How to Succeed at Craft Fairs

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There is some special feeling that awakens in us at special moments. You spend months trying to create unique things and try to sell your work at a fair or craft fair. It cannot be compared to selling them online or live like this when you are in direct contact with people and see with your own eyes who appreciates this type of art that you do. The most rewarding thing is when, for example, couples come and a man gives his girlfriend some of your work or when parents buy some little things for their children. By selling online, you have been left without those smiles and first gasps. If you also want to bring a smile to your face, follow these few instructions!

How to prepare for a successful craft fair

Walk the show

Most people would simply think, I like to draw, I have been drawing since I was a kid, my parents always supported me, I could draw a couple of drawings and try to sell them. Parents are something else, they love us and always support us, but if they kept your work on the fridge, at their job, or kept it for you until you grow up, it doesn’t mean you can compete with great painters. Today, you can learn anything you want. Enroll in a course or competition, there they will evaluate your skills and you will have the opportunity to increase them over time.

Do your homework

It would not be a bad idea to ask yourself a few days before the exhibition who will attend the event, how it looks like and how much it will cost you. You should research the latter most. Although usually stand space costs $ 200-300 on average, you also have to consider the cost of travel, transportation, banners, etc. If you do other arts, the costs could be even higher. You also need to add the cost of the consumed material to the total amount. Also, depending on the city where you live, you must consider that some require you to have a license to exhibit and sell goods. Think carefully before you just pack up and head out.

Start small

When you are just at the beginning of your career, the golden rule is not to spend too much money in case it is not what you expected. As long as you learn something and you gain some reputation, reduce your costs as much as possible. Borrow a booth from another artist instead of paying and renting your own. Another option might be to even share one booth with someone. If you make friends and have something in common, they will certainly let you. Well, he was just as beginner as you, he’ll understand!

Price it right

Before selling, think carefully about how much you will be looking for on each individual item. Don’t look for prices to be too low for everything you spend to be where you started at, you have to break even and make some money along the way. Be sure to change your starting prices at some point. It is influenced by a lot of factors and the competition and the people you come in contact with. In the first exhibition you will see how the sale goes if you are not satisfied with the second one lower the price and you will see that you will get more sales.

Bring your credit card machine

You have to be aware that people do not carry large amounts of money with them when they go to fairs, exhibitions, etc. because of the large crowds. For your sake, bring a credit card machine with you so you don’t lose sales. The only downside is that you can’t deal with rejected checks that can easily be missed in the crowd.

Don’t go it alone

Do not go to the exhibitions alone. Although they can be very exciting they are also quite annoying and you still stand and interact with customers for hours. Ideally it would be nice to bring along your soulmate or some of your family members, close friends, acquaintances will do as well. It means a lot when someone jumps in for you when you need to take some type of break.

Pack your stuff

Be sure to bring lots of goods with you. In addition, don’t be hasty and bring a table and a couple of chairs, a credit card machine, a calculator and bags where you will pack your product when you sell it. Photocopy a lot of your business cards with your phone number and a few short flyers to give a brief introduction to customers who may not have heard of you.

Count your money

After the first exhibition is over, sit still and count how much booty you have made. Compare that amount of money with the one you invested and see what you are at. Don’t be disappointed, there will be another day where you will have a new chance to remedy the situation. If that doesn’t work again, you might want to consider selling online instead of reapplying next year. You often visit other painters, talk to them, absorb every piece of advice they give you, and over time you will certainly become an expert.

10 tips to sell successfully at craft shows

Run a “100 Foot Test”

Be sure to settle down with your merchandise somewhere at the beginning of the hall so customers can first look at your booth. Take extra care in its decoration to give a good first impression. Nobody likes dark, half empty stands. People will wonder if you came here to sell anything at all. You can even decorate the booth with some beautiful pictures or introduce electric lighting, just think of Vegas and you will certainly be more visited.

Clearly display your prices

Most people are a little embarrassed when they need to ask about prices. You can simply paste them for each item or select the price list option. Think carefully this could be a great idea. Make some mini-price lists to list all products with prices. It is up to you to group them and put them into price categories or to show prices for each category. If you have some sweet little one to hand out a few pieces at the entrance would be even better.

Embrace the psychology of a good description

Customers are very interested in what makes your products special. Instead of the vague and quite common aspects that individual artists use, look to give really specific and interesting descriptions. Take a walk around the other booths and see what other artists do, what ace is up their sleeve. Maybe you can steal something from them.

Encourage touch

Allow your potential customers to touch your items freely. This could increase your sales. Research has shown that most people feel much more relaxed if you say “Free Touching” on your booth. Get a little creative and make them laugh, why not!

Instigate a conversation about your craft

All that you have learned so far about your craft can now be used wisely. Contact the visitors directly, ask them a question, also ask them to ask you what they are interested in. They will probably be interested in what materials you use, where you get your inspiration, how long it takes to make an item, etc. What you should definitely tell them is certainly your reason for starting this business. It is very important that they understand the value of this craft and the effort you put into it, after that they will certainly understand and appreciate the more expensive products when they are more educated in the art of creating them. Of course, always keep your little secrets to yourself but why not share some little things and maybe encourage one of them to take art more seriously.

Ask your customers for feedback

Craft fairs are a great opportunity to talk to your customers about your products a little better. Ask them what attracted them to your booth, whether they have heard of you so far, whether they like your products or may have some grudges, etc. Those who appreciate you as an artist, regularly accompany you at fairs are your loyal audience who will certainly want to help you in some way. Try to keep in touch with most of them when it’s over.

Increase your average sale per person

The very important thing for any business is that if you increase your average sales per person, you can be profitable and better survive those difficult hours when people just walk past your booth uninterested. Simply calculate your average sales per person up to that point and set yourself a goal to increase that amount. You never know.

Offer both low and high priced items

You can also increase average sales per person by directly contacting customers by offering them low product prices first. With this little trick you will always have interested customers and by the way you will get to know them and later when they are convinced of the quality of your work they will certainly not be sorry to give more.

Get vertical!

Just put yourself in the customers position, what would you see first in a booth? Of course what is set at eye level! Hang wardrobes, jewelry, paintings, place neat shelves, you can even use more of them to make your booth look more powerful, and of course do your best to arrange the space, make sure it is as neat and comfortable as possible.

Swap products with other vendors.

Do not look at other exhibitors as strict competitors. They are first and foremost your allies. Look to pick out a few from that crowd with similar interests that you have. Talk, you certainly have a lot of topics in common, share experiences, it will be of great benefit to you. Offer them some collaboration together. Who knows, you might become good friends and associates with some of them in the future.

What crafts sell well at craft fairs

How do you know which arts or crafts items will sell at all and which handmade work is really hot? You can learn about trends in sales from reading magazines like The Crafts Report and Sunshine Artist which feature industry news frequently. A challenge with relying on trend information, however, is that by the time you, the artist or craftsperson learn what’s “in,” the trend is already peaking and on its way out. The trend issue is confusing if you put too much stock in what you hear or read. Be careful when researching news about best-selling crafts. For example crafts related to gardening will be more popular in Spring months, christmas craft sales will swell the three months before December etc.

 The industry experts seem to agree that the real trend is the Internet and how it will affect your ability to sell. If you really want to know what’s popular, wear or display something you have made and keep track of how many people ask you where you got it!

The great advantage of handmade items is the originality of such work. Below, I show you a list of products you can do manually. There are endless possibilities and you can choose what you like.

Crafts & Garden: 

Candle making is, for example, a very easy skill and can be very profitable for you. All you need to get is wax.

You can then make crushed glass coasters for cups, though most still use cheaper material like wood. In the same way, you can cut wooden boards or pallets to the desired shape and make a cutting board which is a great help in the kitchen.

Increasingly sought after goods are wall decorations. Wooden boards or pallets make it easy to make yourself the perfect decoration for everyone to admire. Let your imagination paint as you wish or create one real unique wall clock. The possibilities are truly endless.

With a little imagination, wooden picture frames can be very interesting. If you make colorful decorations for the younger ones, you can also draw some cartoon characters, and if you design for the older ones, simply paint and add some decorative bands or zircons.

Pillows are a very easy craft to make and sell. Today, it is an item that people use around the world. All you need of course is a good velvet fabric, polyester sheaths and some basic sewing skills.

If it’s closer to your friend or family member’s birthday, the ideal gift would be a box of decorated champagne glasses. At the shop, buy ordinary glass glasses so you can decorate them yourself as you wish. Paste some glittering zircons, use decorative bands, etc.

Clothing

In order to make dresses, blouses, sweatshirts, general clothing you still need to have some experience or at least someone experienced to show you and then you can do it yourself. You need a sewing machine, but these are serious business and, of course, you need a lot of material. The advantage is that if you work for yourself you will get the design that suits you.

Graphic Arts

I believe that someone who is a graphic designer really enjoys his job at the same time it is a responsible business that we need to take seriously. You can do some of your work at home. You can make very colorful calendars that we all use, as well as bookmarks, from multicolored chemical-decorative cardboard.

Toys

You can always buy a toy for your children, but what you make is more valuable. You can make stuffed dolls with a sponge, for example, or cotton wool, this might be a better option because it’s natural material, then children’s cardboard puzzles, wooden toy boxes, wooden trains etc.

Special occasion

For special occasions you may be approached by someone who wants New Year socks to be placed above the fireplace, red heart-shaped pillows for Valentine’s Day or a simple greeting card.

Jewelry

One very cheap and easy option would be to make bracelets and chains. You can choose your own box with beads of different sizes, shapes and colors. They are very popular with the older population and the younger.

Other ideas

Bath bombs have become increasingly popular lately. You need to buy soda, citric acid, some essential oils as desired, of course, and the indispensable olive oil as a food color, if you do not want them to be monochrome.

Wood or clay pendants for keychains, etc.

To make a natural mouth balm all you need to get are some beeswax, cocoa butter, coconut oil and some aromatic fruit or flower scented oil.

You can sew furniture covers in the living room or make birdhouses…

Conclusion

Of course, this is only one part of the long list of possibilities. It is impractical to try to produce so many different craft items yourself. For single-person crafts it is more reasonable to concentrate on one or two markets and a focused line of craft products aimed at specific customers.  It will probably be too much for you if you are trying to make too many different items. You just waste your precious time and money. The best approach is to find a few arts crafts items that sell well and concentrate on building in that direction. Choose crafts that sell well to earn the money to stay in business and survive. Once you have established that wonderful menu of income-producing handmade crafts, you can expand into other craftwork and develop new designs. If you are the type of person who can work in a collective, hire others to work with you, it will be faster and easier.

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