What and how to sell at Craft shows (part 3)

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I have gotten a few people e-mail asking "how to have a successful craft show", so I thought I tell you what I do to have a successful craft show. Now please remember, I am not an expert, just want to share my experiences.

First of all some of this is from trial and error. What I mean is, not every craft show will be succesfull, because it just is not a good craft show to sell at. I can set up at a craft show and do really well and take the same things to another show the very next weekend and sell nothing! Sometimes it just depends on the location of the craft show and how much advertising the sponsors of the craft show did. What I have done over the years is try a craft show I feel I would like to do, if I do well, I do the craft show again. If I dont't do well, I simply don't go back. Also, once you start doing craft shows you meet other crafters and you can ask about a craft show you are thinking about going to and get their opinion. You can also ask them if they would help you find good craft show to sell at. Most are very helpful.

The most important factor in having a successful craft show is have quality items people want to buy at a reasonable price. One person that e-mailed me said "people in my area only want $1.00 items". This is very true. I always try to included several low priced items. They sell well and often well pay for my set-up fee. But you also have to have medium and higher priced items. I would try to keep my prices all under $20. to $25. unless what you make is truly worth more than that. But if what you make is in the higher priced catagory you would want to consider going to the "better" craft shows. The ones where the crafts you make are juried before you are even accepted to the show and these are very pricey to get into, but would be more profitable for you. These people are considered more of an artist than just a crafter. I am just a crafter and do not go to these types of shows.

Another thing to ensure a successful craft show is the way you display your crafts. If you craft booth doesn't look appealing people will walk right past you. It should be neat and nicely displayed. Put some type of cover on your tables and make sure they all match or look good together. I use hunter green single bed sheets I got for $3 each at Wal-Mart! Also don't lay everything on a tables. I have 2 folding tables I got in the camping dept. (where else but Wal-Mart), a card table, t.v. trays, a bakers rack and a drying rack. Also my husband made me two things I call my "latices", what they are is latice framed with 2x2's and two of them put together with hinges. I use these to set on my tables to hang things on. Sometimes if I need the extra space I've even set my plastic tubs on the floor and cover to put things on. I also set crates or boxes on my table to set things on. You just have to be creative to make your booth look attractive. I have a friend that will often set up her crafts on her tables at home to make sure they will look good or if she wants to change her set up to see if it's okay. I'm not this fussy, but do have to admit her booth does always look nicer. Other people use book shelf type shelving and bleacher type shelves. Again it's what you want and what type of crafts you are selling.

The most important factor in insuring a successful craft show is what you are selling. Be very, very honest with yourself, with what you are making. As I mentioned before, don't try to sell anyhing you yourself would not buy. Would you really buy something that looks like a kid could make it? Would you buy something poorly made? People are looking for things that are different and unusual or useful. They want things that is well made and something they couldn't find in the stores. They want things that match their dec. or something they collect. I try to make things that look country. Maybe this is because I like country things. I just have a great time making crafts and I think it's because I make what I like and like what I make. You just have to find what your "thing" is! Otherwise making crafts can become a chore and no fun. Also watch what the trends are. What are the prints on the dishes and t-towels people are buying. What are the popular colors people are dec. with? Make your things accordingly. The only colors I am using right now are navy blue, hunter green, burgandy and red (once in awhile). I have found that light colors like peach, light green, pale yellow, light blue and pinks are not popular colors right now, unless it's something for a baby, but there maybe some exceptions.

Another very important thing to remember is to make things that look like they go together. Have a sort of theme to what you make. This is sort of hard to explain, but is very important. Like I said I make country type things with only a few different colors, but yet some is fabric, some painted, in different textures and different styles. I wouldn't make doll clothes (I have a friend that does very well selling all types of doll clothes), wooden lawn ornaments (this is another thing that sells well), jewerly (this is something else to consider) or ceramics (these do good too). Not that I don't like them, but they don't fit in with what I make. In other words, if the things you make don't look like they go together it will look like a yard sale and not a craft booth. You want your craft booth to look neat and professional. If people buy from you and like what you make, they will look for you the next time they are at that craft show. So give them a reason to come back! I have regulars who look for me, and often ask what I made that's new.

I will try to post helpful hints here on a regular basis, but please be patience as I just got called back to work over the weekend. I work at a greenhouse. So now I have to do all my farm and household chores in the evening and then I have fight with the kids to get " my turn" on the computer. My dear hubby is an over the road truck driver so he's no help with chores till the weekend. And of course it's what I call "craft season". I only do craft shows mostly in the spring and in the fall/winter. So my spring shows are coming up and I'm busy making things for them. But this is lucky for you guys, because I will share with you the new things I am making. I did submit a post last friday about somethings I found to make. I think the name of the post was "Crafts to make" for any of you who didn't read it and maybe interested. Gotta go. Have a great day and get crafting!

-- Jo in Pa (Farmerjo02@yahoo.com), February 11, 2002


Thanks, Jo, keep them coming! I may jump on the bandwagon yet!

-- Christine in OK (cljford@mmcable.com), February 12, 2002.

Jo - How do you find out about upcoming craft shows? I have seen a newsletter mentioned somewhere but it seemed awfully pricey. Also, when you do outdoor shows, do you use a tent/canopy? We have checked the net for prices on these and they seem to be very expensive. Appreciate all you have posted so far!

-- Cindy in NY (cjpopeck@worldnet.att.net), February 14, 2002.

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