Hello crafty ladies and gents! November is here so it is officially craft fair season. My mother and I are being a part of 2 fairs this month: one already took place last weekend and the other is in a week and a half. So I figured it would be a good time to share some of my craft fair knowledge! I want to preface this by saying that I live in New Hampshire (in the US of A) so perhaps my information is only limited to the northeast. I'm not sure if craft fairs are as big of a thing on the West coast, but here in NH you can find at least two or three per weekend from the beginning of November to the middle of December.
Here are 10 things that I think everyone should know about the world of craft fairs:
1. Chances are high that it will be in a church basement or tied to some kind of charitable organization. Typically craft fairs are fundraisers to raise money for a church or charity and are held in a function hall owned or rented by the church/charity.
2. You will have to pay for your spot. This is tied to the point above; since most craft fairs are fundraisers, most will also require a fee for you to be a part of the fair. Since you are able to keep the money from the actual sale of your crafts, the organizers can make money from this fee which is typically $50 or less. You may also be required to give up one of your crafts for free so that it can be put into a raffle to raise additional money. Any fees/gifts you have to give aren't typically a problem; if the craft fair is run well and advertised adequately you should be able to make that money back!
3. You may need to be required to submit some description/photo evidence of your style of crafting before you are officially "accepted." The organizers of the craft fair probably do not want multiple tables with the same exact type of crafts or vendor products (most craft fairs also accept vendors such as Mary Kay. Tupperware, etc). Therefore, they may tell you that you cannot participate if people with a product similar to you have already been accepted.
4. Don't underprice your products. You should set your prices to cover the cost of the item and the time you spent making it and also keep in mind that you want to make some additional money on the items. You don't have to go crazy, but don't price your items extremely low just in hopes that they will sell. A reasonable price shows that you are proud of what you've made and think your crafts have value.
5. People may try to haggle with you like they are at a market in the 1800s. Not all haggling is bad and you may be more willing to knock down the prices especially at the end of the day, but don't be too willing to take dollars off. This ties in with Number 4. You set your prices as they are for a reason and should try to stand firm!
6. You need to come prepared. Bring change, tissue paper, gift bags, snacks, table clothes etc. These things will most likely not be provided for you so you will have to to bring it yourself. Change is an especially important one because people will come up to your table and buy $3 worth of stuff and hand you a $20. Just saying. Gift bags are also a great thing to have; it makes you look a little more professional to be able to wrap people's purchases up in a nice gift bag. And I mean actual, cute gift bags, not just used plastic grocery bags. There's a difference people.
7. If you are more than just a hobby crafter and are trying to build some kind of following, maybe go online and spend $10 and get some business cards made with any social media you would like to promote.
8. Maybe investigate the fancy little credit card swipey things for your phone? My mom and I have actually never felt the need to have these and have only ever accepted cash at craft fairs, but people have been asking more and more if we accept cards. It might be worth it to look into depending on your demographic and if you think you could make more money if you accept cards. Keep in mind that I think apps like that do take a small percentage of your profits so it's important to really do your research and see if its worth it for you.
9. Variety is key. It looks nice to have a somewhat cohesive style to all of your crafts, but I think that having different crafts is important as well. I have been to many craft fairs and seen tables where people just sell wreaths or just sell bags and they haven't made been able to sell that many items. I understand that you may have a craft that is your trademark, but maybe try branching out as well so that even if people don't like all of your products, there may be something on your table that catches their eye.
10. A craft fair is a full-day commitment so be ready to give over a whole Saturday or Sunday to it. Even though the actual fair may run from only 9-2 or 10-3 or whatever time it may be, you still have to lug all your stuff in to your car, get there a few hours early to set up, stay a little bit later to clean up, lug your stuff back from your car into your house and the you are just tired from all the standing and interacting with other human specimens. They are more work than they seem, but, if you put in the appropriate amount of effort to do a good job, can really be a great way to make some money and get your craftiness out there!
Here is a picture of my crafty momma at the fair we were at this past weekend behind our masterpiece of a table:
We will also be at a craft fair at Sacred Heart Church in Manchester, NH on Saturday, November 17th from 9 am to 3 pm so feel free to stop by and check out our crafts!
I am a 24-year-old crafter and baker from New Hampshire!