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Craft Shows and Flea Markets

My mom shopping at an outdoor craft fair in the Northern Eastern coastline of the USA. One of our favorite things to do together as mother and daughter and now granddaughters too :-)

There is nothing like the satisfaction you get selling your handmade crafts in a craft show.  It is an awesome feeling to have folks buy and love YOUR handmade crafts.  It makes it all worth while of the creative ideas you thought of, pattern making, time spent, and money spent towards your creativity. Throughout my 25 years of making and selling crafts throughout the Eastern Coast line of the United States.  I have found out a couple of things that I will share with you.  Keep in mind that these are what worked for me.

Handmade (hand-woven) Ponchos at an outdoor craft fair in Maryland.

Craft shows whether indoor or outdoors, where sellers rent a booth and sell their crafts directly to consumers, are probably where the greatest quantity of crafts are sold. These show are extremely popular all over the country.  Some shows are "juried," meaning that the items to be sold must be judged and approved first.  Below I will talk to you about the different kind of craft shows and their success.


Mom buying some homemade jams at an outdoor craft fair. YUMMM


Let's talk about different kinds of craft shows and their success.

    First and Foremost...before we begin, I just have to say how much I dislike any craft show that advertises itself as a "craft show with handmade items," and then includes sleazy inexpensive imported items as well.  I stay VERY clear of these shows, as believe me, your handmade items are not appreciated at these shows.  I feel I have spent a great deal of time creating, sewing, quilting, buying fabric and supplies, and making the work, that I am not going to have someone in the booth next to me selling dolls or ornaments made in mass production from China that you can buy at the local 5 and Dime store.  I just simply will not go into these shows and pay a high entrance fee.

Craft shows and Flea Markets combined:

I have given these shows a chance over and over again, and they just simply don't work for me.  Possible because people going to flea markets are ready to bargain and deal and get things they want, at a great price or discount, and they feel good about that.  Then they come over to the "craft" area and feel as though they are paying full dollar and there is now bargaining. Of my experience with this it simply is not cost efficient for me.  One very large outdoor show was great for me in all my years of doing show, one, that's it.  So I stay clear of these type of shows.

Indoor Church or School Craft shows:

These can go either way for crafters.  I have had about 50% great shows and 50% bad shows.  Most serious crafters don't even touch these shows.  They go for the large juried shows which I will talk about next. Some school and church shows are very well ran, and very well advertised.  If you get outsiders and the support of the school or church friends and family the show is usually good. Amazing, one of my best shows every year is a local church near by that only cost me $20.00 for a table but the church has so many members and they offer games, breakfast, and lunch to go along with, that the crowds just keep coming in all day long. Unfortunately, the only way you will know if a local church or school show is good for you and your craft is to try it.  If a church or school show cost me $50.00 to get in and I only do $200.00 in sales, I am NOT doing that show again.  Other crafters may say, $200.00 is a lot for me, so yes, I will do it again.  It all depends on what you consider a good show. My rule of thumb is: what ever the show cost me for the table, my sales should be 10 times that. Example: if a show cost me $50.00 for the table, then my sales better be $500.00 or more or I don't return to that show.  If it cost me $100.00 for the table then my sales better be $1,000. plus.

 The "Juried" Craft show:

These shows have pretty much worked for me 100%.  They have never failed me yet. I get into as many juried shows as I can.  I usually have to pay a little more for the table, (usually $100.-$300.) but they are worth it if you have the right craft. Juried shows are where I sell the most crafts, therefore I make the most $ from juried shows.  Juried shows will NOT allow the inexpensive mass produced junk that you may find at a local craft bazaar, which lets the customers know that everything is handmade whether it's a doll, quilt, jams, wood, or candles, it was made by the artist. Your serious shoppers will go to these type of shows who are looking for that perfect handmade gift.

Outdoor Craft Shows

Weather obviously plays the biggest role in outdoor craft shows.  I used to only do outdoor shows because I sold so much more at outdoor shows.  You usually have so much room to set up your display and with all that room there is so much you can do to your display. Plus everyone is in a good mood if the weather is comfortable and you can bring the family along and strollers, unlike indoor shows with tight spaces. Just beware and keep track of the weather and have a back-up plan if the weather does not cooperate. But in general, outdoor shows are pretty good and I myself as a crafter and a shopper prefer to go to outdoor shows.




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