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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 08-27-2012, 07:52
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Default Re: What mistakes have you learned from since making/selling bows

Stick to firm deadlines... I just learned this one the hard way. When ordering supplies have a little extra on hand and not "just enough" in case you make a mistake. Even if it was for an order you can still etsy or craft show the same style if you need to get rid of that extra ribbon later. I can't second tracking inventory enough since it really is easier to get into the habit when you're starting. Save ALL your receipts so you are accurate at tax time. I actually scan mine so I have a digital copy and a hard one. Just in case.
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 08-27-2012, 08:11
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Default Re: What mistakes have you learned from since making/selling bows

I love learning what "not to do" from everyone's mistakes and my own....thank you!
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:51
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Default Re: What mistakes have you learned from since making/selling bows

I started by making pinwheel bows because they were easy. So what did I do I made 10 out of every color of ribbon I ordered (about 300 bows). I then realized not everyone wants a plain bow and everyone seemed to want over the top or at least unique bows. That was 4 years ago and I still have about 30 bows I throw in a clearance box
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:09
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Default Re: What mistakes have you learned from since making/selling bows

Always test things out before doing a large order. My epic fail rhinestones destroyed an order that left me sewing a different grosgrain down the wrecked tail and having to overnight new stones to fix that order.

Not something I would wish on my worst enemy!!
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:57
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Default Re: What mistakes have you learned from since making/selling bows

I also have been at it for a little over a year, I spent the first 6 months just learning everything I could and only last week did I do my first out of my house real physical not online sale! I started out at a small local fleamarket where the table fee was only $20 and I made about $70 there were maybe 75-100 ppl in attendance, and only have 2 consistant customers that I knew before I started making/selling.
I also learned ordering wholesale online is cheaper in the long run! If you buy at craft stores buy out of season items on sale and put them away for the next season.
When at a market/show, say hello to everyone who walks by even if they aren't looking your way it draws them to your table!
Make sure when you go to a show to bring a cooler with your own food/drink because it's expensive to eat/drink at them.
Make atleast 3 of everything I don't like to make "cookie cutter" or assembly line style anything I like to make unique everything but after you sell one of something you can replace it in your display! If one person bought it someone else might like to buy it too!
Keep your prices reasonable but don't under cut or sell your self short! You will never make a profit that way.
Bright colors and shiny/sparkly things draw people's attention, make sure your displays aren't just flat, people will not notice them that way.
Eat a good breakfast before you go to a show/sale even if this is not a common practice for you on a day to day basis. I thought just having my typical morning cup of coffee would be fine.... haha yeah right!
Try to have your other half, friend or and older child that can be left for a few minutes with you, your gonna have to go to the restroom at some point and won't want to leave your stuff unattended
take advantage of Vistaprint! Free Business cards!!! Use their post cards for bow cards for your larger style bows and for klips and stuff use your business cards
Google Voice!! Get it, I swear, I don't want to pay extra for a second phone number but I didn't want to give my house/cell # to random people....you can set it up to ring to your house/cell and then program it to your caller id so you know its someone calling for bows for example my caller id says Cklips line when it rings through so I know. Made my life a thousand times easier and it's FREE!
Organization is key, you will never not be able to find something again that way! There is nothing worse than knowing you have something and not being able to find it
Hope that helped, I'm still learning what works those are just somethings I've learned along the way and I know I still have so much more to learn. Best of luck
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:50
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Default Re: What mistakes have you learned from since making/selling bows

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexys View Post
Stick to firm deadlines... I just learned this one the hard way. When ordering supplies have a little extra on hand and not "just enough" in case you make a mistake. Even if it was for an order you can still etsy or craft show the same style if you need to get rid of that extra ribbon later. I can't second tracking inventory enough since it really is easier to get into the habit when you're starting. Save ALL your receipts so you are accurate at tax time. I actually scan mine so I have a digital copy and a hard one. Just in case.
Not even in case you make a mistake but to avoid having to overnight more ribbon if you are working on say a cheer order and partway through a roll of ribbon you start seeing smudges, smears, offset printing, spots, pulled threads, and sometimes blotches which look like water splashed over the ribbon while they dye was still drying.

For inventory on larger spools, I will mark or cut back (depending on ribbon width) 5 yds from the end of a new spool and when I use up the ribbon to that mark, I mark/cut again and remove 5 yds of that from my inventory file so when the time comes for the end of year inventory, I only have to measure from that mark forward and not 70 some yards of ribbon if I haven't been keeping exact yardage counts.

And the biggest one for me, GET PAID BEFORE YOU SHIP! I have not violated this in years until last month but it appeared I would have to leave for a funeral at a moment's notice and the bows were needed while I would have been gone so I went ahead and shipped since it was for a high school. I still have not been paid and it's been nearly a month. I was told I had to fill out a W-9 before they could pay me since it's in Texas and I guess I will have to call them again today.
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Old 09-08-2012, 11:05
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Default Re: What mistakes have you learned from since making/selling bows

Research, research!

My kids would often see something and say loudly, "Mom, you can make that for me right?" They were not being rude to the seller; they just think their mom is Superwoman! After reading a few threads here about that, I've discussed the subject with my kids. Now, they say, "Mom, I love this bow!" It allows me to then take it from there and further compliment the seller. I may or may not be able to make it myself and I may opt to buy the item for my girls. Either way, we are better off with leaving a positive feeling if overheard!


Don't be afraid to experiment! Yours doesn't HAVE to be the exact same shade of blue you saw in a picture.

Don't suffer alone! LOL The internet has a wealth of info and your problem may be solved easier than you think.

Your family may be your biggest fan base, but DO discuss with them what you can and can't do. You CAN give one of your creations as a birthday gift, but making free bows for the entire team may not exactly be what you had in mind.
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:44
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Default Re: What mistakes have you learned from since making/selling bows

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnathanMagz View Post
At the beginning I was way too excited and ran out and bought TONS of ribbon. It was a long time before I saw a profit because I had already spent a ton on supplies. Plus, I ended up liking to make different kinds of clips than I originally set out to make, so I had extra unused ribbon. I found ways to use most everything or sell it off, but I should have been patient and only bought a little at a time in the beginning.

Mega Ditto to this!

I don't make bows yet, but I liked to buy every single colour of everything that I buy, even the oddball colours that I can't seem to force myself to use.

So my biggest lesson learned is that I now prefer to have a smaller variety of colours in bigger quantities, rather than a HUGE variety of colours in smaller quantities. I like to know that I'm not going to run out of something, after all the work I do to make it, take photos, and get it uploaded for sale
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