When I first started with handlettering, it was just a fun hobby for me. Deep down, though, I wanted to have a way to supplement our income for our growing family. That meant selling some of my lettering pieces, and craft fairs seemed a great place to do that!
If you’ve been to a craft fair, you know that it can be a sensory overload – both good and bad! You’ll have the fragrant soap &/or candle sellers, the colorful jewelry displays, the food vendors. All of it adds up to a lot of competition for your attention.
Then, people come to my humble little booth with black & white prints. While I am a stylistic plain Jane (or minimalist – if I want to sound fancy!), most people aren’t. And that vast difference has made for some disappointing experiences for me.
So, here I am to pass along my little bit of knowledge to you!
Lesson #1: Pick Your Battles
Which fairs are the best ones? Sometimes, it’s really heard to predict. Here are a few factors that I look for:
Location: High schools & arts centers. These are the places where I’ve had the most success.
Booth Fees: A higher fee doesn’t mean it’s worth it! If the fee is unbelievably low, that could mean that they know that they don’t have the foot traffic to make it worth your while. Do some more research to see.
Time of Year: CHRISTMAS. Of all the markets I’ve tried, my successful events have been during the Christmas holidays. I’ve done Valentine markets (fully stocked with hand-lettered cards), Spring craft fairs (the day before Mother’s Day), and Summer events. None of them have been as good as Christmas fairs. NONE!
There are other things to know (like how long has the event been around) that might be helpful., but these 3 are the main considerations for me.
Lesson #2: Give the People What They Want
And what do they want? To find that out, you have to listen to their comments as they browse your stock. And the customers at each event will have different tastes & opinions, so keep a record of which comments came from which events.
Some stuff I’ve overheard has been along the lines of…
“I wish they were more colorful.”
“Are there any Christmas pieces that are non-religious?”
“She doesn’t have _______ quote.”
So, I’ve tried adding color to my prints. (If you visit my shop, you’ll see my latest attempt at this!) Did those prints sell better than my plain black-and-white ones? NOPE! But it was important to try new things!
Some changes are easy (adding more non-religious holiday pieces). Others aren’t (predicting which specific quotes someone will want).
Start eavesdropping on those conversations at your table. You’ll learn a lot!
Are you a crafter that has some other advice you’d add to this post? Are you a craft fair aficionado who can tell us what you look for as you shop? Let me know!
Or if you want more advice from other crafters, follow these links: