Having a great display and unique items can make your craft fair experience a success. This guide is about selling crafts at craft shows.
This project is used for vendors and crafters who want to display their earrings for sale at craft shows, festivals, and fairs.
Total Time: 20 - 30 minute, depending on how many you make
Yield: sheet of cardstock yields 4 strips and I use 10 sheets of paper
I have been creating original jewelry designs for many many years and selling at local farmer's and craft markets. A great tip for all you crafters out there that sell at local small markets. Display your creations with originality! They will attract attention and draw the customers. Use inexpensive props like pictured here. I display jewelry over large shells. And I display earrings inside local mussel shells, a visitor to your area will have a nice local keepsake to take home with them. Put your thinking caps on and come up with your own creative solutions to displaying your crafts.
By Linn from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
In my community, craft fair season is fast approaching and I would like to try selling my own handmade items. Since I have never done this before, any suggestions would be helpful. What sells well? How do I determine how much to charge for each item? (For example, I like to rag quilt, so do baby quilts sell better than twin or full size? I'd rather make 3 baby quilts that sell than 2 twin size that don't.)
Do I need to claim my earnings on my taxes and do I obtain a tax-exempt number to buy my materials? If so, how? I have been told that I can't sell fabric items with licensed characters on the fabric, why? Thanks for the help?
By Marie from Idaho Falls, ID
Be sure to have some inexpensive items they are far more likely to sell. Most people don't carry a hole lot of cash with them. And its a good idea to bring some business cards with you just in case.
A voice of experience, stick to one or two items, vary the style if you want but don't offer too many different products or people tend to get lost looking and not buying.
As for pricing most of the time I round my materials for an item up to the nearest dollar, then double that. Sometimes I add another 10%. Then take a good look at it, put yourself on the otherside of the table is it too high, then I don't make anymore of that item. You have to be able to make money or it isn't worth it. You will find you have more expenses going to craft fairs than you realize.
Baby quilts have been a good seller for me at times you never know, there are a lot of people making them. It is very hard to come up with something unique anymore.
In our area, it is "required" to have a business license which takes care of the tax issues. However, I have never had anyone ask to see it. Ours cost only $50 a year. Your license then provides you the tax exempt information needed by your suppliers.
What crafts are selling best at craft shows?
Jean from Columbus, Ohio
I do craft show for a living (I sell hand painted pottery) and the one thing that always sells and makes money is garden crafts. It may be actual plants, or seeds or live floral wreaths or flowers planted in unusual things like in boots or old chairs or tires. Wooden window boxes always sell too, or even garden art or yard furniture or bird baths and stepping stones, but let me tell you, anything for the yard or garden sells like crazy!
You gotta have 2 price scales; the pricey stuff and also something to sell that's under 20 or 30 dollars. The lower priced stuff is what people will buy without thinking to hard about it.
Craft fairs aren't bringing in the money they used to (Believe me!), with the economy these days being so bad you have to have something either people need and is useful or is super cheap that they can buy for a gift. I'm making less than half what I made before 2000. Really! Even though I have a great reputation and people know me better and better each year). When the economy sucks, so do sales at craft fairs (unless you're selling food items). I sometimes drive 180 miles (round trip) to sell my stuff "where the money is". Try to sell your stuff at a fair where the people with money live. Get my drift!?
Need ideas on displaying your items at craft shows or in your booth?
The number one thing in displaying your crafts is make sure all of your items are priced and the tag can be easily seen. 9 times out of 10 those few items that are not priced will be walked away from because most shoppers are just simply too "shy" to ask.
Even if your not pricing your items but are using the "Here's your Sign" tactic by displaying a large sign stating something like 1 for 2.99 buy 2 for $5.00, I suggest to still price everything! Shoppers are so excited and distracted from looking through all the products and discussing the oohh's and aahh's with their shopping friends that the signs are sometimes missed especially in large craft shows where they get crowded.
Make your display booths unique and interesting to draw in attention. Using a folding table with a country plaid tablecloth are great, but why not really spice it up and use something out of the ordinary to grab the shopper's eye from across the room. These are depending on your space size of course, or could be scaled to fit.
Some other ways to display items are using baskets, ladders, stacking suitcases, crates, crocks, coat racks, stacking various sized tables, cutting barrels in half and adding shelving inside, Christmas trees, old galvanized wash tubs, dress mannequins, wood ironing boards, quilt racks, shutters, or fencing.
And one last craft display tip. Don't forget the kids! Most shoppers will be bringing along young children. Have items to catch a child's eye down low or invest in a bubble gum machine and fill it with sweets. A few turns on the irresistible machine will make you some profits as well.
By Mandie from New Phila, OH
I'm looking for craft fairs that will give you a booth for low cost or free. I'm a first timer and don't want to spend a bunch of money for a booth right now. Are there any craft fairs in Minnesota that have really cheap or free available booths for selling?
You're so right in thinking of doing the lower dollar craft shows. These shows are so. Participating in such shows can be so iffy. You just never know how well things will go. Keeping the expense of participating down betters your opportunities of doing well. Googling "Craft Shows" is a great way to get links to various sights that list shows around the country. I know there is a Church there in MN that does a Summer event each yr. I've donated a gift basket to them for their event before. Best of luck!
Does anyone know of a website or place that lists all upcoming craft shows, fairs, and markets for a certain area? I am in Chicago and I'm interested in selling handmade purses and pillowcases. I am having trouble finding places other than online. I have never sold anything, but now I'm ready with enough product. Do I really have to wait until summer? Don't these things happen indoors throughout the winter?
By down n dirty from Chicago, IL
Here is a link that I have used in the past.
http://www.eventlister.com/. You can also check with local churches, schools andevent planners. Where at in Chicago are you located. I use to live there and I did a number shows in the area.
Does anyone know how I would find out who to contact about selling my crafts at craft shows or festivals in my local area?
Sandy from Bluff City, TN
You could call your local schools and find out if they are having any craft show fund raisers, great way to meet up with other crafters. Ask at your local craft stores, or your church. Most towns have a crafter's mall, check your yellow pages for one. Good luck to you! (04/25/2007)
When you attend a craft show, ask one of the exhibitors who to contact if you would like to sell your crafts at their show. They can give you lots of information!
Send for a tourist package that is usually available from the tourist bureau in the capital city of your state. I am from Arkansas, and the package for Arkansas includes an Arkansas road map, and a calendar of events which lists many of the craft shows and festivals statewide. You could also check on local events with your Chamber of Commerce or the County Extension Office. Check on the internet, just Google it. Good key words would be "Tennessee craft shows", arts and craft shows", crafts vendor information, Tennessee festivals, etc. Hope this is helpful.
Try the local churches, ours has a craft fair every October. (04/26/2007)
Just a quick warning. Make sure when you talk to the people heading up these shows, that you ask if these are home-made style crafts or if they are "vendor" shows. I, like you, just got into showing my crafts and the first one I went to was all "vendors" such as Home Interiors, Avon, Tupperware, several wine, food, and kitchenware type vendors. We were the only ones with home-made style crafts. Even the customers were heard commenting "I thought this was a craft show". Just a heads up to ask the right questions. Good luck! (04/26/2007)
Check with school, churches, and if you have them flea markets. Usually a few times a year there are festivals that people can put crafts in. Also you can post them on a web site! If you give your crafts as gifts, attach a business card and give some for friends to hand out. I have sold things by word of mouth!
Good luck! (04/28/2007)
Is it necessary to disclose the origin of fabric at a craft fair? I sew dog dresses to sell at craft fairs and although I do buy new fabric from the store, I also get fabric from my local Goodwill. It's usually remnants from other peoples' sewing projects, but they are clean and free of odors and stains. Also, I sometimes use fabric from shirts, skirts, etc. and turn them into dresses.
I would never lie to a customer if they asked me directly where I get my fabric, but in general is it wrong to not just tell people up front? I also thought about having a separate "green section" so that my customers will know that the fabric is recycled.
Would you be disappointed or upset to know that something you bought wasn't from all new materials? Any advice/opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
By Kristina from South TX
It would never occur to me to wonder where the fabric came from. I really don't think you have anything to worry about. In fact, I think mentioning the fabric is "green"/recycled could be a good selling point. (07/25/2010)
If asked the question you could say to the customer that you have several sources where you buy your fabric. You are not lying, but you don't have to give them a direct answer either. (07/25/2010)
It is common to "recycle" when making crafts, even for sale, that is all that they need to know. It actually is recycled, otherwise, it may have ended up in the garbage. Best of luck to you!
I can't imagine where all the wonderful old quilts would have come from had women not known all about recycling fabrics. I'm sure many of the quilts being made today are of all new fabrics, but if I were making a quilt for someone in my family, I'd most definitely be using recycled fabrics from our own family's old clothing just for the memories if nothing else.
I'm assuming you wash the clothing you buy from the thrift stores prior to sewing them for your own protection. That being said, if they are clean enough for you, I'm sure the dogs won't care one way or the other. I'm not even sure they're going to be thrilled at having to wear a dress no matter where the fabric came from. Ha-ha.
Good luck in your business. Sounds like fun.
You do not need to tell anyone where you get your fabric unless you want to give away this information.
I tell people that I do not give out my sources, or that it is from my "collection" from way back. Sometimes I say I collect it in my travels, which is not untrue. Of course if they ask and it does come from a used garment, then by all means play up the recycled aspect. If it comes from scraps, it is still technically new or "vintage" fabric. (07/28/2010)
All the smart people here are correct. If someone wanted to be such a snob that they wouldn't buy it from anything but new, they wouldn't be shopping for things at a craft fair! I buy my fabric and yarn any cheap place I can get it. If a skein is 2.99 new and .59 at a second hand store, but still clean and unrolled, who would know the difference. You just sell what you can and don't worry about the rest. (07/28/2010)
You might want it to be a plus and list green crafts, to stand out. None the less, most of the stuff we craft from is recycled from something. If someone asks (nosy) just say some new, some attic treasures from friends. I have some books that are trash to treasures and they go anywhere to get their stuff. (07/29/2010)
By T&T Grandma
I often see an idea/outfit in a large dress/skirt, etc. when doing Goodwill, garage sales, etc. I like going down to my old jean basket where salvaged parts of jeans are and make an apron for the fair judging. You can bet they will love it. (07/29/2010)
By T&T Grandma
I definitely agree with the rest on this subject. I think you are very innovative and there are some beautiful fabrics that are skirts, shirts, coats, etc. To me this is what crafting is all about. What ticks me off at craft shows is when people buy from a dollar store and maybe add a flower or one little embellishment then sell it off as a handmade craft. I've seen ornaments from Lakeside that are at craft shows, also. The seller buys them from Lakeside then sells them for 2 or 3 dollars more, to me that is misrepresentation. (09/09/2010)
I am going to start selling at a local market day in my town and I was hoping for some advice. I like to sew and so far I have decided to sell children's aprons and chef hats.
I am a stay at home mom that wishes to earn extra income selling crafts at craft fairs/flea markets. Any ideas or suggestions of crafts that sell well?