Because of websites like Etsy and ArtFire, handmade goods are a hot commodity. Do-it-yourselfers have the patterns, the materials and the experimental know-how to transform seemingly random bits and baubles into a profitable wearable or hangable art. But it's not just the online scene where handmade goods are exploding. Since its small beginnings in 2003, the popular Renegade Craft Fair expanded from 75 booths in a one-day Brooklyn fair to annual events in San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles. If you yearn to join the revolution, you'll need things to sell at craft fairs. Fortunately you're only limited by your imagination and what your hands can produce.
To the eco-friendly crowd, plastic (bags that is) is no longer fantastic. With a sewing machine and a basic pattern you can stitch up a tote bag in no time. The key is adding your own special embellishments to make your bags stand out from the crowd. Clutches for a night out on the town or a trip down to the grocery are also popular. If you have the skills, leather handbags will attract the "It" bag spenders in the crowd.
Whether you go with Scrabble tile jewellery, leather cuffs repurposed from old belts or earrings made from ceramic floor tile, jewellery is one of the most common items to sell at craft fairs. And while you can always find earring design ideas online and in magazines, it can also pay to look beyond the bead. Take apart some of your old jewellery and mix and match it until you have something new. Visit your local hardware store for screws and industrial pieces to add into the mix. Experiment with clays, glass or even resin.
If you're looking to keep your booth hopping with impulse buyers, try selling magnets. To make your own, look online for glass tiles or one-inch flat marbles. Stick royalty-free images (found on Etsy) to one side of the glass using E6000 glue. Now glue a small magnet to the back of the image and you have magnet. You may opt to go with a specific theme, like dogs or cats, or include a variety of designs.
Not everyone has the knack to stitch skirts and shirts from scratch. But if you know your way around the sewing machine, you can create a line of clothes to sell at craft fairs. Even if you don't know a bobbin from a bowler hat, you can always go with screen printed T-shirts. Just make sure that you have a full length mirror on hand for your customers viewing pleasure.