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October 2010
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Do You Sell At Craft Fairs And Festivals?

Fall seems to be the season for all types of festivals and craft fairs.  In our area there are shrimp festivals, seafood festivals, honey festivals, heritage festivals and sausage festivals, just to name a few.  In addition several area churches hold annual craft fairs during October and November.

A local craft fair might be a good way for you to earn some extra bucks, however you need to keep in mind that in a down economy we’re all watching our pennies.  We had a booth at a local heritage festival last weekend, and we were surprised at the number of people who paid us with CHANGE.  In past years, somebody would walk up, buy something for a dollar and give us a $20 bill to change.  This year many of those smaller items were paid for in quarters and other change.

If you have NOT taken your crafts to a craft fair, festival or bazaar in the past, I’d like to give you a couple pointers so you’re not taken by surprise when you’d like to secure a space at one of the festivals.

** Check your local newspaper for festivals and craft fairs that are going on in the coming weekends.  Plan to visit a few of them just to observe.  Take some notes on WHAT items seem to be selling the best and what isn’t selling.  Are children’s stuffed animals and cozy pillows the latest craze?  Does it appear that purses and bags of assorted sizes seem to be the thing people are looking at and buying?  It wouldn’t hurt to talk to some of the vendors and ask a few questions like “how many years have you been doing this” or “do you come to this festival every year”.  If the response is that yes, they’ve been at this festival the past 3, 4, 5 years, then they must be satisfied with their return.

** Keep the information and phone numbers of contact people for each of the festivals you might like to attend NEXT year (it’s obviously too late to be there this year since the festival will be taking place next weekend).  Each craft fair or festival have their own guidelines as to what the price per space is and what the deadlines are for getting your application in.  For example, a craft fair that we’ll be attending the middle of November had a deadline of September 30 to get the application and space fee in.  Another festival that we attend twice each year (last Sat. in March and last Sat in October) require that the applications and space fee are submitted 6 months in advance.  In other words, when the one the last Sat. in March is over, you’d better get your application and fee in by the middle of April or you stand a chance of not being able to get a space.   Each festival has a certain number of spaces and when they’re sold out then you’re just out of luck for being able to be a vendor at that particular festival.

If you regularly show your crafts at craft fairs and festivals, we’d like to hear from you as to how you’re doing.   What types of things appear to be the good sellers at your particular festival or craft show?

It’s amazing the number of people that you get to talk to, AND the number of people that actually look for you each year just to see what you have and if you have new and different things available to sell.  Craft fairs and festivals can indeed make a few extra bucks for you, but also be a way to make many new friends.

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About The Author

Pattern Maker, Instructor & Author


One Response to “Do You Sell At Craft Fairs And Festivals?”

  1. JC says:

    Hello. Thanks for your article. I will be participating in my first craft show on 11/5/2010. I work full time in county government and they have an annual fair. You have to be a employee or a retiree to actually participate (meaning sell, etc). I was told that most do products like Mary Kay, Avon, etc. by the person that organizes it. When I told her that I’d be doing pillows that I sewed, she seemed pleased and that there might be a market for it.

    This event will also be indoors where employees frequent. It’s also open to the general public as well.

    The registration fee was minimal and we get to keep any monies that we make. They also allow us to take pictures so I may have someone take a couple of pics for my site and sewing portfolio.

    I plan on having business cards, but your article gave me an idea about having a list for contact purposes as well. I’ve already shared this with some employees but plan on spreading the word around. 🙂 Thanks so much.

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