I did my 2nd proper craft fair on Sunday, and I don’t know if my expectations have been too high, but this one didn’t go very well either. I was lucky enough to cover the cost of the stall by selling quite a few greetings cards and felted soap, but apart from some nice comments and a lot of people stroking my felt pieces, there wasn’t much real interest.
After the last fair I talked it over with my girlfriend and with others on the forum, and came to the conclusion that my stuff isn’t instantly recognisable as handmade felt or even made from wool to the average person, and also that people need encouragement to see the versatility of items. In preparation, I made some felt using lots of natural wools with locks and texture to make into Diary covers, and lots of display cards with info about all the items and ideas for uses.
I’m kind of stuck now knowing what to do. I’ve spent the last few years trying to find a way to possibly eke out a living and establish a business from felting/fibre art. I do have limited opportunities because of health problems; I don’t have the time or energy to promote/market myself on Facebook or other social media and do all the ‘networking’ needed, either online or in real life, and can’t get out and about. Even all the work involved in listing for etsy and having to go out to post any potential sales (not that experience has shown there would be many) seems like a lot of wasted time and effort for little return. Also, because of not being financially secure, I can’t just take risks and keep wasting time, energy and money on trying new things which ultimately fail. It’s really quite demoralising too.
One thing I have learnt is that when people are looking to treat themselves or others, they don’t want ‘practical’, they want silly, frivolous or a bit of luxury. So, novelty items, gimmicks, things that are trendy at the moment (moustaches, owls, 50’s whimsy) or at a push, felt scarves, seem to win over well made and affordable.
So, now I’m stuck with a load of diaries which will soon be out of date – I could always put notebooks in, but notebooks are even more practical; lots of camera cases, which are useless because everyone has a smartphone with a camera on; and lots of pieces of felt which everyone agrees ‘would look great on the wall’ but can’t think of anyone whose wall they could buy it for 🙂
So, does anyone have any suggestions where to go from here? Is anyone the owner of a gift shop selling artisan gifts who wants to pay me a living wage for well made items? Or maybe I should cut up my phone cases and make lots of greetings cards or just start felting cosies and covers for everything I own and stop inflicting my tat on the world? 🙂