So I did my first flea market and didn’t sell a thing. I put my heart into these Items. What did I do wrong
By - McDanknessLives
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Probably priced too high for a flea market. Maybe you will have better luck at a craft/art show.
What OP did wrong: Nothing.
What people at a flea market wanted: $5 price tags on everything.
I would try the farmer's market in the hip part of town. just make sure you take CC. Hipsters don't carry cash.
Agree, stuff looks great, probably wrong market / clientele. Don't despair, you just need to go where your customers are.
This! Also, at a farmer’s market it’s good to have a few things priced for an impulse buyer like a coaster set or if you are a wood turner too some quick and simple bowls that are priced lower than your featured items. Having a good supply of something you can crank out quickly and in bulk that can sell easy can cover your vendor cost on slow weeks helps.
This will get more people coming up and browsing who may just have a little extra that week or may need to see and think for a week or two on some of the showcase pieces before they splurge.
Possibly impulse items that match you main pieces…kind of a subtle upsell.
I’m not a hipster and I also don’t have cash. Not any meaningful amount anyway. I just checked my wallet and I have $7, plus a $100 labeled “For Bribes Only”.
You should have said “make sure you take Venmo.”
When I got to a flea market, I except steals. You might have better luck online.
Beer and wine festivals have great customers. They just throw money at you. Especially smaller items that can easily be thrown in a purse or backpack. Bottle openers, coasters, small boxes.
And a juried arts & crafts show can command even higher prices.
Most people don't carry $50 to a flea market, and are expecting to grab a few items. A single purchase at $50+ is a shot in the dark. Just the wrong venue.
Your pieces are lovely. Flea markets attract people who want to get things for stupid cheap, not for what they're worth. Definitely try a different avenue. If it makes you feel better I used to make and sell jewelry and went to those things and a lady tried to haggle my $25 silver and citrine necklace down to ten dollars. That wouldn't pay for the cost of materials let alone my effort! As it was I sold that one later for a lot higher in a different space. You will do great!
Most of these are small enough that they can be sold online. There is no reason to reduce your client base to the random people who happened to be at that flea market. Create an Etsy account or use facebook marketplace or any number of online outlets.
I was trying to sell my handmade wooden furniture all around town for years with similar luck. Spent months creating an Etsy shop, put effort into the pictures and description. High quality pictures will sell items.
I doubled my prices, offered free shipping and launched my Etsy shop. I did more sales in the last 9 months than I did in the past 10 years. I am currently low on inventory and will have to work on remaking my inventory.
The best part about Etsy is that you do not have to spend money and a weekend working a booth. Just be prepared to drop what your doing and package items up as they sell.
Etsy customer here, love shopping on Etsy and seeing people’s handmade collections! Also love the little thank you notes from sellers emphasizing it was made by a real person who put their talents and hard work to use to make me something great! (Or a great gift)
Etsy is great, I've paid off a solid quarter of my tools in a year just selling little lathe things. No advertising, just a few evenings here and there.
Flea markets are mostly people buying stuff to flip online anyway.
Uh..how much for the chess set. That looks great (feel free to pm but I use RIF which won't notify me. I'll see it when I log in on my desktop though)
I had it for 75 with the chess pieces. Between material and the pieces I’m making 25 bucks!! Lol I need a new business 😂
I would put that chess set at at least 125-150.
Please don’t sell yourself this short. Unless it only took an hour to make..?
You need to include your labor costs. $25 bucks is what the business makes to cover rent and power and equipment maintenance and insurance. Your employee(you) has worked for free.
And that set should sell for no less than 150 and could certainly fetch 200. You as the artist are too critical. Most chess players will just start drooling when they see that, and coupled with it being a one off, you have the advantage.
Realistically at a game shop display it would be marked for double that. Definitely just the wrong market.
I think it's worth more than that. I might be biased though, because I just finished four of them (and they aren't quite as nice as yours) and I *really* want to get more than that for them. :)
You need to raise your prices and sell online or at different venues. Everyone here is right-if nothing else, a consignment shop in an expensive area. The people looking for this type of quality don't go to flea markets. But don't sell at stupid low prices. It hurts you, as well as others trying to sell their products. Value yourself and your time.
If you’re selling that for a $25 profit you either need to save on material costs or charge more. How many hours did it take to make that? At least pay yourself $10 an hour or just go out and work for someone else for that much.
Yes, it may be a hobby but if you’re also trying to sell at flea markets and craft fairs then it’s past just a hobby and it’s now a business. Don’t devalue your own time.
The plight of every artist. We live in a time where most people want disposable, cheap, mass produced crap.
Came here to ask about the chess set, OP pm me if you can make me one. I’ll wait
I’m glad I have a place to vent! Thanks
Making money at small time wood working like this is REALLY hard. People just don't understand how much time even the simple cutting boards take, and want to buy it for mass-productin prices.
I'm definitely in agreement about making an online account, and letting the stuff sit until you get the right buyer. Don't blow your Saturdays trying to sell to people wanting garage sale prices.
People go to the flea market for cheap stuff, your work is beautiful and they probably just didn’t have enough cash on hand. Maybe a more upscale craft show where people bring more money?
I’d recommend Etsy or a local craft shop. Gotta find the right market; flea markets or garage sales aren’t the right venue for quality bespoke woodwork like that.
I’m a perfectionist too and would be gutted not to have sold anything either.
A few suggestions as requested:
Others have covered it, flea market might not be it, too low budget. Scope out other’s tables and see their quality/price, is anyone else selling similar items, if so are you in line with them? Is the event we’ll attended/advertised?
Seek events where folks are prepared to spend $$$, Xmas, thanksgiving, art fairs, someone said knife show, outdoors shows, home shows etc..
Meet those builder’s designers/ home stagers chat them up maybe give them a board with you logo/brand on it to thank them for some sales, they’ll remember you.
A local non-chain bakery/ coffee shop may be a place to generate some sales/leads.
Make an Instagram, snap some pictures of your stuff in said builders kitchen if possible. Then thank them on their social media.
Your set up:
Ditch the painters tape price, make a price list printed and displayed nicely near you. If you have different prices by piece list it on the item on a nicer sticker.
If you can film some of your shop time or images of the process of building your items. Slide shows on an iPad get people’s attention and get them standing around longer and strikes up conversation, starts to loosen up the ol’ pocket book.
Make some stands for your items, you’ll have more room on the table and it will make things easier to see from further away.
Put the white board on an easel behind you and write bigger.
Have some less expensive items people can add on to a purchase or walk away with if they aren’t ready to spend $50+. Just a few that take little time to make coasters and cutting board polish (mineral oil and beeswax in a small mason jar) come to mind.
Your stuff looks great I don’t think you have to worry about quality. Hang in there we are rooting for you!
Sell me that chess set.
Me too pls
Yeah I’d buy one of those cutting boards. OP should set up a website to sell them online
As others have said, flea markets tend to be fire cheaper items.
Farmers markets, especially the ones with art stands and such, tend to attract people willing to spend a little more.
You need to find a better class of fleas.
You need an art and craft show, look up vintage market days or something similar, there is likely one in you area, you’ll have better luck at that type of show. I think the price is right for that type of show.
Is there a demand for these things in your area? If not, I would try to use your skills to make things that people place on their front porches or yard :). I know nothing about this but I think these creations are really cool!
I really dont want to call your stuff overpriced cause it's pretty clear the amount of work that went into everything with great results but flea markets can be a real penny pinching crowd and aren't always the best for this kinda business.
Your items are gorgeous and the prices look very reasonable to me. I agree with others that it just wasn’t the right venue!
In my experience people think items that you make and sell at flea markets and craft shows should be real cheap. They have no idea of the labor and parts cost or that you might want to make a profit. Stuff like your beautiful work are expected at large events. I’ve seen things like this at two of the big shows in Denver. You can also sell it online I’ll bet.
Its a grind brother. Keep your head up.
It is obviously not the quality. So it must either be the clientele just aren't into wood or your prices are too high or a combo of both. I am a carpenter (not a woodworker there is a difference) and if I am making a set of shelves I really better have my shit streamlined and efficient or I make $1/hr because I am competing against IKEA or Made in China - slave labour.
Don't lose heart. Drop the price or try different venues. Don't give up!
These are sick! Keep up the great work!
The end grain cutting board and table are *chefs kiss
Beautiful work! Keep your head up it’s probably just the wrong place to sell high-end stuff.
Thank appreciate it!
Yeah man that’s all it is. A fluke even. Your stuff is quality and design is legit.
I’d have bought the $30 cutting board without a moment’s thought.
If you’ll ship it, I’ll buy the chess set
It is beautiful. You may want to try an online shop if you are willing to ship.
Try Etsy or something similar. There's always a niche for particular handmade items. I like the blue streak in your pieces.
Look out for Mothers day and pre Christmas.
Flea market days are fickle things any day.
But yeah, as a wood worker I see the local wood turning and mens shed groups trying to sell items for a few dollars in the local shopping centres and malls.
It breaks my heart because I have this secret desire to sell the same sort of thing as I semi retire and I know it's only going to be hobby money.
I know by looking at them that labour and material per hour per item that they are labours of love.
The trick is to develop yourself as a custom furniture maker.
Find your, or develop the product that sells the best and follow that piece and develop it more.
People then pay you deposits upfront so you don't have so much laid out in stock.
perhaps use the markets as a advertising exercise to hand out leaflets.
I'm no expert on resin work but perhaps the blue is to strong for general home decorating.
My personal taste is for a litte bit lighter thinner timber work, the pictured items to me well finished, getting very critical, for me your finishing is good, (hey, I can't do better but comparing to some other pictures it has no luster or shine to make your workmanship pop or shine. That might just be the photo.
I'm not criticising at all. I think anyone who makes anything is a very motivated and deserves nothing but praise.
But you asked for feed back and if I was judging a show and had to give a critique and an opinion, I would say something like this.
Just keep at it and you will eventually break through.
Thank you that was awesome
100% go to a craft show! Your items would SELL OUT.
I agree with everyone that said it’s the wrong venue. I saw a wood turner with maybe 100 items out and 0 sales a couple days ago. At a craft show he’d be killing it. I was there for the cheap antique tools.
I will say you should ditch the painters tape and make some real tags and tie them to the piece with twine. Also make sure your pieces are signed/branded too if they aren’t. People are weird about high-end, which your work clearly is. Painters tape sends the wrong message.
Lose the painters tape pricing, the whiteboard, and the flat display. All are incongruous with the care and attention you put into your pieces. Use boxes under a red tablecloth for an attractive exhibit. Hang a large banner with your logo and use your name/logo consistently everywhere. Display your business card in a nice hardwood holder (make 4 at a time b/c everything’s for sale ). When potential customers ask “how much?” hand them a glossy trifold with prices, build info and your website. Then walk them through your process. Talk talk talk. Have the ability to accept card payments in person and online. You’ve invested thousands of hours and dollars on the front end, now it’s time to develop the business side to complete the transaction.
They aren’t buying a cutting board as much as they are exchanging money for a memory. You, they are putting their faith (and cash) in you, and by extension, your products (your heart and soul). Dress and act appropriately. Years ago we bought a handmade straw broom from a flea market. Did we need it? Of course not. But we bought the display, the sales person who told us all about how and why, and the memory.
Edit: hope you don’t take these comments the wrong way. There is so much great potential here I want you to succeed. Also, the shirts are going in the wrong direction.
Edit 2: craft show vs flea market vs trade show vs Etsy. All pros/cons. Find what works best for you. It’s a marathon not a sprint.
I’m in agreement with the commenters here; flea markets are for cheap stuff. And it is hard to make money building furniture. Selling isn’t the problem. I joined a local marketplace on Facebook and I had no problem getting local people to buy everything I built. And I didn’t have to ship it; most of them would come pick it up. The problem was that it takes FOREVER to build a quality table and I have to compete with people selling as low as $300 when I put in 3 weeks of work.
My dad told me once that for the average person you’ll never get paid for your time. So far that’s been my experience. Takes me forever to do something simple but I can’t jack up the cost of an item to cover my labor. I chock it up to gaining experience.
I feel like there has to be a product out there that maximizes the return on time invested. I recently built a work table built out of rough lumber and plywood that took me two days to build. No joining, planing, sanding, worrying about seams; no painting or staining. It’s huge: 4’ x 8’, square and level, and sturdy. I have a feeling I can sell it for as much, or almost as much, as these damn dining tables that take forever to make and make me nothing.
Do art and craft shows and festivals. As an artisan myself, your average local flea market won't be a high sale area for finer pieces usually . People hit flea markets similar to yard and garage sales... want to find stuff cheap.
Craft and art type festivals and the like will draw in an audience thats looking for for your type of work and quality and usually more willing to pay the price. You could explore some places that let you do consignment as well. And there's online as well as mentioned.
As others have said, up your booth appearance. There's a lot online for ideas, but better price tags (not painters tape) is a good start, and better product presentation will help. You can get or make stands to prop some of the boards up, which will also display the work better to be viewed as people pass.
Put the table type builds out in front or off to the side so they are more visible, not behind your tables. If you need more display footage I've found a full "u" shape or a single and an "L" under a pop up canopy works alright.
Ditch the white board. You can print and put things in stand up picture frames or make a stand for information display, or bite the bullet and/or get a banner with your business info on it. You can also order in business cards pretty inexpensively. I've found they can help to get people who maybe didn't have the money on hand or who wanted to commission something, or who purchase online after the fact.
It's great looking work. The only "wrong" is the location you're trying to sell. You'll probably do far better with craft and art shows.
And don't be discouraged. There's times I've done shows and almost sold out, there's times I get a sale or two, and mostly "window shoppers". But by talking to people as they come through I sometimes have people often ask for something specific, or through chatting I learn about what they're looking for or interest in, etc which has allowed me to expand some of my products here and there or list it as something I can offer to make by request. I have also found having some small trinket like things that are not expensive helps. There are some shows I don't sell a big item but a lot of smaller things get purchased and they add up.
A lot of people probably didn’t expect what you had. I bet many of them took note, will budget for it and come back next time specifically for your products. Keep making the best products; they’ll sell.
This is a good point -- if your feelings allow, maybe try that same market again. However, arts and crafts fairs are probably better for lovely work like this. If you have street fairs in your area, might also be worth a try.
All of my stuff is perfect I’m nuts lol I’m a builder by day so these small items are all perfect. It was a blow to the ol ego today lol
The cutting boards would be cute to show to realtors. Could brand a logo or design onto it for them as gifts for new home owners.
Check out art and fine art fairs. I would look into local cheese places and restaurants that serve charcuterie (?) Boards.
Good advice so far my best sales have come from local builders giving a housewarming gift
I would try to hit up larger citys in you area also. I've found in my local area everyone has a brother that does wood working. lol
Also website? Instagram?
I've gone months without sales and then sold $20k in a month, don't let it get you down.
I don't think it's you're work, or your prices, I think it's where you're selling.
I think a flee market is not the venue for your stuff. People at those places are looking for cheap stuff. Or at a cheap price. they are not really looking for quality wood item you have put your blood sweat and years . Try Etsy or something like that.
Reddit wasn't built in a day.
too spendy (justified) for a flea market crowd?
Your prices seem really fair. It's the cheap asses that go to flea markets. You should see about farmers markers or craft fairs, or any kind of "Hometown fair" like 4th of July parades. Youre too good for your market. Anywhere that attracts hipsters and yuppies would sell all your merchandise.
Also set up online sales and etsy and fancy website.
Listen. I've been where you are. Woodworking is a small market.
Build a bunch of things you can sell cheap. 5 to 50 bucks, the farmers market for a woodworker is not about selling product, its about getting your name in people's minds. My biggest take away from farmers markets is
You talk to the man about tools and materials
You talk to rhe woman about the actual project.
Speaking as someone who used to run around flea markets:
They can be really hit and miss. One week at one market, you will sell out quick. Another week, you won't sell a darn thing.
It's true, as other people have said, that people go to flea markets to bargain hunt. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be discouraged, it just means you need to find a flea market that has an artisan area. Larger flea markets (like the ones with actual permanent pavilions) may be more up your alley.
Do your research before going to a flea market and wasting your time. Some of them have become *completely* overrun by Chinese knock-off and overstock companies, and all they do is flip garbage. Once a market fills up with vendors like that, quality customers stop coming and you'll end up sandwiched between a booth selling fake samurai swords and another selling mass produced keychains found in the back of some warehouse.
You should sell online, I'd buy a cutting board or something!
A lot of us got into woodworking because we saw something at a flea market and thought to ourselves "I could make that myself for cheaper." And then we tried and realized just how wrong we were.
You need to display your craftsmanship somewhere people will appreciate the quality. Craft fairs, Etsy, even Facebook Marketplace. And you probably need to raise your prices. What you're charging isn't even covering your labor costs much less giving you any real profit.
These are fantastic pieces of art. Im trying to get into the same thing and i cant do this level of awesome yet.
Sell on etsy, you will make a living if you keep spitting those bad boys out.
Put them on etsy, you will find people that appreciate craftsmanship.
The crafts are good. Clearly a talented production. The thing you did wrong was the audience. Flea market = giant garage sale = haggling and low priced, low value, low condition items.
You need to bring your items to craft shows, farmers markets etc where the audience will receive your price tag more readily and likely buyers will purvey your goods
You did nothing wrong, most people go to flea markets for cheap deals. You'd honestly be better off selling them on FB marketplace.
Just got back from a farmers market and didn't sell anything. Talked to the other vendors and they agreed. There was music, face painting, and a fishing competition the people weren't really there to buy.
I do custom wood rings, but I usually have good luck (even though my prices are high) at markets, people usually come to them to buy things.
I'd say you prices are reasonable, flea markets are people looking for cheap stuff though. Arts and crafts markets are where you need to be. Do a quick search on Facebook to find some in your area by just searching 'city name' market with each of the cities and towns nearby.
Only thing you did wrong was try a flea market. Craft shows would be a better spot for you to sell your pieces as the things sold there generally have higher price tags. Also, Etsy and Facebook marketplace might be a good way sell pieces and you wouldn't be charged a "booth fee" like you are at craft shows
Try a knife or gun show, you work is way too fine for a flea market. Serious knife show people show up with wads of cash to spend on knives and related stuff. The cutting boards are knife related enough to sell. Flea marketers are looking to save money by finding a deal.
You are a fine craftsman, that stuff will sell to the right clientele.
I've seen things at knife shows easily sell for multiple thousands. Your prices are small change in that venue. Plus, it always helps to bring home something for your significant other when you just spent $$$ on yourself... kitchen tools work well.
Yo where do you live?!? Probably near a Whole Foods and 3 Starbucks lol cut your prices in half sell them your story and cut your overhead by 20%
This post made me sad. Some people just want to be surrounded by crap.
Dude trying to sell his Ferraris at a Ford dealership...This is handcrafted artisan work. Double those prices and move online. Beautiful stuff man
You’re serving prime rib to a McDouble audience.
It’s so gorgeous and well priced too. It’s got a really “male” asthetic to it though, bold colours, chunky, straight solid lines, maybe something with a bit more “woman appeal” and some smaller lower priced items to draw people in - like a few skyhooks or something?
Nothing man theyre beautiful. Just wasnt the right time for you
I know It's been said but, $$$$$$$$
They aren’t overpriced for what they are. When you account for hardwood these days, a small hourly wage, resin, oils, tools, shop space, flea market space, business expenses, etc., I would say they look under priced.
If you are comparing to used plastic crap from Walmart in the next stall at a flea market, then yeah, it’s expensive. But compared to hand crafted unique hardwood pieces, not expensive at all.
I agree with the other posters in the thread. It’s not a problem of price or quality. It’s just a matter of venue.
I sell original artwork at shows like these, if they sold them for $5 a pop they'd be sold out. Its all about $$ and how cheap anyone can get anything.
The average person at my local art festival spends $30, which is low compared to other art shows around the state. I would imagine the average flea market person on average would spend less than someone at an art festival.
See if there’s a Makers market in your area. You’ll usually find serious buyers there. Your work is awesome. Your chess set should be priced about $300!!
Try a craft fair….
You should try farmers markets and craft shows in more upscale communities. Your work looks nice, it just means you need to put it in the right market. You may want to find a ‘partner’ that sells something different and split the booth costs. I sold my woodwork and my partner sold handmade jewelry here in Utah. We did all kinds of shows together, and that helped us make profit. I would also recommend a mix of items that covers a broad price range. That’s what worked for me when I was making and selling. Don’t give up!
Too nice for a flea market. Sell it online.
Facebook marketplace. Its efficient and easy to weed out the nuts.
Nice work nice price. Just wrong market. If this is your heart i can say you have a good beautyfull heart.
Seems like there's enough advice in the other posts. I just came here to say "wow".
Wow your work looks great.
Wow there are so many stupid people out there. Anyone with half a brain would buy all your stuff and resell them for twice as much somewhere else.
Keep it up!
If I know anything about art take whatever you’ve made that you hate the most and it’ll be sold in 5 minutes.
I agree with the other comments. Just wrong market. Although I will suggest using proper price tags. Selling fancy stuff with blue masking tape on it kinda looks like you stole them and trying to liquidate
Some days can just be like that. But in general, flea markets are for people selling cheaper goods. Arts and crafts shows are the way to go, but even then you will have days where you don’t sell anything. It may take a while, but when the right person comes across your piece, they will buy it. Your prices also seem pretty reasonable.
The chess set really stands out in an already very nice looking spread of work. I’m planning to make one for a family member in the next few months as one of my first real passion projects. If it looks half as good as yours I’ll be thrilled.
Etsy. Flea Markets are for cheap stuff. Your work is not a piece for a flea market. Research shipping etc. Sell on Etsy or approach a store. Store are going to want a margin tho.
im with the consensus. great work. cheap flea markets
Like everyone else said, flea market is probably not the place for these beauties. I'd try a farmers market or a Sunday market, or something similar. That's where I got my cutting board from (I spent $180 on it and I love it). I also agree that selling online would be a great idea. Just another thing to consider - if someone drops a chunk of change on a chopping board, they're not going to be buying another for a *very* long time so make it worth your while. My mother has had the same one for almost 20 years now...
What did you do wrong? Your work is real nice, a flea market is just the wrong place to sell it.
Wrong location, wrong crowd, wrong time if year. These do better coming up to Christmas. As stated wrong crowd. Create an Etsy account and sell from there and then get yourself to some markets
Flea markets are not the place for these kind of items. Know your worth! I think the prices are too low personally, just from the two prices I can see. Try etsy and work on taking excellent photos, setting a scene, etc.
That chess board looks awesome.it exactly what I’m looking for.
I’m in Greece tho
How much for the cutting board?
To be honest the I don’t understand the rest in the river table trend. I think they’re ugly as sin but hey that’s just my opinion. The problem isn’t that your tables look bad they look great even if it’s not my thing. The problem is You tried to sell expensive homemade items to a crowd that values cheap shit more then quality shit. Flea markets are terrible for selling anything Of quality
I am reminded of the world class musician who played a priceless violin as a busker in the subway and got a few dollars, then played to a sold out crowd for hundreds per ticket.
The value is agreed by the buyer and the seller. Not everyone appreciates concert violin and wouldn't pay anything for it.
Lovely pieces, there is a market. You just have to find it.
Product price promotion and place. 4 p’s of marketing. You only thought about one: product.
The chess set was set for 100$. Easy money that’s go for 175-200$, which the level of detail in that board. The Purple Heart inlay alone is awesome (if that’s what it is, if not then it’s still awesome!).
Simply sold in the wrong place man!
Flea markets in general have a low price tag attached to every item, your stuff does not warrant a low price tag.
Not sure where you are in the world, but in the UK, if there is a food festival, free music festival etc etc... this would be the perfect place to have a stall and sell your worths.
Or just go on etsy!
They are great pieces . Just a small cheap focused group that was shown to . Id sell online .there are people that will really appreciate the hard work you put in.
You're basing your analysis on a far too small smaple. For any statistical relevence, you need a bigger sample to get some conclusions out of it.
Do it again. And again. And again. Then i wil tell what you did wrong. Tho i can already. You tried once. That's the wrong number.
Go get them, tiger.
Personal opinion (haven’t read any comments, maybe others agree), flea markets/garage sales are NOT the venue for quality like this. People go to those for junk/steals. You need to go to more upper class venues….wine festivals/tastings, craft fairs. And online. My thoughts.
Birdseye is so scarce it’s hard for me to imagine using it for a cutting board, but your work with it is gorgeous. Go online and get prices in accordance with the quality of material and work evident here.
I love the cutting board
And find a better market. Woodworking products are high end products. Not for a flea market.
"I put my heart into these items".
Fail Nr. 1: Never sell or buy anything on a flea market with your heart in mind.
Fail Nr. 2: Wrong product for flea market.
In Austria are special markets for handcraft and art - I dont know, if something like this exists in your region. This is, where you can make your business.
Or, what I would think ist the best, sell online.
Show your item in Facebook, say everybody to share and like the picture. Show, how much work is in these things. For most of the people it is wood. And some color.
Or they compare it to something cheap, they think, they have seen at Ikea for 20 bucks...
You made this wonderful things. You have to explain the craftmanship - because you want to get money from the customer.
And you have to create a "wow" by the customer.
Probably just the market, as everyone else is telling you. Looks like you have some nice figure and colors. More quantity of pieces could help to draw people over (only a few items can seem sort of forlorn). Different color bright tabletop, stands to hold some of the boards up at angles maybe on a ladder/tree to the side of the table so they catch different light can help with "crowd draw". I'd do tags on the back too - get people engaged to look/like first and THEN see the price, while that causes shock for some it also gives a chance for that "I want this...ok, now I need to start rationalizing" vs. seeing the price first and potentially being immediately dissuaded.
But in general, while I will ALWAYS browse at every neat woodworking board/box/turned bowl unique pieces booth I see a any art show, because there's something that appeals to me in the frozen turbulence of wood grain burl or curl (I'm the type of guy who can literally fall in love with a specific board, or try and make sure I 'showcase' a particularly beautiful bit of grain in doorframe molding on just the right side that it'll get seen everyday), I rarely if ever buy. But maybe I'm a bad comparison because I also think "I can build that myself". \[I can't really, for the record, but I \*think\* I can because I do a very small amount of WWing...\] As a contrast I'm attracted also to reclaimed chunky metal repurposed work like gearboxes set up as lamps and such, and HAVE bought items like that, which someone who actually works with auto parts and metal would probably react to as "I can do that" instead.
My wife does signs (not art-woodwork, just painted distressed funny stuff on reclaimed wood), and a variety of cups, both just vinyl applied to stainless and the more detailed multilayer-decorated epoxy-sealed kind with inks, glitters, decals, faux "ice" stacks on lids, etc. Also some onesies and t-shirts. Her price points vary from say $5 (leftover epoxy and glitter into molds for keychains) up to $50-60 for the more detailed cups and even approaching $100-150 for the occasional reclaimed 'window' decorated to be a sign or with corners on it for photos. She picks what she takes depending on the show and the location.
She finds that the arts and crafts sorts of fairs that happen only say once or twice a year and have a known following are best for the higher dollar items, especially if she knows she's semi-unique there (not that others don't do epoxy cups but her style and humor at least). Weekly sort of local farmers market or flea markets are just for lower dollar impulse buys. Intermediate size fairs in outlying towns are often her biggest sales: the little weekly markets with 6-10 tables outside of the produce attract very local, repeat market shoppers who will walk by you if they've seen you once. The ones with 20-60 booths tend to to better. The really huge ones with streets full, like Fort Worth TX downtown "Main Street Arts Festivals" that are high end and juried (people selling paintings for $500-3000, or giant showpiece metal kinetic scuptures as the cornerstone draws, with food vendors all over and even concerts, those are just too high price of entry. Sometimes you can find a 'coordinated' show for example there's a local convention center that has a gun show and also a craft fair at the same time to give non-gun-interested spouses something to do too. (Your work might go either side in that example, since gunfolk love wood stocks and such too.)
You can also look for local 'stores' that sell space, I don't know where you are but in TX there's a chain called "The Painted Tree" that rents out space for an internal retail display, handles all sales and sales tax payments. Of course in addition to rent they take a cut, so it's a semi-costly way to have a daily available starting point. She combines that with cards available, posts pictures of other things she does on the website on the cards, and leverages Facebook friends heavily to promote that she's done individual sales or created new unique items and such (she does a lot of on-demand custom work essentially now too). Obviously you know etsy and such exist, I think they also are kind of high for the cut they take but they're still lower than a local retail space by a long shot. As much as I personally think FB is the gateway to Hell, it seems to have been her best focal point for getting started and building a following for word of mouth. Her biggest repeat sellers at the painted tree store are strangely enough the onesies, she can hardly keep them stocked. Makes us wonder where all the dang babies are coming from...
All this said - she's not "making a living". With tax writeoffs for source material, driving, the rent at painted tree, etc. we've calculated out she's making perhaps minimum wage for her time and effort overall. But it is net positive, and she's enjoying it, which is her primary reason. It's a creative side hustle that lets her express herself and get some gratification from people's enthusiasm for it. If that's also your goal I see no reason you couldn't get there, or further.
The flea market is good for gauging interest, not selling profitably. Pay attention to what people look at.
Flea markets are for junk sold cheap. This is quality work and very reasonably priced just the wrong market. A craft show or fair would be a better market
Flea Markets are for cheap, impulse buys. You want to get your items out there to a broader range of consumers.
It's the venue and not you. These are gorgeous. And probably underpriced.
Wrong place to sell good looking stuff like that.
Flea markets are mostly to get rid of your old junk and maybe get some cents for it.
Honestly, I think a nicer looking setup with printed/branded price tags and a printed signage poster could up the initial impression people have when they walk up to your booth. But I think your work belongs in a nicer type of market place aswell. Local farmers markets have craftsman selling there work around all the time.
I think the colors and design are a little off putting. I think you might be better off sticking to simpler designs with natural colors. I’m not trying to be rude, I wanted to honestly answer your question instead of lying and saying I love the pieces like I’ve seen in other comments. You obviously have some skill but rethinking your designs would definitely help you sell.
It's the blue! I'm guessing it represents a river?
Chess board is awesome, but I don't think many people play chess
My best guess is pricing.
You did nothing wrong, those are great looking pieces! I think you’re catering to the wrong crowd.
Look for a farmers market in an upscale area, they would eat that up.
Also maybe on Pinterest? Online will be able to reach so many more people, if you haven’t already.
The pricing doesn’t reflect the market you’re selling at. There’s a reason it’s called the “flea” market. It’s like you trying to sell something for $55 at a dollar store. You need to find a “ballers” market and sell it there.
Don’t sell handcrafted pieces at a flea market, people only go to get a deal unless you find a Mark.
Nobody at a flea market is spending $75 on a cutting board man. Or $100 on a chess set. Especially if you labeled them with gaffers tape. That really takes away from the eye appeal. Set up an etsy or a legit store on a platform like shopify. I got a new wood turned chess set for $30 with a table for a board that had a turned pedestal. Those are not flea market prices or items.
Did you put resin in a cutting board? Wtf?
It’s not the work you did that’s the problem, the person who’s going to buy it wasn’t there, you need the right person at the right time with the money in their pocket.
Did you have enough customers? work looks fine to me, maybe need to change location to a wider variety of shoppers
Maybe a flea market is the wrong crowd for custom woodworking products. The items look amazing.
Your work is beautiful! Like others are saying, wrong market. Definitely try online, or even open an Etsy shop!
I live right by you
A friend whose income is entirely from woodworking told me that one of the biggest mistakes he sees people make is pricing their wares to sell out - wether it’s spoons at a farmers market or cutting boards at an arts festival - selling out simply means that things could have been priced higher, but folks trade that great feeling of selling out for lower wages.
Not selling out can mean prices are too high, wrong venue, wrong day, wrong items, bad location, etc. it can be hard to pinpoint.
He does try very hard to have a few items that he can make and sell for $20 because he knows that is often an amount of cash someone will have in their pocket. He makes money on those and they always always sell. He’s not giving them a deal.
Agree with those stating the venue, flea market, is a big factor. Locally there is a farmers market where most of the vendors sell food and food adjacent products. There are a few vendors who sell jewelry, leather goods, and in one case someone selling cutting boards. I stopped by to check out the cutting boards and the guy stated he rarely sells anything in person but some folks follow up on his Etsy site.
If you don't mind driving a couple hours to Philly, I used to live in Swarthmore and they had a lovely farmer's market that frequently won awards. They would love stuff like this and are willing to pay for them.
As has been said, people at flea markets want steals. What you are looking for is to be compensated reasonably for your time and materials. The public will always put a different value on that than you do. A couple thoughts, Put mark down price tags on the pieces (I.e. 55 marked down to 50) and if you want to sell put best offer or something else. Have business cards handy, pointing to a web site and don’t get discouraged. You will probably have a better response from online or from a craft fair. There’s a break even point that’s going to be hard to hit. Lumber has gone up and CNC has made a lot of this easy to batch custom cutting boards. You just need to find buyers and build a brand. Love the work, looks great.
That table looks exactly what I have been looking for. What are the dimensions?
It’s a flea market, people show up to buy CDs for a quarter, broken tape players, ugly lamps, that kind of thing.
That way way way too expensive for a flea market. No one will buy that there.
You gotta get the right crowd. Etsy works well, and arts and craft shows
It’s just too expensive, it’s not really because they look great but might be a hard sell in lower earning areas.
$55 would be my entire flea market budget.
Yeah cutting boards are a huge seller at Christmas craft shows for me. Also something else I would do is make a high volume of an easily repeatable piece and have them available for ten or 15 dollars. One year I did some scrap wood snowmen I must have sold about sixty of them for 12 bucks a piece. I would batch them out ten at a time.
Nothing wrong, just wrong environment for selling nicer, handmade items. People at flea markets are looking for steals and deals.
Nice looking wares!
Saturated market around here for items like that It sucks I feel ya ,try and look for local craft shows it worked for us
I have a buddy that does this stuff. When he began to put his company's logo on the stuff he did a lot better.
Your prices look really good to me, the other people may be right about your venue and about taking CC.
Nice stuff, I really like them.
They all look nice to me … don’t give up !!
You have to know your demographic… Those are **way** too high-quality for a flea market. People go to those expecting low quality, low priced stuff… I would recommend a farmers market instead, or a art show, or a woodworking event.
Nothing, people at flea markets are notoriously cheap and refuse to pay for anything quality. Try a craft/art fair.
That’s some beautiful and creative work!
People don’t usually go to flea markets to buy a $75 cutting board… as good quality as it may be and hand crafted with all of the love in the world. I just don’t see myself ever spending more than $5-$10 on a cutting board. Especially at a flea market… that’s my 2¢
Put em on Etsy, reach everyone. Either way don’t be discouraged, it’s fine work
Really love your work, don't give up.
You are an inspiration to us beginner woodworkers!
Purpleheart looks so pretty but I’d *never* buy a piece that contains it. It’s just not worth the higher price when you consider it will quickly fade into a dull color. You have some great-looking stuff there though, I hope you find a market for it.
Looks great to me . The right people will be interested of course . Different taste and desires and hopefully more people out and about with Co'vid restrictions lifting .
As we say in France, once you've got a good product there are 3 rules to make it a profitable business :
They look great! Flea markets suck. Set up outside a big family event and get more foot traffic
Please let me know if you decide to sell online. I would love to purchase some items!
Do get distraught like a lot of other people said people at flea markets are looking for cheap try a craft show
Man, that's a $1000 table, a $400 chess set, and a $150 cutting board. And I might be low.
You're selling in the wrong places.
Try selling them on Amazon and Ebay or even Facebook Marketplace.
Flea Markets typically attract penny pinchers or people who just like to walk and look at odd and unique stuff.
As others have said... flea markets are hit and miss. Also, I bet the people who wanted to buy simply didn’t bring enough money with them and will likely be better prepared for the next one so that they can purchase your things. Also, people don’t realize how much effort goes into the things you’re selling. I’d try at the prices you’ve chosen for a few more times and if they still don’t sell then post that your stuff is on sale and knock them down 5-10 dollars. People LOVE feeling like they got a good deal, even if they’re only saving a few bucks.
[Pricing secret revealed](https://youtu.be/5xyCr70aw2U)
How much were you selling them for?
Beautiful work and fair prices for the quality. Probably just not the right audience at a flea market. Look for craft fairs or other similar events where people are looking for quality not cheap.
Gotta work on your snake oil pitch. "This cursed chess set belonged to the vizier of far away Tanzania. Whoever loses a game will be stricken by paralysis of the humours!" " This table of mysteries, bewitched by the legendary seeress Acapulco will halt, nay, reverse balding if the male scalp!"
Yeah I would say your prices are pretty good for the high quality work your doing. I have tried to sell multiple times to sell my own projects and they are kind of hard to sell. The cheap stuff you get from Walmart kind of drives the price down of these high quality ones your making. I would say find a nice farmers market and set up shop get some nice white or brown tags instead of painters tape and just be your self. People will buy them don’t worry too much about it.
I also had no success with my first, second & third. One just has to persevere
On board with the rest, the work is awesome, but I rather buy something for ten bucks or less.
I think the answer is In your question. “Flea market” no one goes to a place like that looking for what your selling. They want cheap cheap. Look around for maker markers, farmers markets craft fairs ect those kind of events. Based on seeing what you have there farmers market would be the best spot. Fresh food and a fresh new board to cook with.
I’ve also found that time of year plays a factor into the kind of items your selling. Lots of “gift holiday items” I’d bet you make a killing end of October up until Christmas
I would try an online platform as well, you can list the items in your own shop and it does the work for you, all you have to do is ship the items out, which the smaller items would be easier to do, try setting up an account with Amazon or Etsy
Prices are fine, quality looks good, that said I ordered one to help out a fellow woodworker. When locals fail, Reddit prevails. Order yours before they sell out and you’re on back order.
Thank you 😊 very grateful
You’re welcome, and thank you for allowing me to save the time and cross another thing off the hunnydolist.
Now post your information for others to order from you.
I love your chess game. Although you have my favorite shade of blue in your table it wouldn't work in my home. I don't believe you did anything wrong perhaps they would sell better in a market place type ad. Good luck!
Man I would’ve bought a couple of those cutting boards. Prices are good
I sold a few to some people on here! Love the Reddit community
Ever hear of Pearls before swine?
Those items are too good for a flea market IMO. Improve who you show these to. Find your customers, the ones who will appreciate your work. Also, what you want isn't always what everyone else wants. I did a bunch of laser engravings and took them to a market. Only sold two that just happened to catch their eye and of something they personally were attached to. 90 percent of my sales are custom work. Making things specifically for my customers. That's what gets sales the best. Personalized/custom and you can charge extra for it as well. Good luck, you do nice work.
You did nothing wrong! A flea market is not necessarily the best place to try and sell large craft pieces. A craft / artisans fair is the best. And also try an online Facebook presence in addition. At flea markets, people generally are going to purchase small craft items and the thrifty used items however, if you have business cards in an online presence, individuals that are interested on your high dollar items will have a way to contact you and or purchase alternate methods. Your craftsmanship looks lovely