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View Full Version : Anyone sell at craft fairs?


Amii
06-24-2009, 09:44 PM
Hi. I was thinking about making some crafts to sell at craft fairs. I have some ideas but I don't know if selling things at craft fairs is worth it or not. Anyone have any experience? TIA!

dreamin_disney
06-25-2009, 04:46 AM
what type of crafts? I think it depends on the crafts and the area. Here in CA many havent had luck. People want things cheap

kittychatalot
06-25-2009, 05:05 AM
I have a lot of crafty friends and most are now selling on etsy.com instead of at craft fairs. Check it out!

TifffanyD
06-25-2009, 07:17 AM
I sold at craft fairs and people are cheap cheap cheap. Don't make anything nice with expensive materials, people want things CHEAP! It's really not worth the time

Moeluv4u7
06-25-2009, 07:27 AM
I did for a few years until I started working for my current company and my time just got less and less
I will say, people are not cheap in our area at craft fairs but it depende upon the venue that you are selling.
We have huge craft fairs here at certain times of year that bring local crafters as well as vender type crafters-
It is hard work, you must have enough product to set up a booth- spaces are usually about 5 or 6 feet by 3 or 4 feet, sometimes larger if you're lucky-
You must know what type of prices to charge and things must be marked- it is not a yard sale- It is a Craft Fair, Craftman's Festival, etc
People come here from all over the state and some even come from out of state to shop- many peopel come from all over the state and out of state to sell.
For the ones I have participated in, you must get your items approved for sell and then pay for your space. You can't just go set up some items and sell-
Displays, lighting, and set up is a key factor for good selling-
If you are interested, look into venues in your area and maybe try w/ a church organized craft fair first where you may or may not have to pay for space. Yes, in that venue people may be looking more for bargains but it will get you some experience with selling and setting up-
Again, have enough product so you have a "Booth" not an area with "shuff" sittin around trying to fill space-
If you have ever been to a craft fair- go and take pictures- take pics of the set ups, the amount of product, the lighting, etc- You must supply all of thsi yourself- Some Festivals don't even give you a table- you must have your own EVERYTHING!
Good Luck!

Corryn
06-25-2009, 11:03 AM
I will have to agree with a majority of posters: People think craft fairs are garage sales - they want everything for Less than the amount you actually made the item for :confused:
And it's not even like you're ripping anyone off by charging a lot!

What I find extremely rude is when you're sitting there selling, basically, a piece of your heart, people will act like you're not even standing there, three feet in front of you, and they verbally tear the item apart, stating how they can make it at home themselves for much cheaper.
It got to a point where if someone degraded me and my work right in front of my face (they would never look you in the eye), I would tell them, please put my item down and go home and make it yourself then.
I'd get some snotty looks, but at least I stopped letting people disrespect me and my work.

What I see people doing is setting up a little table outside their home with their stuff on display. I have purchased MANY craft items on Esty.com ;) I just stopped all together, I didn't have the time to make anything anymore.

Corryn
06-25-2009, 11:09 AM
Some Festivals don't even give you a table- you must have your own EVERYTHING!
Good Luck!
Good advice!
Yes, we've even brought a couple 100-foot extension cords!
You never know where they're gonna "put" you - it could be in the middle of a huge gym. It's always great if you're up against a wall *with electrical outlets* but that doesn't always happen.

Tables and table cloths, boxes to prop your items up on or against, a chair for you to sit on, bags for the customers purchases, LOTS OF SINGLES :rotfl:
and it's always good to have one or two items that are only .50 or $1.00. It gets people to your table to look at everything else you have.
Make your booth look like a mini-boutique. Set it up at home to see how it looks BEFORE the actual fair.

Good Luck:cutie:

annsteere
06-25-2009, 01:57 PM
I did this years ago when our kids were little.

Had a sign made that said "Sure, you could make it yourself. When WOULD you?"

Lots of people who read that sign smiled and went from "just looking" to pulling out their wallets.

daughtersrus
06-25-2009, 01:58 PM
We had some luck this past holiday season. My DH made fishing lures and they sold like CRAZY!

On the other hand, DD makes jewelry and it didn't sell nearly as well. Of course, DH's idea was unique and DD had several other vendors selling handmade jewelry.

We're already starting to get ready for this year. The lures are made from beer bottle caps so DH has been having fun trying out new beer. He said that's his favorite part :lmao:

We only do small local shows at our park district and the schools because the professional ones can cost a fortune just for your spot. I'd suggest trying a lower cost show before investing in a fancy display and higher priced fees.

Handbag Lady
06-25-2009, 02:57 PM
I'm so sorry to the poster who had people mocking her product in front of her.

I've been to a few craft festivals in Palm Springs here and some of the stuff that shows up is indeed laughable. I hold it in, but I would never dare to say anything in front of the booth owner or minder.

Some of the stuff, like hand-painted things in relation to sports teams, is really just funny. Like a crooked Patriot or Bronco. Why would I want that on my tea towel?

I do not, however, understand where the garage sale mentality comes from. People here in California think that craft fairs are like places where you can haggle. I would imagine that crafters are selling their items for the cost of the material plus booth fees plus money to live on...I don't see where one could undercut in that scenario.

Amii
06-25-2009, 07:07 PM
We had some luck this past holiday season. My DH made fishing lures and they sold like CRAZY!

Did your husband paint them? My son has made bottle cap fishing lures but he could never get paint to stay on them when he tried to paint them. I wondered what kind of paint you used.

I like to make recycled paper and it comes out really nice. I was thinking about making notepaper, cards, bookmarks, etc. and trying to sell them.

Thanks to everyone for all of the help and advice. I learned a lot from all of the posts. I looked at etsy.com and it looks really cool!

Moeluv4u7
06-25-2009, 09:23 PM
I did this years ago when our kids were little.

Had a sign made that said "Sure, you could make it yourself. When WOULD you?"

Lots of people who read that sign smiled and went from "just looking" to pulling out their wallets.


Annsteere, I had a sign like that at mine
I "crafted" it, so it was also a very cute sign
Mine said,
"Yes, you could make it,
But, would you?"

People did think it was funny and yes, they always bought-
Here the craft fairs for the most part are held in very highly.
I did a few festivals that were geared towards "craftsmen", some were more "boutique" type- All of them brought loads of people and it was very hard w/ all of the talent, not to spend the money you just made-

Quote: We had some luck this past holiday season. My DH made fishing lures and they sold like CRAZY!

On the other hand, DD makes jewelry and it didn't sell nearly as well. Of course, DH's idea was unique and DD had several other vendors selling handmade jewelry.

We're already starting to get ready for this year. The lures are made from beer bottle caps so DH has been having fun trying out new beer. He said that's his favorite part
We only do small local shows at our park district and the schools because the professional ones can cost a fortune just for your spot. I'd suggest trying a lower cost show before investing in a fancy display and higher priced fees. (I don't know how to quote more than one post ina message- LOL)

The larger shows do have larger fees, but also come w/ quite a bit more tarffic, more advertising, and some even have some well known crafters

on another note...
There was a gentleman that did hand carved lures at the Raleigh Craft Fair a couple years ago- they were beautiful, made from Balsa wood and painted and varnished- too beautiful to use (I think)- Some were just carved and varnished, some he did burnings on... sold them pretty cheaply too- (in my opinion)
smaller ones started around $13- and larger ones up to $20- (if I remember correctly)

The bottle cap ones sound interesting, would love to see a picture!

Debbie-TN
06-27-2009, 04:48 PM
I do 4 a year, but I wish I could find more. I don't really like to do outdoor ones though. I like the ones inside that we can set up on Friday night and they are locked up at night. I make lots of little inexpensive things and people really like that. My favorite thing to make is fake spilled things-soda in cans, coffee, paint brushes, milk, orange juice, nail polish, melted ice cream, etc. Everyone gets such a kick out of them, especially the men. You can just see the gleam in their eyes when they think of someone they can pull a joke on. :rotfl:

jennilynn510
06-27-2009, 10:51 PM
I sold at craft fairs and people are cheap cheap cheap. Don't make anything nice with expensive materials, people want things CHEAP! It's really not worth the time

i totally agree..it was a total waste of time

scrapbookmom5174
06-28-2009, 06:36 PM
I put one on every year for 5 years at my previous job. I had inherited it from someone else at my work and it was an annual event (I think it is on its 35th year). Here is what I noticed -
1. You have to be very friendly and interact with your customers. Those people who would sit behind their tables wouldn't do as well as those who talked to their customers. Now the opposite isn't good either - people don't want to have someone breathing down their back while they shop either.

2. Configure your booth in a U shape to allow shoppers to "come in" to your space and not get whisked away with the flow of traffic.

3. The successful vendors had a common theme within their booth. What comes to mind - birdhouses was a booth, ghourd art was a booth, country items were a booth, homemade sweatshirts were a booth, etc...

4. I did make some items for one fair and did really well. We made scrapbook tins and premade scrapbook pages. People loved them and I ended up selling out and took orders for about 40 more. It was a ton of work.

Hope that helps.

JRoglitz
06-28-2009, 07:25 PM
My mom and I do craft shows each Fall and do really well. I think it all depends on what you are selling. You have to find something that is unique and catchy that people will want to buy. Especially for gifts. We make small theme style lighted trees. Our saving is "A tree for every season and a tree for every reason." We do the regular Christmas style trees, but then also make cooking trees, shell trees, teacher trees, and even children's theme like Sponge Bob or Disney. People love them and we keep them at a reasonable price. We try to make enough money to cover Christmas and then maybe some extra for trips and things. Good luck!

dolphinrescuegirl
02-03-2012, 10:54 AM
I know this is a little old but not too old. :) I am thinking of selling at cheap craft fairs and they are all outside. I have my own tent, chairs, and table and will not need electricity. I would like to know where people get their tablecloths that go to the floor so that you can put extra storage under the table and make the table look nice. Also, any advice on signage and how to deal with wind and bad weather would be appreciated. I've never done this before! TIA!

Traveliz
02-03-2012, 11:09 AM
I know this is a little old but not too old. :) I am thinking of selling at cheap craft fairs and they are all outside. I have my own tent, chairs, and table and will not need electricity. I would like to know where people get their tablecloths that go to the floor so that you can put extra storage under the table and make the table look nice. Also, any advice on signage and how to deal with wind and bad weather would be appreciated. I've never done this before! TIA!

I just use regular tableclothes and put them to the front and then the back is open so I can get my stock in and out easily. You can get the longer ones at party stores though.

I made my signs on the computer and frame them.

I only do one outdoor one as mine items show better inside. Wind and bad weather are a problem. If your tent has sides and you can move fast that is your best line of defense.

Liz

daughtersrus
02-03-2012, 11:15 AM
I know this is a little old but not too old. :) I am thinking of selling at cheap craft fairs and they are all outside. I have my own tent, chairs, and table and will not need electricity. I would like to know where people get their tablecloths that go to the floor so that you can put extra storage under the table and make the table look nice. Also, any advice on signage and how to deal with wind and bad weather would be appreciated. I've never done this before! TIA!

We only do indoor shows but we still have table clothes that go to the floor. At first I just got some from the $1 store. Now I use table clothes that I got on sale after a holiday. I got extra large ones so the cover all the way to the floor. You can also buy table skirts at a party supply store. They have elastic that goes around the side of the table and hangs to the ground. http://ts4.mm.bing.net/images/thumbnail.aspx?q=1608758922623&id=6a751bc64e6864f0fc6c91f5df35ca6a

pixiewings71
02-03-2012, 11:16 AM
You can also use sheets instead of tablecloths. they tend to be longer. Just a suggestion, make sure you have sandbags for your tent poles to help keep it stable. I just finished making some for my DD15's marching band. :)

dolphinrescuegirl
02-03-2012, 11:30 AM
Thanks for all the suggestions!! I have a tent but no sides. Can I buy those somewhere and somehow attach them? It's the standard pop-up tent.

Sugar Jones
02-03-2012, 12:27 PM
I do a couple of shows a year and do pretty well. I make little girl hair accessories. My stuff is pretty inexpensive so it sells well. Some shows are better than others. You will figure out after the first year which shows are worth it and which are not.

I use Vista print for all my signage and printing needs. It's cheap:laughing:

I do sell on Etsy, but you have to be willing to be constantly adding things in order to sell and keep active. I haven't had much success with Etsy. I am just about to list all my leftover inventory from last year, we'll see how it goes.


Just make sure you make your booth look nice. People are more apt to stop at you booth if it looks professional and your product is displayed in a neat and easy to see display.

I don't have a picture on this computer of what my booth looks like, but you can google craftshow booths and you'll get an idea :)

Good luck!

marthachick
02-03-2012, 12:32 PM
My niece decided she wanted to make crafts for our local craft fair. She didn't have the money to buy supplies so my sister bought them. Then "we" made the items. My sister already had a tent.

They had to pay rent for their space. The tent had to be fireproof or treated to be fireproof. They had to have a fire extinguisher. They had to have tie-downs for the tent. They bought table covers. (and when I say "they" bought, I mean my sister)

The items we made were very pretty but not many sold. Our local economy is bad and unemployment is high. Sooo, most of the people buying stuff were buying food. Not many crafts were sold by us or anyone else.

So it's important to know your customers and honestly assess if they would actually let go of their money for what you have to sell. In the long run, I think with being at the craft fair all day & buying food from other vendors, she actually ended up losing money. It was a lot of work and my sister said, never again.

Sandy61
02-03-2012, 12:55 PM
My sister has done crafts for about 10 years. She will make both small inexpensive things and larger more expensive things. Make sure your colors are in style right now...don't paint or sew things with outdated colors. She figures what it cost to make an object and then triples it so the cost will cover her time, booth rental etc. She refuses to do outdoor shows because of the weather. Pay attention to what the show rules are because some will allow made in China items that you can buy to resell and some shows say it all has to be hand made. Many people wonder where they would put the craft or how they would use it so she displays some things as they would be used. Like a long time ago she made little tiny drawers with cute handles and put a lace doily and other things peeking out. Good luck.

timmac
02-03-2012, 01:12 PM
Though I'm not very crafty myself, I've know a few people over the years who are, and just wanted to add a few thoughts, particularly about the price issue.

The cost of hand crafted items is obviously going to be far higher than manufactured goods. Not only are you using the raw materials in far smaller volumes (and hence more expensive per finished product), but the cost of the time involved adds up very quickly. I'd be surprised if a majority of craft-fair type goods, at full sticker price, even equal out to minimum wage for the person assembling them. I get that, and it's the reason I'd usually advise against selling crafts as anything more than a hobby.

With that said, it's also important to consider the potential buyers. By the very nature, many crafty items are a fairly niche interest. Most people who pass the booth simply aren't going to be interested in what you're selling. It's easy to write this off as people simply being "cheap cheap cheap", but that is kind of short sighted. Other than not saying it out loud, I don't see how that's much better than the non-buyer offering insulting comments in front of a seller... why can the seller insult someone who doesn't feel an item is worth the pricetag? Keeping in mind the niche market of the items, pricetag is what it is, but value is only in what someone is willing to pay. The same people who refuse to purchase at your booth may be the same ones who happily drop a pretty penny at another booth for something that catches their fancy, and vice versa.

More importantly, when people aren't interested in buying the product (at the posted price tag), it would be far more productive to ask oneself why that is. Part of the issue, no doubt, is that money spent at a craft fair is pretty high on the pyramid of discretionary spending... well after things like coffee on the way to work in the morning, etc. Most customers don't have unlimited funds to spend, and may tend to be more careful in their purchase selection. That in mind, what makes your product special or unique? What makes it 'better' than the generic mass produced equivalent at Walmart? Who is the likely audience that might be interested to purchase? If the answers are "anyone would love this" (said with naive cynicism), "it's special because it's hand made", or even "I really don't know", then that might be part of the problem. If the goal is to make any money by selling items, that makes it a business, and as such, you have to think about it like a business.

I would highly recommend the PP suggestions of using etsy... unlike a local craft fair, it has two main advantages: it provides a much larger target audience, which helps overcome the limited appeal and "niche" factor. It also tends to attract more people who are actively looking for a specific kind of item, rather than just those who are browsing in the hopes of finding something that looks interesting.

Luv Bunnies
02-03-2012, 01:34 PM
I've done a few church and school craft faires to sell my knitted scarves and my dad's woodworking items. He makes beautiful clocks and jewelry boxes. What got me is the lack of respect that people show for your items. They would open the boxes and let the lids slam shut. Kids would come by and start spinning the hands on the clocks and their parents would say nothing. When I asked a child to please stop, his mom remarked that he wasn't hurting anything, like a handmade clock worth over $100 that she wasn't intending to purchase was a suitable toy for her child! I had all of my scarves laid out so you could clearly see the colors and patterns. I don't mind if someone picks one up to take a closer look or see the length, but people would come and run their hands over every scarf, pick them all up and leave them in a heap. It just seemed so disrespectful and rude. I did sell quite a few things, mostly my dad's items. But I decided sitting there for hours just to see our nice things manhandled and played with wasn't worth it.

Chim Chiminy
02-03-2012, 05:30 PM
In addition to etsy, there is a site called yardsellr where you can list craft items. I have a friend who makes jewelry and does caricatures and she actually prefers the yardsellr site because the fees are lower.

dolphinrescuegirl
02-04-2012, 07:00 AM
Thank you to everyone with their comments! My stuff caters to little girls and their moms. I also plan to take custom orders. I def plan to use etsy and just do a couple of shows a yr just to see how it is. I'm only doing the cheap ones which is why I will be outside. The inside ones are $200 a weekend and my stuff will be listed pretty inexpensive. I figure at the shows I can hand out business cards, take some custom orders, and hopefully have my business spread by word of mouth. I am only doing local shows.

Swan4Me
02-04-2012, 07:58 AM
. My favorite thing to make is fake spilled things-soda in cans, coffee, paint brushes, milk, orange juice, nail polish, melted ice cream, etc. Everyone gets such a kick out of them, especially the men. You can just see the gleam in their eyes when they think of someone they can pull a joke on. :rotfl:

:) This sounds SO cute! and i have NEVER seen it -ever!:thumbsup2

KigerKat
02-04-2012, 09:05 AM
I have made hand made soaps and sold them at small craft fairs. I'm not that artistic, but I can follow a recipe! Soaping is very similar to cooking, and the supplies are fairly inexpensive and can be found locally.

I also sell on Etsy, but I've been so busy with school lately that I've fallen behind. Maybe now that I'm thinking about it again, I'll get back on the ball and start making more soap!