Here are some of my ideas for easy, low-cost items to make for a pop-up! These are for people who are looking for something different than what they have been doing, or for people just starting. I’ve used all of these over the years and they come in handy!
My husband and I have had our business for thirty years and when we started we didn’t have a lot of cash, it forced us to innovate! When it comes to creativity, anything goes. You don’t need fancy supplies or equipment, just the need to create. These are ways we actually paid all our bills back then, before we had a web site!
Some other ideas are newer, taking advantage of the resources available – and there are a lot!
– Collections work great. Rather than have random items, create collections themed for the season to make them seem exclusive, give each collection a name.
– Remember the value isn’t from the cost of supplies, its from your talent and creativity.
– Create multiple of designs, that way you can see which are your best sellers.
– Have a story for what you create, take note of what inspired you, why you chose certain colors. That way you can talk about it to your customers!
– The idea is not to have to buy substrates, these are items you can acquire for free. Helps boost that profit, you know?
– I learned the best sellers are ones that have function. Not to have that dictate, but just keep it in mind. It’s an awesome benefit to your product if it looks great and solves a problem too!
-Attach a hangtag or some kind of branding to each one to make it look professional and polished.
The goal is to make money. As you create collections, assign a value amount to each batch you create. For example, say you make twelve greeting cards retailed at $5 each. Write down, “$60 retail in cards” – do this for everything you sell at your pop-up, add them up until you have one big amount of the total value. Then at the end of your event, add up what is left. Then you can see what percentage of sales. You can also break it down for each collection.
I started doing this way back, because I’d go into a show and think, “I want to make $1K today! But then I added up all my merch and I barely had $500 to sell! From that point on, I became aware of each item and the sell-thru goal. I aim to have $3K of merch and my goal is a 75% sell through. This is because I don’t do pop-ups very often, so I promote it as an event. But back when I did them every weekend, my sell-thru was around 50-60% because I knew I had repeat crowds and demand would be lower.
Spray glazes or brush-on
Any kind of punches, stamps, collage pictures, etc.
Packaging, cello bags.
You can use a hand punch or an electronic cutting machine to cut large quantities of circles. Watercolor paper is heavyweight, and you can paint the whole sheet before you cut the circles. You can hand paint designs, or use your circle punch to cut images from magazines or collage sheets. And you don’t have to use circles, you can use any shape you want, cut them freehand!
Stickers, stickers, stickers!
This is a given, right? But there is a way to be more economical! I have a separate email I use for promo items and mailing lists. I subscribe to a lot of mailing lists for stickers and when I see fantastic sales, I order in bulk. If I want to try out an idea, I’ll run a set on my Cricut using laminating sheets (tutorial to come). If it sells well, then I invest in a larger quantity. Yes, you can make them at home, but I’d rather spend that time designing new products, so to me, it is worth it to source these out. Especially if you sell a lot of stickers. I display these in a tray with separate compartments so people can easily see them all, rather than touching them.
Once you set the intention to make something from bottle caps, you’ll start seeing them everywhere. Grab them and save them! Add your own picture glued inside or hand paint designs.
- glue a magnet on the back.
- drill holes and add earring hooks.
- glue to a ring blank.
- make a pendant or hair clip.
- make lapel pins
- sell them in sets of two, four, or six!
Cardboard is EVERYWHERE! Use a box cutter (be careful) and cut strips and use hot glue to create elaborate boxes. Cover with craft paint, glitter, your handpainted designs, and more. Add varnish for a more finished look.
This is one of my faves because you can do so much with it!
- Paint designs.
- Wrap in fabric.
- Wrap with yarn.
Use them for vases, pencil cups, make-up brush holders.gift baskets, glue a base on top of two of them to make a cute shelf or riser for your pop-up!
This is a good one! Pull out all those paper scraps, cardstock, embellishments, and create some fun postcards, greeting cards, bookmarks, etc. You can even pick up some frames from the thrift store and create wall art. Not super functional, but if you display them properly, you could sell a lot!
If you are like me and buy blank cards in bulk, use those to create artful cards.
I hope these easy, low-cost items to make for a pop-up are helpful, let me know if you have made any or what you like to make!