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Hello All,
I am 14 and I'm am having trouble selling some items of mine. I don't know where to go or what to do. I have thought of craft fairs but our town dosen't have any. If yall got any other ideas please tell me.
Thanks,
Steven The blacksmith

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Steve, look around you for craft fairs... age has nothing to do with selling so long as you are selling good products that dont look like a child made it and i am sure you WILL be making good products! I am 13 and i made 1000 $ worth on saturday at a craft fair....And i got various commissions !
either i got lucky this time or all craft fairs are worth it....

alec

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What about some pictures of what you were selling Alec.

Some Craft fairs have better potential for sales than others, and some charge for selling space quite highly, some are well advertised, and others not so well advertised,

Well made items, well presented and finished will find customers, both immediate and long term. Prices are not so important because you should be dealing with exclusivity, but try not to undersell yourself. Be professional in all you do.

If you can't get enough returns to cover your costs plus a bit extra, then review the situation and how you can better use your time.

It may help if you post your location then others with more local experience may be able to give you some assistance as to what and where to try in the area.

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LOCATION Are you in Australia? South Africa? England? Where? Hard to make suggestions on where to sell if we don't know what continent you are on!

However in general getting started I showed a lot of my stuff around to people I knew (church, work, etc) In fact I used to donate some of it to fund raisers so that people in my town knew who was doing that sort of thing. Get a set of cheap business cards so that each piece has a lead to you on it. (vistaprint offers cheap ones online in the USA) I still have some on display in my office---cubical hooks with dragon heads are handy to hang your coat on, easy to make and have generated several orders.

Are you involved in any re-enactment activities? Selling at such events is often a good way to get started.

Do you have enough inventory to do a show and is it professionally finished? Most folks starting tend to short the finishing as it's the least fun of all the steps in making; *BUT* it's what the customer sees!

Finally if you are in the USA (or Canada or England...) Check with your local blacksmithing organization. Some of the members there may be willing to share with you where they are selling---or venues they are not selling because of distance or size that may be perfect for you! The local ABANA affiliate for New Mexico runs continuous demos at the State Fair and any members that do a demo can sell at the sales booth for the entire fair a truly excellent arrangement---especially as a demo'er the club can give you a free pass to get into the fair to demo! (I'm cranking out rasptlesnakes for the fair in September!)

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<snip>

Are you involved in any re-enactment activities? Selling at such events is often a good way to get started.

<snip>



Thomas has some excellent advice there.
There are a lot of re-enactor groups around the states - if you know any civ-war or blackpowder re-enactor groups, you can make a nice bit of money selling just tent stakes and s-hooks. Setting up a stall with a working portable forge rig so people can SEE you working will also grab a lot of attention - you gotta sell yourself before you can sell your goods. Once people know you as a reliable source of quality handmade iron-ware, they'll start coming around looking for fire strikers or tripods or spits or grills. etc.
Good luck to you.
Sam.
Hamilton, ON.

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David Einhorn's book on Civil War Blacksmithing contains a section on selling at ACW events and the types of things that sell at event's and how to make them---got a Birthday or Christmas coming up?

I can speak to SCA events as I've been a member for going on 33 years.

One tip: you need to make things that sell rather than things you *think* ought to sell. (this is a hard one for all of us!)

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Me too. I've been in the SCA for over 20 years, and just spent 2 weeks working with a friend of mine at HIS blacksmith stall at Pennsic (huge camping event in Pennsylvania for those not in the SCA - over 11,000 people this year). He's a great smith with over 15 years experience and makes beautiful window grates and other iron ware - but his bread-and-butter is tent stakes, s-hooks and lantern hangers. They're easy to make, not very challenging and can be down-right mind numbing. The upside is that they are relatively quick to make so it doesn't take long to build up an inventory. You can also spruce them up a bit with nice twists, curls at the tips, even leaves and other creative elements. Once you build up your main sales inventory, then you can make a few specialty items to sell along side them - dinner bells, candle holders, trivets, shelf brackets, cooking tools, tent stake pullers, wind chimes, etc. You don't need to carry too much inventory of this other stuff ... maybe 2 or 3 to keep around and display. If they sell well at one event and you run out, or someone is looking for something you don't have, offer to take orders to be delivered at the next event or through mail-order and Paypal (... personally, I try to avoid the hassles of mail-order, though others may swear by it). Small utillitarian items sell at re-enactor events because nearly everyone needs them - large ironware or artistic pieces cater to a much smaller crowd and can take a long time to sell.

Sam

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One "trick" I have at SCA events: Out here we get STRONG WINDS 70mph are not uncommon. So as I scrounge free re-bar and have time I forge stout tent stakes. Then at an event with strong winds I lend them out freely to people who need them. Don't recall ever taking any home with me afterwards and some folks even tried to buy the ones I had lent out to other people as well as the ones I lent them. As the material is free and the forge time is done around other more important projects I sell them cheap and count it as pure profit.

Also someone *ALWAYS* forgets their tent stakes!

I also straighten bent stakes for free or a "donation" (Food and drink always appreciated!) (Also for SCA events---always bring some spare rivets for armour repairs on demand!)

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