Craft Fairs... it's a living! How much stock do you take?

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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 have untill Oct to build up my inventory but just to get an idea of what to aim for, how much stock do you bring to a craft show? (just a one day deal with about 100-150 vendors). I know ill bring extra just in case but is there an estimate of how many pieces I should aim to bring? I understand it varies depending on what the product is, mine is jewelry. My bf is freakin out saying I should go with hundreds, maybe even a thousand items! LOL he's so cute. I want to go with plenty but I dont want a big jumbled up mess!

Posted at 9:36am Apr 2, 2011 EDT


I can't answer this for you but I am also interested in how everyone makes this decision. We plan on starting to do some shows next year and will need to figure out what our formula will be. We'll be selling handbags, jewelry and original art prints and cards. Everything will be in our re-purpose history theme. Our numbers will likely be different then your's Countrified Pride since our stock is different.

hope someone with experience stops by soon

Posted at 5:19pm Apr 2, 2011 EDT

B-4 I go to a show I set up my display and stock it and set it up the way I want it to be seen.
I then shoot pictures for myself so when i get there I can set it up exactly the way I had it . This way I know what the exposed inventory will be.
As far as really need to know what your best sellers are...and what the customers price point will be at that particular show.
That way you know whether to bring large expensive pieces or small mid range pieces.
I usually bring extra mugs, extra small bowls, extra mini's....a few extra large pieces, some extra mid-sized bowls and at least 2 extra tea sets.
I pack all my pottery in plastic if I were to estimate....2 full extra bins.
For potters....hauling is a drag...each piece has to be wrapped and packed carefully (as you know)...I would rather have less to repack then more. I keep my extra stuff under my display..and make sure it is all labeled so it is not a crazy search for what i may need.
You also have to consider how much product you need to sell to make your booth fee...and then how much you want to bring up and above that.
Since your pieces are small...(from what I have seen on your page) may find that you need to bring a surplus....or you can always take orders.
I hope this has been helpful......

Posted at 6:38pm Apr 2, 2011 EDT

Great info drandallpottery. I read somewhere just last night too that checking the income demographic for the area where the show is, is a good idea too. Makes sense if you can figure out exactly how to use that info.

I think we are planning at least in our heads, to bring a wide variety of price points.

Posted at 7:42pm Apr 2, 2011 EDT

I would bring what you can fit in your vehicle. It is better to have too much than not enough. Sometimes I feel like I am bringing everything I own to a show. You can always leave the extra in your vehicle and go and get it-- if you need to.

While I bring a lot to sell-- I also take a lot of custom orders at a show. With sewn things- people want different colors..etc. I guess it depends on how far away the show is from where you craft.

Posted at 8:11pm Apr 2, 2011 EDT

Bring as much as you can. It would help if you knew what the usual attendance is. I always figure on selling to 5 or 10% of the customers on a good day. For a 1000 people, thats 50 to 100 items sold. For a show with 10,000 people it'd be 500 to 1,000 items sold. Good Luck!

Posted at 8:08pm Apr 3, 2011 EDT

GlassyGrace it's great that you have figured out a formula. Do the rest of you have a formula or do you just wing it?

I like the idea of having actual percentages to go by. I don't think we'll be venturing into many new fairs so the attendance numbers from recent years are usually available.

Posted at 8:22pm Apr 3, 2011 EDT

Glassy:: I really like the percentage estimate you came up with too! I guess taht was my real question afterall! How many people can I expect out of the whole crowd to actually make a purchase, Im a big browser so its hard for me to tell what the actual sale rate is! I just looked up what the expected attendees #'s are for the festival im doing and HOLY COW! They estimate 30,000 people willl be attending because this festival has really exploded in popularity! So for a show with about 400-450 booths Id say thats a pretty good customer to seller ratio! =) I better get busy!

Posted at 8:44pm Apr 3, 2011 EDT

Remember, if you don't have it with you you cannot sell it! I sell jewelry so we're talking about small items, but because I have so many one of a kind I bring everything I have. Some is displayed and when a potential customer expresses an interest (say in a blue pendant) I am able to show them variations in that color scheme.

Posted at 7:32pm Apr 9, 2011 EDT

BitOfSugar says

I take every single piece I have made to any craft fair - no matter how big or small.

I use two parameters to try to guess how much inventory I should make:

1. How much can I afford to spend on supplies? (This was more true in the beginning when we had to invest our own money into our business. After your first couple of shows, supply costs will be less of a factor.)

2. How much do I want to make? If you've done shows in the past, you can figure out the average percentage of your inventory that's sold. If you usually sell 50% of your inventory and want to make $1,000 then you need to make $2,000 worth of inventory.

Posted at 12:06am Apr 10, 2011 EDT