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sbhoward

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Posts: 9
Reply with quote  #1 
I seen several photos and discussions here on the forum where it appears mass production is happening.

I would love to hear about experiences and recommendations from those of you do do a lot of toy making.  Photos, videos, or just plain description posts would be much appreciated by many of us new toy makers I'm sure.  Do you sell at craft fairs or just donate to your charity?

I have watched all the videos in the library including the one on craft fairs but I'm hungry for more!

Thanks again....
BadBob

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Reply with quote  #2 
I can't speak much about shows except to say that I think the buyin or cost to start from scratch is very high. You have to have stock. Lots of stock and sell enough to get your money back. Where I live to go to the only local juried show with no equipment so I would need to buy everything would cost several hundred dollars with no guarantee that I would get my money back. It costs $100 for a 10x10 foot spot outside. More if you are inside. You also need a partner unless you can go all day without a restroom break. 

Best video I know of about working shows.

Currently I only have my Etsy store. It's cheap to do but if you want it to be successful there is a lot of work involved. You have to learn SEO and promote your store. Your competing with everyone on the internet and if you set up a store and wait for people to show up and by all your stuff. This method is doomed to failure. It's very cyclical and you need to stay ahead of the game. For example, you should be making the things you are going to sell at Christmas in July you need to be done make Christmas things by Thanksgiving. But retail stores will be looking for items in July. I got approached in july  to supply cars (Hot Rods) for a show at an arts school in Illinois. I added Halloween items to my store when a saw that people were already searching for them the first week of August. Like any business It takes time and a lot of work to make it successful. If your not willing to do the work and spend the time it takes you are highly unlikely that you will be successful. 

Just in case your wondering I haven't yet made a dime in my store. This is not unusual for small businesses just starting out. Years ago I had a friend that started a cabinet shop. He was in a building that was owned by his dad and wasn't paying any rent. Ne spent about $10,000 to set up the shop mostly for tools. His business loan was for $65,000. When I asked him what he spent the rest of the money for hes said "I lived off of it until I got enough customers."  



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Bill N

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #3 
He mentioned two items which I didn't see explanation. You talk about the best video for craft shows you have ever seen and something about you have to know SEO. Please elaborate.
BadBob

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Reply with quote  #4 
The video is in the link in my post. Click on on it to go to the post.

There are books on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) If you selling on the internet with literally millions of others how are your customers going to find you? They find you with search engines. You use keywords in  product descriptions, titles etc. 

You have to study product photography and learn to make good product photos. If you have bad photos you're not going to sell much of any thing. 

Etsy paint a pretty picture by showing you all the successful people. The fact is that most Etsy shops like most small business fail. People don't do the work and they don't have products that people want. I was in a Facebook group for awhile. There were a lot of posts there from people who want us to tell them why people were not buying their products. 

Pricing is crazy. 



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PaPa Jack

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Reply with quote  #5 
Hello Woodworkers! I have been down this road for 4 years and can share some information with you on my experiences.  I have Etsy too with no positive resutls.  Need to spend more to have product highlighted to really sell.  Then pricing and shipping is a problem.  No results on the internet with web site.  I have resorted to trade fairs and festivals.  I enjoy meeting the prople and seeing the kids play with your toys.  I have had several tables and different set-ups but we have come to a set-up that is easy to put up and take down, inexpensive and we like it.  Plastic shelves, on two sides with an open area in the middle for people to walk in and choose toys with a small 2x4' table for collecting money, bagging etc.   I only attend 1 day shows, booth fees under $150 (most are 50-100) and has a drawing of 5,000 or more.  I have learned that rotating fairs every two years get the best results.  There are just so many kids in a family that frequents the local fair.  I have increased my sales by putting the toys on the shelve with pricing on the face of the shelf.  Customers can look over your toys and see pricing without having to ask me how much is this and that.  Plus kids see them and start asking for this or that.  Last show wife had to take money while I bagged.  I try to have between 50 -75 toys with a box of small $3 cars in a you-pick-em basked.  This last year I spent $75 on a long sign to mount on face of tent.  Has really helped people find my booth in the maze of white tents.  I will attempt to post pics since I may have not explained how I set up.  Total items i have had to purchase over the years is:  white 10x10 tent, shelves 2 sets $35 and some plastic boxes that stack to store toys in for storing at home and stacking in SUV, and 1 folding table.
I try to make toys most of the year to have enough for show in Oct, Nov and Dec.  We are attending 3 shows this year.  Hope there is some help to some of you.  Glad to answer any questions or communicate with you.    

dmjones

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Posts: 122
Reply with quote  #6 
If you don't mind helping out the less fortunate you can go to your local elementary school and donate to their Christmas program for these children. I went to my local elementary school and they were very happy that I am making the toy trucks. I have 10 finished now and hope to have at least 20-50 by Christmas. It is very rewarding just knowing  you helped these children have a better Christmas even though they don't know where the toys came from. I think it is better than buying new toys that break so easily. 
Anyway, good luck on your venture.
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