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I'm going to an artist thing in a month or two, and will have a few knives along with blacksmith items.
So, I'm planning to have some key chains, maybe some candle holders, perhaps a coat hook or two...

My question goes to all of the people who go to craft fairs and such, what do people tend to like? Is there a certain thing that really tends to catch on?
I'm thinking people might think "blacksmith knives" and flint strikers are pretty snazzy.

Thanks,
Mitch

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Gun hooks are a good seller......like a piece of say 3/16 x 3/4 x 6-7'' long......split at the top 1 1/2 - 2'' and and make a heart or ram's horn scroll, punch two holes just below that and forge curl at the end before making the hook bend....I sold dozens a the ren fair for $20-30 a pair back in the 80's....lining the hook with leather is a nice toutch....Good luck....mb

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dinner bells, hooks of any and all shape and size (I carry at least 8 different types of hooks to shows,) cheap stuff like birds heads, horse heads, leaves, and letter openers. Arrow heads, forks, and spoons go pretty quick.

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meat turners, crosses, fireplace pokers the afore mentioned hooks of every size and shape, nails, fire strikers,a few bigger items like potracks,chandeliers, campfire tripod sets,my biggest sellers art dinner triangles tho...kinda boring to make but they sell.....

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Depends on the type of fair or artist thing. Different types of gatherings dictate what will sell.

Horse show/competitions which is what I'm used to, sell just about anything that has to do with horses especially things made from horseshoes. Brian Brazeals horseshoe hearts go over well with the women, BBQ tools go over good with the men. Campfire tripods, "S" hooks, trammels, pot hooks for the horse trail riders. If you have room, set up a tripod with the "S" hooks and a dutch oven hanging from it. Gives them something to look at and keeps you from having to answer questions which could keep you from helping someone else.

You have to cater to the crowd but always have other things for those that were dragged there against their will.

If it is mostly an artist type of gathering then wall hangings, plant hangers, candle holders, things that people will want to hang/place in their house to admire and show off.

Have things for the kids too. Snails, frogs, horseshoe fish, snakes, etc. If you will have knives, keep them away from the customer edge of the table to keep little hands from handling. Make a display board to hold the knives. A display board keeps your table neat and also utilizes upward (air) space to show more items. Everything laid flat takes up a lot of room.

Fredricks crosses always do well as do leaf key chains. If you add the key ring to the leaf it gives them a visual of how it looks. Have your keys on the table with a leaf. (keep an eye on them) Small items are good for people that may not want to spend large bucks on something so have plenty of small things.

The more shows/fairs you go to, the more you will get a feel for what people are interested in.

Remember, There will be good days and not good days of sales. Do not be discouraged if sales are small and if you have a great day don't think every other day will be great. You can never tell what kind of crowd will be there that day.

Best advise I can give, Have fun, talk to people, make friends and future customers. Have business cards or anything that you can write down your contact information on to give to those that ask. Scrounging for a piece of paper and a pen can cost you a contact and future sale. I have business cards that always get taken and a some people call me back.

Good luck and have fun!

Mark <><

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If you are attempting to forge AND sell , greet the public ,answer questions , pose for pics, and all that ALONE! Don't worry about selling stuff it will be stolen!

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When I do a fair, I do not sell many high dollar items because few people today have that much spare cash on hand, unless they already are planning on making that purchase.

I still bring blades because its exposure of the quality of work I do. Most of my blades are reproductions for re enactors. The cash flow to pay for the event comes from sales of garden tools, BBQ equipment, as well as tent stakes, tripods and other camp gear. It is affordable enough that people can cough up the cash with out shocking their budgets. One large tripod and one of each other more costly item are there to be shown, and maybe they will sell but I dont hold my breath. Have a bucket of clinkers to give to the children, have some nail rings, and key chains, you will be surprised how fast a site fee can be recovered by selling $3 to $5 items.

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Which way is the wind blowing today? I have found no two shows are a like even though I have not done that many. A little of everything like everone has mentioned here is good. There will always be a few that will ask for something you do not have. So you will go back and make it for the next time and it will not sell. Items under $50 always seem to do well.

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Wow, I had no thought of possibly breaking even on this new 'hobby'. I started to look at it because of a desire to have fun making something useful from crap I scavenged or traded for. Also I knew my maternal great-grandfather was a smith.

When I took my first successful set of tongs and a RR spike knife over to show my parents last week, my 80 year old mother almost cried.... Her comment of "Oh how I wish my Grandfather was here to see this!!" kinda touched me too...

I figured that at best I might make a few things ( mundane to most here but unique to my family/friends) to give away for gifts. But after seeing this thread maybeI can even make enough to pay for this new hobby...

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Is it a show "for" artists to buy stuff and network, or a show "of" artists selling to the public? Makes a big difference in what you put on the table.

What can you sell to artists? Display stands of all shapes and sizes, hooks, chains and rings come to mind.

Whatever the venue, have lots of small, varied impulse purchases available. Most folks do not seem to carry more than $20 in cash these days. Have one or two larger eyecatchers to show your range, and a portfolio of your work. The portfolio can be a digital photoframe or old fashioned flip book.

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I am but a minion who works while the boss rests and if they ask if stuff is for sale I answer what I can tehn send them to the boss.
But here is my 2 cents:
If you are demoing then they will want whatever your working on at the time. Even if everything is made by you they want to say they saw that one made.
Small stuff seems to sell well, chili pepers, small S hooks etc, then some $15-20 stuff sells sometimes, Bells, raspel snakes, basket hooks, and what not.
The same thing will not always sell the same, seems like every event something (tradisionally the thing that is in lowest supply or the ones that got put on the side to work on last years big seller because none ever even asked for a price the last three times) Will sell the best.
People ask for Knives and will ask the price then relize these arn't BudK specials and acctually cost money and they will eather look around some more or move on.
I would agree with the others advice so far small stuff, have fun, and take buisness cards. Sometimes we show what we can do, then mention we can do custom work and hand off a card. As far as I know there has been a couple who call back.
Oh and if you have it out eather have a price for it or be ready to tell them its not for sale. I was surprised when someone asked how much for a knife I laid out, they probably asked because it was the smallest and had the least deatail, but I felt stupid stumboling over myself trying to say thanks but no since it was my first knife, part of my first pattern welded billet, and something I didn't think was good enough to sell (might not have seen the mistakes that I knew were there) so just be ready and know what your going to stand firm on and what your going to haggel on.

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I'm with Steve Sells 100%. I try to make the small stuff in much higher quantities too. Not just for the individual earning potential of each, but for some reason people seem more likely to pick a small item (or 3 - especially hooks) out of a basket of 20 than they do out of 4 or five lying on the table. Just my observation. Definitely bring a few fancier things to show your capabilities. 50 people will take your card and say they might have a project for you on any given day and the vast majority you will never hear from again, but the very few who do call with a job are usually serious about paying decent money for it.

1 last thought: Keyrings are one of my best sellers in almost every show. Any little decorative element you can make - a leaf, a rolled rose, a bottle opener - can be put on to split rings you buy at the craft store at 3 or 4 dollars for a pack of 20. One sale covers your rings and you can use all manner of drops and scrap for the item itself. Good luck!

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What Thom said! Just recently I was low on stock for a show/demo so I threw in several items I was discontinuing as I hadn't sold a one in the last three years---I pretty much sold out of them at the full price. I'm glad I hadn't cut the price when they asked now!

Doing a chile pepper they will want the one I'm working on even if there is one I made at the same forge earlier that day that's been finished---wire brushed and painted and I have to either sell it to them "raw" or have them come back for it---and a lot "forget" especially as I do not accept money until the piece is in their hands!

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I have not done any shows, but besides knives I have had quite a few people ask me for leaf and vine key chains. Also ducth oven/cook set Irons seem to be popular, for me anyway.

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People that go to shows, demos, exhibitions, etc.....want something for nothing. That is a reality you have to deal with. A very few will recognize quality and effort to make unique handmade things. Most of them folk already know about you before they arrive or if it is your first time, they will give you the benefit of a look see. Do not think you will make a living at or even meet expenses at such gatherings, although it is fun to think so. After you have established a reputation, you can expect better returns on effort...in the meantime...do not give up the day job....

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Funny thing, I demo at a "local" show here in NM that is focused on wildlife arts & crafts but has a lot of displays from various wildlife rescue organizations, archeology of the state, etc.

I often find that I do the majority of my sales during set up day and breakdown day rather than the much more populated event day. This seems to me that I'm selling to other artists and craftspeople who appreciate the labour involved and thus the prices of hand forged items.

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Take your audience into consideration. Where I live-coastal Florida-custom oyster knives, meat flippers for the summer cookouts and small camp axes for spliting kindling-just about everyone I know has a fire pit in their yard-are big sellers.

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