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April 2010
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Where Has The Profit Gone?

If you are one of those who do work for customers, make things to sell at craft shows or make and sell your wares online, AND if you keep track of your expenses and income, you are probably one of many of us who are wondering……. “Where has the profit gone???”

We were a vendor at a craft festival two weeks ago and the very first indication of “reduced” profit was when we paid our entry fee.   The vendor fee had gone up $20.00 – the information/sign up sheet said that the company putting on the festival has had rising expenses, therefore had to increase the fees for each booth space.  Well, $20.00 isn’t really that much money, but if you think about how many extra items that had to be sold in order to cover that amount, it all adds up to less and less profit.

In addition to entry fees getting higher, have you noticed some of the fabrics you use for your craft fair items have also been getting higher?  Thread prices inch up, and if you use things like Velcro, you’re seeing small increases in prices there as well.

We did notice at the festival we attended that while there were supposedly a record number of attendees, we did have a few asking “could you take ____ for a certain item” instead of the regular price.  When we explained that the price on the item IS the price – some bought and some walked.

We have found that one way to help keep prices down and the little bit of profit margin a little higher is to be on the lookout for sales.  For example, we use a lot of solid brown duck fabric, so when JoAnn’s is having one of their 40% off one item or (rarely) 50% off one item, we’ll head in and buy the whole bolt of brown duck fabric.  For those who are quilters, you could do the same with their quilt batting.  Even though you can only buy ONE, it does help cut the cost — and if you make baby / toddler quilts, get the biggest size (queen or king) of the batting and cut it for the sizes you make.

Keep your eyes open for fabric and notion sales — our town had a Walmart that was closing their fabric/craft department and we found out about it too late to get fabrics, but they did have a large variety of thread marked down, so I went through and got all the thread colors we normally use at the discounted price.  I would say here that just grabbing a handful of spools of thread would have been pretty silly, since most of the colors were off the wall colors that were strictly “left overs” that apparently nobody uses — I didn’t want them either, so made sure I ONLY got colors that we use a lot of, and managed to save some money there.

How do YOU cope with the “inching up of prices” and still maintaining a profit margin that you can live with?

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About The Author

Pattern Maker, Instructor & Author


3 Responses to “Where Has The Profit Gone?”

  1. becky says:

    I am doing a monthly series on making your own pattern– the last one is on pricing and selling your patterns. this fits in perfect! i’ll be linking. thanks!

  2. I’m always looking for bargains. The best one I have is by joining my local ASG (American Sewing Guild). I have made great friends and they are always willing to share where they have found some great deals. ASG also issues a 10% coupon off to use at JoAnn Fabrics. There are some exclusions and can’t combine it with a coupon. But when an item is on sale for 40% you are entitled to another 10% off after the 40%. That generally equates to about 45%.

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