Spring is here!! Usually that means it’s the beginning of craft show season! Whether you sell your doll clothes at a table, or in a tent, or even online, here are some best practices to make sure each outing is worth your time and effort.
Spring Craft Shows- Tips for Successful Doll Clothes Selling
12 Tips for Craft Fair Doll Clothes Sellers
- Your booth, table and set up are what will draw people into your space. Make sure it’s open and inviting, with cute items at eye level to grab attention. Use bright colors and set up a multilevel display.
- Your dolls are your models, and how they look sends a strong message to potential buyers. Do they look natural? Clean? Tidy? Style them in realistic poses; pull their arms down to their sides, lower their chins, and put their feet together. Add some shoes and cute accessories. Choose your models carefully. Show some ethnic diversity. The most popular 18 inch doll on the market is made by American Girl®. Yes, they are expensive, but they will also show off your outifts the most. If you find older dolls in thrift stores, spend some time cleaning them up and making them look as close to new as you can. Also, realize that older AG dolls are much bigger than current ones, so not all clothes will fit exactly the same. (Many older tissue patterns are also sized to fit the bigger dolls and look dated and dowdy on the current dolls.) Ensure the outfits you put on dolls show a variety of your work, but are also show stoppers. Would you stop at your booth and take a look or move on past?
- Doll Faces- Pose dolls so that their chins are not in the air. Turn them to look at each other rather than just out in space. Comb their hair. If hair is a mess, braid it tightly or use ponytails. Messy dolls won’t inspire sales.
- Take the time to press every item you sell, whether it’s on a doll, on a hanger, or in a bin. Presentation does matter and it sends a message to buyers about the quality of your work.
- Think like a young girl, not like an adult. Look for current trends like Doc McStuffins, Care Bears, Baby Yoda etc and see what you can create around those themes. Show a few princess style gowns, but also separates and what “real girls” wear. Separates that can be mixed and matched also offer great value. Ask girls that stop by your booth what they like and what they don’t, what they would love to see, etc. Make some notes for next time.
- Offer different size clothing for different sized dolls- one seller I know lets girls bring their dolls to try the clothes on to check the fit before they buy.
- Don’t forget to offer basics like panties, diapers, sleeping bags, purses, and shoes. Package clothes as a complete outfit, but also offer pieces as separates and see which work better for your target market.
- Price your items at three different levels. Really inexpensive (panties, purses, etc) for little girls to shop with their own money, your basic mid range for your market, but also have a few, higher priced speciality items, especially if they show off advanced sewing skills. Well sewn, well presented doll clothes can fetch a fair price. Your booth and display need to appeal to girls, their moms, and also their grandmas.
- Use princess colors and themes for younger market (ie pinks and purples for Welliewishers™ and Bitty Baby™), but maybe check online and mirror current trends for older girls (Forever 21, the Gap, Old Navy, etc.) Avoid classic calico prints and homespun fabrics unless you are sewing historical, prairie inspired outfits. Choose small prints that are high quality and eye catching. Purchase real girls clothing on sale and use them for fabric.
- Limit the holiday sewing- except for pajamas. As much as we enjoy sewing cute shamrock dresses, real kids don’t wear those types of outfits as much, especially the older girls. However, holiday tee shirts and sweaters, with jeans and shorts can work really well. (Try using a cricut machine to make your own graphic tees. Find out more HERE.)
- There are so many cute sewing patterns available for doll clothes, you no longer are limited to just the tissue paper patterns that are often ill fitting and dated. Search the net, visit the Oh Sew Kat! Etsy shop and find clothes with a more modern fit to appeal to modern girls. Look for modern outfits, and dresses and tops that don’t choke the doll’s neck. Real clothes don’t look like that.
- Online sellers: Purchase a true color or ring light and use it for your photography. Something simple like this: AD: https://amzn.to/41I35bH. Use a simple background and let the clothes be the star. Don’t forget to comb the dolls’ hair, lower their chins, and accessorize with purses, props, and shoes. Pay attention to your background and what a potential buyer will see. Things like stained carpets, pets, and clutter can send a strong message and it might not be the one you are hoping for.
If you carry a lot of doll clothes inventory, you can find some tips to speed up your sewing operation and be more efficient in THIS POST.
I’ve been to a few craft fairs in the recent months, and quite a few last fall. Although there are very few doll clothes sellers at most fairs I visit, the ones I do see always surprise me at how different their displays and offerings are compared with what I see online. With a little effort and a little forethought, a doll clothes booth can become a doll clothes boutique. A pleasant place to be and to shop. Good luck!!!