Craft fairs are fun places to while away a Saturday afternoon. Not only do you have beautiful handcrafted items to look at and buy, but you have amazing food, and some very uplifting people to help you enjoy your experience.
While most people think that shopping is easy, shopping at a craft fair actually takes some planning in order to maximize your experience. Artists who make crafts also love shopping for crafts. At the very least, they love browsing for ideas. Consider some of the following tips the next time you go to a craft show.
First, have a plan. If you have access to a show map, study it before you go and figure out the best route to take when viewing the products for sale. If there is no map, take a few minutes when you first get to the show to notice the layout and pick a path.
Believe it or not, this can make a world of difference – especially at the bigger craft fairs. You want to see everything when you’re there, so making an action plan can help assure that you will.
Just like you have your path planned, you should also have some idea of things you are looking for. Many people shop craft shows for Christmas presents. Make a list, if you must, of people you are shopping for. When you see that perfect gift, you’ll be able to cross that one off your list.
If you’re like me, you know whether or not you’re interested in what a crafter has to offer. If it doesn’t spark your interest right away, you tend to walk away. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve passed up a booth only to be called back by my shopping partner and finding something I just can’t live without!
Remember that point as a craft seller, too. If your booth and products look boring, customers could just pass you by thinking there’s nothing special about what you have to offer. Make your booth interesting and the people will come to you. But I digress.
It’s no fun shopping alone, especially at a craft show. Take along someone close to you to maximize your experience. I usually have my mother along. What I can’t see as interesting or a good buy, she can show me in ways the crafter can’t. She’s also great to suggest a certain product for a gift when it would never occur to me.
If you have someone with you, have a way to contact them. That means either a cell phone or an inexpensive walkie talkie. I can’t tell you how many craft fairs I’ve been to where I see women “paging” each other like kids playing cops and robbers. In reality, if you should get separated from the person you came with, these tools are lifesavers when it comes to reconnecting.
Don’t bring along a huge, bulky purse. Fanny packs or small purses are best to have because all you really need at a craft show is money, credit cards, identification card, your cell phone or walkie-talkie and maybe a tube of lipstick! You’ll regret having to lug around a huge bag – especially when it’s loaded down with things that really aren’t essential for your crafting adventure.
All crafters need to keep up their energy – whether buying or selling. Take full advantage of the amazing food that is available. We liken the menu to what you might find at a county fair but with so much more.
Particularly good fare includes apples with caramel dipping sauce, huge gyros with all the fixings, Frito pie, nachos, and bar-b-q shrimp skewers. Browse the vendors and pick what you like. Try as many as your stomach can possibly hold. You may find yourself craving fair food long after you’ve left!
When you purchase a large item, ask the vendor to hold it for you until you’re finished browsing the show. Nearly all sellers will do this happily (they’ve made a sale, after all!) and you won’t be stuck lugging around that 6-foot reindeer you got at an incredible price!
Don’t be afraid to haggle on prices. We love the old adage – you never know unless you ask. Many vendors will be happy to consider an offer rather than have an item go unsold. Just be careful that you don’t put a price out there that is so ridiculously low that it might insult their work. If you’ve done your homework, you know what an item sells for and what to offer for it.
Haggling is part of the business. Vendors often expect it. Just ask them if they can do better on the price or ask “Will you take $______ for this. The worst they can do is tell you no. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
Beware of mass-produced products that are being sold as homemade. Believe me, they are out their en masse and it’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference. However, if a vendor has 15 hand-painted cookie jars with the same design, take a good look at that design.
Compare two jars together and look closely at the designs. Crafts that truly hand pained will have subtle, small differences in the painting. Perhaps one has a spot where the other has a stripe. If that’s the case, it’s probably hand-painted. If the design is exactly the same right down to the speckle marks, it was purchased wholesale for probably ¼ of the price the vendor is asking.
You can buy a product like this if you want to, but keep in mind that what you will have is a cheaply made mass-produced item instead of a lovingly handcrafted gem. Check out the LTD Commodities website or catalog and see what they have in stock that looks hand made. You’ll see what we’re talking about!
As a buyer, you should not get roped into the whole “I can make that” way of thinking. We’re sure you could. The real question is will you? There have been so many crafts I’ve seen that I vowed I would create myself. I have yet to make one of them.
If you see something that looks easily crafted and is priced reasonably, buy it if you want it. Then you’ll have something you want plus you’ll have a model to work from if you really do decide to make them yourself.
Candles are big sellers at craft shows. Many of them look very pretty but have no smell. Look for candles that are hand-poured and have a strong smell when you open the lid. The one with a strong smell probably retains their smell when being burned. Those who have a faint smell probably won’t.
There will always be one item that is a hot seller. The lines at the booth where these things are will be long and you’ll see many, many people carrying around the same item. Most times, these items are personalized. If you like it, buy it. If you’re just going along with the crowd, though, think twice. You may be paying for a fad that won’t be as great next year as it seems this year.
Keep track of what you spend and what you’re willing to spend. Don’t go over your budget. You’ll regret it in the long run.
Craft fairs are often wonderful places to be. Guys, remember that a majority of the people there will be women. Our local craft fair recently set up a beer tent for the guys who are attending with their wives and significant others. While that’s not for everyone, unless you’re a guy who enjoys crafts, these shows are probably going to be a huge bore for you!
Crafting is a great way to connect with people you don’t know, spend time with those you do, and find some great gifts and accessories you just can’t live without!
We hope you enjoy this full craft fair guide to sell your crafts at craft fairs, this is the Last Part, find the full parts here: