Monday, 12 June 2017

Selling; where to start? (in Quebec)

I often get asked for tips as to how to start selling, I consider I still have a lot to learn myself, but I will still try to share what I learnt in nearly 8 years selling! I will be coming back in details on some of the above points in the following days/weeks while I wait to start making items again following my hand surgery of last week.

Selling; where to start? (in Quebec)

You have a cool product? Strangers stop you in the street to know where you purchased your own creations? Your friends are pushing you to sell your work?

Great! But where to start?

A name

First, you want to decide if you will sell under your own name or a “company” name. Legally, in Quebec, if you are not using your full name in your company name, you have to register it with the Registraire des entreprises ofQuebec, the fees are $34 a year, so not much, but something to know and to do soon. Note that you can register a name in any language, but the first name must be in French and then you add a translation of that name in the language of your choice, at no added cost.

So, will you work under Eloïse Paré origami (no obligation to register) or under Eloïse origami or The Green Bunny Workshop (which would both required to be registered)?

Choose something short, easy to remember and that leaves you room for changes; at first I was doing a lot of animal winter hats, but I had chosen The Green Bunny Toques, I would have had to change my name which would have involved a lot of time and fees!

Avoid complex orthography that will make it difficult for people to remember you by heart; my first name was Eölsei Wear, which is an anagram of my first name that no one could remember...

Drop the articles, they make events listings harder to check; am I under “T” or “G” this time (if I had to redo it, I would drop the “The” to be only Green Bunny Workshop).

Web presence

Do you want to sell only in person, only online or a bit of both? Whatever your decision might be, you will need a web presence. Ideally, once you have decided on a name, you should make sure no one is already using it and change it if that’s the case. Your work is unique and your name should be as well!

Once your name is chosen and you made sure you are the only one with it, create the accounts with your chosen name on the platforms you think you will eventually use to reserve your name on each one.
What platforms to choose? Personally, I think Facebook and Instagram are two must have at the moment as well as an email address under your name and a selling platform. Of course, there’s also Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr et Pinterest, to name only those, that could tempt you. In doubt, I created an account on each one of them, so that my name is “reserved” if I ever understand them enough to use them properly?

Selling online

Until now and since 2009, I have been selling on Etsy and haven’t tried any other selling platforms seriously although many more exist. Whichever one you choose, you have to read their rules and understand your obligations as well as your rights.

Keep an eye on:

What are the fees of this platform; monthly, per item, percentage of sale?

Is there a minimum/maximum of items?

Can you set different shipping fees for different countries/items? (yes I have seen a platform that allowed a single shipping fees, not by countries or items, they didn’t survive long)

How many pictures/videos can you put per item?

Business cards

If you plan on doing event, it is important to give as many chances as possible to people who like your work to find you back; a business cards is a must. Whether it is a piece of home printed and cut paper, or a cardstock one straight from the closest printer, you want to put all chances on your side to sell your item by making it easy for your potential clients!

Your card should at minimum indicate your company name and at least one method to reach you (email, facebook, etsy, etc.). Once your first cards are given, don’t forget to keep an eye on the contact(s) noted on them to make sure you don’t miss opportunities.

Putting a price  on your work

Before even making your first sale, you will have the very arduous task of actually putting a price on your work. To be able to do so, you have to keep many factor on your mind:

What are the costs of the materials required to redo this item? Even is the materials used were given to you or that you had them already, the cost is still not $0, you have to determine what is the cost of materials required to redo your item once you have sold it.

How long does it take to make this item?

What hourly rate do you want? (please at least minimum wage!)

What are the other fees linked to making this item (storing space, electricity, equipment rental, etc.)?

What profit margin do you want to get on that item? Yes, it is not all to cover your production costs, you still need to make a profit if you want to have a shot at living from your work. You have to understand that the profit margin, in theory, is the portion of the price that will enable you to live from your work since all the rest calculated until here enables  you only to redo the item sold to fill your inventory.

Do you plan to sell to shops, do consignment and/or sell wholesale in any other way? If yes, you need to take into consideration that shops will take up to 50% of your sale price. So, the minimum price calculated previously must be multiplied by 2 to obtain your retail price to be able to sell wholesale without losing money.

The retail price has to help you make profit, to sell wholesale without losing money and will also take into account the storage place required for your pieces in between sales and all the time spent on all the other tasks that are not production (hours that you would charge to an employer if you were to do this for someone else). In a year, for each hour of production I do taken into account directly in my prices, at least 5 hours are spent on something else: social media management, events, shopping for supply, label your items, taking pictures, writing descriptions, answering potential clients, etc., etc., etc.

And after (or before) all that, you still have to do research to see what the market already has as far as similar items go (and by similar I mean handmade ones, not the mass produced pieces), this enable you to see where your prices are in comparison to the ones already on the market. You don’t have to lower your price to be the lowest; it is totally alright to be more comfortable being at the highest, lowest or average price on the market.

Also note that whichever price you will put on your work, there will always be people making comments like “oh this is way overpriced”, “I can do that / my friend can do that for less”, “I saw the same thing at –shop selling dubious quality/mass produced items”, etc. You have to understand that the comments come mostly from people that are simply NOT your customer and you absolutely must not take them personally. I know it is exceedingly hard, especially when you are first starting up, but once your maths and research are done, still to them, whatever the rude or offensive comments might be, stick to your price and don’t despair!


You want to enter the world of events to sell your work but don’t know where to start?

Ideally, find a few local events to limit cost to a minimum; your first few events are a learning phase and it is unfortunately probable that you will make little sales there. There is no miracle recipe to find a good event for your work before trying a few out to understand your clients better.

Limiting the cost does not necessarily means opting for the cheapest events out there. The price of the table is never a synonym of success or failure, but you need to keep in mind that an event budget often comes in good proportion from the price paid by their exhibitors and that a bigger budget allows more publicity and, usually, more visitors!

Try to make your space pretty, bring a tablecloth to cover your table (most events don’t supply one), bring some boxes to but some of your items on them to add height to your presentation and mostly “build” your presentation at least once before the event to make sure that what you want to do works.

Your objective at an event is to make the task easy for your potential clients; write down your price clearly, get a credit card reader, like for instance the Square if you can, bring enough change to be able to give back what you owe to your customer without asking your neighbors for help, bring boxes or bags to package your items so they will make it to their new home in the same state they were purchased, …

Your second objective should be to always make new contacts. If the event is slower, take those down time and even before it opens, once your setup done, to talk to your neighbors and the organizers. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, ask them what their favorite items are and why not also the one to not try? Are you looking for a good printer, a place to get packaging locally, etc.; chances are your neighbors will know who to contacts or at least what you should look for to find it that you might not have thought of!

Try to engage the visitors walking by your table (when they are in front of your table only, talking to a visitor in front of someone else’s table is considered extremely rude), stand up if your health allows it and definitely don’t slouch and/or spend your time on your phone, tablet, reading, etc.

And try to have fun!

I will try in the next few days/weeks, to come back in more details on some of the points briefly tackled here, if there is something you would want to know specifically, let me know!

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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Con season!

Con season and show season is upon us and with it my presence in many different cities to try to reach and meet as many of you as possible! :)

I have decided, to try and use this space more, to share some of my discoveries, great and bad (hopefully more of the first kind) that I stumble upon while traveling for shows both locally and out of town.

I will split my discoveries into 3 categories which will also have their own labels (located below my shop app on the right side) for easy consultation, should the need arise ;p


Of course food is one of the main focus of my research and therefore discoveries while out for shows either out of town or local. Good food is a must during those tiresome extra long hours that are most of these events, and having digestive problem and allergies on top of that makes it really important for me to get at least one proper sitting down meal a day, every day!

Considering a show can mean an easy 10 to 12 hours standing up, as a rule I never cook afterwards even for local show. So I will almost always eat out with my boyfriend who helps me greatly (as a treat and because I am way to tired to do anything other than finally sit down and let someone else do the cooking!).

As a result, I have discovered and regularly tries new restaurants, I will now share with you my top discoveries under the Food label. Hopefully you might find some nice "hidden gems" in your own town or find a nice stop for your next visit in that town.

Shiny craftsmanship & Loot

Going to various event means seeing tons of skilled (and less skilled) artists of all kind. I will try to share under this label the things of dreams I sometime discover and the small items I just couldn't leave behind!

You will find under this label some pictures, links and hopefully even a few "interview" (or should I say a few lines from the fellow artist of interest). :)

So keep coming back, Con season is starting this weekend with Nadeshicon in Quebec city!
Talk to you soon!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

News News News

Well, first I think you all realized that I wouldn't be going to Japan Expo this year, considering it has started already an I am not even in France... For multiple reasons, some out of my control, the project had to be postponed until next year, but next year I will do all I can to be there!

This setback shook me up a bit and this combined with a few health issues kept pushing back my return here, but now I'm back!

So what's new then?

First you can look at my event page which is fully up to date with where I will be this year and next year that are already confirmed location!

New items?

I am, as usual, thinking and working on new foldings and products.

Here's a peek at what I'm working on at the moment, what do you think? This is what my miniaturization tests looks like.

Christmas time already? (and no not the one in July)

I am also intensely looking for shows in November and the beginning of December, if you know of any that are still accepting applications and might be interested in my work, please let me know!

This weekend!

And finally, for today, I am putting the finishing touch to some new cranes with stones in bottles pendants that should be ready for my upcoming weekend in Quebec city if I can pull myself from my computer and the relative comfort of my colder room - the rest of my apartment is really hot, and not in a good way!

More news on Monday the 7th for a recap of GeekFest Quebec and news on my next event in Longueuil!

Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Another block for Japan Expo & More new items

Japan Expo news

Today, I received a letter that will enable be to apply to try to get a small grant to help me out to cover all the fees of going to another country for a fair! It is far from certain that I will get it, but that letter is still a new block that falls into place... I might really be able to go, I honestly can't believe it, yet!

New items

In an effort to bring in less expensive items and origami items that could become key chains (it was requested from me a lot!), I have developed another variation of my bottled origami: 2D origami under glass lens!

This is only my first sample to see if my idea actually worked, and as you can see it does!

You can expect to see many more designs in the following weeks and months in different shapes and sizes, some in bronze, some in silver colour.

Toronto ComiCon is approaching fast

With my next event is less than 2 weeks, I still have a lot of work to do.

-I'm trying my best to finish more of the items above in time for my departure next week.

-I'm also trying to assemble new hairsticks to fill in the missing colours gap of my inventory.

-I'm adding the finishing touch to some new TARDIS, Companion cube and Serenity (to make sure I have enough).

-And finally I'm testing, yet again, new folding designs.

Hopefully by the next news Saturday, I'll have more pictures to share with you!

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

New bottle size and more!

As promised, here are some news and pictures.

Preparation pre-con

First the preparation for Toronto ComiCon goes well, as you can see in the pictures below of all the new tiny bottles drying out:

I have one new bottle format, which is between my 2 actual sizes. You can compare my smallest (left) with my new ones (right) on the few pictures below, these will be available on Etsy AND in convention soon.

Jigglypuff and Pikachu (pendants and earrings)
Jigglypuff and Pikachu (pendants)

Ninja Turtles (pendants and earrings)
Ninja Turles (pendants)

New foldings

I shouldn't mention it before having tried the necessary miniaturisation tests, but I found 2 incredible models yesterday night: a chocobo and a cactuar!

Pictures to follow shortly, if I can make them small enough...

Also, I discovered a few days ago a splendid Japanese origami book with 101 models of Pokemon. I have finally decided to purchase it, so expect many new items featuring Pokemon in the weeks and months to come (pendants, earrings, rings and pins!).

On the to do list before leaving for Toronto (without order)

-Finish the bottles on the picture above and add the new models to my Etsy shop
-Finish my new stud earrings (pikachu, cats, dogs and koala bears)
-Make my chocobo and cactuar miniaturisation tests
-Make more hairsticks (I am missing some colour, the horror!)
-Make more TARDIS and Companion cube for my smallest bottles and my new size of bottles

More news next Wednesday to follow up on where I'm at on this list!

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

I fold for miniature bottles!

Ninja power!

Trying to bring new model of miniature folding for my various bottles is always a challenge, but I think I manage to make a great addition with this one!

Of course the other ones are following shortly!

What do you think? Which one is your favourite?

What other character or serie should I tackle next?

One week of work later...

A good think I consider the number I folded and not the size it takes, this is a week's worth of folding in those 2 very small cover.

On my to fold list for this week:
-more pikachu
-Companion cube
-more Ninja Turtles (of course)
-perhaps some flowers
-and hopefully some jigglypuff!

And then I'll have to put them all in bottles if they are to be ready for my next con in Toronto in just over 2 weeks time!

So back to the folding board for me today, I'll add more news Saturday!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Japan Expo?! Yes please!

Since I last posted here, a lot of blocks have fallen into place for Japan Expo!

I have the guarantee that a table is reserved for me in the "Jeune Créateurs" section, if I complete and send in my application form (when I will receive it next month) with my cheque of course!

This is awesome but it still means I have a lot of research and planning if I am to make it happens.

Looking for info about Japan Expo

The first thing I'm trying to figure out is how visitors at Japan Expo behave and buy vs the attendees at cons in Quebec and Ontario.

Has anyone ever been to Japan Expo as a visitors or as a seller or know someone who has? I'd like to talk to someone with a bit of experience with that con, so let me know! ^^;

Looking for someone to take my table at GeekFest Quebec

Since I am trying my best to get to Japan Expo, it means I won't be able to make it at GeekFest Quebec for July 5-6. So if anyone knows someone who would want to attend that event, let me know and I will happily sell them my table! ^.^

New line of products

I have decided to try again the tiny origami studs earrings, but this time with a geek twist and cuter options!

So you can expect to see cute little cats, dogs, koala bears and pikachu (if you follow my Facebook page, you probably have seen the "raw" foldings already).

While looking for a way to fold a jigglypuff, I discovered an amazing japanese origami book with 101 Pokemon models. I have found a Canadian seller (so I will receive the book faster than by ordering from Japan) and will be able to add tons of Pokemon to that line!

Back to work

This is it for the news for this week.

I have to go back to my planning and pack up a pair of earrings leaving for Switzerland today! I always love sending items far away!

Come back Wednesday for more news and development!

Have a great week!