s market. Folding tables are always useful and nice to have on hand, and the canopy could be used in the back yard for holidays and family events. Plus, if I sold multiple weeks at the market, that $100.00 cost could be spread out over several weeks of selling.

img_4648Of course purchasing the tables and canopy was only the first step in getting ready to sell at the farmer’s market. Next, I had to figure out my COGS or the Cost Of the Goods I was selling, and then based on that number determine what I wanted to sell each item for. I decided to price my amigurumi’s based on size, complexity, and cost to replace the supplies to make the same amigurumi again. The clothes and blankets were harder to price but eventually, they were priced based on style, embroidery, and size.

Since this is my hobby, I did not calculate the cost of my time to make the amigurumi or the clothes. If I had added the cost of my time into the price, I would have priced myself out of the market and no one could have afforded what I was selling. So, luckily, I was not expecting a wage from my wares.

img_4649Selling at the farmer’s market was not easy or fun for me. I knew that I could not just sit on a chair by my tables of goods and people would walk by and throw money at me. I knew I had to sell my items which meant selling me, the creator.

Why would some one pay good money for what I had made?

I had to show and tell them why they would. I had to tell stories about my item’s creation. I had to express my love and concern that each of my amigurumi have a good home. I had to make small talk and entertain my potential customers and hope that my efforts were not in vain, and that someone would be interested and buy my goods.

img_4650This was very difficult for me. I had purposely over priced my items a little so that I could bargain a little with people, because everyone loves a deal! So, when it came time for people to get out some money to pay me or they seemed to not really be interested in what I was selling, I would offer them a lower price. This ended up not being a good selling practice, and it did cost me some money.

I really struggled with this, especially before I had made the first sell of the day, or when too many people had walked by without showing any interest in my goods. I can’t say that my selling techniques improved much over time, but luckily the husband was with me and he helped to keep me in check as well as to help with the selling of my items, especially on the rare occasion that I had multiple customers at the same time.

img_4651I learned very quickly that my amigurumi’s caught people’s attention and they would stop and look and sometimes buy, but that they had no interest in my handmade children’s clothing and baby blankets. In all the weeks that I sold at the farmer’s market, I only sold one blanket and one child’s shirt (which was sold at a deep discount).

I sold at the farmer’s market for a couple of weeks, and each week I sold a few items, but I decided that it was not for me. First, people did not come to the farmer’s market to buy a teddy bear or a little girl’s dress. They were there to spend their money on fresh tomatoes and peaches. What I was selling was an after thought for them. Next, I had to spend my precious days off selling my items at the market.

It was a full day event since I had to be there early enough to set up the canopy, tables and my goods before the market opened and I had to be there until the market closed. Then I had to carefully pack back up my goods and take down my tables and the canopy and haul it all back to the car. It ended up taking the whole day. The day off that I needed to take care of other things was spent trying to sell a few items. I was a little discouraged by this experience and did not think that I ever wanted to sell my items again.

img_6542

 

But wouldn’t you know it, opportunity knocked again…

I was asked to be the monthly featured artist at an art walk for one of the downtown stores in old town. It was just one evening for a couple of hours so I decided to do it. I arrived at the store an hour before the art walk started, and I set up my tables and displayed my wares on the sidewalk in front of the store. I was not really in the mood to sell to people, but I knew once again that if I wanted anyone to buy my items, I had to hawk my wares.

img_6541This time though, I did not cut any prices quickly and I did not care if I sold anything since there was no cost involved other than my time. At first, no one seemed to be interested in my items and I hadn’t sold a thing. After an hour or so, I commented to the husband that I doubted that I would sell anything this evening.

But shortly after I made my comment things started to change. More people started to arrive at the art walk and more people were interested in my amigurumi’s (Once again though, no one even looked at the children’s clothes and blankets. I did sell one child’s shirt, but this time not at a deep discount.)

img_6539I once again talked to the people who stopped to look and I sold my items, but this time I let them fall in love with my amigurumi’s and pay me my asking price. I did bargain with a few people but I felt better about these sales than I did at the farmer’s market. I believe it was because I had a better and more receptive audience for selling at the art walk. The people who had come to the art walk were interesting in seeing something fun and unique. Plus, I was much more relaxed about selling.

img_6540When the night was done, I had sold more in the couple of hours at the art walk than I had the several weeks at the farmer’s market. I felt better about the experience and I decided that I could sell my wares again but I would be very selective as to where and when.

But, before I can sell anymore amigurumi’s, I have got to get some more made. Between what I sold at the farmer’s market and what I sold at the art walk, my collection of amigurumi’s is now quite small. I would not feel comfortable doing another display of my wares until I get some more amigurumi’s made.

So, with that being said I had better get crocheting! Stay tuned to see what fun things I make next!

Until then, sew and crochet forth and sell on!

Behavioral Economics

make0016IMG_3913I stopped buying fabric remnants at Walmart a while back now because the remnants at Walmart are only discounted 20% off. When the price of fabric at Walmart used to sell for less, it seemed like the remnants with the 20% off discount was costing very little money at all. So, even if it was a little less or a little more than I needed or not quite enough for what I had in mind for that specific project, it was easy to purchase them anyway.

But, when the price of fabric went up at Walmart, the extra 20% off the remnants price just didn’t seem like it was that much of a discount. To me the remnants cost still seemed to be expensive in my mind. It made you stop, think twice and look carefully instead of just tossing the remnants in your shopping cart without much thought about the cost.

IMG_3908IMG_3909Now it does matter to me if the remnant is too little, too big, or doesn’t quite match what I had in mind. The illusion of saving more or getting a deal on the remnant pieces just isn’t there anymore, so why not get exactly what you want and need cut directly from the bolt?

Recently while doing some shopping at Walmart for items other than fabric, I ended up purchasing almost every remnant my Walmart had. Why, you might ask? Let me tell you why…

My local Walmart was prepping for it’s inventory, and I just happened to be at the right place at the right time for once. All of the remnants in the bin had been marked down to clear them out before their inventory. Most of the remnants had been marked down to a half of the 20% off price. That was about a 70% savings off the regular cost. Some of the remnants were not IMG_3910IMG_3911marked down quite by half and a few were marked down more than a half. Regardless of whether it was more or less, the remnants were a great price and I did not hesitate toss almost all of them from the bin into my cart. I think the only thing I left in the remnant bin were a couple of pieces that I definitely knew I would have no use for, like a small piece of vinyl and some cheap fleece.

I hauled my treasures home and I have had a great time sorting and matching the pieces with other fabrics in my fabric stash and creating a sewing project for each piece that I purchased. I am so excited about the remnants that I purchased that I’m not even planning on storing these remnants in the stash. Instead, I want to get them sewn up right away.

So, I guess that is my cue! I had better get busy sewing! Winter is coming…

Until then, Sew Forth and Remnant On!IMG_3917

McCall’s M6274 – Puffing Up Again – Part 2

DSCN0884With the pieces of the top cut out, it was time for the sewing to begin. I did not follow the pattern guide as closely this time as I did the last time. After sewing the shoulder seams, I made the gathers for the puffy sleeves. Next, I sewed the gathered sleeves in flat instead of setting the sleeves in as the pattern called for. I guess I was not as careful this time about matching the stripes as I cut out the pattern, since these stripes do not match as well as the purple stripes did. Perhaps it had nothing to do with my cutting or matching skills, but more the fact that these strips are larger than the previous purple ones and that’s why I did not get as good a match. I am not completely sure why the stripes did not match as well this time. I will have to look into this further. I need to sew more stripes to perfect my matching techniques.

DSCN0663The facings at the neck were not a problem to sew. Holding the top up after sewing on the facings, I could tell right away that the alterations to the neckline and shoulder seams were good. The top was already looking so cute, and it was going to fit so much better than the last top I had made from this pattern. The next step was the hemming.

DSCN0888I used my double needle to hem the bottom of the shirt for some added detail. I added a row of double needle stitching to the neckline as well to hold the facing down in place. The last hems were the sleeves. As I hemmed the sleeves, I decided I would like a cuff on them. Now was not the best time to change the design of the sleeves though. The time for that was back at the altering and cutting steps. If I wanted a cuff on the sleeves, I should have cut the sleeves longer so there was fabric left over to make a cuff with. But since I had not cut the sleeves longer I twisted and folded the fabric until I had made a cuff. I not going to say how I twisted and folded the fabric to get the cuffs to work since it is not my best sewing job, and I don’t plan to use this method of cuff making again. After making these cuffs, I used the double needle to hem them up.

DSCN0889The last step to complete this top was to sew the buttonholes and buttons. Like last time, I decided not to sew a full buttonhole but to just sew the button permanently to the epaulets and the sleeves as a non-functional decoration.

With this top now all done, I once again miss having the little neighbor girl around. Without her to wear my alterations, I don’t know if the altered shoulder seams and neckline are a good fit. But by looking at the top, I know the alterations are better than the last one I made, just as I knew that the previous shoulder seams and neckline would be a problem. And with that, I have officially decided that with my new alterations, I like this pattern and I will be making it again.

Until then, sew forth and puff on!

McCall’s M6274 – Puffing Up Again – Part 1

Puff PatternPatterns were on sale again at Joann’s and as I studied the McCall’s web site and wrote out my shopping list, my thoughts turned to a previous McCall’s pattern M6274 that I had purchased during the last sale. It is a girl’s top with puffy sleeves. As you may remember, I have made a top from this pattern and the puffy sleeves turned out great. They were just adorable!

P1030750What wasn’t adorable though, was the neck line. I did see the little neighbor girl wearing this top and as I feared, the neck hung over her shoulders. She had to keep pulling it up. I then knew that if I ever made that pattern again, I would be altering the shoulder seams and the neckline to fix the problem. So, why not just make that pattern again and fix the problems with it since I had found out the results from the wear test? I own the pattern already and it’s just sitting in the closest, and I do love the puffy sleeves of the pattern. So, rather than purchasing more patterns to just live in the closet, I decided to use one that I already had and make the alterations it needed to make a wonderful girl’s top with puffy sleeves.

DSCN0873I started with the alterations to the pattern. I pulled out my child’s sloper pattern from Kwik Sew’s Sewing for Children and I laid M6274’s front and back pattern pieces on the front and back pattern pieces of the Kwik Sew’s basic t-shirt pattern. Taping extra pieces of plastic to the top of the M6274’s pattern pieces, I traced out new shoulder seams and a neckline based on the Kwik Sew’s pattern. This neckline would be finished with a facing, but I did not cut out separate pattern pieces for the facings. Instead I just used the newly altered front and back pattern pieces to cut out the facings. With the pattern alterations made, it was time to cut it out.

DSCN0876Since a striped fabric worked well the last time I made this pattern, I picked another piece of striped fabric from the stash for this top. When I cut out the sleeves, I debated about cutting them longer but in the end, I followed the length of the pattern. I did cut the epaulets slightly longer. Why you ask? I don’t really know why I thought they needed to be longer. If the sleeves were not any longer, why did the epaulets needed to be longer? In the end, I had to cut the epaulets back down to the original pattern size. I worry about my thought process sometimes. At least I was thinking ahead, or at least trying to think ahead so I didn’t run into problems further into the project.

Next up, the sewing process.

Until then, sew forth and puff on!

Bye Bye Baby So Long – Part #2

This is a continuation from my previous blog post regarding the first time I have sold any of Amigurumi creations.

P1010766Three sales stood out for me that evening. The first started when a lady took an interest in T-Bone, my skeleton. My heart jumped with anxiety. When the lady asked how much, little beads of sweat, popped out on my forehead. Could I actually sell T-Bone? The voices in my mind erupted. NO! Tell her “Sorry, he is not for sell, just for show.” or I could give her an outrageous price and just scare her off, or just grab T-Bone and run away were some of the things that went through my mind. But, after calming those voices, like Snoopy, I asked the lady for a reasonable cost for my time and materials and she agreed. I was still not certain that I wanted to part with T-Bone at this point though so I began to talk with the lady. I learned that she was a fellow knitter and crocheter and owned a yarn shop where T-Bone would live on display. Phew! What a relief it was to know that T-Bone would be in a good home. She would take care of him and I now had some money to buy enough yarn and stuffing to make myself another skeleton.

P1040460The next memorable sale that night was to a young girl about 7 years old. She looked at all my amigurumi’s carefully and then asked what she could get for a dollar. I explained to her that I really did not have anything that I could sell her for just a dollar, but she continued to study the amigurumi’s and I started to look around for her parents. I did not see them anywhere, but after a few more minutes, she left.

She came back a few minutes later with $7 in ones and some change, and the question was asked again, “What can I get for this?” So, I asked her what she wanted. And as she was studying the display some more, I started asking about her parents, and I came to learn that her parents owned a restaurant down the block. After some thought, she decided that she wanted one of my one-eyed pocket pal monsters. How much? I looked at her $7 and said “How about $2?” I had sold the other pocket pals that evening for $5, but this was unique sell so I lowered the price for her a bit. She quickly grabbed the monster and holding up the remaining $5, she repeated the question, “What can I get for this much money?” After getting her a bag, we started to pick though the table. She decided to purchase a couple of other small amigurumi’s at a discounted price.

P1020517Now with only $1 left, the question was asked again. What could I sell her for just a buck? I then spied the two little bean monsters that I had made a long time ago and were not my best work. “How about a little monster?” I asked. She agreed and was trying to decide which one of the monsters she wanted for her $1 when I picked them both up and tossed them in her bag for her. A huge smile crossed her face as she was peeking into her bag at her purchases. As she started to leave, I called her back and told her that for being one of my best customers of the evening, I had something for her, and I gave her one of the small ghosts I had made for Halloween decorations. As I dropped the ghost into her bag, she grabbed me around the waist and gave me a big hug. My heart melted. At that point she could have had the whole table. It did my heart good to have someone want my amigurumi’s as much as she did.

IMG_1659 - Version 2The last sale that I want to mention from that night was my made by my sister, bless her heart. She and my two nieces came to my show to support me and purchased several of my amigurumi’s. Although I did give her a good price on them, I still felt guilty charging her money. They are family and I should have just given the amigurumi’s to her and my nieces, but they wanted to pay for them to support me at my first show.

DSCN0483At the end of the night I had sold about 1/4 of my amigurumi’s that I had brought to show. I was surprised by which amigurumi’s sold and which ones did not sell. No one wanted Porcine the pig or Paulie the Penguin? As surprised as I was I put my remaining amigurumi into three bags and packed them away in the trunk. The next day, we stopped by some friend’s to visit them. The conversation turned to the show and the sales of my amigurumi’s.

These friends had not seen all the amigurumi’s that I had made recently, so I retrieved the three bags from the car to show them off to them. When my friend fell in love with Porcine and her husband liked Corny, the candy corn guy I made last year for Halloween, my friend asked if she could buy these two amigurumi’s from me. Sure I said, but would you like any of the others? Her response was yes and she proceeded to go through the bags and wanted to purchase all the amigurumi that I wanted to sell. She said she is always looking img_0248-1for gifts for nieces and nephews and neighbor kids. So after this final sale, I came home with just one bag of amigurumi’s left. And I now have just enough fingers to count the number of amigurumi’s that I still own.

I have very mixed emotions about the selling of my amigurumi’s. I am sad that I have parted with them and I won’t be able to look at them daily, but also so happy that they are being enjoyed by others too. Plus, I have still great memories of making them, and now will not feel guilty when I purchase more yarn and stuffing to make more in the future.

So all in all I would call my Art Show Sale a sweet, but somewhat sad success!

Until next time, crochet forth and sell on.

Bye Bye Baby So Long – Part #1

IMG_1665Last month, I was asked to be the featured artist of the month, displaying my amigurumi’s, for a downtown business during their monthly art walk. I did not have to sell my amigurumi’s, just display them as art works, but I could sell them if I wanted to. As I looked around the house at the many amigurumi’s I had made that still needed a home, and seeing that I needed to purchase another bag of stuffing after completing Kevin the Moose and Porcine the Pig, I decided I would sell some of my amigurumi’s if anyone was interested.

I wandered around the house gathering up all the amigurumi’s I had recently completed. The pile included the amigurumi’s that I considered mine, like Roxie and Red the cows, Sara the dinosaur, T-Bone the skeleton, and the DSCN0300 - Version 2husband’s ninja army. I did not really want to sell MY amigurumi’s but they would be nice to have in the display as fill in’s so I stuffed the pile of amigurumi’s into four garbage bags. I had no idea what to price my amigurumi’s for, so I priced them based on the supplies that would be needed to make them again, and how complicated each one was to make, plus a little extra cost for the ones I did not want to really part with. I also decided to have a raffle for a Snowman blanket that was made many years ago, and to give the proceeds from the raffle to a local charity. The last preparation for the show was to make a portfolio of my work so people could see what I do. I decided to include some of my sewing projects, the little dresses that I have been sewing, some baby sleepers and blankets, and some of the kid’s t-shirts I have made in the portfolio. I would not have these sewing items in my art display since I just had a small display space, but if someone was interested in them, I would certainly be willing to sell them.

DSCN0302The day of the show, I arrived early, excited to set up my display. The husband thought it would be best to set my display up on the sidewalk in front of the business rather than inside the business and I agreed. The weather also co-operated and was a gorgeous fall day for an art show. I purchased some 12 packs of soda pop to make a stair stepped display for my amigurumi’s and then I covered the boxes with some fabric to make it presentable. With my amigurumi’s all out on display, I waited for potential customers to walk by and view all of my lovely creations.

DSCN0215After a few passerbys, my first customer arrived. He was out walking his dog. Guess which amigurumi’s caught his eye? Yup, you guessed it, Snoopy and Woodstock. If I sold only one item, why did it have to be a Snoopy? He wanted to purchase the last Snoopy that I had made and the Woodstock who was supposed to go with the other standing Snoopy that I had made and brought for the show. Whether this Snoopy was officially mine or needed to go to a good home, when the idea of parting with him was on the line, he immediately became MINE and I really didn’t want to let him go. When the man asked me how much, I gave him a higher price than he probably needed. Now it wasn’t a preposterous price or anything, but one I thought was higher than I would get for a crocheted Snoopy. But what shocked me even more was when he said very simply “Sold” without even trying to bargain with me! What? My Snoopy! Not my Snoopy! What had I done! I could not part with a Snoopy! The husband took the money from the man and I placed the Snoopy and Woodstock in a bag for him. Tears started to well in my eyes and I could not believe that I had sold a Snoopy that I had made to a stranger. What on earth was I doing? Oddly enough, this man seemed to understand, but then what did I expect from a fellow Snoopy fan? He explained how excited he was with his purchase and that he was going to take them right home and place them on his desk, easing some of my separation anxiety. As he walked away, I could tell the Snoopy and Woodstock were going to a good home.

P1040374Over the years I have given away many of the amigurumi’s I have made, and I have never had any problems parting with them before. I guess this was because I knew who they were going to or I had made a specific item for a specific person. This was different though. I was selling my work for money and had no idea who was taking them or if they would be in a good home or not. But, after I watching the Snoopy and Woodstock leave, the selling of my other amigurumi’s became easier. In fact, I had to use a little salesmanship at some points during that night. “Hello there! You look like you need a penguin?” “Don’t pass by without seeing the dragon!” Some sales were easier though, as “I just MUST have that monster! It’s so CUTE!” came from one customer that stopped by. And away she went with a homemade monster amigurumi. And so it went on into the beautiful fall evening…

I have more to say about the art show, but I will stop here for now. Stay tuned for part 2 of this post!

Until next time, crochet forth and sell on!