Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bazaar Season Breakdown

I learned a lot with last year's bazaar season - affordable, useful objects sell, and spendy-ish, upscale items don't, at least for me. I tried to learn something from that and to focus my time, energy and money on making more of the items that seemed to be in demand last year - washcloths and bike helmet earmuffs, while eliminating the high-end (and high overhead!) apparel items that didn't sell - scarves, mostly.

So this year, I made roughly triple the number of washcloths as last year, 35. We sold all but 7 of them. We sold roughly the same number of bike helmet earmuffs as last year, but, same as last year, the "feminine" colors (pink and purple) didn't move. Lesson learned - people like their noggin warmers in gender-neutral brights and earth tones.

Our Booth at Lincoln Winter Market

I did not offer any jars of jam for sale this year, as I'm not sure that a) With new cottage food laws in place, and me not yet certified, that my selling any sort of prepared foodstuff would be be entirely legal, and b) $3 for a half pint jar might sound like a reasonable price to the buyer, but the maker/sellers breaks even at best.

This was our first year making and selling our soaps and accompanying frou-frou. The soaps, especially the Homegrown Lavender, sold like hotcakes, even at $5 per bar, and with a LOT of competing soapmakers at both bazaars. Ours was the only goat milk soap that I saw for sale though, so between that and what I think of as our handcrafted, cute, genuine factor (imperfectly cut bars, hand wrapped packaging), I think we did pretty darn well and recouped our initial investment in soapmaking supplies and materials.

Our very first batch of soap - Orange Cream

The accompanying products (scrubs, fizzes) weren't super sellers, but the profit margin per sale makes them worth keeping. I'll make a few next year, but focus more on the soaps and washcloths, as they are they main attraction.

Another note with regard to the goats milk soap - we made a few potentially valuable contacts with some fellow crafters and soapmakers who expressed interest in buying/trading for some of our goats milk to include in their products (NOT to consume!). Imagine this goat thing actually paying for itself someday - crazy! Maybe I can use this to justify my longing for alpaca/fiber goat/sheep ownership to the spousal unit? One critter at a time...

These numbers are rough, as I'm admittedly a shoddy record keeper. Just to give you an idea of how a tiny, homegrown hobby can maybe(?), someday(?) grow into a small business...

Last years sales - $185
This years sales - $326.75 (Plus another $50 incoming for custom orders)

So, we doubled our sales from last year to this. With any luck, next year we double this years numbers at least.

We hope to get our farmstand up and running sometime between now and next Summer at the latest. Hopefully the products, business cards and relationships that we made and exchanged at these bazaars will be something of a springboard for our little stand. I think we've discovered a niche, now to expand on that, explore further ventures and make a little money while doing what we love. The future is bright. :)


  1. Michelle, that's awesome! I'll have to be sure to check it out next year!

  2. You are doing something you love and it shows. The goats milk soaps rock.

    Do you ship? Is your soap sales local only?