Best embroidered items to sell at craft shows

By on June 27th, 2021
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If you are thinking about participating in a craft show but wondering what the heck to sell, you have come to the right place. There are tons of different projects to make with your embroidery machine, but what will give you the most bang for your buck if you are trying to actually turn a profit from your embroidery machine at a craft show? To find out – I went right to the pros.  These are the people who sell their work at craft shows all the time – and asked “what are the best embroidered items to sell at craft shows?”

What and where are craft shows?

Almost every city in America has some type of craft show.  It’s an event where merchants set up booths and sell their handmade goods.  Typically the organization running the event charges a fee per booth.  The bigger and better attended shows tend to have higher booth fees than the smaller ones.

There are various directories online to help you find craft shows. For example, www.fairsandfestivals.net allows you to search by location and type to help you identify potential shows.

I would also ask around.  If you are not comfortable asking someone who also sells embroidered items, consider asking crafters in different mediums for the scoop on good shows to attend.

Usually these craft shows are free to attend, but some charge a small admittance fee – which I have mixed feelings about.  As an merchant, it might be beneficial because, if a customer had paid to get in, then they will probably be interested in doing some shopping. But, I personally pay to have to get into a craft show.

Can machine embroidered items be profitable at craft shows?

Yes.  But you need to be smart about what you are selling.  Make it worth your time. Don’t be afraid to discard ideas that are too labor intensive or expensive to make. And don’t forget to consider the extra cost of supplies as well as the wear and tear on your machine(s) when you are pricing your products.

Another factor to consider is inventory.  Bring enough!  You won’t make much money at a craft show if you run out of product to sell.

machine embroidered items at craft show
Embroidered items on display at a craft show. Photo provided by Wendy Finnings and used with her permission.

How much does embroidery sell for?

Before you start selling anything, you will likely have no idea how to price your products.  How to learn? You need to do your homework.  Attend craft shows, browse Etsy, and ask your friends who buy embroidered items what they would pay.

It’s sort of a chicken and egg conundrum.  It’s hard to know how to price items until you start selling them. But you can’t start selling them until you have a price.  Do your best, then adjust if necessary.

Essential Baby Blanks

What embroidery items sell well at craft shows?

Craft shows can be a great opportunity to sell embroidered items and make some quick cash.  Clearly, some are better than others. But, a well-organized and well-attended craft show can be a great opportunity to get your name and brand out there.  Even people who don’t buy may take your card or follow you on social media channels and contact you later on when they are in need of custom embroidery.

Nevertheless, a craft show should be more than an opportunity to make contacts. You should attend with product that will actually sell!

So, what are the embroidered items to sell at craft shows?

Here’s what the machine embroidery craft show veterans reported.

Machine embroidered Christmas ornaments

Christmas ornament

Yes – I realize that this is a seasonal item. But there tend to be more craft shows around the holidays, so best to get prepared. If it had not occurred to you that you could make adorable Christmas ornaments on your embroidery machine, I would suggest checking some of these adorable in-the-hoop Christmas ornaments.

Personalized hooded towels

personalized, hooded towels sell well at craft shows

Never heard of them? These are the little towels with a cap built into them – perfect for bundling up babies when they emerge from the bath. You can either buy them pre-made or stitch them yourself from one of the adorable hooded towel patterns out there.  You can easily add a name or a monogram to the hooded towel for an extra fee.

Fun wash mitts

Just like hooded towels – there are some great sewing and even in-the-hoop wash mitt patterns that you can whip up on your embroidery machine.  Coordinate the wash mitts with the hooded towels and you have a perfect new baby gift.

Sassy kitchen towels

A craft show shopper will have a hard time passing up an embroidered kitchen towel – especially if the message is really funny.  I love this set of clever sayings and graphics embroidery designs from Bunnycup Embroidery.

Reading pillows with pockets

A reading pillow is a multipurpose home decor item for a kids room.  It props a kid up in bed, reminds them to read, gives them a place to store their book and provides a few inspiring words.  No wonder these are hot sellers at craft shows. YourThreadTogether on Etsy has tons of embroidery designs perfect for reading pillows.

Region specific baseball caps 

area code numbers embroidered on baseball cap

A baseball cap with a nod to your region is also a big seller.  Consider stitching out area codes or even states with a heart to mark your city or town’s location on a baseball cap.  These tend to be a big hit.

Elf clothes

Now this was a bit surprising to me – but people actually buy clothes for their elf on a shelf!  And you can actually make items for your elf’s wardrobe in the hoop on your embroidery machine. I love these fun in-the-hoop elf outfits from Blue Pixie Designs.

Embroidered toilet paper

I thought that embroidered toilet paper’s moment had some and gone now that we are (hopefully) on the tail end of the pandemic.  But people actually buy rolls of toilet paper with snarky sayings stitched out on the first square.  Go figure.

Here’s a great starter set of embroidery designs specifically for toilet paper that would likely sell well at craft shows.

Want to learn how to do it?  Here’s how to embroider on toilet paper.

Mug rugs

What’s a mug rug – you might ask?  Kind of like a coaster but more rug like.  And apparently people like to buy them at craft shows.  Fortunately for you, they stitch out pretty quickly which makes them a great craft show item. I love some of the in-the-hoop mug rugs on JRAN Designs.

Kid winter hats with character faces

A lady I know actually crochets her hats and then embroiders designs on them. They are adorable and they sell really well at craft shows.  Not into crochet? Alternatively, you can make the hats in fleece or buy them and just add the embroidery.

Ok – I’m a bit biased but I think my monster face fleece hats are pretty cute.  Consider adding seasonal designs like the Grinch or the snowman from Frozen onto some kid hats around the holidays.

Lip balm, hand sanitizer holders and key fobs

Lip balm, hand sanitizer holders and key fobs are some of the best embroidered items to sell at craft shows. This is because they can be made quickly and easily in-the-hoop and can be priced low enough to make them an impulse buy.  I think this single initial in-the-hoop lip balm holder version would be a great seller.  And, for hand sanitizer holders –  I love a simple, scalloped edge version that could be personalized as well. There are tons of great in-the-hoop key fobs available, but I’m partial to my own, simple and free in-the-hoop key fob design.

Monogrammed table runners

Table runners are super easy to make.  I mean – jeez – they are just a piece of fabric folded over.  But if you add an elegant single initial monogram to one end – then you really have something.  And something that could be a great seller at a craft show.

So are you ready to hit the craft shows?

Good luck + happy stitching + money making!

xo

Julie

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