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Does anyone sell dolls at craft fairs? #460584 10/18/08 07:51 PM
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Helen Doll Making Editor Offline OP
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So, I just got home from my first craft fair. Not only didn't I sell any dolls, no one even asked me a question. cry Even little girls just walked right past my dolls!

Is this normal for cloth dolls, or is it a symptom of the lousy economy?

I was there from opening at 8 AM until 1:30 PM and I didn't even sell a pair of booties!

I'd really appreciate hearing from you about your experiences selling dolls at craft fairs.

Re: Does anyone sell dolls at craft fairs? [Re: Helen Doll Making Editor] #460911 10/19/08 08:09 PM
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I can tell you about craft fairs, but not with dolls. I have made my living for over 30 years selling my pottery at art fairs and craft fairs, and one thing I learned was not to bother with doing any show in October. For some reason people don't seem interested in buying anything in October, even in the best of times, so I usually ended up taking a vacation then.
Plus the fact that todays economy has everyone scared to death to part with money.
Before you do the next craft fair, check your display with a very critical eye. It has to be appealing enough to catch the attention of passersby who have a lot of interesting things to look at. For one thing, you don't want it to look like everybody else's display, or you get lost in the shuffle.
One common mistake made by beginners is to crowd everything they ever made into the booth, so there is such a jumble that nothing really stands out. Less is more!
You also want to have your display on several levels, not all spread out flat on a table. Rig up some attractive way to have the dolls at different levels, up to eye level.
And don't give up! You may just have hit on a bad show at a bad time, it happens!

Re: Does anyone sell dolls at craft fairs? [Re: Claybird] #460946 10/20/08 12:05 AM
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Sitting at a table with all your love and pride before you and getting no attention from people as they walk by is the worst! (Well, actually not the worst. But comes up there pretty close.) Several years back I tried a show with what could have been heartbreaking results. It wasn't because I looked at it as a learning experience. I looked at other booths and talked to people there, and basically tried to learn everything I could.

I was thinking about trying to sell some of my dolls at a craft show this fall. I know the kind of dolls I want to make but I don't know the kind that people are buying. I would like to find out colors, scents, textures that are popular so I could make other things that might slow people down so they would at least have a chance to look at what I really want them to see.

You know, things like potpourri, Christmas ornaments, cat toys ... What do you guys think? How does a beginner learn these trends? Any help out there?

Re: Does anyone sell dolls at craft fairs? [Re: MsMae] #460950 10/20/08 12:52 AM
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Sometimes something new and unusual will attract a certain type of buyer. Like dolls stuffed with different herbs or scented flowers, like lavendar. Usually what sells best at craft fairs are t-shirts, little inexpensive trinkets and hats.

I once tried selling dolls at a booth at the local rodeo and did not sell one. People love to look, but not buy. They would rather spend their money on food.

I think you would have better luck opening up a site on the internet to sell dolls. To try and sell dolls at a craft fair is usually not worth the time and expense you put into it. If you had a booth of, say, herbs and such and few old-fashioned dolls tucked here and there by potpourris or a lavendar bouquet, then the dolls would probably sell. When someone sees just one doll among pretty and scented items, they are more likely to buy the doll to set it up in their home with items like you had on display.


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Re: Does anyone sell dolls at craft fairs? [Re: Phyllis Doyle Burns] #460966 10/20/08 02:05 AM
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I used to. I would like to start making dolls again when I get some free time again. I sold some life-sized dolls that a company from Finland bought to model their sweaters at conventions.


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Re: Does anyone sell dolls at craft fairs? [Re: Sheryl T] #461016 10/20/08 12:00 PM
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Thank-you all for the hints. I haven't been discouraged, yet....
I used to sell a lot of cloth dolls at consignment shops, back in the 80's, during that recession, so I'm going to try that venue again.

It seemed that the only people who did well on Saturday were the woman selling picture frames and the guy selling kettle corn. I will try your ideas at the next show I go to, hopefully the timing will be better. The other problem I noticed is that there was not a lot of traffic on Saturday. The table fee was very inexpensive, so I guess that's why. There are some up-coming shows in my area where the table fee is much higher, but they guarantee a much higher turn out, so that should make a difference.

Also, the ideas about how I display my dolls are very helpful and I will give them a try.

Re: Does anyone sell dolls at craft fairs? [Re: Helen Doll Making Editor] #461048 10/20/08 02:52 PM
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Helen, the only time I bought a cloth doll at a craft fair was when she was displayed by a Victorian picture of a litle girl in a gilted frame and had a sachet of lavender and a small Victorian vase of flowers sitting next to her. The doll was very old-fashioned looking and I just could not resist her. I am sure that as soon as I left with my doll, the lady put another one in her place. Next time my sister has a booth (which she often does) I am going to try that display idea.

Good luck with your next booth!

Last edited by Phyllis, BellaEd; 10/20/08 02:52 PM.

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Re: Does anyone sell dolls at craft fairs? [Re: Phyllis Doyle Burns] #461179 10/20/08 10:00 PM
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Thanks, Phyllis. I think I'm going to try it too, it sounds lovely!

Re: Does anyone sell dolls at craft fairs? [Re: Helen Doll Making Editor] #504349 03/22/09 01:29 AM
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Helen, Time has passed and I was wondering if you have tried any more craft shows? If you have, how did they turn out. I tried one around Christmas. Very few outside people showed up and most of the sales came from people who had booths.

One thing, I feel any craft show is not a waste of time, no matter how little you gain financially. I look at the fee, as paying for my education and I keep my eyes and ears open. I try to talk to other people who have booths, learn about them and how they are doing. It's hard for me because I'm very shy.

I think I would like to try selling my work on the internet. Have you thought about that?


Re: Does anyone sell dolls at craft fairs? [Re: MsMae] #504778 03/24/09 12:44 AM
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Hi MsMae,

I have not been to another craft fair yet. I have had to get a full time job since last Fall and it doesn't leave much time for anything. I do intend to try it again, but not sure when.

Actually I have tried selling my dolls and doll clothes online and have been completely unsuccessful at that as well. From what I can see in the market place (I worked in a big box toy store for the Christmas season) and among children I know, little girls don't seem to play with dolls the way we used to. They go from toddler toys to Hannah Montana with nothing in between.

But I haven't given up yet, and there are so many doll lovers here at the BellaOnline Doll Making Site that I enjoy sharing my love of dolls with all of you.

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