Selling To Mass Markets

Dear Andy, I make tops, jackets, embellish denim jackets, etc. with antique and French Chantilly laces that I hand by. The best way to describe what I do is a collage of different shades and colors of laces, to me it’s like putting a painting onto cotton knit tops, jackets, etc. For the past 15 years, I have primarily sold to a local boutique in my area who is now out of business. I am stuck in a very deep rut. What I do is very specialized, I have tried to have one or two people help me in the past and they have just made a mess out of the garment. I work out of my home, which is too small of have anyone work here so that I can supervise them. How on earth do I begin to expand what I do. I have tried a couple of sales reps. at the L.A. Mdse. Mart – they didn’t work out! I always said I wanted to give the sales rep. things one last shot at the Dallas Mart. I think the South is more in tune with the antique lace pieces that I do. But now, I’m not sure I can muster the enthusiasm to drive myself to produce orders completely on my own. I’m certain you are aware of all the complications and headaches that selling to the mass market entails….We could trade horror stories. Could you please give me any advise or an ounce of wisdom?

Dear T: Sounds like you need the services of eBay to offer your hand made products to. eBay is a good start, but not the only solution. Gift shows and sales reps are not really good for your handmade items. I’d suggest that you exhibit at high end juried craft shows. There are several good ones around the country. They get a clientele that know and appreciate fine craftsmanship and are generally willing to pay the price for something unique. If you can’t mass produce them, sell more unique items for ever higher prices. When you stop selling them, you’ve reached the top of the market. Good Luck, Andy

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