Some ask me how I got into selling pens while at craft shows and websites. My personal journey started as a woodworker and then progressed to turn pens and sell them.
Within, this article the best place to sell pens for a woodturner. There are two routes to go either the internet or local fairs, markets and shows. Before that, though you need to make sure you are pricing your product right.
My wood pens and plastic pens are both priced about the same. Hard and softwood may cost a lot less than an acrylic blank but have more effort in finishing and polishing with Ca glue.
Selling Pens Online
Plenty of options and places to sell from e-Bay, Etsy to your own website. First off, though, multiple excellent photographic shots needed to catch the details and eyes. An image tells a thousand words, as they say.
With, a large selection of pens for sale, you need to work out your collection of standard shots. If I look back on my first photos, they really were awful. I still use the same two cameras, a cheap Samsung camera or my phone, but with the addition of a lightbox. The first photo a clear shot then more from different angles, some showing particular luxury pen detailing.
At least one shot should include a prop, this will help show the pen with different colours and lighting. On some acrylic pens, it’s difficult to catch the true colour so the prop will help along with helping customers picture the pen in use.
Social Media Accounts
A public presence will also help things either on the ground or online. Even if you have no website, you can point people to your favourite platform. Popular with the crafting population, either forums or other platforms. So as not to irritate friends and family best to start a separate company page, it’s free and will keep your own stuff separate.
From these pages, you can either have your own Facebook shopping experience or point it to Folksy etc. Don’t just display your daily makes or fans will get bored quickly, mix it up with other things and videos. Don’t open an account on all platforms or some will get left behind and that will look bad.
Selling on eBay is fast and easy to set up. Selling a few at a time with free listings or step up to the next level and pay per listing. Competition and getting seen sometimes hard, with folks selling work at cost or below. Recently I have watched a Sierra pen or similar ballpoints go for between £10 and 15 pounds with the commission to come off.
Sell Pens Online
Etsy is a large community of mostly handmade gifts where you can have your own virtual shop. If you have a business page, you can then use that to point to there. Wherever you sell your work, some will always undercut you on the price that’s life.
Selling wooden pens here in your own shopping store relatively low expenditure with loads of control from you. An ability to be creative with sales skill or offers is helpful. Other similar alternatives and UK based Folksy or Amazon marketplace. With Folksy you will have to drive the buyers there yourself and no chance of showing in a Google search.
This has to be the ultimate place for selling, your own website. With oodles of places to choose from, the favourite at the moment, WordPress or Shopify. Using Shopify, the expense really can build up once you add plugins or services. On the upside, I’m told good support for the beginning entrepreneur.
Our own website built on WordPress and woocommerce. No one to hold your hand here but heaps of written information online and a large collective for help. The price here can be free if you wish, aside from the hosting.
On The Ground
You should always carry a couple of pens with you in the day for off chance use. Never knowing who you will meet, you can’t sell a writing pen if it’s not with you. In the office and at your desk the perfect place for people to see them and try them out.
The workplace was actually the place where I got my first fountain pen sales and the word soon spreads. Once the word spreads, you can point each customer to your page or people can search for you.
Once you look for nearby shows they spring up all over the place, church and schools around holiday dates. This entry fee between £10 – 30 for a 6″ table normally provided. Some will allow a live lathe demonstration or other skills. More events can be found on stallfinder.com or you can give money for your own entry, so organizers find you for special invites.
Take good photos of the pens at these venues and post them to your marketing page. This can help with advertising traffic on the day and for letting other organises see for future exhibitions. With an active page, people can see a bonafide enterprise, this also helps with further invitations.
Larger Venues Around The Country
Bigger places can charge between two hundred up to a couple of thousand depending on the venue and who’s running it. A premier event by living crafts has a massive footfall, especially Xmas at Blenheim Palace. Unlike any other event where people can wander where they like, visitors follow a zig-zag path with one entrance to the next exit. Another big event at the N.E.C again for Christmas has thousands going through.
Outside of the stall events, several sites around me in Northamptonshire offer shelf space to sell pens and other goods. Some offer open shelves anywhere in the shops for £10 a month.
One location offers room in glass cabinets with locked doors if you want to touch you need an assistant’s help. In Wellingborough the next town, they have The Emporium with 45 crafters in one place and many handcrafted items, not just a slimline ballpoint pen.
Display cases also a great way to sell a rollerball pen in London with Things British. I know of one woodturner who supplies Harrods with quality pen sets and luxury pens so nothing stopping you from approaching a larger department store. Mind in Harrods, your turned pens will compete with Montgrabba, Pelikan and Montblanc brand pen’s.
Other locations to try you could approach your local garden centres or if you’re near the coast lots of smaller gift shops. If you think I have missed anything about the open market, please leave a comment below.
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