"Anyone want to buy my crafts? Anyone...?"
September 23, 2019 5:11 PM   Subscribe

Let us suppose that I want to make some crafts to sell, and that I don't want to be bothered with shipping them. How could I sell them locally in the Toronto area?
posted by orange swan to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Via a market stall.
On commission in a shop.
On a thing like Craigslist with 'pick-up-only'
posted by Thella at 5:35 PM on September 23, 2019

If I had crafts to sell, I would pay attention to what small community events are coming up. Around here, there are a ton of street fair/festival events in the summer and craft fairs around the holidays. I would pay for a table at one of these (often around $50 or $100) and set up shop.

Word of mouth will help, so if you have any friends who admire your work, let them know it's available for sale (not to sell to them necessarily but so they can tell their friends); a FB page might be good for this. And have business cards or something like it so that if someone expresses an interest you can give them your contact info quickly and easily.
posted by gideonfrog at 5:42 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Find your people...
Do you make animal stuff? Go to some pet type events
Jewelry? Attend some jewelry type craft fairs/look online and see what's going on.
Try to reach out to things you think you'll be a good fit for. You might need to apply/pay $ for a table.
I went to a queer event and they had lots of lgbtq vendors and also eco stuff like reusable beeswax fabric covers for food and whatnot... So stretch yr imagination
posted by PistachioRoux at 5:43 PM on September 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Junction Flea?
posted by Beardman at 6:03 PM on September 23, 2019

Consignment or selling to small shops for resale? Perhaps in places like:
-Courage My Love
-Poppyseed Creative Living
-Ransack the Universe
-Wychwood Barns market

You can also sell on Craigslist, for pickup only.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 6:23 PM on September 23, 2019

The above suggestions all work (I would add Kijiji and Bunz), but you could also set up a website with Squarespace or something simple and then use that to book appointments for people to come to your home to purchase.

Instagram is also a great way to promote stuff like this. Find similar crafters on Insta and see what #tags they are using to make their work pop up in the feeds of people who aren't following them. Post your own stuff with smart tags and funnel people to the website. Make sure to also use local tags like #toronto #torontocrafts #parkdale or whatever.

i sell records out of my Toronto loft using this method and I make a good living doing it, which is uncommon considering I refuse to ship. My scenario is that every day that I'm in Toronto (about 8 or 9 months of the year), I post 3 new records to my website at noon sharp (I use Wordpress to schedule them). People then text me to say they want the item and they have 7 days to pick up. If anyone stiffs me and doesn't show, I simply block their number on my phone to bar them from future purchases (this has only happened once out of 1000+ sales over the past year).

Also, I do not post my address on my web site. It's only provided to people when they have to do a pickup (so I don't have drop-ins or people browsing offline). My store also has a Google maps entry without an address, which sends people to my website where they can read how everything works and browse unsold records from previous days.

Admittedly, this is all extremely unorthodox, but if you work hard at it, it can work out well for you. Not counting the time I spend acquiring the records (not much, because people bring them to me), I work about 15 minutes a day and spend 3 or so months a year traveling and not thinking about records or business at all. My preposterous "store" was even recently nominated in Now Magazine for best record store in Toronto, a city with 55+ "real" record stores.

The most important "step" is to update your site on a schedule. Even if it's not daily, make it the same X every X. (Friday every week or the 15th of every month, etc.) Every time I post a record to Instagram I use Textpander to add "Set your alarm -- new records posted to my website every day at noon!" Do something similar to tell people your schedule. Tons of Toronto vinyl collectors hit my site every day at 11:59 and start clicking refresh. About 30% of the time the day's records will be sold in under a minute. First text gets it.
posted by dobbs at 6:40 PM on September 23, 2019 [16 favorites]

I had a booth at one of the Arts Market locations. They're a legit business and if you have the right kind of product you can do very well there. I paid about $240 a month for the space, which is about 20 square feet of floorspace including 1 or 2 walls. You can do pretty much whatever you want with your display. They handle all sales and taxes and do not charge commission. They pay you net sales once a month with a cheque. The people are very nice. And you don't have to sit there. Drop into one and check it out.

I'd still be there if my product was a good fit -- small abstract paintings -- it wasn't really. I almost broke even a few months but didn't get any knock-on business.

People go to the Arts Market for small gifts, vintage clothes/goods, and impulse-buy indulgences.

Beyond that, there are many, many craft/art fairs, often several each weekend. Find one that caters to your medium and your crowd and you'll do well. (For example, the Bi Arts Festival craft show this past weekend, where I spent money this last weekend.)
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:43 PM on September 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

You are good at crafts, maybe teach some classes at Adult Ed or a community Ctr, give out your card freely.
posted by theora55 at 6:45 PM on September 23, 2019

You could sell through The Nooks on the Danforth.
posted by invokeuse at 8:44 PM on September 23, 2019

Farmers markets often have crafts. You can contact a local one and ask.
posted by Valancy Rachel at 9:08 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Join the Toronto Craft Alert group on Facebook, it is almost all posts looking for vendors for small craft shows around the GTA.
posted by phlox at 3:45 AM on September 24, 2019

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