Small Town Craft Show Experiences

Yellow Headband - $19.95

Yellow Headband - $19.95

I think I prefer small-town craft shows to the bigger ones in the larger cities. There’s something very community-oriented about a small town show that makes a big difference with the vendors and the customers. And frankly, in small towns there really isn’t a whole lot else going on to do (or places to shop) that just about everyone who lives there will stop by to see what new vendors are there and what great deals they can snatch up for Christmas gifts. For these reasons my last two shows were in very small-towns. One went well, the other… anything but.

On the 19th I did a show at Loon Lake Elementary show. I thought it was a little too relaxed from the beginning. When I had called to reserve my space ahead of time, the coordinator wrote my name down, and told me I could pay the fee the day of the show. Wow, I thought, I’ve never done a craft fair where full payment or at least some kind of deposit isn’t required up front. Interesting…

Gah! Such an empty gym!!


It turned out that this was the coordinators first time putting on the craft fair. Obviously, they didn’t realize that an upfront payment ensures one very important thing: the vendors will show up.

We ended up having a show where literally less than half of the reserved spaces were filled. Many of the other vendors either found other shows to attend, or opted not to travel in the snowy weather. Either way, the gym we were in was pretty sad and sparse looking as a result.

Also, with so few vendors, you get a lot less foot traffic coming through. Most craft shows I have done rely on word-of-mouth advertising as its main source of advertising. I know as a vendor I’ll usually post on Facebook where I’ll be and beg some of my friends and family to come and visit me and the rest of the vendors to help support the show. Well, with so few vendors, that tactic didn’t pan out very well. So between the lack of booths, the snowy weather, and the minimal advertising, this small-town craft fair was a complete flop. I think I just BARELY made back my booth fee, and several other vendors reported a complete lack of any sales whatsoever. I felt bad for them, and I also felt bad for the coordinators, who were young high school kids running it for a volunteer project. I’m sure they were bummed about how the show turned out too.

Pink Circles Barrette - $14.95

However, one dud is not enough to make me lose faith in all small-town shows. The following weekend (last Saturday) I did a small church show out in Suncrest. It wasn’t super busy, but I did fairly well sales-wise, and promoted my ability to do custom orders like crazy. I honestly think I’ll be hearing back from some people about special projects in the near future. This sale confirmed my belief in the heavy community support for local small-town shows.

I also got to do some trading with the other vendors. A smaller, friendly environment tends to promote such things more. I exchanged one of my beaded barrettes for a couple of adorable wooden heart ring boxes. I think they are super fun! (Amused easily much?) I’m excited to use them as part of my display at my next show at The Service Station.

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9 thoughts on “Small Town Craft Show Experiences

  1. SandraR November 29, 2011 at 8:23 am Reply

    Great to read about your experiences in small town craft shows. Love the photos. Where I live we have an over abundance of jewelry and crafters, so our shows are pretty full of crafters. Because of this, or perhaps because money is so tight here and jobs so few, many shoppers here tend to barter for a much lower price..

    • MegansBeadedDesigns November 29, 2011 at 8:48 am Reply

      Lower prices tend to be a MUST for me at small-town shows. Generally, the customers who live in these towns simply don’t make as much money as the craft fair browsers in the bigger cities.

  2. theeatgirl November 29, 2011 at 8:39 am Reply

    thanks a lot for your comment on my blog!
    going to browse through yours now :)

    http://theeatgirl.wordpress.com

  3. Memories for Life Scrapbooks November 29, 2011 at 12:36 pm Reply

    I’m glad your second show was a success :)
    Sometimes you just never know what a show will be like!
    I agree that small town shows are nice…I love knowing most of the people that stop by my booth :)

  4. Dustytoes November 29, 2011 at 2:11 pm Reply

    Your beadwork is lovely – glad you didn’t give up on us small town folk. I try to support local crafters – and craft shows – as much as possible.

  5. Debbie November 30, 2011 at 6:03 pm Reply

    I just so happen to live in a small town and have seen that some newer craft fairs have very low attendance. Kind of like your first show. I’m sorry it was a bust for you. But there are a few bigger shows that have been around for years that seem to do quite well. I am glad your second show was a success for you. I plan on participating in the big daddy of fairs in my small town this summer, but was to late to get in to a popular winter show this year. Hopefully by summertime, I will have quite a lot of jewelry made and maybe the economy will pick up a bit!!! PS, absolutely loving your beaded hair accessories.
    -Debbie

  6. The Scottie Chronicles December 1, 2011 at 6:41 am Reply

    You sure do some nice work! Thanks for visiting my place and “voting” for your favorite photo. Let me know if you ever create some Scottie stuff! I have some pretty loyal readers. Very nice etsy stores you got there, too!

    Arooo, Stuart

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