Where a craft show is located, its theme, the season and time of year it is held, and the general income of those who attend all factor in to what will sell and what won’t. Every year is a learning experience for me, as I only attend a couple of shows when I can get the time off from my “real” jobs. This year was my 3rd year attending Chataqua, the town carnival and craft show in the small town of Chewelah, WA (population less than 5,000.) being a smaller town, the average income is lower. Less money is spent on luxurious items when it needs to be used for the basic necessities. Art is generally considered a luxury item, and therefore, is not going to be splurged upon.Because of the income factor, I wanted to make sure I had plenty of easily sell-able items in my booth. I was right to do so. My hottest items were my $5 rings and $5 earrings. Between the two options, I made more than enough to cover my booth fee and then some. I also brought in a few higher priced pieces, but never went above $24 for necklaces, $20 for some of my highest-priced bracelets (most were $8) and $10 for anklets. All sold well. I brought only a handful of paintings, as in the previous years I have learned do not sell as well. I brought three $25 simple fairy paintings, and $75 more extravagant piece of work. I have also started making little mini paintings, on 2 x 2 inch stretched canvas, of which I attempted to sell for $6 a piece. None of the paintings sold.
My other duds were my lanyards, of which I only sold 1 of. Having brought more than 20 and set up an elaborate display for them, this was disappointing. I also did not sell a single pair of cufflinks. This is where the location and income should have been considered more carefully. Many lookers asked me one of these two questions: (a) What are these? and (b) Do people really still wear cuff links? Needless to say, not the right market at all. I had thought it would be nice to have something that would be suitable for a guy to wear/buy, but could not have been more wrong.I noticed that most of the booth of which sold hats/scarves/gloves were not present. They must have figured out that hot mid-July was not the time of year for those kind of items to sell well. I would imagine they do much better during the winter/Christmas season craft shows. I was sad to see some of my favorite fine art booths missing as well. I am sure they also discovered, as I had, that original art does not do as well either. Still, I missed having their presence. I am sure I will continue to have to learn and adapt as I continue to do shows. Especially considering that demographics and tastes change and no formula can stay perfect forever.
I must note that the booth behind me did exceptionally well. They were almost out of inventory by the time the weekend was over. They were selling hotdog an marshmallow sticks, made to look like men and women whose genitalia would be represented by the foods placed on them over a campfire. Although I did not find them particularly tasteful, I can see how these sellers found their market. Good for them.