Craft Fairs... it's a living! My first craft show

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Craft Fair vendors, farmer's market vendors, or if you want to start selling your wares in person.

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Original Post

I'm looking to do a couple of shows this fall/winter. Any do's/don't when doing a show. My big question is- how many pieces to bring? How many of each piece. Should I have my display as samples only and make a couple of each and when I only have sample left tell the customer that they can order the piece.
Thanks in advance for you help.

Posted at 10:30am Jul 17, 2012 EDT


I bring enough to fill the booth 2 or 3 times over. Most of mine are ooak so can't help you there on how many of each. I used to take orders for mosaiced stepping stones and had a finished sample and then had the colors they could order it in magneted to a dry erase board that I would bring out when someone wanted to place an order.

Posted at 11:47am Jul 17, 2012 EDT

Liz from LizArti says

Like KilnGoddess, my work is also one of a kind, so I have no advice about how many of each to bring.

What I do for a big show is estimate what's the MOST I'm likely to sell, then bring more than that. I just took a rough inventory and found that I have $3,000 worth of stuff. The next big show I'm doing is at the end of September. The booth fee is $90 and I hope to gross $800-1000, so I should have plenty.

As for orders, it depends on what sort of venue it is. At a farmers' market, they can come pick it up the next week, but if it's a yearly event, you'll have to take payment and mail it.

What kind of shows are you looking at? Are you set up to take credit cards?

Posted at 12:12pm Jul 17, 2012 EDT

I think it is important to have plenty of actual items, not samples. Some people will look at what you have and want it in a different color, etc and can special order it from you, but most people will want to buy right there, espcially after looking/touching. Bring 2-3/x what you think you might need, or at least stock your booth to replace items 2-3 times just in case. Good luck!

Posted at 2:06pm Jul 17, 2012 EDT

I wouldn't plan on keeping some for samples...if someone sees something they want, they just want to buy it there, not wait for a week. You'll want to make the sale over keeping a sample around. Deciding how many things to bring takes practice and repeated shows with your products, just remember to bring lots of what you think to be your most popular designs.
Other advice, make sure you have a credit card reader (like square), and make sure your prices are displayed/easy for the customer to find...some people feel awkward about asking how much things cost.
Good luck!!

Posted at 5:33pm Jul 17, 2012 EDT

How many pieces to bring? How much do you want to sell?

I'll buy at a show if I can take it with me but its rare that I'll order something.

I take enough inventory that will fill my displays at least 2x if not 3x and will take more of what fits that target demographic than anything else.

So if my records show that my shawls and scarfs do well at that show, I'll tend to bring more of those. But if its the jewelery that does better, I'll have more of that on hand.

Posted at 7:23pm Jul 17, 2012 EDT

another good rule of thumb is i will tend to sell about 10-20% of what i bring....

when i bring my head bands i have about 60 with me & will sell 15-20 of them my bags the last fair i did i brought 60 with me & i sold 10 of them & my wallets 70 & sold 15

thats how i figure it...

Posted at 8:24pm Jul 17, 2012 EDT

Thank you everyone for the great advice and info. Wish me luck:)

Posted at 10:10pm Jul 17, 2012 EDT

Don't have samples only. Lots of sales will be impulse, gotta have it now & some people won't go thru the trouble of special orders. Unfortunately, most of my shows are small shows, as we only have a few larger venues here. (I've been told my catagory is full & won't open till someone, unfortunately dies. I want to get in to that show, but not that bad!) But I find that the more stock I have, the more options there are, and people will look longer & sometimes even buy. I've just started my Etsy shop a couple weeks ago. I have 2 festivals, a 2 day this weekend & a 5 day next weekend. Then, I'll be back to my once a week Farmers Market. I'll be able to put more items on my Etsy shop then.

You're gonna do great!

Posted at 1:45pm Jul 18, 2012 EDT

Hair accessories are impulse buys mostly. Bring as much inventory as your car will hold. Put out one of each type on display and when it sells put out a new one from your stash under the table. Better to have way too much than not enough. Pieces won't sell from your house! I bring everything.

Posted at 3:37pm Jul 18, 2012 EDT

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