Craft shows

Jclrk

Jclrk
Corporate Member
Bruce Swanson sawman101 invited me to a craftshow this weekend it was fun but seemed to be a low turn out. I started trying to find craft shows and if a craftsman can't find them no wonder the generall public can't find them. Is there a list of shows or does everyone just go by word of mouth?
 

NOTW

Notw
Senior User
here are a couple of resources, not sure if there are others or better ones
 

Jclrk

Jclrk
Corporate Member
here are a couple of resources, not sure if there are others or better ones
Thank u
 

sawman101

Bruce Swanson
Corporate Member
There are one or two groups on FB for craft shows. Many of the craft shows the past 2 years have had low turnouts but seem to be picking up recently. The problem with craft shows is finding the right mix of items that will sell the quickest. This past show I made dozens of Christmas ornaments but sold only 4-5 while turned items went well. I never seem to guess it right--next time it will probably the fretworkhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/scraftshop stuff that that sells. I like the juried shows the best, but they seem quite rare lately.
www.facebook.com/groups/1688707344688028
 

walnutjerry

Jerry
Senior User
Bruce Swanson sawman101 invited me to a craftshow this weekend it was fun but seemed to be a low turn out. I started trying to find craft shows and if a craftsman can't find them no wonder the generall public can't find them. Is there a list of shows or does everyone just go by word of mouth?
When I was doing shows I used a publication called "The Ronay Guide". It gave location, contact info for the application, whether it was juried, estimated attendance, date, etc. All the info you needed to decide whether to try it or not. If you figure out how to "sell out" at every show, quit doing shows and write a book on how. You will sell more books than crafts. LOL
 

Oka

Board of Directors, Vice President
Casey
Staff member
Corporate Member
When I lived in California, there was a guy I knew who just made kid toys. All were med-quality but all were 20-30 bucks. He made these push-stick doggies that the ears moved when you rolled them and sold all 100 in 2 hours.
By observation that flea market/swap meet had a lot of young families that frequented it. Amazing
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
I think we all know the potential failings of craft shows. (lack of attendance, people expecting to find "cheap" items for sale, the time involved in set-up, working your boothand tear-down, distance travelled etc.)
I also think that was the birth of ETSY and other on-line seller sites and even (originally) some of the You Tubers looking for prospective buyers.
With all the Youtubers losing their income streams from changes in payouts and in the algorithm, advertising etc.... there seems to have been a revival of the idea of fans or evangelists.

The work and effort of obtaining "new" customers all the time is exhausting and disheartening and keeps "you" from practicing or perfecting your craft, but simply working "on" the business rather than "in" the business... I think the craft show circuit or maybe a better word "treadmill" is the epitome of the "churn" of followers of your craft, meaning that someone coming upon you at a craft show is at the worst case a "one-time" buyer and may never find you again or perhaps only a year later at the next Christmas, 4th of July or whatever show...

Recently I heard about this article (originally posted in 2008 and updated here: https://kk.org/thetechnium/1000-true-fans/

The idea is to make a name for yourself or your product so that you foster followers who become fans and hopefully evangelists.

Obviously there is a current trend of creating "personality" or "celebrity" (I am sure you can think of many of them) but I will suggest that for "the rest" of us, creating a following based on brand or product is more easily achieved than a following based on "personality" or "celebrity". If that is the case, then we have to have a differentiator, something that sets us (the person or the product) apart from other "makers".

So have a read, maybe there is something in there that will help...
 

Berta

Berta
Corporate Member
I have been doing a very small craft, antique, vendor show here. I don’t have enough content to do big shows. This show is not expensive and is a way to “Get my feet wet”. I have found that I enjoy doing it. I do not want to have a job making stuff 8 hours a day. I make what I want to make, if someone wants to buy it, cool! If not, I simply take it next time. My son let me use his tables, etc to set up the first few times. I have made enough to buy my own.
 

walnutjerry

Jerry
Senior User
I have been doing a very small craft, antique, vendor show here. I don’t have enough content to do big shows. This show is not expensive and is a way to “Get my feet wet”. I have found that I enjoy doing it. I do not want to have a job making stuff 8 hours a day. I make what I want to make, if someone wants to buy it, cool! If not, I simply take it next time. My son let me use his tables, etc to set up the first few times. I have made enough to buy my own.
That is basically how I started Berta. I did want fulltime work in my shop at the time though. I worked a lot of 12 to 16 hour days 6 days a week and did the shows on weekends. However, I did not want to make the same item all day every day. I too made what I wanted to make and offered it up. I would take special orders as long as I felt they were within my capabilities. I sold enough to pay all expenses of the shop and expenses of doing shows. I think I made the least hourly income ever but was the most content with what I was doing. I lived my dream.
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Staff member
Corporate Member
While the overhead may be somewhat higher, has anyone looked into the Emporium venues for selling items? With retail opening back up, people want to get out more - I know I do. A new one was recently opened up in Mooresville and is HUGE! I realize they probably charge rent & commissions, but you wouldn't have the hassle of staffing the booth and you'd only have to keep it stocked........................
 

ncfromnc

neil
User
Hi, I do craft shows and sell furniture and woodworking for a living. A couple of things I've learned over the past 6 years of craft shows, galleries, online venues and commissions. Look at what you make or what you want to make. This will help tell you what venues to pursue. Crafts are sold at everything from tailgate markets, to pop-up shows, to day long art and craft fairs to several day craft fairs at conventions centers.
Keep this in mind when you are finding ways to sell. The maker gets %50 and the seller gets %50. When you look at it this way, galleries become a better understood and meaningful way to get income and sell product. When you do a show, you are the maker and the seller, you get %100. BUT, you must consider. your costs to do that show. Booth fee, jury fee, travel, days out of the shop, food and lodging (if more than a one day show). It can add up......it makes galleries look better and better.
Also, consider your customer.......RICH PEOPLE PAY WELL. But, they want high quality goods and they will pay for them.
 

ncfromnc

neil
User
Here's another thing I have learned. When picking a craft show, avoid venues where the craft show is secondary to the main event. For example a music festival that has an area where there are a row of arts and crafts booths. Or a food festival that has some arts and crafts. Waynesville, NC has an Apple Festival that has craft booths.....but people are there to spend money on apples and cider. Stick with shows that are specific to arts a crafts. People don't come to music or food festivals to buy crafts, but they do come to arts and crafts shows to buy crafts. Make sure that craft is the main focus of the event.
 

ncfromnc

neil
User
Also, treat your event, not only as an opportunity to sell your items, but as a brochure for what else you may do. No one can buy a dining room table from a craft show and carry it home. But, having a larger more exp;ensive item or two that you may not sell, is a chance for people to see what else you might do. Way more often than not, I make the majority of my sales from a show in the following couple of weeks and beyond. have plenty of cards and brochures WITH picture on them. I always make 2-4x as much after the show as I do the day of the show.
 

walnutjerry

Jerry
Senior User
My daughter set up a "store" on ebay-------she has sold two of my turned bowls. Both bowls were up less than 2 days when sold.
Another sale yet again------------this time a set of three (graduated sizes) and believe it or not the same buyer from California has bought all of them. These last 3 were up less than 24 hours.
 

walnutjerry

Jerry
Senior User
Here's another thing I have learned. When picking a craft show, avoid venues where the craft show is secondary to the main event. For example a music festival that has an area where there are a row of arts and crafts booths. Or a food festival that has some arts and crafts. Waynesville, NC has an Apple Festival that has craft booths.....but people are there to spend money on apples and cider. Stick with shows that are specific to arts a crafts. People don't come to music or food festivals to buy crafts, but they do come to arts and crafts shows to buy crafts. Make sure that craft is the main focus of the event.
I find that to be a very accurate statement. I finally did nothing but juried shows. Also, I liked to go see a show in progress before applying to do the show. Watch the crowd and see how many are carrying packages.
 

walnutjerry

Jerry
Senior User
While the overhead may be somewhat higher, has anyone looked into the Emporium venues for selling items? With retail opening back up, people want to get out more - I know I do. A new one was recently opened up in Mooresville and is HUGE! I realize they probably charge rent & commissions, but you wouldn't have the hassle of staffing the booth and you'd only have to keep it stocked........................
I never had any luck renting space or doing consignment. Unless you go back and check on a regular basis you may not get paid as soon as you should.
 

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