Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's a Utah Thing

Living it Utah is an interesting experience if you're a crafter.  Because this area has a big emphasis on family, many moms stay home to raise their children.  I've noticed that it is common to share their creative talents by making things for their families and even items to sell.  With all this amazing creativity, there are a lot of craft shows, fairs, and boutiques in our area, all throughout the year.  We also have places like The Quilted Bear that are like a handicraft shopping mall.

While opportunities to sell your handmade items are plentiful in Utah, getting people to buy them is a bit of a challenge.  I first noticed this shortly after I moved here from Oregon, got married, and started having children.  The friend who taught me how to tat used to sell some of her tatting and crocheting.  Local people always seemed unwilling to pay much for it, so she and a few other friends sent their creations to Elko, Nevada, where they had reserved space in a craft mall.  They were much more successful selling things out of state.



Why is it so hard to sell handicrafts in Utah? Because so many people around here have creative talents, they seem to have a hard time purchasing items they think they could probably make themselves.  I've seen it so many times as I wander the craft fairs or man my own booth.  There's this look on their faces as they look at your creations, maybe even pick them up and examine them, and then they say to themselves, "I could make that."  They probably never will make that item they just turned their noses up at, but it's enough to keep them from buying anything from you.  Most local craft events have resorted to posting signs prohibiting sketching or taking photos inside since people were stealing other crafters' ideas.

Price also seems to be a stumbling block.  It's hard to charge decent prices when faced with a bargain shopping crowd.  I have encountered many who will expect you to charge only for the materials and not for your labor or to make any kind of profit.  Selling online has been a great way to get around these Utah attitudes.  On Etsy, I can sell to people all over the world and not have to discount my prices in order to make a sale.  Are there other pockets of the world that have these same attitudes, or is it just a Utah thing?

4 mad comments:

Lindsay said...

I live in Utah as well, and run into the same issues CONSTANTLY. I pretty much have stopped doing local shows & focused on only selling online. I love living here, but I hate trying to sell locally at shows.

Karen Tapahe said...

Lindsay, I feel your pain. I wonder if this happens in other places. My experiences in Oregon and Arizona were much more positive. I guess that's the price we pay for living in such a beautiful and creative environment :-)

Karen said...

When I lived in Georgia ten years ago or so, I did the craft show circuit. People there were the same way. I think that most people have no idea how much time, money, and effort you put into hand made items. I had made a baby quilt, and was "only" asking $65 for it. I took it to about 6 craft shows. Everyone touched it, looked at it, commented about how pretty it was, but no one wanted to pay that much for it. I was NOT going to give it away. I finally sold it on ebay for $62, close enough that I felt good about selling it.

I would love to make more baby or crib sized quilts to sell, but I am afraid that I would have them on my hands for far too long. Maybe I could experiment with a couple on etsy....

Feith Hodge said...

I have a lot of friends who live in Utah and I make jewelry. I hear that this is an on going problem with crafters their. I live here in New York, and I seem to be doing well at craft fairs, but sales are slow on Etsy due to the fact that it is saturated with people who make jewelry! I did sell at 2 craft malls in Michigan and that was good until they started getting vendors who were selling really cheap product! My sales slowed when this happened. I have a lot of Utah friends who support my love of jewelry making, but often are not buyers of my work.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...