Selling homemade items at craft shows and festivals can be a great way to make extra money and a fun chance to meet fellow crafters. Many crafters have abandoned these local marketplaces for online selling at sites like Etsy and Artfire but local shows provide many things that the online craft marketplaces just can’t provide.
Craft Shows Offer Immediate Sales
Selling at craft shows, craft fairs and festivals allows for sales numbers that online marketplaces take a long time to achieve. As any Etsy seller will tell you, it takes a long time to make that first sale and can take over a year to develop a regular customer base. The craft show is a smaller customer base but the sales are instant. You are one of a hundred sellers instead of one of a million. This means there is far less competition and you will reap the financial rewards. At a medium sized festival, I average 50 sales a day. This will vary, of course, but it shows that you can sell your crafts at a faster rate at local craft fairs.
Craft Shows Offer Product Testing
Trying out new ideas and craft projects is my favorite thing to do. The problem with trying new products or packaging with your online clientele is that you risk tainting your branding, that is the way your business is viewed by your customers and the image your products present. The great thing about craft fairs is that they are temporary. The limited customer base is a perfect opportunity to try something new and gauge their reactions. Thinking about using a different fabric for your handmade purses? Try making some with the new and some of the old and selling them next to each other on the same table. See which one sells the best. Offer two different packaging options and see which one is chosen most.
Craft Shows Offer Inspiration
Inspiration and ideas abound at a local craft fair. You can find products that you have never seen before, ways to expand your product line and display ideas. During one fair, I sold a ring to a fellow jewelry maker who wanted to study how it was made and, in return, I purchased a wire wrapped bracelet that I wanted to try to make. Tip: Always be courteous when looking for ideas at craft fairs. Never photograph or ask a stranger to show you how to do something. Instead, purchase one and bring it home. Never copy someone outright. Use their products as inspiration for your own great ideas. Nobody likes a copycat.
Craft Shows offer Better Social Networking
While blogs and Facebook provide a great opportunity for crafters to network, they do not offer a chance to get to know contacts on a personal level. At the last craft show I attended, I met and got to know three fellow crafters and swap advice. Because I met them face to face on a personal level and talked for the duration of the festival, we were comfortable enough to share our trade secrets with one another. I traded supplier information (the Holy Grail for crafters) and sources for advertising and sales opportunities. After the show, we connected online through our Facebook and blogs but we had already gotten to know each other.
Supplement craft shows and festivals into your homemade sales plan and you will be pleased with the results. Selling crafts online is a great way to make money but there are many reasons to go back to your roots and sell your handcrafted wares at an old fashioned craft fair.