BeFunky_Taylor3.jpgLook up competitive in the dictionary and it says, “Having a strong desire to win or be the best at something.”

That description describes crafters to a tee.

It’s a DIY marathon for the most unusual and sell-worthy items.

Secrets and tips are hard to share.

Even with this blog and podcast people are hesitant to grant interviews and give permission for me to use photos of their work.

Susan Flynt with Vintage Junkies at My Vintage Shoppe is an exception.

She recently learned that mentors in the crafting world are a rare find.

“I’ve been a property tax consultant for 25 years,” said Flynt. “And back in November I decided that I wanted to spend more time on my crafts.”

She took the plunge from her long career as a numbers expert into the world of craft fairs.

“We would ask questions and a lot of times people are not real open to sharing.”

I get it, especially when it’s what you do for a living… a business that you literally craft with your own hands.

However, I do think there needs to be a shift in attitude. Websites like Pinterest have cracked the secret crafting world wide open.

Think about the times when you’ve actually shared how to make a product with a customer or a friend.

How many times do you think they went home and actually followed through?

If you want to have a competitive edge, come up with new twists on old crafts.

Anything recycled is growing in popularity and the demand is only expected to grow over the next decade.

One huge key is setting just the right price that doesn’t intimidate the customer and still makes a profit.

Susan and her daughter started part-time three years ago and it’s just now taking off.

Susan2“We dug in and just made phone calls. We had nobody showing us the way or helping us with shows or getting the licenses.”

Every single success and failure was discovered through trial and error.

“I try to get people talking to me to maybe help me maybe find somebody who has something to share the information. Sometimes I get really lucky and they do.”

The entrepreneur had to figure out on her own how to get permission to use images from popular colleges.

“You contact the college itself and you just let them know that you’re looking to get a crafters license.”

You’ll need to send them pictures and allow for changes.

“Once you’re approved you have to sign a contract and it’s good for a year and you renew it for a year.”

You also have to buy their holograms.

I originally planned on interviewing Susan on how she makes her crafts, but she was so open in answering my business questions.

“I’m always sharing shows and things with other people so that they can grow their business too.”

She says the Lego and beaded letters are the most popular. Another big seller is the vintage windows with antique American flags and phrases on the glass panes.

Click play below to hear more fabulous advice from Susan Flynt on starting your own crafting business.

 

I asked Susan about customer taking pictures of her crafts.

“Some people are very touchy about that. And we don’t mind them taking photographs, but what I have found is most of the time people will ask if we mind.”

I’ll never forget the time I went to a craft fair and took a picture of a cute little rock and iron garden duck. I planned on texting the pic to my dad to see if he wanted me to buy a few of them for his yard.

Maybe I should have told the booth owner what I was doing, but looking back I don’t think it would have changed anything.

“Some of these crafters do get very very possessive and secretive about their stuff.”

The woman yelled at me! Her eyes turned into slits as she glared with fire in her eyes. She couldn’t even look away when a potential customer came up to ask questions.

Susan5I think there needs to be a shift in attitude. Susan has the right idea.

“I don’t mind sharing my craft with people. Anyone can do what we’re doing. It just takes time. It takes effort. You have to be willing to get dirty.”

Another aspect of Susan’s recent success is in her personality. She interacts with the customers… even asks for feedback.

“I love doing the shows. I like to visit with people and get their input.”

During the interview with Susan, I felt at ease right away (and yes that’s a thing when you are the interviewer).

She has a likable personality, yet I feel like she shoots straight.

Isn’t that the kind of woman you’d want to buy from?

You can find Susan’s booth weekend of July 10 through 12 at Affair of the Heart in Tulsa.

The 20th annual event showcases 460 vendors from across the country.

It’s a must on my to-do list every year. I’m looking forward to stopping by Susan’s booth AND following her progress and success!

I did find a helpful website. It’s called Craft Central and has everything from how to select a craft fair to how to start a craft business.

Advertisements