How to Budget for a Craft Fair

800px-Novelties_village
Via Wikimedia Commons by Leonardo D. Santos CC BY-SA 3.0

Some fairs are simply out of reach for a crafterpreneur.

There are so many costs with a craft fair that people overlook and its important to tally it up first to see what your actual out of pocket actually is.

Below are some of the major items that crafterpreneurs spend on, and hopefully it will help serve as a guide of what to spend on and why.

Rental and booth display

Manila FAME gives you the option of either renting just the space or the space and a prebuilt booth at different prices, so it depends on your budget and what you think is better for your brand.

Inventory

Some online sellers carry the bare minimum of inventory.

A physical store changes all of that.

You’ll need enough to make people browse and then decide to buy and that means more than one or two of each item.

Spending on inventory is a gamble since you aren’t sure what the market may want. It can also be costly. (Take jewelry for example. Small expensive pieces quickly add up).

Display materials

If you are selling jewelry, you’ll need jewelry boxes to display them in. If you are selling ice cream, you’ll need a freezer. If you are selling shoes, you’ll need a shoe racks and stands.

You get the picture.

Maritess Pineda, founder of MaARTE and ArteFino, stated  “The products may be good, but if it is not properly displayed, then it does not matter.” Product dislay is crucial so don’t overlook it.

Marketing materials

You need a calling card, banners, posters and flyers.

Decide on how you want to display your goods and how the marketing materials should support them or ask the organizers where you can display posters or tarpaulins.

Packing materials

You’ll need to have paper bags, scissors, tape, string, packing materials and pen and paper. Make sure that the amount that you bring is directly correlated to you stock. If you mostly sell small items, then you will mostly need small paper bags. If you sell breakables, bring lots of packing tape and bubble wrap.

Staffing

With fairs often running for twelve hours and set up and tidying up several hours before and after that, you are going to need to take it in shifts or you will run out of steam.

If you staff it, then you are going to need to consider minimum wage for the staff, which can range from minimum wage of Php 512 to a few thousand depending on who you hire and what your overtime is.

Logistics

How are you going to move all of that?

If you’ve got a brand booth, it may be bulky and heavy. Then you have all the packing, marketing and miscellaneous items. You might have to hire additional transportation just to move it, so factor that in as well.

Advertise

If you’ve got a social media account now’s the time to use it.

Pin it, post it, Instagram it and see if you can leverage all those followers to spread them word and buy a few of your things. Promoting it isn’t very difficult these days.

So, spend a little money to make a little money and you might just end up making a lot.

These are really the definitive items that crafterpreneurs spend on for a craft fair. Rental spaces can be really pricey and can be the most expensive item spent on, but this depends on which craft fair you are joining. Inventory can also be a lot with staffing, marketing, display, and packing materials quickly adding to the bill.

Make sure that you write things down and come prepared so that your craft fair can fulfill the expectations that you have of it.

Go craft and then go out and see what a physical location would add to your experience. Often a craft fair will end up being worth the money.

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Soap Molds Manila 2017

Soap-Making Workshop
Soap-Making Workshop via Flickr by Steph CC BY-SA 2.0

So you have your supplies and you are know how to make soap but you can’t figure out how to get a soap mold in Manila.

Yes, I know.

You can actually use almost anything for a soap mold. People have recommended shoe boxes and plastic containers and baking molds and all sorts of stuff, but you are a perfectionist and you want to turn out the same size bar with beautiful edges every single time.

This is not possible without a standard soap mold.

So, you want a soap mold and I’m tell you what happened to me when I looked at all the possible ways to get one.

BUY

In which I try to take the easy route and buy online

The first thing I did when I decided to try to make soap on my own was to find my supplies, my tools, and my soap mold.

Hobby stores for soapmaking do not physically exist in the Philippines, so all of my options were online.

Typing in Soap Mold Manila, I found there were several hits.

One guy on OLX popped up offering a package of a 3 loaf soap mold and a cutter for about Php 4,000. Lazada offered a 1 loaf soap mold for Php 700. I decided I wanted a 3 loaf soap mold and asked him to send pictures.

The moment I saw them, I realized that it was a terrible product. The coat on the cutter was wavy and it was yellow. There had to be a better deal out there.

I decided I would have to widen my search.

I checked Brambleberry and their 3 loaf soap mold was $81.00 or Php 4,050. This was just a soap mold, although yes it had inserts but geez. Plus don’t forget shipping at Php 1,351.

This was becoming an expensive date, and I wasn’t even sure I was ready to commit yet.

So, I did the next best thing – I decided to try DIY.

The Online Buy Route 
4,050 Php Brambleberry 18 bar birchwood mold
1,351 Php Shipping
5,401 Php Total

DIY

In which I am asked to bribe a salesclerk and I try to hack it myself.

I’ll freely admit it.

This was a total failure. I am not a carpenter and I do not have tools. I didn’t even know where to buy wood supplies. So, I did what works in a first world country and what totally does not work here: I went online to look for a lumber supply business in Manila.

I came up with the following hits: Ace Builders, Wilcon Home Depot, CW, MC Home Depot and some mom and pop hardware stores and sash factories.

This is the approach that you do when you don’t know anyone (I knew someone but he was Big Business and I really didn’t want to bother him) and this is the approach that you take when you follow all the advice on the popular soapmaking blogs.

Right off the bat, I’ll tell you why this doesn’t work. The Philippines is a poor country and all the DIY supplies that you would get in America just aren’t available. The nice supply of lumber of different sizes? Not available. The nice guy who can cut it for you in store? Also not available.

I would have hired my boyfriend but he is Intellectual and does not handle power tools.

So, I called the stores. I called everyone I wrote about and others besides. I was still hoping that I could get someone to cut it for me to the length that I needed it. I was told by one that yes, they would cut it but it would be out in the back and it was Not Official. Specifically, a guy told me that he could cut it for me and that I would just have to “Take care of him.”

I was kind of in disbelief but I still took down the guy’s cell (This is what desperation drives you to).

I called Ace Builder (not Ace Hardware) and I was told that yes, they did cut it. I called all 3 branches after searching wildly for their telephone numbers because surprise, surprise, the numbers are not updated on the website and the internet Got It Wrong and the sales staff kept giving me the numbers for Ace Hardware. (For reference, the numbers are below.)

I decided this was definitely an option.

I went to Ace Hardware but quickly realized that their yes was more of a yes, kind of. Yes, they will cut it for you but you have to buy a jigsaw blade and you have to make a special request to the manager. Also, it was really expensive at almost twice the Lazada cost or about Php 1,500+/-.

One of my stops along the DIY route was to go to a small local hardware. The prices there were really reasonable, with a 1x4x8 at Php 200 and a larger plank at Php 500. But again, the Chinese owner of the shop told me that he had no one to cut it for me, so I was back to where I started.

The DIY Route
334.75 Php 1 pc 3/4″ x 4 x 8′
134.25 Php 3 hinges
29.75 Php 1 set eye and hook
140 Php 1 jigsaw blade
639 Php Total

Job it out

While I was researching the DIY route, I came across referrals to three carpenters who people assured me would do it for me.

The first one wanted to charge me Php 700 for one, while another wanted to charge Php 600 for the whole day. I still have the phone number of the third but I have decided to ask just for a referral. I’m hoping that if I get a referral, he can get it done in half a day.

It is surprisingly difficult to find a carpenter these days. So far, I have had one carpenter back out and another not answer my text.

I estimate that jobbing it out will be roughly the same as DIY so I’ve estimated the below.

The Job It Out Route
200 Php 1 pc 3/4″ x 4 x 8′
134.25 Php 3 hinges
1,351 Php 1 set hook and eye
300 Php Labor
664 Php Total

My soap mold adventure was really educational. I did think that it was going to be a tough proposition if I went the DIY or Job it out route, but I wanted to see what would happen.

The lack of materials and big box home improvement stores that can cut plywood for you really hamper building your own soap mold, and I spent a really long time going around the various shops. I went to back alleys and dodgy places, and I’m still waiting for someone to reply to some of the inquiries I sent out.

The easiest thing is simply to buy one of Lazada’s soap molds.

You won’t have to spend 2 days visiting shops or looking for carpenters, and the price difference of the Lazada soap mold and the DIY stuff is Php 50 or $1.

Php 50 or $1 isn’t a big deal, when you think you could happily be making soap.

Ever decided to try to build your own soap mold? I’d love to hear it.

 

3 of the most Influential Arts and Craft Fairs in Manila

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via MaARTE’s Facebook

1. MaARTe

Want to hit the high net worth crowd?

MaARTe’s definitely the right spot.

For an exhibitor’s viewpoint, it is a solid place to showcase items as it attracts a well-heeled crowd. There is also extensive media coverage by ABS CBN, GMA, Inquirer, Philippine Star, and When in Manila.

It’s also very exclusive. The latest event only hosted 31 exhbitors at the Manila Pen. Well-known brands such as Aranaz and Phillip + Inna exhibited alongside Oscar Meija Aritsan Fragrances and Yvette’s Bags.

Your product would be in good company but be prepared.

It’s competitive, exclusive and very tough to get in.

Best fit: Craftsmen with a proven history looking to take their business to the next level.
Email: Maartefair@gmail.com
Facebook: @maartefair
No of Exhibitors: 31
When: Usually August 2017
Where: Manila Peninsula

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via ArteFino’s Facebook

2. ArteFino

Although only a year old, ArteFino has the same founders as the MaARTe who have a wonderful track record and a network of heavy hitting local brands.

In line with all that expertise, the ArteFino goal is pretty lofty.

As stated by one of the founders Maritess Pineda, it is to “provide an avenue for people to discover modern applications of Philippine indigenous materials and connect with innovative artisans from different industries.”

So, you’ll see traditional cloth from the Bagobos and the T’bolis reworked to be appealing to the modern girl alongside more familiar brands like Abre Linea and K & K bespoke jewelry.

They believe that the only way for local is global and hope that the money that they raise goes into back into the Philippine communities that they come from.

It has 70 exhibitors and a wide variety of products, all housed in the 1,490 sqm 8 Rockwell penthouse.

And if you want media exposure, you’ve got it.

It was covered by the Philippine tattler, Inquirer, Spot.ph, and Town and Country. It was curated by Ito Kish, and pulls an affluent crowd.

Best fit: Products with an eye to our national traditions and the artist entrepreneur
Phone: For details contact Imelda Canuel, Secretariat, ArteFino 2017 at tel. nos. +63917-5597462 and +6399-88671838
Email: info@artefinoph.com
Facebook: ArteFinoPH 
Instagram: @artefinoph
No of Exhibitors: 70
When: Usually August 2017
Where: 8 Rockwell Penthouse

new-logo
via Manila FAME’s website

3. Manila Fame

Do you want to connect with big customers?

Manila FAME is celebrating its 66th show, and it is the biggest and most well-known of the craft fairs.

This is where big companies go to buy bulk orders. I’ve seen several large national developers send their interior design people to see what is current in the market since almost everyone in the local space is there.

Befitting all that, it’s expensive. It is Php 54,000 for 18 square meters of space and 32,850 for 9 square meters with a aluminum booth.

Still, it’s the best organized and the most thorough. It requires all participants to pass a factory inspection, and be duly registered in the Philippines with the DTI, SEC and BIR documents ready.

Best fit: Craftsmen with mature businesses who can support large orders and are looking at the international stage
Phone: +63.2.8331258, 8325033, 8312201 local 242, 240, 203, 231
Email: manilafame@citem.com.ph
No of Exhibitors: 400 approximately
When: Oct 20-22 2017
Where: World Trade Center Metro Manila and the Philippine International Trade Center Exhibit Hall

How Craft Fairs can launch your brand | Stories from Manila

Craft_Fair,_Parliament_Street_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1400890
via Wikipedia Commons by Gordon Hatton  CC BY-SA 2.0

 

While reading about craft stories that became businesses, I found that most people eventually came to the point where they wanted a physical location. Some crafters turn to consignment while others start exhibiting at local craft fairs.

Craft fairs have a lot of benefits that include checking out the competition, exposure, networking and feedback.

Checking out the competition

Everyone and the world is at a craft fair, so it’s an outstanding opportunity to take a look at what’s going on.

Who’s selling what?

What are they selling it for?

What’s the actual quality of the items sold versus what’s really being posted online?

Craft fairs are a great source of information that you might not necessarily find elsewhere. A friend of mine was actively involved in the bazaar business for several years, and she made it a point to go around the fair a few times a day to see how things were going.

Exposure

Ken Samudio is a marine biologist turned accessories designer whose flower earrings are sold by Luisa Via Roma, Modus Operandi and Bergdorf Goodman.

But it all wouldn’t have happened without his attending the International Fashion Showcase in 2014.

While there, his work was spotted by Sara Maino who was Italia Vogue’s senior editor and lead talent scout. Their emails led to him being picked for a profile on the magazine’s 50th anniversary and eventually, this led to his being one of only twelve designers shown at the Milan Fashion Week.

Think about the odds of that.

And all from a craft fair.

In Manila, he appeared in the 2016 MaArte fair for the benefit of the National Museum and in Manila Fame. Both are big, well respected trade shows with big opportunities to draw in clients, get a lot of press and get to know a market.

Networking

Peachy is an online shop selling craft supplies and polymer clay products.

In 2015 she was featured by Chasing Dreams Design Co., who talked about meeting her through the craft fair Pursuit Manila. It was an interview on her business and crafting and what she values, and it has continued to provide exposure to her, long after the initial meeting.

In fact, it’s how I found her.

There’s so much information on the web (in 2013, there were 1 billion websites out there) that the mentions, shares, likes and interviews you have, the better your chances of success.

So, don’t forget it’s all about the people.

Feedback

Craft fairs instantly tell you if you’ve got the right product.

For instance, Lux 400 started by going to craft fairs and pop up stores and selling fashion accessories.

But if was only when she picked up crocheting as a side hobby and making cute crocheted food items called amigurami food that she found some success. She joined the BGC Art Mart exhibiting them, and customers responded well.

These days Lux 400 is started to get some press – who knows what will happen on her journey?

And who knows what will happen on yours?

A craft fair opens up opportunities and has a lot of value, so why not consider it? Admittedly there is a lot of preparation, but it can pay off in the end.

Have any good experiences with craft fairs? Let us know.

Turning craft into a business | Success stories from Manila

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Via Pexels

Given the explosion of ecommerce, it’s only natural to think that a craft hobby might become a business.

In Manila, the arts and crafts scene has exploded.

There are tons more ecommerce sites and fairs than ever before, and serious crafters have begun to monetize them by building brands and blogs to reach an ever larger audience.

It seems like it isn’t easy, but there are a couple of great stories that I like to look at when I think about crafts business success in Manila.

1. Angel Anastasio

It’s interesting to see a business evolving, because while there are stories written after there’s been great success, it’s nice to see something that’s young and just starting.

Angel is a 26 year old entrepreneur who’s balancing several roles: MA Psychology, a day job, and her crafting business 400 Lux. She started by joining a crafts fair to sell accessories but picked up crocheting on the side. “Everything”, she says, “kind of snowballed from there.”

These days she makes anywhere from 8,000 on lean months to 19,000 on better months, but with the recent feature article on her in Cosmopolitan Philippines, that’s likely to increase.

2. Alchemista

Alchemista is a classic craft success story.

It is a jewelry line that started when the founder Georgina took silver smithing classes in Australia during her masters degree in 2003.

When she returned to the Philippines, she continued to work on it and make pieces for herself. Friends and coworkers started to notice, and she eventually put up the alchemista line to focus on her business full time.

She does wax carving and works with a team of metalsmiths to create her signature chunky bold pieces and continues to be active in the jewelry scene. She has been featured in several articles and has won the 2010 Philippine jewelers competition and placed highly in the 2013 GIA Thailand competition.

Hats off to her. Knowing what goes into creating jewelry and the difficulties of sourcing raw materials, it is such an accomplishment to see someone making it in this scene.

3. Common Room

Have you been here?

There are two shops now, one along Katipunan and another in Rockwell Makati that are filled with local crafter projects. There are cards and leather goods and small pieces of furniture. On some days, there are craft workshops in the space.

A venture by sisters Roma and Maan Agsalud, common room showcases items from the crafter community to introduce them to a wider audience. They had previous experience running a small craft kiosk in Alabang town center called PopJunkLove. They wanted a bigger location though and eventually found it in Katipunan.

The 10 years that Roma spent as the chief crafter of PopJunkLove prepared her for the challenge of launching the business. She understood the crafting community and instinctively filled a need that she saw.

It’s definitely inspiring. Who knows who might be the next big business success from a hobby?

🙂

What are your stories? Ever want to become an entrepreneur?

 

 

Why buy | Cold or Hot Process Soap 

white, bar, aroma, food, produce, natural
Via Pxhere

Buying cold or hot process soap in Manila has many benefits:

#1 It’s healthier and so much better for your skin

The ingredients in today’ soap bars are often bewildering. Liquid soaps will list parabens, preservatives, surfactants and fragrances. Triclosan is often included. Pretty much all have been shown to be bad for your skin or your health.

These chemicals are hormone disruptors and some are even known carcinogens at high doses, but often big companies get away with it because there really isn’t anyone policing or penalizing them – most enforcement is after the fact. They also often allege that low doses are safe.

But think about it – when animal studies show reproductive diseases at high doses from products that you use ever single day, maybe it is better to be safe than sorry.

Additionally, people who suffer from skin allergies have found that switching to a natural bar is so much better for thier skin. The itchiness goes away and skin allergies improve.

If your skin is sensitive, switching to natural soap bars may alleviate your symptoms.

#2 Its environmentally friendly.

Natural soaps are much more environmentally friendly than what we often buy off the shelf.

Grocery store soap is made in a factory, consuming tons of energy and ingredients that extend shelf life and make it easier to ship but that are a drain on natural resources. It doesn’t stop there. Transporting the product – often across international lines – is an energy and resource intensive endeavor.

When you buy natural soap, very little or no energy is needed. Cold process soap is formed entirely through a chemical reaction and hot process soap is formed with minimal heating. Additionally, transportation and packaging are much less.

#3 It supports the local economy

Several cold or hot process soap makers are small local businesses such as Milea Bee Farm or Ilog ni Manila. They cut and produce the soap in small batches using local labor, and the profits often go into supporting the local economy.

Its a virtuous cycle of return back into the places we care about and are close to our homes, and I just can’t see any downside in that.

#4 It is unique and beautiful

food green clean craft dessert lighting homemade freshness design soap beauty bath body hygiene toiletries
Via Pxhere

Cold process or hot process soap is beautiful and eye catching. Some of the local soap creators make eye catching bars that can’t be found anywhere else – think deep chocolate swirls and pumpkin pie bars.

When people wander into your bathroom, they’ll often be pleasantly surprised by a beautiful bar of soap that’s often a small testament to someone’s imagination.

And, no matter how tiny, why not be surrounded by beautiful things?

Silversmithing and Jewelry Stamping Classes in Manila 2017

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via Flicker by Mountainmade WV Handmade Art CC BY 2.0

Jewelry making classes can range from beading and knots to creating professional wedding rings by melting gold down into bars and setting gemstones in it. Below are 4 classes that hit the whole range.

1. Pulseras ni Kim

Pulseras ni Kim offers workshops for crafters centering around jewelry stamping. It’s a quick and easy way of creating jewelry which doesn’t require a torch, which is a major stumbling block for most jewelry makers. Instead, you cut metal sheets and punch inspirational quotes onto it.

There is a monthly group session at Craft Central North Edsa and you can arrange a private session with friends (an idea I love). She also offers workshops through Craft Manila.

Cellphone: 0917-519-8125
Email: pulserasbykim@gmail.com

2. Gemlab

Gemlab is a jewelry school in San Juan that was established in 1986, and continues to offer classes today. They have classes on jewelry manufacture, appraisal, design and plating for which a certificate is offered afterwards.

Their Jewelry Manufacture course is 66 hours every other day for 3 hours a day. The class size is 4 to 8 and starts from basics.

It’s pretty expensive at 100,000 for the class but it is the most professional of the classes that I have seen and they offer a more rounded curriculum, with an introduction to the equipment required and alloy composition. Projects are the basic ring, bangle, pendant, solitaire ring, dangling earrings, creolla earrings, and then a jewelry set. For the hours it offers, it is pretty packed.

To put what I wrote into perspective, a jewelry manufacture class abroad is often for at least a year (GIA in San Diego or artisan craft jewelry in Florence) and some of the more advanced projects can take 66 hours. My last 4 projects each took 2 or three weeks or about 60 hours each. Earlier projects weren’t so bad at maybe 10 to 15 hours.

The projects that they put together for the curriculum cover the essentials, but I think for gem setting it would take quite a bit more time. There is also no time for engraving or casting, both of which can really enhance the overall look of the piece.

Still, if I were doing it all over again, maybe I’d start here, in the absence of cheaper alternatives.

Also, they are pretty easy to talk to, and do respond to emails. A big plus for working people is that they do have saturday classes so they do pick up the phone on the weekends.

2. Tesda

It’s long been rumored that TESDA has a jewelry manufacture course. I see traces of it online and even my jewelry equipment supplier mentioned that an instructor of theirs comes by every so often.

However, as with many rumors, I haven’t been able to find the Jewelry II course in the TESDA Women’s Center website. Their contact information is below. I suggest calling, because when I sent them an email I never got a response.

What I’d love to do though is to see if I could get one of their instructors to offer private classes. I love the flexibility of that.

Phone: 887-7777 or 817-4076 to 82 local 278
Email: tesdawomen@gmail.com

3. Soul Flower

I’ve written about Soul Flower before here. Sadly, I wasn’t able to go because it was quite far and they didn’t offer stone setting. Still, I think for metal smithing hobbyists, they are the most reasonable and simplest class to start with.

I do love her idea of making your own wedding bands, which I think is such a personal, wonderful thing.