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Kylie Simonton's eBook, Mastering the Craft of Craft Shows - A Review

Michelle Burke

I was excited to see that Kylie Simonton of Lean Mean Sewing Machine wrote an eBook about selling handcrafted goods at craft shows! Her book is called, Mastering the Craft of Craft Shows. Today, I am sharing my impressions of Kylie's eBook as well as giving you an idea of what you will find in her book that makes it worth purchasing. I do not know Kylie personally, but I do know enough about her through Facebook to know that she always seems to be selling her handcrafted bags at craft shows . . . and she is very successful at it! I knew that her eBook would be something that Uniquely Michelle customers who sell their handcrafted bags might find useful - this is the reason I bought her eBook, and the reason I am writing this review. I was very impressed with all the great information that Kylie includes in her Mastering the Craft of Craft Shows! Near the end of this post, I have included some questions that I asked Kylie and of, course her answers - don't miss this opportunity to get even more information from Kylie! Now, read on to find out more about Mastering the Craft of Craft Shows! There is also an opportunity for you to win Kylie's eBook in a GIVEAWAY - see details at the end of this post!

Kylie started selling at crafts shows in 2014. She hasn't been successful selling at every show (she shares a story about this in her book), but she has methodically worked to determine what works and what doesn't. She shares her wealth of knowledge in her eBook, Mastering the Craft of Craft Shows. Kylie not only shares her tips on how to be successful selling at craft shows, but she does so in an easy-to-understand way that gives the reader confidence to implement her practices. 

Mastering the Craft of Craft Shows includes an introduction and 12 chapters. Each chapter addresses a different topic, from determining your inventory and seasonal trends, to the pricing and displaying of products. Kylie spends several chapters on customer-related issues; like what forms of payment to accept, how to promote and sell products, how to engage with customers (both the good and the not-so-good), and how to really listen to customers to improve future sales. You will even learn how to deal with competitors at crafts shows. The final chapter of Kylie's eBook is an extensive list of what to bring to a craft show, both what you will need for selling your handmade goods as well as what you will want for your personal comfort too.

I really like Kylie's chapter on pricing where she talks about how it can be difficult to ask people to pay what an item is actually worth and how she has worked through this. Kylie also goes through an example of EXACTLY how she determines the accurate and fair price an item - this chapter is useful even if you don't sell at craft shows, but sell through another avenue.

The chapter in Kylie's eBook on choosing the right craft show was very interesting. Her insight on how to choose crafts shows may not be what you would expect, but Kylie shares her experiences to explain her reasoning on which craft shows to choose to sell at and why some are not worth your time and effort.

Each chapter ends with homework . . . yes homework. But no worries, the homework is very beneficial; it is designed to get you thinking about what will work for you and how you can have success selling at crafts shows. Kylie suggests in the introduction to her eBook that you take notes as you read her book, and I would recommend that too. I love Kylie's thought that, "The only dumb ideas are the ones not written down!" I highly recommend this eBook if you have thought about selling or already sell in craft shows. If you are thinking about getting into craft show vending, this book will help you get started and it will help you avoid some pitfalls. If you  already have experience selling at a few craft shows, this book will give you great tips and ideas for taking your craft show selling to the next level.

You can purchase Mastering the Craft of Craft Shows eBook in PDF format on her website, Lean Mean Sewing Machine. If you would prefer the eBook format rather than the PDF format, it is available on Amazon and iBooks, just search, "Mastering the Craft of Craft Shows" on either Amazon or iBooks. 

I asked Kylie a few questions that I had after reading her book. I think you can get even more insight from her answers, so I have included them here - enjoy!

In your book, you talk about your “$20 profit craft show” - yikes! Other than that show, have you always been successful selling at craft shows? Has your success increased over time?

I would say that my success has increased over time, but I think it’s because I finally took a step back and realized that shows with multi-level marketing vendors yielded less sales for me. Once I stopped applying to those shows, I noticed a day and night difference in sales. (Multi-level marketing vendors are vendors that sell products like Lularoe, Scentsy, etc.)

Where does the majority of your profit come from, craft shows or online sales?

A majority of my profit comes from craft shows. I find that people like to see, touch, feel, and open products in person. If they can get a better view of the product and imagine themselves using it, they are more likely to purchase whatever item I’m selling. It also helps that they see the maker behind the products. It makes things more personal and people LOVE when you remember them the next time around.

Does selling at crafts shows increase your online customer base and therefore your online sales?

I have definitely had an increase in online sales because of my presence at craft shows. I often receive emails with a “hey, I saw you at [location] and I loved/bought some of your products.” This especially comes into play around big holidays such as Christmas. Lots of people are flocking towards handmade for unique gifts not sold in stores.

Do you offer a custom order option at craft shows? If so, how important is that to your overall profit?

I do offer custom orders to potential customers who visit my booth at craft shows. They may not turn around right away and order from me, but I give them a business card and tell them to email when they are ready. These same people usually get in touch with me around the holidays, birthdays, graduation, etc. when shopping for gifts for loved ones. I would say that it is important to overall profit not just from that one person, but to all the people that they tell. People are so blown away when I make something custom for them. Word of mouth is probably the best advertising a business owner could possess. If you “wow” one person, you’re sure to wow at least one more.

Thank you Kylie for sharing such a wealth of valuable information in your Mastering the Craft of Craft Shows eBook and for answering my questions! Check out Kylie's Lean Mean Sewing Machine website, follow her on Instagram, on her Lean Mean Sewing Machine Facebook Page, and join her Lean Mean Sewing Machine Facebook Group.

How about a giveaway? This is such a great book that I am giving one PDF version away! And . . . Kylie wants to give a copy away too, so now you have two chances to win a copy of her book! To enter the GIVEAWAY, just comment on this post! You only need to comment once to be entered in the drawing. I will randomly draw two winners to receive a copy of Kylie's, Mastering the Craft of Craft Shows on Thursday, July 12th at 10:00am MST. 
Good Luck!