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Topic: Looking into craft fairs and feeling overwhelmed...  (Read 1404 times)
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« on: August 13, 2014 02:59:10 PM »

I sell various crocheted items online, some with more success than others. I want to try selling at a craft fair to see if things that don't sell well online (like hats, scarves, etc.) would do better in that environment. I found a fair that I'm interested in applying for, but there's so little information about the event online (besides cost for a table and when/where it is) that I'm feeling overwhelmed.

So with that in mind, I have some questions for you craft fair veterans before I take the leap and sign up for this fair myself.

1) Is it assumed that I will be bringing my own table? Or should I ask if they provide/rent tables and what sort of space I will be given? No information about table size and how much space I would have is given in any of the information I can find about the event.
2) Would it be rude to ask what sort of turnout this event has had in the past?
3) Do I need some sort of license or paperwork to sell at a craft fair? Would I need that paperwork in order before I apply to this fair? Again, no information is given about this that I can find.

And finally, a question about the fair itself, they're looking for arts/crafts vendors as well as antiques/collectibles, non-profits, commercial/business, and entertainment vendors. Is this normal for craft fairs or should this be a warning for me to look elsewhere?

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Chris in VT
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2014 04:01:18 AM »

My first question would be 'how many craft fairs have you attended as a customer?' If I were you, attend as many as you can find so you can see for yourself what they're like. Talk to the crafters. Don't be afraid to ask some general questions about craft fairs in general.

As far as the particular fair you're interested in, questions came up immediately. You should know whether or not they will supply the table and how big it is. You should know how they're going to advertise the show. No advertising, no people.

Next, always look for craft fairs only. No resale merchandise, no Avon, no antiques, no "entertainment". The promoter is raising money and is "selling real estate". It's not a craft fair by any means.

Usually schools have craft fairs to raise money and the fall is when they're held. Once school starts, call every school district in a 25 mile radius and ask if they're holding a craft fair this fall.

There's NOTHING at a craft show, or on Etsy, anybody NEEDS. NOTHING.
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2014 11:56:52 AM »

Thanks for the response. I have been to several craft fairs as a customer, but never thought to ask the people selling questions so I'll have to do that in the future.

The more I think about it, the more I think I'm going to pass on this particular fair. They're definitely not looking only for crafters and I don't like the lack of information (I do know they advertise the fair on facebook, but after some digging I found their posts about the spring fair and they were... a little lacking, to be polite).

Thanks for the suggestion about looking for school craft fairs, I'll have to make a list of school districts and call them in a few weeks once classes start.

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« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2014 12:55:49 PM »

Willowe, Chris has given some good information.  He has been in many shows and knows what's what.

I have quit doing the small fairs/shows at schools and churchs.  If they are looking for a donation to help out the school or church out--I would rather just write a check.  I have found many of these very small types are not well advertised, as you are finding out.  No ads=no customers.  I can sit at home and make as much money as I have at some of these small affairs, which is little to none.

Now dh and I have set some guidelines for applying ...
* it CANNOT be the orgainzer's first time doing an event
* they should have some sort of admission charge
* minimum of $100 for artists/crafters booth
* well advertisted and have past REAL examples of how they have done this (past TV or print ads, etc.)

You may choose to set some guidelines for yourself after talking to some artists or crafters or after doing a show or two.  It does not hurt to have some boundaries on what you'll participate in.

God Bless,

Given enough coffee, I could rule the world!
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