Choose Your Supplies Wisely

Last week, I talked about some crafts simply being too expensive to make – those crafts that are so labor intensive as to make them unprofitable. This week, to expand on that idea, I’m going to talk about the supplies used in crafting.

Consider what supplies you use carefully if you want to maximize your profits. When it comes to jewelry making – it’s probably best to invest in the sterling silver and at least gold-plated earring findings. But, when it comes to fabric and yarn-based crafts – do you really need the most expensive supplies?

Looks Can Matter

I’ve done both quilting and crochet. Sometimes it’s all about the fabric or the yarn. Let’s face it, a scarf made out of 4-ply acrylic yarn is just not as sellable or even fun to make as one with one of the many wonderful new yarns. I’ve watched at craft fairs, plain acrylic anything (well, maybe except those towel toppers) will not typically attract much attention. It is the knobby, fuzzy, fluffy, and felted items that will attract a crowd.

Looks Are Sometimes Secondary

But, what if you are making dishcloths? Cotton and acrylic yarn will be a much better choice than those fanciful yarns that just won’t hold up against the abuse that most dishcloths receive.

Make key chains? How long do you think those hand-blown glass beads will stay in one piece? Your customers will be most unhappy (and hopefully not wounded) when the inevitable happens. Think they are likely to replace their key chain with another one of yours?

Making a baby quilt? Still think that $40 a yard, hand-wash only fabric is a good choice? Can’t wait to see what that looks like after the first diaper leak or spit-up permanently decorates it for you. Think anyone else in the family will want one? Think the recipient will appreciate having something they can’t throw in the washing machine?

Where is the Value?

Also consider the item – what is it that people are buying?

With tiny crochet critters like I make, do you think someone will pay $10-25 more for each one just because it uses hand-spun, hand-dyed alpaca yarn? They aren’t buying for the yarn, they are buying tiny, cute, crocheted critters.

The acrylics, cottons, and other fine cone yarns I find from area knitting mills offer a much better investment on my part and in no way detract from the finished piece. The prettiest, fuzziest yarn I use, which is only an acrylic yarn; would look no different next to a bear made with the skein of alpaca that may have cost $45 and have a significantly higher price.

Ensure a Good Return on Your Investment

While you don’t want to go overboard and use really low-grade, cheap materials; sometimes using a bit of common sense can lead to greater profits in the long run. The finest yarns and fabrics are not always the best choice and can at times make an item overly expensive or impractical.

A few suggestions for further reading...

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