Crafts As Main Income

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quasi

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Mar 31, 2005
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Northern Kentucky
My wife and I are considering a craft type business that we can take with us. Has anyone used a craft product and utilized flea markets and/or craft shows to fund their travels? BTW we are looking into laser etching gifts and promotional items like the wooden Christmas ornament with Grandma's picture etched on it or the key fob with the latest grandbaby's picture etched on it.
Q
 

RREngr

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Sep 25, 2005
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Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Those both sound like items that would sell really well.

I love doing crafts, but doubt that I could make much of an income at it.  People just don't want to pay enough to cover the time involved in making things.

You should probably go to some of the craft fairs and visit with the crafters there.  Most are very friendly and love to talk about their profession.  I have seen lots of travel trailers at the craft shows and talked to some who do at least one show per month.

Also, some of the campgrounds have their own "craft fairs" and allow you to set up a display and sell at them.

I do my crafts more as a hobby, but plan to carry some finished pieces along when we go camping.  Then if someone sees me painting and wants to see more, I can sell items to pay for more supplies!

I wish you much success.

Kay
 

Smoky

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wherever we are parked
Hope you can get enough selling so that you can take some tax deductions on your RV expenses.  That can make it really worthwhile for you!
 

quasi

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Mar 31, 2005
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Northern Kentucky
Smoky,
That's part of the reason we're looking into this option. There are craft shows in every major metropolitan area so if we can deduct some of the expense of traveling to a show in Ft. Wayne (where my son lives) and Virginia Beach (where my daughter lives) then so much the better. We're just trying to figure out how long the payoff will be with a $20K initial investment. Still researching.
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fritz_monroe

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Jan 22, 2006
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My wife does counted cross stich.  She's really good at it.  We've looked at selling some of her items, but like someone else said, the people that would buy the items won't pay enough to make it worth her time.  For instance, she did a large last supper piece.  It took literally a year to complete.  It's gorgeous, but if we were to sell that, we'd have to charge at least $10k.  And that comes to about $4.80 an hour.  Hardly enough to make it worth her time.  We are still looking at the possibility of selling some of her smaller pieces, though.

From my observations, the people that know how much time and effort goes into this are the same ones that can do this great work themselves and typically don't buy this sort of thing.  The ones that do buy the crafts and have the money for it, have never really done the crafts so don't know how much time goes into doing them, so don't want to pay what it's worth.  Kind of a nasty circle.

However, if you have something that doesn't really take that long to complete and is fairly unique, you should be able to pull it off.  The key ring thing sounds like it's new enough to still be interesting, and it's custom for each person.  To me it sounds like that could be a decent opportunity.

F_M
 

quasi

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Joined
Mar 31, 2005
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49
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Northern Kentucky
An update.
We decided to give this craft thing a shot and so bought the equipment, filed the incorporation paperwork and started the long learning curve associated with the graphics software. We've decided to start slowly and rent semi-occasional booth space at a large flea market near us. That will allow me to get proficient with the equipment and to help determine what will sell and what will be profitable. We have put up a temporary web page but I haven't had time to "pretty it up". If I could impose upon the group to look at some of the items in the gallery and give me an idea of what you'd be willing to pay for them, I'd appreciate it. Pricing your stuff is one of the harder parts of this venture.
Thanx,
Jim
www.laserdude.net
 

Smoky

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Jim:

Those are some lovely items you have on your web site.  Like you, I am at a loss for how to price them, but in general they appear to be in the $15 to $50 range.  It is hard to judge without actually seeing them live and touching them.

I have always wanted to make wooden pens and pencils.  Can you tell me how to construct them or is that a trade secret? They look like they would be fun to make, and I lwould love to make them and personalize them as gifts to friends.
 

Wendy

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Colorado
Be sure you work very closely with a knowledgable accountant to determine what is deductible and what is not in regards to taxes. The IRS is EXTREMELY particular about what is a business (expenses deductible) and what is a hobby (expenses not deductible). They lean very strongly toward calling everything "hobbies" and making you prove that it's truly a business.
 

DougJ

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Mar 7, 2005
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549
Let me add to Wendy's comments, Jim.

In Canada, one of the key tests is the intention and the possibility of showing a profit; right after that comes evidence (in the tax return) that you did have a profitable business year.

As for deductions, we can claim a portion of our vehicular expenses if that vehicle is used to earn income (keeping detailed records of km driven and for what purpose and meeting with whom, should they RevCan / IRS ever want a closer look), and a portion of our home, etc.  However, if you claim legitimate expenses that exceed your income you may well draw the taxman's attention.  And in Canada, business losses cannot be applied against other earned income.

Let me be clear: I'm not a tax expert and comment only from the perspective of running a small one-person consulting service.  And yes, the use of our motorhome does on occasion become a business expense.

All the best.

Doug
 

quasi

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Joined
Mar 31, 2005
Posts
49
Location
Northern Kentucky
Thanks to all for the advice and other comments. We have started purchasing equipment and supplies and to show our intent, we've incorporated the business. We plan on using the business only as a supplemental income and will err on the side of caution when it comes to the IRS. I spent two years trying to explain a mistake they made and while it all worked out in the end, I don't need the hassles. The toyhauler we plan on getting has a separate "garage" area that we'll use as office/production space and we'll only deduct travel expenses for those segments of our travels that are directly to an event.

Thanks again and be sure to check our web site. Forum members will get a ? really ? nice discount.? ;D


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woodartist

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Jun 23, 2006
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Wandering the Old West
Gee, I just joined and have been reading the posts. This one might be a bit stale but hopefully it will be read :) I have run a business while full timing. Mainly web based and quickly found that "crafts" don't demand a high price. Call it art and market it as such and you can make some decent money :)
 

woodartist

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Jun 23, 2006
Posts
563
Location
Wandering the Old West
Well, a lot of people make "crafts" for fun and under price things. Also retired folks make things to occupy their time and under price their works also. Plus I have found that people who go to craft fairs are looking for inexpensive items and rarely will spend a lot of money. All in the marketing :) Guess most is in the marketing approach and emphasizing high quality....
 

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