Monday, December 5, 2011

Make Do and Mend Collective: to market, to market...

Make Do and Mend Collective
Photo by

Three local friends and I recently formed an art/craft collective.  We are the Make Do and Mend Collective (more to come about this adventure in the months ahead!) and we had our first sale this past weekend at a local elementary school.  Ten percent of our profits went to support the Parent-Teacher Organization and we were among local craftspeople of all ages.  There were even quite a few students selling their art and craft projects.

I am particularly excited about this new adventure for me.  I've never sold any of my knitting or sewing before and being part of this collective has removed one of the biggest hurdles for me: inventory. 

Knitting takes a lot of time.  A. lot. of. time.  Some of us can move more quickly than others - I'm not a particularly fast knitter - but its all relative (It may take one person 40 hours to knit a sweater, but another person 45 hours).  So I have always been bogged down by the notion that I needed inventory to start selling items.  And the fact that I now belong to a group, whose work is along side mine in a display, means that I am able to offer single items.  I don't have to worry about having two or more of each item in a variety of sizes. 

For the first market I hand knit eleven raglan sleeve ornaments.  I also designed and sewed 39 re-usable, reversible coffee sleeves and seven sets of reverse applique felt coasters.  And I set out some choice knit items that I had in my collection that had never made it on to my kids, nor were given as gifts.  And I can add to this inventory over time, at my own pace, with items that I enjoy knitting and that might even sell.  I am a knitter - more than a sewist - and will focus mostly on creating knit pieces for the collective.  But you may also find the occasional color pencil roll, coffee sleeve, super-hero cape, or tote bag from me.  That's the beauty of the collective.

market wares

In reference to my earlier post about knitting items to sell, I still know that I am not a retail knitter.  I won't ever be able to crank out multiple hats, or sweaters.  But I can make unique, one-of-a-kind items and accept custom commissions.  I also know that I won't make back what the items are "worth" in terms of hours spent knitting.  But I will be able to make enough to cover the cost of my yarns, and entrance fees for shows, and maybe a bit extra to support other local artists.  And I will be putting beautiful, hand knit items out into the world, and some pieces that will be passed from one household, one family, one generation, to another.  I love that thought.

I haven't received notice of which items sold at our first market - but I did sell a hat and an ornament while I was briefly at the show.  What a rush that was! 

So, I head into new waters, buoyed by the strength of  friends that enjoy a good swim now and again.  And I hope that in return they feel my enthusiasm and happiness coming back at them, one wave (or slowly made stitch) at a time.

hand knit sweater ornaments


meg said...

ooo! did the red and white one sell, because I've got my eye on it. So glad the sale went well!

melissa q. at a happy stitch said...

Oooh! It's market season for all of us! So fantastic. Your stuff is beautiful, I'm not surprised that it flew off the table. Nice work, friend. The collective is such a brilliant idea!!

Ann Wegner LeFort said...

Congratulations! You're living one of my dreams.