Tuesday, September 15, 2015

How to Bulk Up Inventory for a Craft Fair

I find myself about to embark on a personal first - two craft fairs in the same month. I'm really excited about the opportunity...yet, at the same time, one idea keeps wracking my nerves - what if I sell too much at the first show? I have a lot of inventory on hand, this is true, but still...what if?

So, I'm trying to wrack my brain (instead of my nerves!) for ideas to quickly and easily build up a "what if" stock ahead of time. I make a lot of one-offs - also known as "one-of-a-kind" or OOAK pieces - and it's a lot of time and energy just to create one piece. I could devote my energy to making more, though wouldn't my time be better spent on designs that I could pump out quickly? I tend to think the answer to that question (currently, at least) is an enthusiastic "yes". ;)

Some of my design processes can take hours, let alone the time to build.
This OOAK cuff, for instance, was on the quick side with a design time of 30 minutes, and it took somewhere around five hours to craft.
That's a lot of time for just one piece!

As a result, I find myself searching my inventory for cute designs that I can easily duplicate or replicate with different colors. Plus, a bonus - this'll offer more variety for the shoppers at the show, and I can even offer more color variations in my online store, for much less effort and time than it'd take to create more OOAK pieces. I've found a few of my designs that are a little simpler than my usual statement pieces that I plan to remake in different colors, so that's my first tip: offer variations (color, length, size, etc.) on your designs. 

Take this chevron necklace, for instance.
What if I used rose pink, mint, and gold?
Or maybe black, red, and white?
One design, endless possibilities.

Another way I plan to beef up my inventory is to make alterations on some of my designs. For example, I have some pendants made up already that might look really good as earrings. Some of my earring designs would be totally cute as pendants! I can add ribbon or chain to a bracelet design to make a necklace, or shorten a necklace design to make a bracelet. Get creative with your existing designs; will they work as a different piece? What if you flipped the design? (For example, by making "A"-shaped chevrons instead of "V"-shaped ones.) You can get a lot of mileage from your work just by playing with an existing design, and that's exactly what I plan to do! :)

Have you had to bulk up stock for a craft fair? 
What were some of your methods of doing so? 
Please share in the comments!

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