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Thread: disappointing day vending at a craft fair

  1. #1
    Senior Member alisonquilts's Avatar
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    disappointing day vending at a craft fair

    I was a vendor at a craft fair today organized by a local lady in the next town over from mine. There were 70 vendors (!), the weather was great, we were inside a nice building with lovely amenities and good parking...and everyone's sales were abysmal. I made four sales, all to friends. The ladies at the tables around me made one or no sales...even the lady who organized the whole thing didn't sell anything! There were lots of people wandering around looking at stuff, but only the two cupcake vendors seemed to be moving any product. (Mmmm...cupcakes.)

    This was my first craft fair, so I don't have anything with which to compare today. There were lots of different types of crafts available, most of them looked like good quality stuff, and there wasn't an overload of any one kind of craft - people just weren't buying. I didn't really pay that much attention to how this event was advertised. I told my friends about it, none of whom at heard of it through any media sources. This may have been the real problem - not enough marketing. (This was also the first year for this event.)

    I am posting this rather dismal note so that anyone who is gearing up for a craft fair in the near future can try getting the word out about it a little more aggressively than I did. And good luck!

    Alison

  2. #2
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    So sorry. It's a lot of work to go through for such results. I've noticed here that when the weather is nice people don't go to indoor events as much. Perhaps a craft fair closer to the holidays might get more traffic.

  3. #3
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    A first year of a show is typically the toughest. Marketing is the absolute key to a first year show... and even then it can be only a minimal turn out. Sorry it was a bad expereince for you ... but I bet the next time you want to do a show you will ask how many years has the show been in existance. It also tough for an established show to change a date. So when you inquire ask how many years at that date .. say first weekend of may or second weekend in Nov or when ever the show is scheduled.
    The date had all the right things going for it... Just before a gift giving Holiday ( Mother's Day) . Too bad there were not some outdoor events and vendors to get people into the show.

  4. #4
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    I used to have my own small business making purses, bags, totes, table runners, wall hangings etc. The only time I ever did any good at bazaars or craft shows was in the Fall just before Christmas.

  5. #5
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Craft sales are hit and miss. Most people come to get ideas. My guild makes more money selling a pattern for an item we make then the item. We try to have a new shape pincushion, different pot holder, etc to draft the pattern to sell. Also presentation is a big factor. Things siting on a folding table usually won't gather much more then a glance. I took a marketing seminar and learned never have items laid out like a yard sale for any professional sale. Bring in baskets, chains to hang items on, have fresh flowers on the table, a bowl of Hershey's Kisses. Look at pictures of the quilt booths at most quilt shows. Which ones do you think gather more traffic?
    Got fabric?

  6. #6
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    I agree, the first year for an event often is rather slow. But the biggest "need" is for a lot of advertising and marketing.
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  7. #7
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    My first question would be, unless this was a two day event, why did the organizers choose to have it on a Sunday? The number of buyers will always be limited on a Sunday, even for well established shows. Sorry you had a less-than-spectacular first impression of the craft show adventure.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  8. #8
    Senior Member paulettepoe's Avatar
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    I believe that crafts shows and such have gone the way of the 8 track player. People are more interested in buying NEW, and not hand made. Also, most craft tables dont take plastic. I have noticed what you learned for quite a number of years now.
    Some people visit paradise, I live there.

  9. #9
    Super Member 0tis's Avatar
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    I have only been involved with a few craft fairs - (I am in a very rural location) - its always hit or miss with me too. Last time I was determined to sell everything - so I priced everything completely at my cost - you could not find a lower price - I think I sold maybe 4 or 5 items - nothing big - everyone around me had the same problem. I think craft fairs around outdoor events or festivals are probably better or waiting until the holidays in the fall is best. Just keep trying - it will work out when you find the right craft fair.

  10. #10
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alisonquilts View Post
    I was a vendor at a craft fair today organized by a local lady in the next town over from mine. There were 70 vendors (!), the weather was great, we were inside a nice building with lovely amenities and good parking...and everyone's sales were abysmal. I made four sales, all to friends. The ladies at the tables around me made one or no sales...even the lady who organized the whole thing didn't sell anything! There were lots of people wandering around looking at stuff, but only the two cupcake vendors seemed to be moving any product. (Mmmm...cupcakes.)

    This was my first craft fair, so I don't have anything with which to compare today. There were lots of different types of crafts available, most of them looked like good quality stuff, and there wasn't an overload of any one kind of craft - people just weren't buying. I didn't really pay that much attention to how this event was advertised. I told my friends about it, none of whom at heard of it through any media sources. This may have been the real problem - not enough marketing. (This was also the first year for this event.)

    I am posting this rather dismal note so that anyone who is gearing up for a craft fair in the near future can try getting the word out about it a little more aggressively than I did. And good luck!

    Alison

    Our local papers have a section for community activities where you can tell about your event without having to buy advertising space. Check around for next time. Some radio and TV stations do the same. Hang info sheets at the grocery stores that have community bulletin boards.
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