The Most Useful Reason to Participate in Craft Fairs

I’m gonna be honest with you guise. I’m not a big fan of participating in craft shows. They freaking STRESS me out.

I stress ahead of time about not having enough inventory.

(I always have more than enough inventory; it’s ridiculous that I even worry about this. Ever.)

I stress about forgetting something important. (Like change! Or tape! Or drinking water!)

I stress about having to deal with people. I’m super introverted, so while I am certainly capable of acting like a social butterfly when I’m at a show, my energy is completely DRAINED by the day’s end.

I stress about my display. (It just isn’t pretty enough, dammit!)

I stress, and stress, and then stress some more. I don’t sleep well the night before a show, no matter how many I’ve done so far.

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After the first day of my big 3-day craft show this past weekend. I got home and cried. It seems quite silly in retrospect, but I was completely overwhelmed. It was a really long show day (9 a.m. til 8 p.m.), and it was extremely slow. I felt like my prices weren’t high enough, nor my booth attractive enough for it to be worth it.

“If it stays like this for the rest of the weekend, I’m not going to make any money,” I complained to my husband, who graciously listened to my whining, and offered to show up and give me a lunch break the next day. Bless his heart.

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Turns out, the show went much better over the rest of weekend, and ended up being completely worth it. Not just because I was able to make enough for it to be profitable, but for the #1 reason it is a good idea to attend craft shows: they offer a perfect opportunity for eavesdropping.

For all of the reasons stated above, I prefer selling my crap online instead of at shows. However, when it comes to getting to know your customers needs and wants, the internet leaves much to the imagination. I have to try new listings, and tweak my current product offering in order to find out how my customers will respond. At a craft show, all I have to do is listen to them talk to each other.

When one browser picks up a bracelet and says to her friend, “This would be great in gold and black,” I make note of it. When another asks me if I have any necklaces with magnetic clasps, I tell her not at the moment… but I will definitely be working on some in the future!

Craft fair ring display

No online selling experience gives you the chance to meet your potential customers in the way that a craft fair lets you. I get to see for myself exactly which kinds of people are attracted to my products in the first place, who are willing to buy, and what the rest of their avatar looks like: age, personal style, etc. Selling in person allows me to take what I think my customer is like, and fill in the blanks with who they actually are. The suggestions they offer me give me new ideas for products that I might not otherwise have considered, and I get to overhear genuine feedback that I can actually use. Usually they don’t realize I’m listening (or they don’t care, because they think that the young girl sitting in the corner couldn’t have possible made all of this stuff by herself.) *wink, wink*

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60 thoughts on “The Most Useful Reason to Participate in Craft Fairs

  1. Tashina Shokes March 14, 2013 at 7:18 am Reply

    I’ve been doing craft shows for about five years now and this is exactly why I love them! I react the same way in the days before, but oddly, the day of the craft show, I’m really excited (unless it is cold out, that puts a damper on my mood). I’m glad to see I’m not the only one stressing about the little things. My entire family thinks I take things out of proportion when it comes to the preparation.

    And I admit, I do sort of enjoy the look on people’s faces when they see me, a 21 year old, and all of the jewelry and display. “You made all of this??” And I don’t ever have as much as you do at shows!

    Thanks for sharing, very much appreciated!

    • MegansBeadedDesigns March 14, 2013 at 8:27 am Reply

      Haha, I think half of the people who look at my booth ask me the same question!!

  2. earthmother195 March 14, 2013 at 8:48 am Reply

    I wish you wouldn’t get that stressed out, but thank you for giving me a different view of why to do a craft show. I never really looked at it this way!

    • MegansBeadedDesigns March 14, 2013 at 9:15 am Reply

      I wish I wouldn’t either! lol. It usually only happens with my first show of a season, or if I’m doing a much bigger show than I’m used to (like this last one).

      I’m glad I could help though, thanks for commenting!

  3. Dawn Whitehand March 14, 2013 at 8:56 am Reply

    i hardly ever do craft shows… I never find them worth it for the time and effort = $$ People love touching and feeling, but not departing with their money. BUT… you have a good concept of ‘listening’ to what the potential customers has to say… interesting blog post :-)

    • MegansBeadedDesigns March 14, 2013 at 9:16 am Reply

      Thanks Dawn!

      I’m definitely had some hits and misses with shows. After a few years of trying the different ones in my area, I’ve pretty much figured out which ones to eliminate.

  4. Renata and Jonathan March 14, 2013 at 11:18 am Reply

    Hi Megan,

    Loved your post. Funny and very insightful. Well done! And thank for the lovely comment on my blog as well. I haven’t done a craft show in ages but after reading your post. I think it might be a good idea. I was thinking. Have you ever thought of selling on Chictopia.com? It’s only $5.00 a month and a perfect audience for you to promote your work. You should definitely check it out.

    xoxo

    Jonathan (Renata and Jonathan)

  5. […] Fellow Blogger’s Viewpoint on Craft Shows […]

  6. Mary March 14, 2013 at 1:06 pm Reply

    This is all really good advice! I don’t do craft shows for all the reasons you mentioned, and I also think I couldn’t price my items high enough to compensate for the application fees. But I have been thinking about trying to locate some smaller markets, ones that you don’t have to pay a ton to participate in, and you don’t have to invest in your own tent either. I’d prefer not to shell out for tables, displays, and tents when I don’t think shows will be a regular thing for me. Anyway, you’ve given me lots of reasons to reconsider! :)
    xo, Mary

    • MegansBeadedDesigns March 14, 2013 at 1:37 pm Reply

      Understandable Mary! However, i will mention that some small shows can be TOO small, as in, the only peopel who attend are the vendors. X-)

      It helps to visit a show as a customer the year before first, see if there is a good turnout/ good variety of vendors first, and then sign up for the show the following year if you like what you saw.

      • J_Mo April 12, 2013 at 1:17 pm Reply

        I agree with this. I did “small shows” staring out, and they really left a lot to be desired; however, there IS something to be said for starting small. Back then, I didn’t have much money–as a seller or as an individual–so I had to do what I could afford to.

  7. Darlene Planck March 14, 2013 at 2:29 pm Reply

    I need to ask you some questions because I don’t know how we are expected to pay for some of these show and have the inventory to do them when we are starting out. I have been selling for 6 years at markets and do fairly well but I have looked into selling at some area craft shows since we live in NE and have lot so them in areas that pull in the vacationers but they ask $400. and up for one day shows and if you were to consider a two or three day one well its just really way too expensive. I don’t have that kind of money to pay and then go out and buy stock to make my pieces and have enough inventory for selling. I would love to be able to do these shows and get out there so I can get to another area for customers but how do they expect that new people or someone like myself to get started in that level of selling? It is so hard and I get stressed too for this is my goal and it seems the longer I do the markets the farther away the craft show get.

    • Joyce Scarborough March 15, 2013 at 7:53 am Reply

      I’d suggest networking with fellow crafters if you don’t already. You mentioned living in the NE – where?? What state are you in? I am in Massachusetts & there are tons of craft fairs – some extremely expensive, others not so bad. I refuse to pay exhorbitant entry fees. I have a few friends who do fairs that are 3 days long & charge $400 but they bring in the people who are buying & often times they make back that entry fee on the 1st day of the show! If you live in MA, write to me – maybe I can suggest shows to you!

      • MegansBeadedDesigns March 15, 2013 at 8:39 am Reply

        Exactly Joyce. I too, used to be afraid of paying for such a large fee. Then I took a leap and did a big show last Christmas season, and it ended up being way more than worth it! I suggest visiting the show and talking to the vendors before jumping in. If many of them are happy with what they are making from it, it just might be worth it to try a bigger show if you think you’re items are a good fit.

        Darlene- as for inventory, I suggest doing some high-production runs on the things you can make quickly. For example, I can make my rings and earring the quickest, so I take a couple of weeks and focus on only making those just before a show, that way I have plenty to stuff my booth full. :-)

  8. Carolyn Curlee March 14, 2013 at 3:01 pm Reply

    Enjoyed your craft show thoughts! I’ve never done one, have thought about it many times! The communication with potential customers is good, and it surely is a way to get your designs out there. Experiencing slow sales with my Etsy shop, SassyDodyBoutique, purses, embellished clothing, and IPad covers, and would love some suggestions on how to promote sales online! Thanks for browsing and sharing ideas!

    Carolyn Curlee – SassyDodyBoutique on Etsy

  9. Heather Everson Design March 14, 2013 at 4:40 pm Reply

    I agree wholeheartedly! I don’t like doing shows either for the same reasons as you, they’re exhausting x100! Yet they’re always worth it for the feedback and I almost always walk away with some sort of profit despite actually having reduced sale prices for local shows (people where I live simply won’t pay that much for time consuming handmade jewelry, I’ve tried). I usually con my husband into helping since he’s a salesman for Schwan’s and is way better with people than I am, he’s a great guy for doing that! And yes it’s great to see the amazed look on people’s faces when you say that yes, in fact, I did make everything you see!

    • MegansBeadedDesigns March 15, 2013 at 8:44 am Reply

      I’m with you when it comes to local market place pricing Heather, in my area, people think stuff is expensive when everyone else is telling me my prices are too low. You just can win sometimes. ;-)

      Really though, I think that the people who really, really want your stuff will pay whatever the asking price is. Jewelry is luxurious treat anyway, price shouldn’t be a major factor like it is with necessities like gas or milk.

  10. homegrownjoy March 14, 2013 at 4:57 pm Reply

    I nominated you for a blogger award! http://homegrownjoy.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/awards/

  11. laura manning (@crochetaholic) March 15, 2013 at 4:47 am Reply

    I do craft shows to get feedback on my items. Find out what people like or want. Long or short necklaces, Listen to them as they walk away to find out what they really think of your stuff. Use a show to advertise and prmote your online shops and get custom orders for items. Network with other crafters. Trade ideas or patterns, Watch what the shoppers are really buying, what is the most popular item there. Help people lost the “Walmart mentality” of oh, I can buy that cheaper at Walmart. Tell them about your craft that it is hand made,how much time it take you to make the item. What bugs me is that people will hyper-scutinize your items before purchasing but they are the same people that go to Walmart, don’t even look at the items they purchase, just grab it and throw it in the cart, while they walk in a mesmerized zombie trance througout the store. I guess thats the walmart marketing stragey to have so much crap in the store that it blows your mind, you are so overwhelmed with product that you just buy anything.

    • Joyce Scarborough March 15, 2013 at 7:49 am Reply

      Walmart has done crafters a great disservice! They bring in all the made in China junk & of course sell for cheap (sometimes not so cheap) – people going to craft shows expect to find cheap prices, too- not taking into consideration the material costs plus our time to make handcrafted products. As a result, I posted a sign on my table: it’s a picture of “Uncle Sam” that says: Support your local craft shows. Help the US economy & keep the money in the US! Buy from crafters who make their products, Buy American made products! As a result I’ve had fellow crafters if I would provide them with the sign so they, too, can add it to their table & I have had customers comment on the sign as well – saying it’s a GREAT idea!

      • MegansBeadedDesigns March 15, 2013 at 8:47 am Reply

        Neat idea Joyce! It helps people make the connection that crafters are local small business owners!

      • Cyreathia Reyer March 26, 2013 at 9:43 am Reply

        This is a great idea – I had a banner made from the saying that was going around FaceBook about “Life is to short to NOT wear handmade jewelry”. I like the American made and support the US economy idea better.

        Not just a great idea but an AWESOME idea. Thank you.

      • J_Mo April 12, 2013 at 1:22 pm Reply

        That is awesome. I might do something similar!

  12. Barbra March 15, 2013 at 6:52 am Reply

    I wear a button that says “Yes, I made everything”….

  13. Joyce Scarborough March 15, 2013 at 7:43 am Reply

    I, too, do craft shows – started back in 2003, in Massachusetts. I learned a lot from being in craft shows – how to ignore the negative comments from people – many times they talk amongst themselves well within earshot of the crafters (maybe their intention to belittle the crafter? or maybe it’s just jealousy on their part?) I used to take it to heart when I heard negative comments – i.e. she wants how much for this? You could make this for must less, etc. But it’s taken me a while to find my “niche” and as a result I have developed a following of customers which I am totally happy about. I like to hear the “how cute is that, you made all this?, oh my gosh, I HAVE to get this!” etc. I started out with pillows only, then added tablerunners, placemat sets – seems that the general public isn’t into any of these much anymore at the shows — I do a lot of embroidery (machine) so I have now gotten into more seasonal items – Halloween, Christmas things and find I truly enjoy it more! I look for shows that are handcrafted rather than some that will accept anyone just to fill a space. But I’m sure many of you who do craft shows have had the same experience – it’s all a “hit & miss” with shows – one year a show is absolutely great, the next your bottom $ have gone down. It also helps to talk with fellow crafters & find out which shows they consider as being the good ones – crafters I have found generally stick together & will share info about which shows to avoid, what their experiences with shows have been, etc. Overall I enjoy the craft shows – just wish I was like Samantha in “Bewitched” – could wiggle my nose & my setup & breakdown would all be done! Happy crafting to everyone. Joyce

    • MegansBeadedDesigns March 15, 2013 at 8:50 am Reply

      Definitely know what you mean about hit and miss shows. I too have stopped doing most shows that will accept pretty much anyone (hello MLMs!), except for one in a remote nearby town because I have a lot of repeat customers that go to that one specifically to get my stuff. It bugs me that they stick me next to a Cookie Lee booth, but I get over it. :-)

    • Jan Hoyt O'Fallon, IL March 26, 2013 at 12:56 pm Reply

      – just wish I was like Samantha in “Bewitched” – could wiggle my nose & my setup & breakdown would all be done!

      Joyce, I LOVE your comment (quoted above from your post) about Bewitched and wiggling the nose and all the set up and break down would be done! Too funny….but so true!

      I have done some craft shows (I don’t make jewelry but focus on other hand made items such as greeting cards and personalized items done with rubber art stamps) and it’s amazing to know how much time went into a project and see people looking for “Dollar Store” prices while they are willing to go to a name brand card store and pay $5 for a single card that isn’t even that great.

  14. Glenda Hames March 15, 2013 at 8:59 am Reply

    Thanks to all of you for your comments, as a new craft show person I found most suggestions and insights helpful. Does anyone know the “key” to getting into juried shows…I have submitted numerous applications through ZAPP and have only received one invite….no I do not make ugly stuff…..is there a secret to cracking that door…..all comments welcome…thanks.

    • MegansBeadedDesigns March 15, 2013 at 9:05 am Reply

      Sometimes they deny people just because they already have too much of one category. I know if you sell jewelry, or something else that a lot of other people do, it can be hard to get in when all of the spots are reserved by the “old-timers” who get first dibs.

      Otherwise, do they not give you any feedback? If there is another reason they are denying your application, they should at least let you know what it is so you can adjust your postilion for the next time.

  15. Kathleen Clausen March 15, 2013 at 10:51 am Reply

    No, they don’t give you feedback! There’s a big blog on artfairinsiders.com about that very thing. That’s a great website for information about jurying, to find answers to lots of questions about art fairs, booth set-ups, and to find out about existing fairs and calls for entry. There’s a huge archive and it covers answers to lots of these questions. It’s free. I think you’ll all learn a bunch there.
    Kathy C.

  16. Vivid Please March 15, 2013 at 12:02 pm Reply

    This is a great post! And we know exactly where you’re coming from! Craft shows are super hard … in fact, I’d say one of the hardest thing about being a self employed maker :S The key thing is, no matter how terrible a show goes, you can always learn something. And you never know who’s looking! We’ve done bad shows and had other great opportunities arrive from them. Never underestimate yourself and never give up :) Plus, your stall looks awesome! Thanks for sharing

  17. peko1012 March 15, 2013 at 12:03 pm Reply

    This is such a good point and I never really thought of it that way! My next craftshow I’m definitely going to be keeping my ears perked a little more! Thanks for sharing!

  18. Carol Smith Justminejewellery March 15, 2013 at 1:55 pm Reply

    I love doing craft shows although they are hard work you have always got to smile and i find that doing ones regular customers come back and new customers are curious i like getting to know the customers have a quick chat and with that i now do clip on earrings as well (a customer asked about them) and also bracelets and necklaces with magnetic clasps ( also asked about them) so steady the nerves and do the craft shows meeting customers (although i sell on line as well) is far better……

    • MegansBeadedDesigns March 15, 2013 at 2:01 pm Reply

      Repeat customers are the BEST! I do love it when I hear someone say, “Yay! She’s here again!” :-)

  19. Barbara Walters March 15, 2013 at 2:56 pm Reply

    Great information here! Thanks to everyone for sharing. I am in a different set of circumstances, as I’m fortunate enough to live within 15 miles of two great flea markets…. ones that sell quality merchandise, not the “new socks” kind of flea markets. I sell vintage-to-new costume and sterling jewelry as well as my hand-crafted jewelry. I started out selling vintage costume jewelry, and got into making jewelry some years ago after repeated requests for repairs and restringing. I use 10 card tables, and have “clusters” of different “departments” to try to cover all the bases for various customers. It’s worked very, very well for me, and this is my 12th year of business. Quite frankly, I LOVE doing these shows, and do THREE A WEEK all summer long! It is a HUGE amount of work, but it’s a labor of love, and I consider myself blessed to be able to do it. I also have cases of jewelry in several different stores….two in antique stores and one with handcrafted jewelry in a resort/spa facility. In the winter I sell on eBay…. whatever works! I, too, enjoy the face-to-face customer contact, and miss it a great deal during the winter. I’m SO ready for spring, chomping at the bit to get out and about. I haven’t done many craft fairs, but there is one out of state that I’ve done for the last 4 years and do quite well… people recognize me as that “woman from out of state” and I have a number of repeat buyers every year. I’ve even had a repeat customer from Italy who was thrilled to find me again…. how’s THAT for a pat on the back?

    • MegansBeadedDesigns March 15, 2013 at 3:41 pm Reply

      Wow Barbara! Sounds like you are going strong! Thank you for sharing & keep up the good work!

  20. Suzanne Bowyer March 15, 2013 at 11:05 pm Reply

    You, know I feel just the same way you do before, during and after, and it is draining on me, but for different reasons. I’m not 23 years old; I’m 72, and the people also can’t believe someone my age could have possibly made all the stuff I sell. I keep busy with my friends at our Clubhouse where we get all the work done and then it’s over and done and I’m glad and sad it’s done. It’s exciting, but usually worth it, and I get to meet a lot of people and yes, take notes as you say. I also get a lot of women who want orders after the show and want me to make jewelry for them to give as gifts, so it keeps going on and on. My days are full, that’s for sure. Look at my website I built at suzcreations.com.

    • MegansBeadedDesigns March 16, 2013 at 5:22 pm Reply

      Sounds like you’re doing great Suzanne! Thank you for sharing & keep up the good work!

  21. creativeclayartist March 17, 2013 at 10:26 am Reply

    Been out of the loop moving to a new city so I was thrilled to read your post since my new city has lots of craft shows and I will be trying to sell some of my things in the very near future. I too prefer selling on the internet, but you have given me the “boost” I need to branch out and try selling at local craft shows! Thanks!

  22. JulareeHandcraftedJewelry March 18, 2013 at 9:13 am Reply

    Megan, I loved reading your post about craft shows. I’ve done a few in-home crafts shows – very small – and stressed out over them. I can’t imagine doing a bigger show. I keep coming up with all of the reasons (excuses) why NOT to do one: too much work, need to take someone to help, have to buy a tent, table, chair, not enough inventory or the wrong type of inventory, security from shoplifters, and on and on.

    However, I know that I need to get out there or I’ll never make it in this business.

    Thanks for giving me reasons to do a craft show. Great info.

  23. Nigel March 19, 2013 at 7:09 pm Reply

    Megan, love your post! I LOVE selling at bead fairs, so much fun chatting to customers and taking money. And it gets me to travel to places that I wouldn’t usually go to and stay at interesting hotels.

    Nice display you have, but BLACK fabric or velvet looks so much better than white.

    Nigel from MrBead. See my personal site at http://www.NigelHayMckay.com

    • MegansBeadedDesigns March 19, 2013 at 9:19 pm Reply

      I think it’s awesome that you like participating in shows. Keep it up Nigel (and thanks for the feedback!)

  24. Sharlynn Bridges March 19, 2013 at 8:43 pm Reply

    I need that button that states, “I made everything”. I dislike shows, especially in Olympia because I seem to get the worst sports imaginable, even though I pay the same booth fees as others. I also get, “who made these”, or who are you selling for”? It is stressful. I also stress about inventory. At a 2 day show, I sold nothing all day until 15 minutes before closing. A lady bought about $200 worth of stock. Who knew? Shows are a crap shoot, but most of my sales come from custom orders. Check out my shop on Etsy:
    http://www.Etsy.com/shop/Ashar.

    Thanks for listening kids.

    • MegansBeadedDesigns March 19, 2013 at 9:19 pm Reply

      You have stunning work, hard to imagine you have a hard time selling it, but so it goes. Not all shows are created equal, and sometimes even the good shows don’t go well every year.

  25. Sherry Robinson March 26, 2013 at 10:10 am Reply

    Good Morning Beaders!
    The high end shows that charge such high booth fees tend to end up with the China made CRAP in my area so I gave up on those, am boycotting them at present, staying true to my passion for handmade items that come from my own creativity and I can be proud to put out there.
    I too, have had many customers in the past make comments about what they “wish” was there, and I also take note as long as I feel like they are constructive comments. One thing I’ve found that works well is to keep a scratch pad handy, and not try to rely on my memory.
    Since they are NOT the ones sitting up nights and working feverishly to get “enough” items made up to satisfy my needs for packing out the tables, I tend to think I need to cover every square inch of space on the tables to offer as much “variety” as possible, which is why I am now adding a couple of new lines to my booths for the next few upcomingshows earth day weekend, one if a “Kids Korner” using the a type of plastic bead to make up all kinds of animals & critters that can be used as broochs, pendants, earrings, fridge magnets, be attached to the fronts of card blanks with hand stamped or written sayings.

    Inviting all your friends can turn out to be a double edged sword as they tend to stand around and talk and don’t necessarily take advantage of buying from you, with all your hard work right there in front of them, but then to ask later, “could I get that necklace …that’s green, with the such and such stones… etc.?” “Are you freakin’ kidding me?” is the way I’d like to respond. But if they are there liong enough for you to take a break, or excuse yourself to the restroom, that could be a good thing for sure! Take advantage of the opportunity and it will usually get them moving on down the line of artists booths once you return to the booth.
    I have also started trying to sell through older items that I’m willing to mark down and have created a clear bin, ususally the size of one of those shoe boxes you can get from HD for $1.17 each. It has a lid so it’s easy to transport, there’s room on the ends to attach a sign with the price, make it reasonable so that people will buy more than one.
    One girl bought 5 bracelets from me (memory wire no less) @ $5.00 each and I put one of my biz cards in each mesh bag. I was happy to get rid of items I thought were outdated and she had Christmas presents for 5 girlfriends and all from my booth.

    One other thing that has worked well for me is to make them thinkthey’re getting a deal. Make the single item price high enough to cover your supplies cost and your time, but then offer them a “two-fer”, meaning you knock off a couple of dollars if they buy two items from a certain rack, (maybe the next oldest items in your inventory) It’s all a marketing game anyway, and you should make the most of your time and energy while you’re there.

    Good Luck!

  26. Nancy March 26, 2013 at 1:36 pm Reply

    Truly enjoyed all these comments.
    My daughter and I set up at craft shows. We have done a couple of home parties and those worked out well.
    We tried Etsy once but never sold a thing.
    That’s ok, we would rather deal with customers that we can talk to and get to know them and listen to their comments and ideas.

    We have found our display is one of the most important things. We have invested quite a bit in our display,but it seems to be worth it.
    Our items range from earrings at $6.00-$13. and bracelets and necklaces from $15-30.
    We sell more necklaces than anything.
    We have set up at 2 expensive ($250-300 for 2 tables, 2 days) craft shows and each time sold over $2,000. worth of jewelry. These were very well attended and outdoors in the fall. Outdoor shows can be so ‘iffy’ because of the weather, so this is really taking a chance.

    We did have to stay overnight, since they weren’t close to home, so we had expenses as meals, gas and other things.

    When we do our smaller ‘near home’ shows we also do very well.
    We have found we will never do craft shows affliated with car shows or bike runs again.
    I do some beadweaving and we both do alot of string beading.
    This seems to sell better than the beadweaving.

    We truly dislike the Cookie Lee,Premier and Sil Pada jewelry etc. at CRAFT shows.
    We have suggested to the people running these shows, if they have to have ‘manufactured’ jewelry as well as Scentsy, Tupperware, Mary Kay etc. that they would please have a different section for things that aren’t ‘handmade’. Nothing wrong with these items, I buy them. But this is a craftshow.

    We crafters spend alot more time and effort in making our items different than these people that just order there things and bring them to set up.

    Saying all this I want you to know that we usually make 20-25% profit on our total sales.
    We are told (by other vendors and customers too) that we don’t charge enough for our jewelry.
    We both enjoy designing our jewelry and would rather sell more and make less profit.
    Like most of you designers we just want to ‘get onto the next piece.’
    If we have a bad day of not selling much, that is just more inventory for us to take care of. We usually have an inventory of 150-250 pieces. At a good show we sell 50-60 pieces. Many times less. But we are seldom unhappy with our sales.
    Fall and winter shows are always better than spring and summer shows.
    Again, I loved all of your ideas and hope mine are somewhat helpful also.
    Giving them ‘deals’, listening to customers, having new items and ideas as much as possible and letting people know where you are going to be next are things to remember.

    • MegansBeadedDesigns March 26, 2013 at 2:41 pm Reply

      Nancy, thank you so much for sharing your success story with us! It is truly inspiring! It is especially motivating to fin our that what you are selling the most of is NOT your least expensive item, and that you are making well above what you pay for your booth space.

  27. Diane Bushby March 26, 2013 at 4:25 pm Reply

    Megan your blog really made me laugh because it so reminded me of myself. I have only done one craft fair and it put me off for life…for all the reasons you give, the stress it causes and the worrying over simple things. However, I hear what you say about listening to customers and trying to give them what they want. I am about to open a physical shop in Portugal where we have just relocated to..so double the fun…stressing about not knowing the language and if what i have on show the customers will like. I like you an introverted so this will be a totally new experience.

    Its always nice to hear others thoughts on selling techniques that I have taken on board.

    Thanks for a great blog its really good to hear that its not just me! xxx

  28. J_Mo April 12, 2013 at 1:38 pm Reply

    Shows are more “miss” than “hit” for me, but I do 4-6 per year. That sounds like a lot, but I have my artistan arm and then my vintage/antiques arm, so it’s 2-3 shows for each.

    The most I can afford to pay for a show is $100, and that one is coming up in two weeks. It’s for our local Humane Society, and I did really well there last year and had a blast.

    My average fee for shows is $50. I have yet to make a profit, but I enjoy going for the networking and social aspect, and you never DO know who will see and buy your stuff. Plus, as Megan said, you DO get ideas for new products at shows.

    There’s one “low cost” show that I do just because I like the venue. I don’t go there expecting to rake it in (though that would be nice), but I usualy have a good time at that show, and yes…they allow all the Pampered Chef stuff, etc. I go in knowing that, but the table fee is only $10, so it’s not a big loss to me.

    • MegansBeadedDesigns April 12, 2013 at 2:15 pm Reply

      Even the $10 shows provide a great learning experience/networking opportunities. Thanks for sharing J-Mo!

  29. cracked shattered and over this life June 10, 2013 at 5:21 am Reply

    funny i should find this just now. spent a hectic week producing bcuz my boothmate was never in touch with me so i tho we were off. tues-4 days to create enuf from nothing to full spectacular stock i find out we are doing it. to the tune of —– read my lips—this is why i DONT do shows unles my team leader forces me or i left my back bone in the ice age.

    i stayed up now 72 hours. spent nearly $1200 and walked away with a thrown out back, no visability in the booth, so no chance of even a sale and my stuff was GREAT! not being done by anyone here in any way shape or form. so…. was
    the Haight Street Fair for you SF people

    etsy sales are absurd. one shop has not sold a single piece in three years. but gotta have the name attached…

    i came home in tears, making a list of my own personal belongings i’m going to have to sell just to make bills next month.

    and to think somehow… how- being 1 or 3 fine jewelers on etsy in 2008 ? it actually used to be a site that cared about it’s artists. now it’s a great big handmade walmart.

    i’m disabled. so this is really my last resort. turningout my own lights looks more and more attractive.

    and lobve, go to you tube and listen to megan aumen talk about booth set up and prime real estate. i think she has some help for you.

    all the best

    tying the noose

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