Craft fair season for 2019 is complete! (for me). So, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned about craft fairs so far. I am, by no means, a craft fair expert but I’ve learned some things that I hope will be helpful to some of you. Take a look and let me know about your experiences with craft fairs!
But first.. here is a little background info on my experience with craft fairs.
I only do craft fairs at Christmas time and usually stick to the same location. I also usually do the fairs with a friend of mine. She sells crocheted items and I sell sewn items. This year, we decided to try doing more than one fair and at different locations. The reason I decided to switch things up was because it seemed like I could only make sales if I heavily discounted my items, which, made it not worth it. So, here are some things I learned.
You Never Know Who’s Coming
This makes planning which craft fairs to attend very tricky. For example, I did one craft fair in a market place downtown (the market place has some restaurants and some permanent vendors who are there all year). I figured this would be great because it’s in a central location with lots of people around. There were a lot of people around but I only sold 2 items the entire day! I soon realized people were there for the permanent vendors and rarely even stopped to look at my table. So, if possible, I highly recommend doing some research to see what you can find out about who attends which craft fairs and why. This way, you can try to only attend fairs where your target customers will be.
BUT this information may not necessarily be enough. One of the fairs I attended this year was organized by a private school. I thought this would be great because my products are for children. It was not great. The school did little to market the fair. The result was that the majority of people who came, were parents who only came as a show of support for the school and were not interested in actually buying handmade items (aside from the food as I later found out). So, for this reason, I highly recommend researching why certain groups of people visit craft fairs- is it just for fun, to do some Christmas shopping, are they shopping with a particular item in mind, etc).
Timing May Be More Important Than Location
I did one craft fair at the mall this year. Again, I made an assumption: people go to the mall to shop. So, I should be more likely to make some sales at an actual shopping mall. But because I applied for this craft fair months ago, I didn’t realized it happened to take place during black Friday! As I’m sure many of you are aware, vendors of handmade items cannot compete with black Friday prices! I did make some sales but it was a big disappointment.
Less is More
For the last craft fair this year, I did one close to downtown. I also did this fair alone. The reason was that this fair was a lot more strict about what vendors can sell. Because there was already someone selling knitted hats, they (those in charge) declined my friend’s crocheted hats. Usually, the items I make are on a clothing rack off to the side of the table. Since I was on my own, I used the clothing rack but also placed items on the table so people could see them easily. I believe this must have made a positive difference because I did really well- the best I’ve done at any craft fair- even though I did not discount anything! So, I think having your own table is a must. I can see the fun in doing the fairs in a group but, at the same time, I think maybe there was just too much going on at our table! I was selling two different items in many varieties and my friend was selling 4 different items in lots of varieties as well. So, it’s possible it was a case of too many hands in the kitchen.
Having said that, I realize it was most likely a combination that made the last fair so successful- the location, the customers attending, timing, and the fact that I had less items on display.
Thanks for reading and happy crafting!