Ahhhh, I can relax now -or- Christmas craft fair done!

Hmm, I couldn’t quite decide on a title for tonight’s blog post. I love doing craft fairs and preparing for them but there is a span of about a week before it happens that I am a complete stressed out lunatic. When the power was out for 4 hours yesterday I could have had a psychotic break but instead I decided to sit in my living room with the wood stove on and knock out a few more watercolor cards (and film them as tutorials, hey my camera was freshly charged LOL, they are up on my YouTube channel) rather than throw a nutty. Cuz really, what would a tantrum have solved? I changed my craft fair booth up a bit going with an “L” shaped table and using all of my booth as “shoppable space” rather than hiding behind a table. I really like it more this way. I filmed a video showing how I set up and share tips for craft fair sellers:

What do you think? OK, you are probably wondering how the show went…

…it was S-L-O-W! But, that’s OK, the people who came were ready to shop (it’s 12 days till Christmas you know!) and I was prepared for the slowness by having my watercolors and blank cards so I could create custom cards on the spot. I also found that it drew people into my booth that might have been shy about coming over, what can I say I’m quite a spectacle to behold! LOL did I mention there was juggling?

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So I thought that I would offer some  more tips for those of you selling (or wanting to sell) at craft fairs:

  1. If you make jewelry, clothes or knits wear them! I got a commission to make a wrap like I was wearing for a lady, she even paid me half up front! It may seem obvious what items will look like on but you will have more buyers if you wear it! “hmmm, this is a necklace but good heavens, what will I do with it?” I am not kidding.
  2. Demonstrate a product. I brought my watercolors, a waterbrush and blank cards along in case it was slow. I painted cards on demand and people who might have walked on by stopped to watch. I also juggled which caught the eye of another vendor who snuck over to grab a set of juggling balls for her grandson. She never would have seen them otherwise!
  3. Act like you are happy to be there! Nobody wants to buy from a sourpuss. Be friendly but not stalky. Let them know you are here to help or explain anything to them. Also get to know your neighbor because you can keep an eye on each other’s booths if you need to grab a cup of coffee or go pee..and you will need to go pee after all of that coffee!
  4. Price everything. People won’t ask. Just price it.
  5. Speaking of pricing charge a fair price, you work hard at your craft, it probably is not going to make you rich but you should at least earn minimum wage for your labor. Rather than discounting a $5 pair of earrings to $3 offer 3 pair for $10 or $5 each. That way your best customers get the best deal and no one feels ripped off.  I feel the same way about offering slashed prices at the end of the day (unless it is perishable) because how would you feel if you paid full price and then walked by a booth and they were selling it cheaper to someone else? Next time that person will wait til the end of the day to buy. My prices are the same at 9am as they are at closing. I saw people giving away their stuff at the end of the day! You need to value your work and charge for your time, you are worth it.
  6. Upcycle items for display. Buying fancy displays cut into your profits and if you are a first timer it will put you into the red. Use crates and suitcases that can be used as storage and display. Build tables from saw horses and hollow doors (nobody will know after you put on a table cloth!) and use boxes and baskets to make your table tidy! Old picture frames make great displays, you can staple wire mesh to the back or add foam core to make a pin board display. You can even glue clothespins to the backing board to clip cards and stuff up on! My standing display racks were throw-aways from a local store, keep those eyes peeled when you see a shop changing displays! They might give you the old one or sell it cheap!

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I bet the question that you all are too polite to ask is how much did I sell? Well, we are friends so I’ll tell you:  about $220, I say about because my 3 kids were hitting me up for cash throughout the day hahaha! I not going to complain, it was good considering the low turnout for the show, with a strong turnout I reckon I would have tripled it but you just never know, factors like it being so close to Christmas, the frigid coldness today and a snowstorm on the horizon for tonight may have pushed people to go to town to hit the big stores rather than a leisurely craft fair shopping day. Still it beats staying home and making nothing! :D I had a hunch it would be slow and I’m glad I brought my watercolors. I had a fun day and so did the shoppers and the kids who came to see Santa and partake of the candy buffet and other activities. Go into a craft fair with a positive attitude and you will do well no matter how much you sell! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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25 Responses

  1. Lindsay, i am proud of you, you have quickly learned to be a craft fair pro!!! I had fun being your neighbor today :)

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  2. It sounds like you had a fun day. Thanks for showing us your booth, and explaining how you set things up. I’ve always wanted to try selling at a craft fair. Have a wonderful Christmas. Thanks for all you do!

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  3. Table clothes in a solid color and to the floor would give a prettier appearance. It’s too distracting in two colors and being able to see under the table. (I use to work for a vendor and he used heavy navy cloths that wore my arms out when it was time to break down and refold them. ugh) That suggestion said………It did sound as if you had fun. You should have asked one of your kids to video you juggling and share that with us. You have such a high energy level, I don’t know how you do it all. You go girl!!!

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    • I agree Bev but I had 2 twin bed skirts already that we could not use since my twins have captain beds and I am all about “free display” I don’t do many craft fairs so I’ll stick with my “free” lightweight table cloths. I don’t think it has kept anyone from coming into my booth to buy. But if I see a good sale on some big long solid clothes I might take your advise and snag them up:)

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  4. I was hoping to see you juggle :) I’m glad you did so well on a slow day. How long does it take for you to set up/take down?

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    • About 2 hours to unload the van and set up and about 1 hour to tear down because I like to organised my stuff so it will go well next time!

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  5. Lindsay, I really like the way everything is in plain sight and easily accessed. Placing handmade items inside clear bags sets off individual works of art and keeps the items from getting shopworn. Your display is colorful and like items are displayed together. Your display technique organizes shoppers’ minds so they can shop easily from one category to another. Well done.

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  6. Good for you Lindsay! Our Craft Show was for 3 days last weekend and my friend took my cards (I’m still in recovery mode – total knee replacement). Unfortunately it was a total bust because of the snow and ice. Schools and many businesses were closed so few people ventured to the Fair…..unusual weather for our area. You just never know how it will go…..last year I did really well with my cards, on the up side, all set for the next Craft fair!!!!!
    Jan

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  7. Thanks for the info about how you go about setting up for a craft faire. Hope to start selling next year.

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  8. Well it certsinly sounds like you had a good time Lindsay :) Bravo on the commission btw, that’s good going! I also like the layout you chose and would probably have got you to do me a watercolour ‘as I wait’ had I been there.Such a special gift for someone. I love your positive attitude and your energy seems boundless. Do you ever ‘crash’?
    Happy Sunday :D

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    • Thanks! Yes, I do crash, actually i had to cut back on coffee about a week ago because I was so wound up getting ready for the craft fair and Christmas but the downside is when I sit down to read or watch TV I am out like a light LOL!

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  9. Love your display.
    I did a fair where I was doing card making with kids. They told me to prepare for 100, I got 6 kids and we made the turkey card including a three year old. Now I have 90 some kits to use next year but you talk about a loss!!!

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  10. I don’t have your outgoing personality (and wouldn’t enjoy the selling) but you can be sure that, if I saw “original art” being made & sold, I would have bought it…probably in multiples…

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  11. Ho no I miss your juggling !!
    Next time !
    Well done girl !

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  12. Wow, Lindsay — you had lots of crafts and everything looked awesome! You worked hard and I’m happy that you did well and had fun! Good for you on a job well done.

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  13. Thanks for showing us your display and your wares! The eclectic look of your displays appeals to me–it is whimsical and has an artsy crafty appeal. I don’t like a booth where everything looks perfect–it’s too bland.

    You are so right–if it doesn’t have a price on it, I’ll probably not ask–unless it is so wonderful I feel I must have it–then I’ll bother. And being friendly but not stalking–I’ve walked away from booths purchasing nada because I was unable to look due to a too friendly vendor who talked constantly, distracting me.

    And I’m in the group who would pick up something, love it, but think “what would I do with it”- or “when would I wear it?” so you are spot on about wearing your wares. People like me, who are frugal, are always talking ourselves out of buying a thing–so we need a good reason to spend. Seeing how great it looks on you is good reason.

    As for the low turn out, I think this close to Christmas you are right about the shoppers being at the mall, being pressed for time.

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  14. Thanks for all the craft fair tips! Those will come in handy!

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  15. Haven’t commented in awhile, but follow you daily, as you always make me smile. Happy holidays to you! Thanks for sharing like this. I wish we lived in your corner of the world. I would totally be visiting your booth. I so want to see the juggling in person. :-) Anyway, thanks for giving us the courage to get out there and do our thing.

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  16. You are absolutely right about pricing. I just leave rather than asking.

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  17. I hope your blog messages you even with older posts.. I saw this post and thought of you http://catchingfireflies.typepad.com/ai_paper_design/2009/03/flea-market-display-ideas.html
    I always love your craft fair ideas and think .. someday I will go and sell stuff :) I loved the wee ladder.. would match perfectly with your hand made jewellery holder! <3 Anna

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