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Which Craft Show is Best for me to Sell my Crafts

By: Maria Nerius, Resident Craft Expert

'Tis the season of arts and crafts shows. You need to know how a certain marketplace rates in being the place to be to make sales? As always, it's not an easy answer. It depends on the show. I just attended an annual local festival and was very disappointed to find only a handful of vendors who were selling honest-to-goodness handmade art and craft. The majority were selling cheap imports or part of franchises that sell cosmetics or storage containers. I came to the event specifically to buy handmade crafts and was almost instantly turned off when I saw tables and tables of imports.

When I spotted a booth selling beautiful fabric and ribbon rose jewelry, I asked how sales were going and the artist responded "Slow, yet steady". At one time, this was one of the best seasonal arts and crafts shows in the area, and now it was not the place I wanted to be. The same jewelry artist said she was happy to have the opportunity to hand out her business cards with her Esty shop web address on it, hoping for future sales.

It is important that you do some research when selecting what arts and crafts shows you want to invest in for sales. Here are some questions you should ask:

  1. Is it an annual event? Usually this is a good sign, as people in the local area will be aware that it is always held a specific month or specific weekend.
  2. Do all the exhibitors sell handmade crafts? If imports are allowed, ask what the ratio is between handmade, imports, and food vendors. As a handmade crafter or artist, you will have better sales when the event organizers jury for handmade. No one can compete against imports.
  3. And finally, ask other artists and crafters what shows they enjoy doing. Peer feedback will be honest and insightful.

Seasonal arts and crafts shows can be a real money maker, if organized and advertised. You need to do your share of promotion too, letting all your customers know about the event - if they are fans of yours, it will be very likely that they will buy something from you. Maybe you can even offer them incentive, such as a percentage off of their sale to make up for the admission fee. And even if the show isn't a great seller for you, make sure you're getting the word out about your business by handing out those business cards for customers who might decide to order after the show. Make sure they know what other shows you're doing this season, so they can come back and buy that item they should have bought but didn't!


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