Craft Fairs... it's a living! Choosing the right fair.

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Original Post

Okay so I've done a couple of fairs, and to be honest, they've been a bust except one.

People seem to think that "Craft" means "Cheap". My stuff isn't expensive, I don't think so anyway, but I feel like it's more than people want to spend at fairs.

How do you choose the right fair, without having to wait a year til you've been to see the event before? I thought about wedding fayres, but do people buy much there or is it more to browse and decide later?

Any UK sellers been to any particularly good fairs? Or good fair organisers?



Posted at 6:53pm Jul 1, 2012 EDT


Scope out other vendors at your shows or at shows you visit. Notice the ones whose items seem the same level of craft, quality and price as yours. (It's best to find ones who don't have items that compete with yours.

Tell them what you make and that you are looking for good shows. Ask them which shows are their favorites and why. Be sure you don't keep the vendors from talking to customers, though. :)

Posted at 7:34pm Jul 1, 2012 EDT

These are some of the things I look for when determining if a show is the right show for me to do:

1 - Merchandise

Is there a good cross section of items, or does it tend to lean too heavily towards any one item. Even if that one item isn't jewelry (which I make), it still gives me pause, because it could be known as "the place to get soap" or "the place to get handknits", which will not help me at all

2 - Pricing

Are most of the items priced lower than mine? Is there a good cross mix of prices? I don't want to be the most expensive booth at the fair. That won't work well for me. If there are other stands there, and they are in my price range, and the vendors seem familiar to a segment of the attendees, then I have a better chance

3 - Age range of attendees

Most of my work is geared to the white collar working woman demographic. As such, that means they tend to be mid 30's at the youngest. If I see a preponderance of younger women at this show, that *could* be a problem. Granted, my work would be right as presents for their mothers, potentially, but can they afford my prices, on the whole?

4 - Seeing my age range is only the first step

Seeing a large number of women over 35 is a good first step. However, I then have to examine them further. How are they dressed? What kind of shoes are they wearing? What kind of handbag are they carrying? Do they have kids with them or not? (People without kids have more time to shop) These are all clues to me as to whether they spend money on themselves or not.

5 - Handmade versus resellers

This one is crucial. I want a show where the vendors are handmade, and not resellers. Resellers tend to bring in a different clientele, as they have lower prices. They bring in the bargain hunters, and the ones who don't necessarily care if something is handmade, as long as the price is right. Those kind of shoppers will not usually shop with me. A show that is mostly, or preferably, one that is completely handmade, has my interest more.

6 - Multiple purchases?

I love to check and see if people are walking around with purchases from more than one vendor. This tells me people are there to shop, and have money to spend, and are not just there to grab something from a specific vendor they knew would be there.

These are just some of the things I look at, off the top of my head.

Posted at 7:43pm Jul 1, 2012 EDT

GDG - Excellent advice from you, as always!

Posted at 9:00pm Jul 1, 2012 EDT

weirdly I do well at jewelry heavy shows...its as if the shoppers are so glad to have something besides another jewelry booth to look at that they buy.

I don't do well at country craft show or any show that is mostly knit, crochet, or cloth items.

I stay away from kid centric events, music centric events, and food centric events. No one want to carry around a fragile bowl while partying.

Posted at 10:02pm Jul 1, 2012 EDT

I avoid events, things that have craft as an extra.Certainly these are good if you fit with the theme ( maybe) but I haven't found them to be great.

Juried shows work but ask what the criteriun are.

If its available, join a council or guild. They often have shows and buyers expect a certain level of quality and know that they have to pay for that.

As everyone will say, check with other vendors. Most shows have a website and will have previous vendors listed. Get in touch with them and ask.

Posted at 11:45pm Jul 1, 2012 EDT

I get wonderful advice from other vendors at shows. I've become friends with a few people from a show I do regularly and they have been a tremendous source of information!

Posted at 8:02am Jul 2, 2012 EDT

I avoid any show that has a yard sale/flea market component. People buying at these events are looking for the lowest price and want to bargain on the price. I rarely bargain on my prices unless I'm trying to sell out of something so I don't need to bring it home with me.

I'm also coming to the conclusion that my items don't sell well during the summer. However fall is extremely busy for me. I cut back on summer shows this year and I think I may cut out all of July & August shows next year so I can concentrate on building up inventory for the fall.

Posted at 8:20am Jul 2, 2012 EDT

Liz from LizArti says

Anne, After vending during yesterday's grueling heat, I'm thinking about cutting out summer shows too!

The one bonus was that I slept REALLY soundly last night!

Posted at 9:30am Jul 2, 2012 EDT

I would love a little heat. Here it is July and I am still freezing at my markets.

I am right now doing just farmers markets. I will be looking into craft fairs for the winter. I do have one market I will never do again at an Eagles Post. I did it last year just because I needed to do something.

I will never do yard sale/flea market shows again. I did a flea market once and it was not my type of clientele, and as was mentioned nobody wanted to pay for anything. I will also not do anything where people are selling mass produced items.

Nothing is lined up for the fall yet, but soon, I hope. It is getting to be quite a late date for it.

Posted at 1:03pm Jul 2, 2012 EDT