There are about 80 journals that I have on clearance on my website. www.paperbutterflyforge.com.
I confess, I enjoy making journals that don’t appeal to everyone. Every once in a while, I have a sale. 🙂
I see a ton of people set up for the first time at all types of craft fairs. However, when I talk to them, the newbies don’t always consider all the costs of being there. Today, I would like to express my opinion on that.
Labor: How many hours are you going to be at the craft fair. Any helpers? Are they volunteers or are you compensating them? Be aware that labor laws also apply to craft fair helpers. Take a few moments to read up on what is an independent contractor vs. an employee in your state.
Transportation: Did you rent a Uhaul, use your personal vehicle or borrow a friends car? You might be entitled to a mileage deduction on your federal or state taxes. It’s useful to keep track of your costs.
Hotels: If you stay at a hotel/campground be sure to add that in as part of your cost.
Parking: Put a coin in the meter? Then put a line in your cost tracking spreadsheet for parking. One other thing. How are going to get the boxes of product from your vehicle to the craft fair? Having a dolly or wagon will make it easier. Most items need to be carried 50 feet or more. I had one craft fair where I had to carry everything a block. And that included the canopy tent.
Canopy Tent: A lot of outdoor fairs require you to have a canopy tent. They might be 10 by 10 feet or 8 by 8 feet. You might be using a family tent, but if you buy a new one, record the cost. Cost Accounting is a bit different than tax accounting. So roughly guess on how many craft fairs that you will be using it for, the allocate a percentage of the cost. Note that inexpensive tents will only last one or two summers before breaking.
Tables/Racks/Gridwall. These are the foundations of your craft display. Like the tent, roughly allocate across how many craft fairs you are planning to do.
Table Cloths, Jewelry Displays, Other display. These are the sparkle on your display. They highlight your items and set the tone. Also roughly allocate.
Banners: These are fairly inexpensive but you may need a graphic designer to put some sparkle on the banner. Vista Print or most office stores can print them for you.
Oh yeah, booth fees. Craft fairs usually charge a fee to attend. As always, I suggest a credit card for payment for the best protection against fairs that are cancelled. Event cancellation happens to even large fairs and comic cons.
By now you are probably thinking: But Laura, what about the things that I’m selling. Those are my pride and joy! Enough of the bookkeeping and boring tent stuff!
Sure! Cost of Goods Sold:
Materials: Count up what the raw materials cost.
Labor: Keep track of your time and effort. (Not the R & D part)
Supplies and overhead: Some of the materials, like paint and glue, are difficult to quantify. Do an estimate and allocate a portion to each item.
Overhead: Website costs, business cards, studio costs, utilities, phones, and office supplies.
Okay, so that is overwhelming. No one would ever set up at a craft fair if they thought this through. Many people do craft fairs or vendor fairs as a part time thing or even a hobby. It’s important to think about all these things so that you don’t go on a buying spree that fizzles out after one or two craft fairs. Budgets are real and very few people have unlimited funds. If you want to economize some of the costs, ask friends if they have a canopy tent or tables that you can borrow. In addition, inside craft fairs might be less expensive that outside ones. Craigslist or Ebay are also discounted places to look. Walmart and Target also have discounted tables, tents or wagons.
Craft Shows are a great way to connect with your local customers, get some feed back on your products and earn some money. However, it’s important to research each and every craft show that you plan on attending. Each one has a different audience and price point. Knowing what to expect at each one will give you a basis for crunching potential sales and profits.
Types of Craft Shows:
Typically an event will have a standard tent size. 10 by 10 tent or 8 by 8 tent. The tents are usually popup canopy tents. Inexpensive ones can be purchased at Walmart, Target, or sporting goods store. The inexpensive ones are often flimsy and easily break. The expensive ones are well worth the extra money if you end up doing a lot of outside craft shows. Painters often invest in the sturdy ones.
Tent weights: Yes. Always use tent weights on popup canopy tents. The tents are giant kites waiting to be airborne. It doesn’t take that much wind for them be airloft. And remember the metal legs? Ouch if they land on you.
Tables and displays. Once you know the tent size, you can plan your display. Make sure you plan to either have room for people to walk into the booth or have a table against the ‘frontage’ edge. Have both a sun plan and a rain plan. Note that the tents will let in rain especially if it rains. I put up tent walls as necessary.
The Tents will usually be lined up in rows. Most craft fairs suggest that you tie tent legs together with your neighbor’s tent. Always ask before doing this. Your frontage will be 10 feet. If you are on a corner, you might have an ‘endcap’ or a ‘corner’ frontage.
Do you need tent walls? If it rains, probably. If you want to create a brick and mortor experience, yes. You can use sheets, tarps, or curtains to create walls. If its raining, I suggest tent walls and then use curtains at least two inches from the tent walls to decorate. Note that you can use bungie cords along the inside for places for curtains to hang.
Why would you install tent walls if it’s sunny? Remember that when you don’t have tent walls, the customers can look right into your neighbor’s booth. And poof! Your customer is gone! I had that happen at an early craft fair. My neighbor had a large loud knitting machine that they rode a bicycle to power. All day, my booth was filled with lookie loos trying to get a better angle on the machine operation.
If it’s sunny, as it is in many parts of the United States, you might need the tent as a sun shade. In that case there are lighter weight tents that might work better for you.
Where was I? Research!
Who attends craft fairs?
Hopefully, that provides a bit more information on how to research craft fairs. It is essential to:
I believe in fun. Fun paper, cards, and books that deserve a new purpose in life. I upcycle books into nifty journals that can go anywhere and be used for any number of things. Junk Journals, Scrapbooks, writing journals, bullet journals, or sketch books.
The Recycled Book Journals also make a thoughtful gift to friends, family and co-workers.
I upcycle a variety of books. Generally I bind them with a wire binding system that looks like this:
Other binding types are available upon request.
Here are some sample inside pages:
Dr. Seuss, Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland and Nancy Drew recycled book journals are always popular. However, I do quite a bit of vintage textbooks, gothic novels, classics, vintage children’s books, english literature books, foreign language books, and physics books.
Does it need to be hard back cover? It helps! However, I bind paperback and book jacket covers to a stiff book cover all the time. I then apply a protective coating to protect the paper, so that it will stand up to being in a bag or falling off a nightstand.
Does it always need to be white paper? It doesn’t need to be! I will add quality lined paper or drawing paper upon request. Of course, there is a small fee for having the more expensive paper.
Interested? My email is firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further.
People ask me all the time what I do with the extra book pages. Here is one use: I make cute book markets.
I have a backing that I bind the book page too. Then I cut out the book mark.
Have a peaceful and prosperous day!
It’s been a fun summer. I’ve met a lot of great people at the Wallingford Farmers Market, the Madrona Farmers Market, Fremont Solstice Fair, Magnolia Summer Fest, Urban Craft Uprising events, and Oddmall. After such a whirlwind of sunny events I turn my eyes to fall and to the 2017 Holiday season.
Then I got some fantastic news. I’ve been accepted into the Pike Place Market as a daystall vendor. Quite unexpected since this was the first year that I had applied and I was accepted. I feel so fortunate.
So now you can catch my book journals at the Pike Place Market at least once a week.
It’s a few days before the holidays and I’m starting to reflect on everything that has happened during the year. It’s been a fast and furious year! I’ve been binding books and notebooks just about every free second that I have.
I started showing at the Fremont Sunday Market, Urban Craft Uprising, Oddmall and so many other craft markets. (Bellingham Steampunk, Emerald Downs Gift Fair, a Very Vintage Market and more.)
Now I’m sitting down to plan for next year. I have some new binding equipment on the way so that I do that magic that I do a little more efficiently. 🙂
My first stop this January will be Rusty Con in Seattle. I look forward to spending time there and meeting more people. I have more than a few applications out to craft fairs this spring.
I had so much fun this interacting with all other craft fair vendors. I look forward to seeing them again this year.
Everyone have a great holiday!
Many thank you’s to the people who supported the Book Pom Pom Kickstarter. It funded last week and I will be sending out the book pom poms and book marks shortly!
The Kickstarter funds will go towards purchasing new book binding tools.
This past week I have been traveling and was even able to hand deliver a package of game tokens to a customer. Since I mail the Lore Bits game tokens all over the world now, it’s rare when I can actually take them myself to a location.
I will be at the Fremont Sunday Market this weekend in Seattle. Hopefully, it will be another sunny day! I’ve also been invited to First Thursday Artwalk in Occidental Square. This is a popup market curated by Urban Craft Uprising.
New projects: I have a post up shortly about a new product line that I’m excited about!
I’m off tomorrow to vend at the Steampunk con in Port Townsend. I haven’t been there before, but I’ve heard good things about it. I hope to meet some new people there.
The following two Saturdays, I will be at the Georgetown Trailer Park Market. I enjoyed my time there in May. I’m looking forward to returning.
What I will have at booth #9:
If you are in Port Townsend this weekend, stop by the American Legion hall and say hi!
This week I also launched a kickstarter to raise money for book binding tools and education. I’m looking to expand the types of journals that I make. There are so many traditions in bookbinding, it’s time that I took a few classes to expand the selection. Sure I know that youtube has dozens of videos on the subject, but it would be nice to be taught the right way.
The stitched journals can be assembled any number of ways, so it will take some experimenting with glues, papers, chip board and book cover cloth to be sure I have a quality product.
In addition, I’m interested in tea staining book pages. But I want to make sure that tea stains are permanent and don’t run if someone gets the journal damp. I know, I know, it never rains here in seattle, so I don’t have to worry about that. But perhaps they will accidently drop a glass of water on it. It never hurts to be prepared.
Since I will be assembling signatures, I need to know what type of thread I should use. I’ve heard, dental floss, non-waxed, normal thread, furniture thread and definitely use waxed thread.
I haven’t used the PVC glue (okay, so I’ve used elmer’s, but not the specific glue that book binders use.) I need to know when and where to apply it. Some helpful tricks on how to get it on the book and not on my hands. I’m the type of cook that ends up with cookie dough on their hands after baking cookies. Steve always wipes down the fridge door after I bake. Predictable, but he loves the cookies. 🙂
At bottom is a few seconds from The Cure Concert in Portland in 2016. We were sitting down towards the end of the concert. And yes, yes he did wear the hat the entire concert.
Paper Butterfly Forge is still making comic book magnets, shiny magnets and upcycled book magnets. However, I have taken them off the website because of the high number sold at craft shows. It was rapidly depleting the inventory on the website. I could either take pictures of magnets five hours each week or I could take them of the website.
Please check out our events page to see where we will be next!
Check out some of the past magnets that we have made! Again, visit our booth at Seattle area craft shows!
We are super excited to be at the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall this weekend. (May 14th & 15th 2016). The market features vintage and upcycled products. They also have long term vendors in vintage trailers!
5805 Airport Way South,
Seattle Wash. 98108
I’m super excited that I will have a booth for Paper Butterfly Forge at the Pioneer Square artwalk on May 5th, 2016. Urban Craft Uprising is coordinating the crafters and artists for the booths in Occidential Park in downtown Seattle.
Link to the Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1580357975626422/
There will be about 40 booths with jewelry, art, photography, journals, bath products and more for the craft fair. It only runs from 5 pm to 9 pm, make sure you don’t miss out!
Edit: I had a great time and met lots of fantastic people. I’ve added a picture of my booth!
Yesterday, I was at the Fremont Sunday Market as a Vendor. Pretty cool! Well, it was raining and cold, so it was literally cold. 🙂
I showed up just after 7:30 am just after the Market office opened. Just under the Red Door were two cheery women organizing the market for the day. There was a clipboard for the signup and an second clipboard for the rules and regulations. Later during the orientations, I would be told to acknowledge all the rules, just not the ones we felt like following that day.
I wandered a bit before the orientation at 8:27 for new vendors. The street was a bustle from cars being towed, merchants unloading trucks, assembling canopy tents and getting their displays ready. I got a cup of coffee to off set the chill from a nearby coffee shop.
About 8:20 am I headed back and found a small semicircle of new vendors waiting. A bit of a chuckle as she chastised us that we didn’t need to back before 8:27 am. It was then it started to drizzle a bit. I wasn’t worried, I was planning on being on inside the parking garage. My book journals can’t stand having their feet wet, so it was a good fit.
We were asked to come inside so that we would be a bit drier. There was short orientation, description of fees, and more banter. Then one by one we were called up to the register where we issued our booth number and parking permit. After learning the traffic method, I retrieved my car and unloaded it near the mouth of the parking garage.
Once inside, I realized that many lights had been rigged to light up the garage. I’m too new to know if this is the Fremont Market or if the long term vendor have an astonishing array of bright lights.
I got to setting up and before I had finished customers were already coming into the garage. The rain was pretty thick at that point, and I was a bit soaked. I went off to put my car in the official parking. I ran back and got my feet soaked. (Next time, I’ll bring some thicker soled shoes to help with the puddles and to easy my feet during the long day.)
I settled in for the day. Lovely people came to my tabled and looked at the book journals. Kind things were said. The rain eased on and off. When the rain was the hardest, we had the most people inside the garage. When I went to a food vendor for a snack, I could see the street was a bit empty. Later, when it was sunny the market street was full of shoppers. Never say that Seattle shoppers don’t mind the rain. They were there, they were just hiding between the rain drops.