Craft fair season is upon us! You’ve gained skill at your craft, and in today’s economy, want to try your hand at selling.
Choose An Appropriate Craft Fair
Craft fairs and bazaars come in all shapes and sizes. Look for local churches and schools that are hosting. They are an excellent choice for first time vendors, as they give you a reasonable idea of what the experience is like, how much work is involved, as well as providing an opportunity to meet with more experienced vendors. These fairs usually advertise for crafters about 3-6 months in advance of the date; however, most hosts will accept vendors as long as there is still space available. Contact the person in charge of the event. They will tell you how large the site will be (8×8, 10×10, etc.), how much it will cost, if electricity is available, if you need to provide your own table and chairs, when set up time is, and what the general rules are.
Larger craft fairs held annually may be juried. This means that the vendor must be approved by a panel before they are allowed to purchase space. There may be a fee for your items to be juried, in addition to the vendor fee for the show itself. Although this type of fair will give you an assessment of your craft work by your peers, it can be expensive.
Manage Your Inventory of Crafted Goods
Make sure you have enough items to sell. Although it is possible to make an item to display and take orders for it, most customers want to take it home right then and there. As many craft fairs have rules that you cannot leave until after the fair is over, you do not want to run out of things to sell.
You also do not want to have so many things on your table that it appears cluttered. It is much better to have a few of the same items out, with more hidden underneath the table. This will also give you an opportunity to get an idea of what people are looking for. If for example, you have 3 pairs of mittens on the table and a customer is admiring them, you can ask if they are looking for a particular color.
Pricing Your Craft Fair Items
An experienced vendor once gave me advice that I will never forget. “Do not price your items until the day of the sale.” This way you will be able to stay in sync with the other vendors. You do not want to price your mittens at $10 a pair when other vendors are only charging $5. Nor do you want to undersell, if your item is comparable. Wool mittens cost more than acrylic ones. Bottom line – do not sell an item for less than the materials cost you to make it. One woman I know charges twice the cost of materials, ignoring the time spent creating it because she just enjoys crafting so much.
If you have something unique, price it as you please. You must keep in mind what similar items sell for online and in local stores. No one is going to pay $100 for a pair of mittens they can get for $10, even if it is handmade.
Be Prepared to Deal with Craft Fair Customers
In addition to your crafts you will need to bring a cashbox with $20 to $50 in small bills and change. Have a notebook and pen for any orders you may get, as well as to keep track of what item, color, etc. sells. You may wish to have a receipt book. If you can, bring your craft materials with you as well. Custom rs love to watch a work in progress.
Enjoy the Craft Fair Experience
I have had customers come back to my table year after year because of a nice conversation. Comments such as “my mother used to make things like that” and “I wish I had learned how to make…” are excellent cues for you to pick up on to start a dialogue. People generally end up finding something on your table they like while they are talking to you.