You must want to make some money!

A few years ago I was looking for a way to make a few extra dollars. Like a lot of folks I searched for one of those 'Work from Home' deals. Instead,
I went to a festival. There I saw lots of folks like me. Regular people, having fun and ... making money.
So, join us, follow us and learn. We will show you easy, sellable crafts with instructions on how to make them. We will also show you how to get
involved in festivals: where to find them, how to pick the right ones for you, and how to profit from them.
So register, follow and share us with all your friends. There is enough profit to go around.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Let's Plan This Out!

Okay, Christmas is over and the New Year is upon us, so now is the time to start planning for your new venture as a Craft Vendor.  You have worn out the craft magazines, tested your aptitude for craftiness and decided on several crafts you would like to try.  You have enjoyed many wonderful afternoons meandering through craft festivals and seeing what sells and what doesn't.
Now you are ready!  WAIT!
Wait.  Calm down.  Easy does it.
Whew .. That was close.
Let's get a few things straight.  You need to decide whether or not the festival life is right for you, and if so, how much of it is right for you.  My wife and I have taken several years to ease our way into this.  We are planning a full schedule of vendoring (real word?) beginning in March of this coming year. 
By full schedule I mean that we plan on participating in a festival each weekend during spring, summer and fall of 2011.  The only time we intend to take off will be a couple of weeks during the hottest part of the summer.  My wife is not able to stand seriously hot weather.
To determine what amount is right for you, you need to start low and slow.  Think about your church, garden club or local recreation department.  Do any of them sponsor a craft festival?  This would be a great place to start since you probably know people that will be there and this will relieve a bit of the 'newbie' jitters.  Also ask friends and neighbors about other venues in your area.  You will be amazed at the amount of craft shows that exist. 
Several reasons to start local.  With any luck your local festival will be small and relatively inexpensive.  Should the worst happen and you find that what you have crafted for sale, doesn't, you don't want to have sunk a bunch of money into an entry fee or for gas and hotel costs if you are far from home.
So, start small and local.
Let's assume that you have the first couple of venues laid out and you have decided to do about  two  festivals per month.  You need to make sure that you have enough stock (crafts) to supply at least two festivals.  The reason is that if you make just enough for one and then something happens (you get sick or the weather turns bad) and you can't make more before the next festival .. well you'll have nothing to sell!  Plus, on the bright side, if your crafts really catch on and you sell more than you imagined that you would, you won't run out!
Now, are you really excited?  Here is a couple of websites that can help you expand, when you are ready. (if you are in South Carolina) and Southern Festivals are both really great places to find local and regional festivals, but don't forget that some of your best and most profitable are the ones closest to your home.
We will continue to post advice and 'how to's so keep watching this blog and tell your friends!  Hope to see  you on the Festival Circuit!

Jerry and Lisa Springfield

Monday, December 13, 2010

PVC Garden Crafts

Garden crafts always sell well at festivals since many are looking for the different and unusual.  Though this certainly fits the bill, you can decorate it very easily with paint, paint pens or permanent markers.  You can, also glue bark and pieces of foliage as you see fit. 

If you have minimal skills with tools (hack-saw, file or rough sand paper, power drill and hole saw) you can be successful with this craft and if you are the least bit creative, you can adapt it for other birds such as the Carolina Wren.

When pricing this for sale at the festival, make sure to take into account your time and the cost of all supplies. Remember to include the cost of the festival entry as well.

Though the finished product is very tall, you can sell it as a ‘put-together for the customer.  Simply bundle the three main sections together with tape, twine or a zip-tie.  The customer can provide their own t-post and since you have already assembled the small pieces, all they have to do is attach to their t-post and slide the two upper tubes onto the lower tube.  Simple.  

The illustration and directions for this craft are courtesy of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Illustration by Susan Spear

For a full size version of this illustration, view or download the pdf file .

The design for this nest tube was adapted by David Bonter and Caren Cooper from a model developed by Thomas Grubb and C.L. Bronson in Ohio in the 1990s, as mentioned in the Summer 2008 BirdScope article, Looking for the Perfect Fixer-Upper.

Where should you place your chickadee nest tube?

Setting out a nest tube, like any other nest box, is not guaranteed to attract nesting chickadees. Where should you place yours to improve your chances?

David Bonter notes that these tubes are very successful at attracting House Wrens as well as chickadees. To discourage wrens, the tubes should be placed at least 60 feet into a wooded area. Placing the tube along a wooded edge of a field or lawn will make them much more attractive to House Wrens. The compass orientation of the entrance hole probably does not matter at all, but chickadees do seem to prefer an unobstructed path to the entrance hole, without branches and leaves in the way. Caren Cooper suggests that the farther the artificial snag from other trees and branches, the less likely it will be for squirrels and mice to jump to it.

Caren also emphasizes that habitat type matters. For example, placing a nest tube in a coniferous forest stand that does not have chickadees is unlikely to lure them in. Ideally, these nest tubes should be placed where chickadees are fairly easily found in the first place—usually in deciduous or mixed woods.

Be sure to visit our other sites, such as our store for ready made crafts and supplies or our blog on ghost stories.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The more things change …

The more they remain the same.  Isn’t it amazing how we can look back over our lives and review memories from years ago, yet cannot remember why we went to the fridge a moment ago?

Festivals, and the money you can make at them, will create those memories as well as the type of income you can only dream about.  Find the right type of craft (one that you enjoy, are good at and others like to buy) and your only limit is the amount of effort you wish to invest in the process.

For instance:  If you like to paint, but you only want to dedicate an hour per week, then you probably won’t make a lot of money on your paintings.  Unless you paint very quickly!  But if you have the time to work on your paintings for several hours per week, you can build up a decent amount of art to display and sell at the festival.  Hence .. more money.