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Arts and Crafts: Be Choosy About Your Craft Shows
January 2013


Ready to start booking shows? This month's article from our friend, Rob Goyette, will give you a few tips to consider before contacting promoters!


Have you listed any of your items in our marketplace? The FNO Marketplace is a great way to start out selling online without worrying about start-up costs.


Happy crafting!
FNO Newsletter Editor

Be Choosy About Your Craft Shows
by Rob Goyette


You could be sitting at a craft show ready to take on the day - expecting hundreds... no, thousands of people going through the turnstiles and filtering their way into your craft show booth. The first hour is slow; the second brings you a few people and your first sale of the day.


After a while you start to wonder... why are there so few people coming to the craft show? That's a valid question. You just spent $200 to secure a booth, so you need to make several sales in order to make it worth your while. But, those sales just don't seem to be coming.


After you have been to a few craft shows, you'll probably be able to figure out which one are worth it, and which aren't. But, you can eliminate this trial and error experience just by doing a little homework ahead of time. Here are four things you can do before you spend money on a craft show booth:


Go as a spectator first - If you are looking for new shows to sell your crafts at, you might want to be a spectator for the first year. You can make notes on traffic, traffic patterns, most popular items at the craft show, among other things. The value of seeing what you are getting into to start is going to help you filter out the crafts shows that aren't worth the price of admission.


Talk to booth owners - You can do this as a part of your spectator visit, or if you are a first timer. Take a few moments to talk to the other booths at the show and find out what they can tell you about the craft show. This gives you an opportunity to learn a few things about that particular show, and maybe make a few business friends along the way.


Talk to organizers - If a craft show has been running for a long time, there are probably statistics of some sort kept on how many people pay to get into the show. This is a vital statistic, and can provide you with an idea on the volume of potential visits you might have to your booth.


Keep a notebook - I am going to expand on this in a future article, however, I think it bears mentioning right now. Keeping a craft show notebook is a great way to keep track of the different elements of each craft show so you can make an educated decision on the potential success for that show. It is going to help you avoid the shows that cost you more than you can make.


No crafter wants to go to a show with poor attendance, tight wallets, and the potential for losing money instead of making a good profit. With a little bit of work beforehand, you can virtually eliminate the chance of anything like this happening, and you can ensure that the craft shows you attend help you make the profit you deserve!




by dreamweavers, posted 01/31/13 12:45:19

I agree with almost everything said in the comments also, accept that I am in charge of our Church Holiday Market. I do not, and will not allow any buy/resale of anything. Being a crafter for almost 30 yrs I understand all yur concerns. There are a few shows run by crafters who do care.

by mp4544, posted 01/27/13 20:02:44

I try to hold all my vendors to homeade arts & Crafts.

by superfifi, posted 01/25/13 20:40:34

I.m fairly new at booth renting and have had poor results. I argee with the crafter who said why don,t people say which shows are good???This is the ideal place for crafters exchanging what places are good spots verse those shows with a $1.00 clientel market.

by idesignilona, posted 01/25/13 11:32:39

I agree that there are a lot of shows that really don't keep out the riff raff. A few of the shows I've been in had vendors selling Pandora-style jewelry, they had bins of large hole beads and chains to string them on. I should have complained, but I didn't. I will not return to those places this year. Also, I am going to avoid the church run shows. Last year, at one local church fair whose main attraction was the food, all the vendors were put in a rear parking lot away from the crowd! It was the hottest day of the year, too, so most of the crowd stayed where the food tents were. I sold 1 pair of earrings and that was at the end of the day when I was packing up and most vendors were gone. Never again!

by hardball, posted 01/24/13 12:53:34

I'm new at this.
Why are all of these commenters not leaving names of their best show promoters?

by tzstrange, posted 01/24/13 12:45:11

I have been at shows that have been good for me one year and then the next I will sell next to nothing. Makes it tough for me to figure out which shows to do.
I have been at shows where they have removed vendors with buy/sell. That was really nice to see. I have also been next to the buy/sell vendors also.
Some items that have been considered handmade that I have seen have been a real stretch. Rocks with sandblasted and then painted names on them, potpourri, pulled pork and cds with your childrens' name inserted into the songs.
Even deciding on what shows to do based on the rating on this site can be tricky sometimes.

by reyerware, posted 01/24/13 12:22:35

The last show I was suppose to be totally hand made, but the booth behind me was resell (china) jewelry.

by loripasch, posted 01/24/13 10:33:16

to all the above people and blurheronart. Have you left feed back on any craft site about the buy sell at shows. Probably not. I look for that and rarely see any ratings. If you would do that, handmade crafters WOULD boycott that show.

by blueheronart, posted 01/24/13 10:08:36

We need to boycott shows that include commercial jewelry, buy/sell, etc. Same goes for shows that do almost no advertising or signs. There are so many craft fairs out there now, we can be choosy. People have figured out that exploiting desperate artists is great for fundraising. But we need to let the organizers know why we won't be participating again, and maybe they will realize they are being shortsighted.

by hattitude, posted 01/24/13 09:41:14

I guess I am very lucky. I do 12 or more shows in my area and only one allows commercial products, but that is one of my best shows so I will continue to do it. I have been doing shows now for about 5 years and really enjoy it.

by categ50, posted 01/24/13 07:44:49

I agree with all. I only do craft shows with promoters that follow their 'hand crafted by you' rules. At streetfairs I know there will be buy/sell items, but only participate in the ones that group the crafter/artists together. One of my best shows last year was one of these streetfairs. I can see why promoters will take anyone. In the last 4 years there is poor attendance at shows, and if not, then no buyers. So, artist/crafters are not doing shows they normally would. I hope this is a good year. I have 4 shows scheduled already!

by nm62959, posted 01/24/13 06:53:55

I agree with all. I've made the mistake of actually believing that some local High school craft shows were juried as stated in their rules. They weren't. All the school wanted was the vendor money and they did not stick by their own rules. I complained also, but it did no good.

by ewocasek, posted 01/24/13 03:12:49

I did a show last year where there was a booth with "as seen on T.V." items. geez.

by hdzalp, posted 01/23/13 23:58:55

i just ran into a show asking to see receipts for the raw materials used in the "hand craft" being sold. I've also had shows ask for pictures of works in progress

by tipsy445, posted 01/23/13 21:10:15

I do agree with all I'm just gettin to craft shows,this will be my second year and I hope I have learned from my first year.The note book is the way to go.

by harbortown, posted 01/23/13 20:41:28

yes, I agree to. Amazing what People consider handmade Crafts these days. Handmade in China is all I can say and its pretty annoying to say the least. I tried complaining to the Promoters but they dont even listen. They need to fill their Space regardless of what. I wonder why I have to supply them with Pictures of my Crafts if they dont give a darn about it anyway.

by mrstitch, posted 01/23/13 20:38:19

I totally agree with slessem! Being set up next to a booth full of cheap Chinese junk really hurts the sales of a real crafts person!

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