Selling and pricing handmade items at flea markets, any tips?

I have too much stuff. I felt that really hard last time I moved, but at the same time the professional movers were surprised how little I had stuff, they said it was the smallest lot they’ve ever moved a woman with the size of apartment I had. Even with all my sewing stuff and stock! What do normal people own?

Selling second hand regular clothing and especially shoes online is just not worth the hassle, so I am going to have a table at a flea market few weeks from now.

I have a lot  – or lot and lot, if some people have 200 pairs and consider that normal, I have maybe 20-30 pairs – of shoes in mint or hardly used condition. I have a half size feet… so often I buy shoes that seems they fit at the shop, then make a short walk and they just fall off of my feet. And I might be stupid enough to do that walk outside so I can’t return or replace with other size (and last time, the shop just didn’t have smaller sizes to replace, they refunded me and suggested I try the kids section… umm those shoes I returned were 4 inch stilettos, if your kids section have those I would be really disappoint in today’s parenting)
Also, usually shop on sale and second hand, so no returns…

And, as many women, I do have a bag of those wonderful clothes that fit 30 pounds ago. That you think you *will* some day fit again! But no, that’s just not reasonable, to be an underweight adult. And also starting to get too old for some of those clothes were shopped from the kids section.

I also need to start sewing, I thought of putting some of my own stuff for sale as well!

I have to make a list of them, both for taxing, and also to see which will sell (or get stolen, hope none will but I guess even that will tell me what is wanted so badly that it must be acquired even by theft).

I’ve also checked my “competitors” in the flea market. There were two sellers of tote bags (thought I’m going to focus on bigger beach totes, and cellphone wristlets)

And to be honest, the other is why handcrafted items are often looked down on in Finland… Because handmade is associated with hobby crafters, who just got their first sewing machine and figured they could make easy money with it, with no skills or patience to learn.
Just like this seller’s batch of weirdly sized, no lining, bags made from expensive designer fabrics (I don’t like the design in particular, but I still shed a few tears for the people, who do) – sewing was extremely sloppy, pretty much similar to my very first bags – when I was 10 -, the carrying straps were stitched in only one row of straight stitch (they will not hold) !

They had GLUE BACK VELCRO as a closure!
I mean, please don’t use that on fabric… firstly, it will not stay for long, secondly, the glue seeps to the fabric and may stain and destroy it.

And the price? 15€. Okay, if those bags were made neatly, with linings and some thought to it, like extra pocket, a zipper or a snap closure 15€ would have been a good price even on flea market, on etsy perhaps even 30€ because of the expensive fabric.
But, horribly made it’s not even worth the destroyed fabric.

Yesterday, that particular seller didn’t have a table anymore, but another that have been there since I started going to that market still did. Their fabric choices please me, they had added lining, and straps were sewn more securely. The bags were ironed, and looked good on the outside from afar.

But, taking a look closer and inside… Another sloppy sewer.

And this time it wasn’t about stitching being uneven, I mean thanks to my super lightweight machine that dances around the table while sewing, and has no way of adjusting the stitch length (the machine seems to decide on small or really small no matter how I try to adjust it – I really need a new machine!) my stitching is never 100% neatly in line either, and this is one of the reasons I price my products so cheaply… even though my customers have said I’m just talking rubbish, they wouldn’t have noticed 😛

But, this was sloppy in whole another level. The stitching was evenly spaced, so they do have a good machine, but the mistakes were in the construction. The lining on not one, but all of the bags was not attached properly, there were holes in the seams where the stitching had skipped. Yay, great you have a lining, not so yay it has holes for small items to get in between lining and outer fabric… and I think ALL women know how frustrating that is, don’t you?

BUT they had priced their bags at 4€, which makes the situation a dilemma.
So, they were a bit sloppy, but 4€?! While someone else sells far worse quality in 15€? And their fabrics were quite nice, so 4€ seems ridiculously cheap, even for a bag with some mistakes, when they can be fixed with some hand stitching, or even safety pins if you should know absolutely nothing of sewing.
And if sewn properly, they would most likely sell at anywhere from 25-45€ at a shop.

So, I have a hard time now to try to figure out how to price mine to sell at flea market. This particular market is self help market, so you don’t actually stand behind a desk and sell, but you price your products and leave them there, customers then buy things like in a store and the keeper keeps track of sales with bar coded labels specific to tables.

Any helpful tips on pricing and selling in flea market would be helpful!
Helpful tip is helpful… ugh my way with the words…

I guess maybe try to put up various items with various prices… I’m not going to fill my table with new products, because the main idea is to get rid off used clothes, shoes and bigger knick knacks that won’t sell on ebay because shipping costs would exceed the value of the item itself.

I’m most likely making some quick, simpler totes and smartphone sleeves for just few bucks, and then more complicated, like padded cases and big beach totes with better price. Maybe people will get curious about why the items are pricier and compare them to the ones that aren’t so well made. Also, I’m not sure if I have the courage to leave business cards inside the items or on the table… but I do have tags on my bags, so maybe someone gets curious and googles their new item, comes across more of alike and becomes a returning customer 🙂
But I won’t put up anything priced over 30€, I think that’s just ridiculous on fleamarkets, I know I usually have 10-50€ budget for flea marketing (and often in cash, don’t even take cards with me to avoid over spending), so the 30€ item has to be really special for me to burn all the budget on it.


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