Selling Crafts as a Home Business

Selling crafts on the crafts circuit can be both profitable and fun as a home business, including testing the market, costs, show selection, taxes and licenses, and self-promotion.

| May/June 1986

Cashing in on the crafts circuit can be both profitable and fun when you approach selling crafts as a business. 

Selling Crafts as a Home Business

Selling handicrafts on a show circuit is not a lifestyle for those who get shaky if the pay-check isn't the same every month. But for people who crave independence, thrive on variety, prefer to work at home, and have some capacity for self-discipline, it's an ideal way to earn a living.

Best of all, trying out craft-show selling can be as simple as setting up a card table at a flea market. However, turning that simple beginning into a small business that will support you will take a good bit more planning.

The Craft Selling Test Market

To test your product's popularity, think modest. Make enough items to gross between $300 and $500 — but not so many that you'll be desperate to dump your merchandise if the show's a flop. This isn't negative thinking; there's just no way to outguess the buying public.

Pick a show with a fee of $50 or less for a two-day event. And spend almost nothing on a booth: Two borrowed card tables extended with a plywood top covered with some colored sheets or tablecloths will do. Use boxes to vary the display height and two stepladders with boards stretched across to create shelves. If the event is outdoors, a patio umbrella will do fine for shade (otherwise, take along plenty of sunscreen).

At the test show, keep track of items sold and their prices. If your luck is poor or so-so ($100 to $200 gross for two days), sign up for another one that's entirely different. For example, if you tried a street fair or festival that sold crafts as an afterthought, choose an event that's strictly arts and crafts or one that is likely to draw an entirely different crowd.

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