Business

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Pricing on Roundtables: I have found the people doing Roundtables are getting more and more competitive. Now, you can buy laser- cut kits and I wouldn't think that is inexpensive to do.

Maybe, they don't use a lot of materials, but there is a lot of work that goes into making enough kits to do roundtables, and now there is a $20.00 fee for teaching one.

Roundtables are the most exciting thing for me at a Convention or Houseparty, and I sure buy my share. Also, I think it gives a lot of people a chance to sell something that are not dealers. I have taught at several roundtables myself, and love it. Sometimes you do good, and sometimes you don't.

I was the Roundtable Chairman of the 2001 National, and believe me, there are a lot of good ideas come through, and it is hard to have to turn some of them down. I think Roundtable Kits are one of the best bargains you can buy.

Betty in Ky.


Prices of roundtables: Jean commented on roundtable kits that cost $5.00 with only 75 cents of materials. I guess I'm guilty of this, as most of my roundtables were between 3 and 5 dollars, and obviously the materials did not cost that much. But EVERY time I began packaging the kits, I was always amazed how long it took to package them. But the main reason was the roundtable kits helped pay the huge expense of attending the houseparty. I don't think my hotel bill was ever less than $400 often $600, travel was usually $500 or more, registration was over $100, and sales table $150 or more. Of course I also took in money at my sales table, but that was usually not enough to show a profit after expenses.  Also, I am one who was often told my prices were too low, but I too tried to keep prices low for beginners.

Dean Jenson


Business Books and Website: Someone mentioned Homemade Money by Barbara Brabec. Her books are THE best resources on selling crafts and pricing your work, etc. She has written Homemade Money, Creative Cash, Handmade for Profit, The Craft Business Answerbook, and Make It Profitable. You can find info on Barbara and her books at http://www.barbarabrabec.com/

These books are in most libraries. In the US you should be able to request them through an Interlibrary Loan. They are worth the time and trouble to search them out!

Dona Vaughn


Copying: I was told in a workshop on the Business of Art that if an artist uses an idea but changes it by 30% or more, it may be con-sidered out of copyright. When a book on technique is published the author expects you to use the techniques and the art work may be a springboard to your own creative work. When you look at another artist's work and say, "oh I can do that," and then you go home and copy it exactly (or almost), that is true copyright infringement. Why would anyone even want to copy someone else's work and call it their own. That person must be very insecure - to want praise and adulation for something someone else created.

I once did a pen and ink drawing of a hula dancer using a photograph in a book. I believe it was changed by more than 30% but I did send a photocopy to the photographer and asked him if I might use it. He said he would consider it copyright infringement and of course I never did use it (except for my wall).

If you are just learning how to do something, like making dolls, practice using the techniques you learn from someone else, and then try making your own. It probably won't come out perfect at first, but the teacher learned by doing it over and over, and you will too. And then you can be very proud because that work is truly yours!

Jacqui in Hilo, Goddess of Chaos


Copyright: If you modify the item and it is changed in a way even though it performs the original as the original; modification is the basis for patent application. To make an existing product work better or more efficiently But if you do not change the original fabrication and incorporate it into a larger piece of work than the permission or licensing from the holder of the patent or copyright must be obtained.
This is my understanding having gone thru the patent route.

DrBob...Delray Beach, FL.


Show Security: By all means cover your table when you are not behind it. Some Dealers too are not to be trusted. We are a cross section of the rest of the world. And although 90% of the people I have been privileged to meet through this hobby/and business, are wonderful, interesting, honest people- there are a few lemons. A cover which is in some way either long enough that it would take some lifting to get under it, or an attached to the table some way - pins or whatever. Carols see through fine netting is wonderful. People can see your lovely things as they exit, but they are safe and they can make note of the table and come back the next day. Especially dealers - we are mostly avid shoppers too and cannot get to all the tables we want to while the room is open I have made many purchases this way - spotted something wonderful on the way out and could return directly to that table the next day.

Paddy Culhane


Table covers for shows: All the years I did shows, I took nylon net to cover the table at the end of the day. That way people could still see the miniatures, but hopefully keep sticky fingers away. It could be wadded up in a suitcase taking very little room, and puffs out without wrinkles. I used two pieces, one for back, one for front. I also took a few clothes pins, the kind with a metal spring, to help hold it in place. By using the net, before I got there the next morning, other dealers could see the table and made lots of sales that way as they may not be able to get to the table during the show.

Dean Jenson


Ebay: Ebay is like any other auction. I've been ripped off at auctions too. The rule is ; "Caveat Emptor," buyer beware. It is up to you to make sure everything is kosher. If the seller then sends you something that wasn't like the photo, or is broken, then you have the option to put a negative comment on their record, which is more than you can do for ordinary auctions. And yes, I've had the odd rip-off. I just don't deal with that person again. All I can say is the majority of transactions have been great fun and I've got some real bargains. There was one person who delivered a dh to my door and didn't charge me postage for it!

Just remember to check the prices with a catalogue and check the seller's record, if you haven't dealt with them before. Remember that every transaction is a risk.

Lynne Connolly


The Source: Spencer-Little is publishing The Source - A Worldwide Guide to Dollhouse Miniatures, and listings are free. I don't know the deadlines. The mailing just caught up with me at my new address and I'm sending my info today. If anyone else is interested, their website is http://www.spencer-little.com

Dona Vaughn


Sales Tax: Here's how they explained it to me. Our business is in NH which doesn't have a sales tax, so we don't need to collect sales tax from anyone, UNLESS we deliver it in MA (I assume the other states are the same) then we have to collect MA tax. If we ship to MA, we don't have to collect tax, UNLESS we have sold at a show, or a retail establishment in MA, then we have a "Business Presence" in MA, and we have to collect sales tax on all orders shipped to MA regardless of where they are placed. We keep our "Business Presence" confined to NH, so we don't have to worry about sales tax.

Tom Berkner


Neat Free Shopping Cart: I just came across something that I think will benefit so many of us. I just found a shopping cart FREE that works with PayPal so that you don't have to have a merchant account!!! Just a PayPal account. YEAH! The BASE shopping cart is totally free and is fully functional, but for $10.00 a YEAR, yes, that's right, not a month, but for the YEAR you can get a few more features that are nice. The nice thing is that you don't have to be computer software engineer to do it. Plus, you don't have to have anything but the buttons ("shopping cart buttons" and "check out buttons") which is all I have on my website because I already had the site all set up and didn't want to start from scratch.

So if you want to see what it looks like with just the buttons, you can play around on my website at http://www.teenietinystitches.com. And, Well, HEY, if you see something while playing with the buttons, that you simply must have...Well I won't argue with you!! LOL : )

You can get details for the shopping cart at http://emartcart.com/cart/

I'm willing to, to help if you need it...I had to do a little debugging, because Netscape browser doesn't something weird with the info, but the website for the shopping cart does discuss this problem in FAQ's and that's how I fixed it.

Teresa


Needlework Shop Name: How bout "We're in Stitches" or "The Stitch Witch" (with logo). I saw a shop in Alaska called "The Knotty Shop," which sold large wooden animals made with the features coming from the knots in wood. Would work for thread knots, too, I suppose. A big joke, I guess, to say you went to "the naughty shop"
when you were in Alaska.

Lynette in WNC


Needlework Shop Name: For a name for the needlework shop, how about just, "Needleworks", with the letter l being a picture of a real needle that is threaded and having the thread draping over the rest of the word. I can see the sign in my minds eye now.

Gale S Kerkoski


Needlework Shop Name: My wife has a small (call it a mini) stuffed witch on a broom in the kitchen and it hangs by a string from one of the cabinet knobs and is called a "kitchen witch" it is cute with the conical hat and broom. Real whimsical face. Perhaps the shop can bear the name of "STITCH WITCH" and have little mini "stitch witches" hanging all over the place.

DrBob...Delray Beach, FL.


Naming a Shop: I've found the best source for ideas for names come from the Yellow Pages, especially a Metropolitan area. I can't imagine a conflict naming a miniature setting after a real store. We had a store in our area, which closed, called The Needle's Eye. Their logo was a needle with a long thread under the name. Or check shop names listed in any needlework magazine. I named mine Tiny Stitches. Copy it if you like, Rhonda.

Ruth, Grass Valley, CA


Toyshop Names:
Noodle Kadoodle, Zany Brainy, Gear for the Future, Play Pals Shop, Wee Folks Tools
Play While We May, Learning Tools for Little Folk………………….Marilyn, MI
Wee Play, The Toy Box, Play Time Toys……………………………Sloan
Frivolities…………………………………………………………………Mel K.
Child's Play, Kiddy Palace……………………………………………. Karin in Delaware
Small Stuff………………………………………………………………. MAP in Puyallup
Little World………………………………………………………………..Martha Simpson

Toyshop Names: I made a toy store and named it


Toyshop Names: I made a toy store and named it Toys for Tots. A number of friends have commented favorably on the name. You are welcome to use it. Used small wooden letters from Hobby Lobby.

Ruth Morey, Corpus Christi on Padre Island


eBay: There *are* some really nasty sellers out there, but Please believe that most are honest and good. (Especially in the miniatures categories.) I have some rules that I go by when making purchases on eBay that can save a lot of grief for the newbies:

1.) ALWAYS read the feedback; not just a quick look at the net number! Watch out for a lot of "weak positive" feedback where the buyer said "item as described". or "packs well". Hmmmmm. If that's all they could say about the seller, it must not have been a great experience for them.

2.) Never buy from anyone with "hidden" feedback. There's a reason it's hidden.

3.) Always ask *specifically* what the shipping charges will be BEFORE you bid. Some dealers mark up the shipping price at the end, if the auction doesn't go as well as planned. Many add exorbitant handling fees.Read the fine print or ask ask ask! If a seller is unwilling to weigh the object or give me a rate in advance, then I will not do business with them. Period. It's quite easy for them to go to www.usps.com and get a rate for you, or to call 1-800-ask-usps. If they ship UPS, then they already have a rate chart anyway. By the way, one of my pet peeves is sellers who say "see auction description for shipping charges" and then get so excited with posting their auction that they completely leave it out.

4.) Ask for measurements before you bid, if there is not an object in the photo such as a coin or ruler for reference. I, too, have seen some very interesting judgments from sellers as to what they consider "perfect 1:12 scale".

5.) Finally, never ever assume anything. Ask the seller all the questions *before* you bid. If they don't return your email before the auction ends, they are probably not going to ship you item very promptly either. (Unless the auction states that they are out of town or whatever.)

Debbie Jones


Sales Tax: Well I ended up calling the MN Department of Revenue Sales Tax Division and asked about charging sales tax on orders to be delivered at a later date. He said I need to collect taxes from orders if I have a sales tax license from the state the customer is from (i.e. I have a sales tax license from IL, NY, WI, MN so if the customer is from those states, I need to collect sales tax and declare it on each states sales taxes.) I hope this clarifies things for everyone. It sure complicates things for me though, but then I should have expected that from the Government!

Connie Sauve


Worthing, England - New shop: I am from England. Worthing in West Sussex to be precise. I have 4 houses the latest being a 6 roomed Georgian mansion. The reason why I am writing is because I have just found this wonderful new shop here in Worthing. Its called Ginny's Attic. Its situated in South Farm Rd.Tel no:01903 522599. I found it quite by accident & of course I had to go in to have a look! They are the most friendly helpful people I have ever met & although new to miniatures have a vast stock of accessories, houses, room boxes & craft materials including wood & haberdashery.

Liz Taylor


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