ShadowYin-Yang, on 19 March 2014 - 04:52 AM, said:
You. Thank you! I didn't think something as simple as 'bags' can be so hard to find. I had no idea they made body pillows too o.o
Thanks so much again!
If you, or anyone else, don't mind...my only question at the moment is if you guys know what the cheapest thing to manufacture is. I'm in the process of creating things, obviously, and I discovered how frickin expensive it is to print 2 colors. So I'm looking at other product options @_@
It really depends.
If you are talking about profit margin, I'd say that prints are the easiest way to go, they have the highest profit margin. But it really depends if the prints you produce are popular enough to sell (a lot of artists go home with a lot of prints they thought were going to sell in the alley, but didn't). Also, I'd like to note that interest in prints are beginning to decline. I've been around long enough to see two other print cycles (meaning prints become popular, and then become unpopular), and I am seeing the signs that prints are heading into a decline again. For some artists prints will always sell, because they are incredible artists, but I think that artists who aren't "top-tier" artists will find prints harder to move in upcoming months.
It also depends on whether you have the equipment to produce certain merchandise. Badges have always been one of my cheapest things to produce, but that is because I have a great laminator and bought badge sleeves when they were $3.00 for a box of 500 and I bought enough for free shipping. Buttons are very cheap if you have a button maker. Stickers aren't bad if you have the ability to make them. Honestly, it is just a feel for knowing what is going to be the right product at the right time. (I've also accumulated so much crap for making things for artist alleys, I'm not sure it is worth it.) However, it is very important to remember...
No matter how cheap something is to produce, it isn't cheap if it doesn't sell.
That is my main advice to you. So, instead, find something you enjoy making. Make it the very best it can possibly be. I can make cheap hats. I can make cheap bags. I can make cheap badges. The trick is to always have the best quality item you can possibly make, and then you will (mostly likely) find respect and people who are willing to buy your product. It is never about finding the cheapest item. I understand budget constraints. I really do. That is why you have to sometimes earn money to make money. You have to spend a lot of money on an artist alley before you start to make money.
I really believe success is about producing a product with love and pride. Customers in the artist alley can tell when you've put your heart and soul into what you've made. (Oh geez, this is so cheesy, but I believe this stuff). Part of being successful in the artist alley is luck, a bigger part of it is being a good business person, and an even bigger part is being an artist who treats customers and other artists with respect.
And here is a really important tip: If everyone else is making a product, it is a fad that is about to be over. Start fads, don't join them. But this requires taking chances, and sometimes your product will not take off and fail. But sometimes you get to be at the start of a fad that every one else follows. Just don't get complacent (I'm speaking from experience here). Being successful in the artist alley requires you to be a constantly changing, innovative business person, and that isn't the life for everyone (nor is it compatible with every personality type, it requires a certain kind of person, or that you hire a certain kind of table helper/friend to assist you).
My best advice for anyone who is new, or doesn't know a lot of about merchandising, is to find a friend in the alley who does. Someone who is willing to help you learn and develop your products. We do exist. There are many of us that are willing to take other artists under our wing (I've done it before several times and I'm very proud of the artists I can point at and can say I helped over the years). One-on-one advice from a veteran who is willing to take an honest look at your art and crafts is more valuable than a quick "this is the cheapest item you can make" advice by far. You can PM me if you like. I'm always willing to help.
a. opallene, on 18 March 2014 - 09:07 PM, said:
Hey, so I'm an Artists' Alley newbie this year. This is a great thread! I was wondering about pin-backed buttons - Does anyone know where I can get the best rate on an order of several different designs? (Say, 9 or 10.) I've been shopping around and I've found it less convenient than I anticipated to throw that many different design templates into a single order.
Also, I'd like to print postcards, and I'm trying to find a service that will print them like "real" postcards - You know, with the address lines and stamp outline on the back. A vintage-y look would be a bonus, but is not necessary.
Thanks in advance!
For postcards that look like postcards. You just get double sided postcards (the back side that has the address line and whatnot can be b/w). You have to design the back side yourself, or you can pay a designer to do it for you, but my advice is to just design it yourself. I promise that it is a really, really easy process and you can look up the specifications for postcards at usps.com or just google it. If you do it any other way you will pay out the nose for those postcards.
p.s. I just googled "postcard template" and "standard postcard back" and got a lot of results. I'm sure you can find one of those that you can use.
This post has been edited by thatreevesgirl: 28 March 2014 - 07:57 AM