I have run out of crafters to feature for right now, so today's featured crafter is me! I am Amy Kalinchuk, of Olde Crone's Bewitching Bath Soap. I guess I'll answer all the same questions that I ask others, huh?
How do you find out about craft fairs in your area? Do you belong to a crafter's alliance? Do you do all your own research? Do you sell online exclusively?
I find out about craft fairs by keeping my ears open and bookmarking things for the future. I see what shows others are going to, and in the winter, I research them and mark my calendar to ding me on the day that I need to apply for the shows I want to do. I do belong to the Denver Handmade Alliance, and that helps--they know about all the shows in my area.
My online shop is www.soapcrone.com. I sell at my local farmer's market every Sunday, June through October. This year I decided to move around on Saturdays, so I've been doing more craft fairs: Firefly Market in Boulder, Horseshoe Craft and Flea in Denver, The French Nest Open Air Market in Fort Collins. I am very excited to sponsor the handmade soap competition at the first annual Denver County Fair this year, as well, at the end of July.
We needed money! My husband was staying home with our infant daughter, and we could not make ends meet every month. I had begun making soap, and had been giving it away and "selling" it for money just to cover supplies. I decided to ramp that up and see if I could make it. This is my seventh year selling soap. Since the beginning I've been to several different farmer's markets, have done craft fairs, had a website set up, hired my husband, and we now do some private label accounts, as well.
What is your niche? What sets you apart?
My products contain no artificial fragrances or colors. I use essential oils only for scent. My customers appreciate the practical nature of my products, as well as their performance. They are high-quality products handmade by a local crafter, and my customers appreciate that and keep coming back.
Aside from that, I think it is important for crafters to remember that many people who buy from you are buying from YOU. You are kind and generous and warm-hearted and witty--your personality helps to sell your stuff. Work it!
What piece of advice do you wish you had, when starting your business?
I wish I knew what "private label" meant, from the start. I think I could have made my business bigger, faster, if I had been seeking out private label clients for the past seven years. It is so much easier to make soap/lotion/lip balm/whatever, and ship it out the door. Packing a car, setting up a tent, selling for hours, tearing down, packing the car, driving home, and unloading the car is a lot of work! It's good for business, so I still do it. However, private label business is for larger orders at a lower price, but for about 1/4 the work. The math still adds up in my favor.
What do you find most valuable about this blog? What topics would you like to discuss? Also, who are your favorite crafters? My queue is about used up and I need more folks to feature.