My First Spring Craft Fair Experience!

Howdy folks! Now gather ’round y’all and hear the tale of my latest crafty adventure: Selling crafts at the local Parent Teacher Group Spring Fair. I have been taking my kids to our school Spring Fair since they were toddlers. It is not a craft fair, it is  a carnival like fair with bounce houses, games, photo booth, hair salon and a huge silent auction. The proceed benefit the PTG which provide funding for field trips, technology and classroom supplies for the teachers… basically they pay for everything the school budget does not. Cost for a table was $15. There is always a big crowd and everyone has a great time!

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I vaguely remembered they had vendors at this event (I was usually too busy chasing after my kids to notice LOL!) so this year when the form went out I was the first to sign up and I requested the spot in the breeze-way between the gym (where all of the games were) and the cafeteria where all of the food was sold and auction was being held. I knew most people would pass right by my booth several times during their visit and since I was the fist one to fill out my form and send my $15 payment I got the spot.

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I was allowed to set up my booth the night before. They wanted to make sure it was not going to stick out too much and block traffic. Also if it was not going to work they were going to put me in the cafeteria and they would rather know that the night before and not the morning before the event. Tearing down a booth and moving would take time!

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I planned to push my table against the wall so I could lean my two large display boards against the wall. I put a rack at each end of the table, one for cards and one for packages barrettes and pendents. I had one more rack I could have brought but I didn’t want to press my luck! :P

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What worked…and what did not…

People did not have time to stop and browse, almost all of the women were chasing after their kids or volunteering. There is not much in my booth for men (who probably were not thinking about mother’s day yet LOL!) A couple of people asked to shop early because they would be working all day (yes please!) and I had a fair amount of children shopping, they really liked the bright bottle cap jewelry my daughters made! Next year (yes, I am totally doing this fair again) I will have some more kid-themed products to appeal to the children at a lower price point that kids can afford. My Enchanted Bubble Wands were my top seller at $5 each, also were my $5 earrings, I made a batch of summer lampwork glass earrings that went over great. Never underestimate novelty! As I was setting up my earring display board and was thinking that if I made my earring cards half the size I could get twice as much on the board but I think that would be a mistake because the stamped ATC frames showcase the earrings better that small traditional cards would. The large shopping bag caddies also sold pretty well when people knew what the heck they were LOL! People were worried about pulling out the bags and messing up my display, “don’t worry about that, pull them out and have a look!” I said. It is important to be OK with people rifling through your wares, don’t worry about it. Remember who needs who more in this relationship. If people are afraid to touch anything you won’t sell anything!

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That said your display should look nice, nice but approachable. Smile and talk about your work. Price everything. Tell people what a product is if it is not obvious, a lot of people won’t ask because they don’t wan to look foolish. Engage your customers but don’t be pushy, you don’t want people to sprint by your table because they are afraid you will snare them LOL!

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Bottom Line: I set a goal of $300 in sales for this 3 hour fair. I knew this goal was high because people do not come to the carnival to shop but the crowd is huge here so I figured people in need of mother’s day cards and gifts as well as goodies for themselves would make up for that. I sold about 40 items. I’m glad I brought a variety of things because sales were all over the place, there were a lot of things I sold only 1 of like a matted watercolor, a set of juggling balls, a bird’s nest pendent…if I decided to leave anything home who knows how I would have done? Cards sold well, mostly mother’s day seed packet cards but other random ones did too. You just never know. I came in at a little over half of my goal but more importantly the knowledge of what to do next time so I am more profitable. I am not discouraged at all, anytime you attempt vending at a fair you gather data, pay attention to the shopping habits of a particular crowd. I had nothing breakable on my table so it was approachable for all (heck I could have taken out my displays with my juggling balls at any moment LOL!) no worries of ruining anything.

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I’m thinking with all of the inventory I currently have I might rent a stall at an antiques mall. I have done it a couple of times before and it was quite profitable and a place to keep merchandise when not at shows. I feel like I am really getting the hang of setting up/tearing down a show (thanks Kath for helping mt tear down LOL!) and honestly, I just have a ball! I hope I have helped anyone thinking about selling their crafts.  I want to share what worked for me and what did not to hopefully help others. Making stuff is awesome fun & selling it is pretty cool too! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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23 Responses

  1. Wow Thanks for sharing your experience Lindsay, most helpful. Where did you find the display racks for the cards?

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  2. I think you made a great display and offered super ideas…besides you look so cute in that poncho!

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  3. Love your stuff and enjoy your articles.

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  4. wow that stand looks AMAZING Lindsay and if I will ever make a stand I will think about all your tips …

    but I am a lazy crafter lol .. just crafting to play.. for me it´s just a helaing process ..—-

    have a goof new week Lindsay!

    xxx Susi

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  5. Love this post!!

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  6. You did a great job! I love that poncho. Where can I get the instructions? TFS

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    • it is loosely based on the groovy granny poncho on the Lion brand website, it is a free pattern! I messed up on the first round but then followed the stitch pattern and added fringe.

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  7. What a marathon effort, Lindsay, but how well you did! Your pictures are awesome – your booth looks so bright and pretty, and so do you in your bright poncho and your big smile!! The amount of things you have made leaves me breathless… I don’t know where you get the time and energy to do all that you do, especially as you’ve got a family. Well done indeedy!!

    Shoshi

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  8. I love craft fairs and have gone to plenty. You did a great job with displays, product variety and price points! I don’t know your area but I would have paid $5 for your seed packet cards. They look like a lot of work for only a $3 sale.

    Love your blog, videos and enthusiasm. Keep having fun.

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  9. I think you did great for your first time at time at that venue. Well done! Your display is so colorful (and you too) that I would think it would be hard not to stop and look…. thanks for sharing the “how you do it” of selling at fairs/shows.

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  10. So glad that you had fun Lindsay! You booth looks absolutely wonderful and so inviting! I am just amazed at how much quantity and variety you have to offer. As I said (and have asked before, how do you find the time to do it all?) I mean, you are a mom of three too and you have a husband too…You have dishes and laundry and homework and dusting and 24 hours too! My hero, I’ll tell ya! ;)
    Great job!
    Valerie

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  11. Your display looks awesome. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us. Watching you prepare for your craft fairs, I feel like I have a stake in them. haha. Just wish I was close enough to come and shop. I know exactly which things I’d look for.

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  12. Wow! What an amazing display! I have to echo some of the other comments. How the heck do you find the time to create all that you have done for this fair? I’m happy for you, in that you were able to sell some of your items amidst all the kid centered activities. I especially love the display you have marked “Things my kids made” :D That is awesome! Next time you will sell totally out :D

    Leslie

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  13. Looks like you had plenty and a good variety of things to offer. Thanks for letting us know how things went.

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  14. Those are some great tips about figuring out who your buyers might be and what they are doing (chasing children….). Great idea to have lots for the children since they almost always love to shop. :) Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

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  15. thanks for all the knowledge you are so happy to share.

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  16. excellent information, love your booth, so bright and beautiful. And who could resist stopping to talk to you! ~Diane

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  17. Great post. I’m doing my 5th fair this weekend. I’m always looking for tips to boost my dreadful sales!

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