Tips for New fair vendor?

Old 10-09-2019, 10:29 AM
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Location: Illinois
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Lots of great ideas here, just have fun, I think the idea for hair scrunchies and tissue holders is good, also chap stick holders is another small item thing to make
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Old 10-09-2019, 01:19 PM
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I did craft shows for over 25 years, and the most important advise I can give you is "Don't sell what everyone else is selling!" All you are doing is competing with them for the customer's dollars. People are always looking for small gift exchange or stocking stuffer items that are under $5.00, so you are on the right track. If you crochet, dishcloths, scrubbies, and jar grippers with crochet borders will fly out of your booth. Buyers are looking for something that looks well done and professional. This is not the time to get rid of all that ugly fabric you have had for years and hate. The fabric doesn't always have to be expensive, just colorful and fitting to the project you choose. I agree that cat and dog prints are winners. I always sold hundreds of tissue cases and nail file holders made with novelty prints. People have all sorts of hobbies and interests, so appeal to their tastes. Eyeglass cases are easy to make, lightweight to carry to a show, and don't use a lot of fabric, so that small quilt square you made for practice might work out just fine. If you are making teacher gift items, avoid apple prints, they already have a ton of that! Remember that teachers are people with lives and hobbies outside the classroom.
Be sure that your merchandise is displayed in a way that makes buyers notice it, like small items in a fancy basket or colorful plastic bowl; hair scrunchies slid over the handle of a plunger; Hershey nugget purses displayed, as someone else suggested, on a cake stand to raise them up off the table. Put signs on everything showing the price so people don't have to ask.
The subject of pricing is very difficult because, to be honest, you will never get paid what you want for your labor. If you add your hourly rate of pay to your items you will price yourself out of the market. Most people do not do craft shows and bazaars for living, it is a labor of love that allows us to do what we enjoy, and make a little money at it to buy more fabric or that new machine we are lusting after but don't feel we can afford. I made good money doing shows, but I didn't rely on it for my house payment!! haha
It is hard to know how much merchandise you will need. The first customer may love what you have and want to buy 10 for all of her gift giving needs, and you might not sell another one. (Ask me how I know that?) Consider the time you have for the sale and your customer base. Do you think you can sell 10, 20, 50 of an item in 3 hours? These are probably people from your community and you can easily fill special orders for them if you want to, so maybe you don't need to make too any of an item if you are unsure about it. Frankly, how much to make is one of the most difficult decisions you have to make when doing shows.
With reference to bringing a microwave to a show, there are a few things to consider: 1) Do you really have room for it on your table? It will take up valuable space. 2) Will you even be able to plug it in? Many places do not have the outlets available to allow such a thing and extension cords are dangerous to navigate around. 3) Will you be charged an additional fee for electricity? 4) Can you physically carry it in? In my opinion, unless everything you are selling relates to or uses a microwave, it takes up too much space that could be used for saleable items.
My last comment regards selling itself. Do not try to oversell your items. People know what they are interested in or are looking for and pushing yourself and your merchandise on them will just turn them off. Greet your customers, smile at them, answer their questions, and let them look at what you have. Lastly, look like you are enjoying yourself, smile and have a good time. This isn't life and death, it is a 3 hour school bazaar that will allow you to see if these kinds of shows are for you. Ask anyone that has done shows, and if they are honest, they will tell you that they weren't all successes, but they are all earning experiences. Sorry that this post is so long. If you have any questions, pm me and I will try and help you in any way I can. Good Luck!!
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Old 10-09-2019, 03:41 PM
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how about doing things like the scruncies in the school colors. that's a good idea for scrunchies, $2-3.
Dog scarves, make out of fabric, and put elastic on it to go over the head. make them in all sizes.
people put scarves on their dog/cats of all sizes. my Maine Coone like scarves. He had them for all the
holidays and in between. my Russian blue cat, loves fancy collars, so i make her scrunchies. i also do
in a clear cello bag, the tiny dog bone treats. I drizzle candy melts, (they are not chcolate) and let them know
they are not chocolate. sometimes i'll put a dash of sprinkles. One woman came and bought me totally out. I called them a barkers dozen. of course there were 13 in the bags. it was in the cello with a ribbon, perfect for gift giving. is this a public school. Don't forget the Jewish community. I sold a lot at a temple. Quick and easy hexagon table toppers in Haunnakka fabrics as well as christmas, and everyday fabrics. those towels that hang over the oven door. Merchandise your craft. bring tablecloths or fabrics. put a big can, HI-C can, crushed tomatoes and stuff. cover with the fancy fabric, and put stuff on that, to grab attention, and at the base, in a bowl or nicely fanned out, put the rest of the items that match it. good luck.
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Old 10-09-2019, 04:28 PM
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Make good use of your vertical space.

Accept credit cards if you can, and put a sign up saying that you accept them. (PayPal, Square, etc. are good for craft fairs.) As far as personal checks, I put on my sign that I don't accept them, but truth be known, I will accept a check from (say) a member of that organization ... like if the event is at a church, and the check-writer is a known church member. The sign mostly backs me up should someone want to write a check that's giving off "hinky vibes", if you know what I mean.

Take more change than you think you'll need. For some reason, people love to whip out a $50 or $100 bill for a $5 purchase 15 minutes into a show.

Offer quantity discounts if you can. $5 each or 3 for $10. Many people go for the better deal.

Have your business cards handy. I also like to print out my craft fair schedule and hand it out so people can find me. Both have a link to my Facebook page and website. (I do a lot of craft fairs.)

Ditto on trying to sell stuff that nobody else is selling. That's kind of hard to do these days, but even if there are other people selling the same thing, many potential customers do notice whose items are better-made. So make your stuff extra-nice, and display it well.

Don't underprice yourself. I was bad about that when I first started doing craft fairs, thinking it would be smart to give people as good a deal as I could, but it backfired. It's a psychological thing, I guess. A $2 item is perceived as being much better-made than an absolutely identical item priced at $.50. Weird, but true! So be fair to yourself when you price your stuff.

Buddy-up with your neighboring vendors. If you're by yourself, one of them can watch your booth for a minute while you take a potty break (and vice versa).

Don't pack up and leave early. A lot of times, last-minute shoppers come through, plus it kind of looks bad to skip out early. (barring an emergency, of course)

Have a basket of candy to give out. It's a nice little gesture, plus it keeps a potential customer in your booth for a few extra seconds ... more time for them to spot something they can't live without! ha ha

Be sure to personally thank the event coordinator afterwards, and ask if you could be notified of future events.

But most of all: have fun!
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Old 10-10-2019, 06:24 AM
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Thank you all for so many great ideas and tips! At this point, Iím really trying to focus my merchandise by asking myself:

1. Is it practical?
2. Is it pretty?
3. Is it profitable?

In thinking of who I am as a person, as a maker, I think of my great-grandparents. What words come to mind that make me who I am?

From my dadís side, Mennonite. Practical. Simple. Earthy. Modest. Self-taught. LaborersóFarmers, upholsterers, caregivers, amateur artists. Homebodies.

From my momís side: Jewish. Fancy. Aesthetic. . Higher educated. ManagersóBusiness owners, teachers, nurses. world travelers.

So everything I make is going to be (in my view) practical, pretty, profitable.( That last criterion remains to be seen.)

This is a giant leap of faith, and Iím both nervous and excited about doing my first ever craft fair!
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Old 10-15-2019, 01:23 AM
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Red face

On Youtube Lindsay Weirich/TheFrugalCrafter she has video on setting up a crafts table lots of tips. There is also by a lady who makes ornate decorative crafts with laces/trims a good vendor table setup video it has many views.
Small item to sell and easy to make: cocktail size fabric napkin, maybe a small embroidery in a corner.
Sell single, set of 2, set of 4, set of 6. Add some hard candy to some and color foil.
Junk journals are quite popular you might make some of those.See Lindsey Zenor for tutorial on easy simple JJ.
Seasonal ones Fall/Autumn, Christmas are very popular and sell well. So far I have not seen a Hanukkah journal yet but those would also sell.Supplies to make JJ also sell well think little bundles fabric/laces/trims/buttons. Search Etsy to get ideas. Pinterest is also great for inspiration. Fabric/lace ornaments. Those shopping list notebooks you can embellish the covers with some pretty scrapbooking papers add trim and add a novelty pen. Makeup bags.
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:58 AM
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One thing I saw at a craft sale years ago and have not seen again... Catnip, toys designed to look like sushi. Basically a fish print 'log' with a dark green wrap of 'Nori' around the middle.

Do you do any bag making? Change purses, make up bags, small bags for little girls, essential oil bags are all quite popular where I live.
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Old 10-15-2019, 09:34 AM
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I have narrowed my "brand" to things of comfort made with fabric that make you say, "aaaaah....". So, for this fair anyway, I am streamlining with

-3 sizes of rice therapy bags (kiddie size, medium, and extra long) for warm/cold comfort
-Tissue pouches
-Throw Pillows, if and only if, I have everything else made and my display planned

Those are all pretty, practical, and --I hope--profitable, with the focus on comfort. I thought about all the suggestions, but for now I'm sticking with things I can make from fabric (as opposed to paper, yarn, vinyl, etc--which are not my specialty) that are intended to make people feel more comfortable when they use them.

Last edited by zozee; 10-15-2019 at 09:41 AM. Reason: added some things
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Old 10-15-2019, 11:07 AM
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I hope they sell well for you. Those are things I might buy -
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Old 10-16-2019, 04:58 AM
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Personally I would make tissue pouches, hair scrunchies, little zipper bags, eyeglass cases, small things that are useful. The last craft fair I attended dog bandana's were the big seller, two vendors sold out of them. She had them displayed on a big stuffed dog. I would not make anything scented, people have allergies and some don't like scented things. Just my opinion...rice therapy bags probably won't sell very well. They are big, bulky, a little heavy and not sure if it's an item people would use and store.
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