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Thread: What do you buy at craft fairs/ art shows?

  1. #1
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    What do you buy at craft fairs/ art shows?

    I buy the crocheted nylon "scrubbies"

    Other than those, I am mostly a looker.

  2. #2
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    Food. I love to look, but I always buy food.

  3. #3
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    Too much of what iI don't need!.........

  4. #4
    Super Member Doggramma's Avatar
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    I don’t buy too much. I always think “oh I can make that.” But sometimes I’ll buy gifts for people like jewelry or a knitted scarf.
    Lori

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  5. #5
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    For those that do art/craft fairs - a question -

    I know that those that sell want people to buy -

    But for those that don't buy -

    How do you feel when they look over your items carefully - knowing that they are either evaluating your workmanship or trying to figure out how to copy the item ?

    Do you mind?

    Do you want to slap their fingers?

    Are you pleased that they are interested enough to look?

    (For example, I am intrigued by the harnesses that people make for dogs. I do not have a dog - but I do find it interesting to try to figure out how they are made.)

  6. #6
    Super Member osewme's Avatar
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    I don't do craft sales but if I did it wouldn't bother me if people that didn't buy any of my items looked them over carefully. Because I love to sew so much it is my belief that "everyone" should want & be able to sew. So if they want to try & copy what I have made...good for them. Of course I would rather them buy mine than make them themselves.

  7. #7
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    I sell a lot and I do not mind if someone wants to check my items. People ask how long it takes to make some things--I really don't keep track. I like to hear their comments whether they buy or not but like them to buy ! Sometimes they might suggest that I make certain items which I might consider. Almost always pleasant experiences when dealing with the public. Please no children with sticky hands or drinks !

  8. #8
    Super Member leonf's Avatar
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    Sometimes people who are looking carefully are about ready to call their friends to maybe buy the item. I've done that.
    "Sacrifices must be made." Otto Lilienthal

  9. #9
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    Not been to a craft show for long time. I used to go mostly to see “what’s new”.

  10. #10
    Super Member rusty quilter's Avatar
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    In earlier times, I loved to go to craft shows. I both looked (to figure out how they made the item) and bought items that were unusual. Quilting makes me appreciate the time and energy put into each project...these days, I go for inspiration...and appreciation of what others are doing.

  11. #11
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I don't go very often because while I appreciate what it takes to make things, I'm not interested in having them. So I would have to say I don't buy anything.
    Alyce

  12. #12
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    I don't go to craft sales, but my cousin does. A lot. She doesn't sew or do crafts at all. She buys kitchen towels and hot pads, jewelry, scarves and for me anything with a dachshund on it.
    Patrice S

    Bernina Artista 180, Singer 301a, Featherweight Centennial, Rocketeer, Juki 2200 QVP Mini, White 1964 Featherweight

  13. #13
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    That's usually what I do too.

  14. #14
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    When I lived in Missouri my speciality was soft sculpture items...dolls, sheep, pumpkins,chickens etc. Participated in many shops and shows. Really loved being in a shop in St. Charles, Mo because it was a tourist area and I know some of my little dolls have made it to Ireland, and Germany because they were small enough to fit in a suitcase and the shop owners would tell me where my dolls were going. But those people with sticky dirty hands at craft shows would make me cringe when they turned an item over to inspect how it was made and then set it back down and walk away. Yes, I wanted to say something to them but I simply removed the item to under the table and tried to clean it up again at home. Now I simply quilt.

  15. #15
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    Last fall I went to one and bought two sets of expensive handcrafted jewelry as gifts and a quilted purse for myself. I could have made the purse myself, but it would have taken me a week, the seller's workmanship was impeccable, and her price was about ten dollars over the cost of materials! A no brainer, right? I get compliments on that purse every time I go out with it, and have passed out her business card for them to copy her information every time. She's on facebook, sells purses for a living. It's a "winter only" purse---I really need to buy purses from her for other seasons.

  16. #16
    Super Member luvstoquilt's Avatar
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    Well, I am a buyer! I don’t go to many craft shows because there are not many near but there are a couple that I try not to miss. I buy things to add to Christmas gifts. I love the wooded animal puzzles, the miniature quilts, the door decorations, baskets, jewelry. I look for the same sort of things in the summer show and also find blown glass bird feeders there.
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do"....E. Roosevelt

    Sharon
    Yorkville, IL

  17. #17
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    I try to do a couple craft shows a year because I want the feedback. I sell online and really need the personal feedback. I sometimes sell a lot and sometimes not much, but I always come away with so much information. I tend to make a lot of smaller, inexpensive gift items to sell and bring a sampling of my 'regular' items to talk to people about. Buyers at craft shows love to dig around in baskets of things. At a Christmas boutique, I always sell out of the little candy sleighs (4 candy bars with 2 canes wrapped like a sleigh) and the clear bags with tiny hershey bars with a paper tag on top. Seems silly, but it gets the folks into your booth and then it is up to you to get them talking! (I also bring a notebook of photos of some of the commission items I make, just in case a discussion goes that way.) The whole trick is to engage the customers, make them want to talk to you and spend time at your booth. Also, have a business card (you can print some out on your computer) so they can call you when they get home and wish they had purchased from you. I have my email on that card rather than my phone number.

  18. #18
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    When I go, I usually just buy the kinds of things I can't make... small paintings, soaps, and now I'm on the lookout for a yard spinner!

    I don't mind people looking closely at my items, but I draw the line when they try to take pictures with their phones. That's the height of rudeness, and I won't hesitate to tell them so.

    I haven't sold at a craft show in several years. I got tired of all the work setting up, only to have 99.9% gawkers and so few sales. As a buyer, I get tired of seeing the same old, same old everywhere. Painted wooden signs, decorated wooden crosses and the almighty fleur-de-lis! I don't see crosses as something to make pretty and decorate your home with. That's missing the point. And the fleur de lis must be the decorating staple of the South. Likewise, I miss all the jewelry sellers. I rarely wear it, so it's easy to pass by those stalls, tho they seem to do pretty well.

    Guess I'm a craft show curmudgeon.
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    I don't buy too much. I just like to see what people make and how creative they are. I just like to look and get ideas.

  20. #20
    Super Member MaryMo's Avatar
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    I buy things that I don't make myself and admire all the others and the people who make those items. A friend of mine does participate in some of these shows and spends a great deal of time preparing for the show as well as the time spent at the show. I am just not a marketing person . . . I'd rather come and go than do all that work.

  21. #21
    Super Member moonrise's Avatar
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    I've been selling at craft fairs for several years now. It's definitely interesting sometimes!

    As far as buying, I actually buy very little for myself, although, if I see someone who isn't selling anything, sometimes I'll buy a little something from them to help them at least make their booth fee back. Sometimes I buy raffle tickets for door prizes or little trinkets that kids come around selling. DH usually spots some yummy food that he wants, so he loads up at the food vendors. My mom, who often helps us, loves to shop. There's no telling what'll follow her home. ha ha

    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    ...How do you feel when they look over your items carefully - knowing that they are either evaluating your workmanship or trying to figure out how to copy the item ? Do you mind? Do you want to slap their fingers? Are you pleased that they are interested enough to look?...
    I completely welcome shoppers to check out my workmanship, and if they want to take a photo, that's fine. The vast majority of people have asked for permission first. In most cases, they're sending the photo to a friend to see if the friend is interested in buying the item. A lot of times it results in a sale.

    It doesn't bother me if they want to try to copy my stuff, because I have all kinds of little "trade secrets" that I keep to myself. They can probably figure it out eventually, of course, but it'll take some trial and error to figure out the pattern and the techniques. As of yet, I've never seen any of my exact items being copied or sold.

    I did have one guy come in and take a number of photos of an item, from different angles, opened and closed, front and back, etc., and he did so without asking. It was pretty obvious what he was doing. I'll admit it annoyed me a little since he didn't ask for permission first, but I had to chuckle to myself because that particular item is one that's especially difficult to replicate. It took months to get the pattern and measurements just right. I still wonder if he ever tried to make the item himself, and if so, how much fabric and time he spent trying to figure it out. I bet it would've been cheaper for him just to buy it from me for $7! LOL!

  22. #22
    Senior Member Cactus Stitchin's Avatar
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    When I go I mostly look for trends of what is selling and new ideas for products/projects. I but items for Christmas gifts or other occasions. If I find new ideas and they are well done, I just may purchase one to examine or copy in the future. If I haven’t seem the item before, I generally ask the seller if it is original or if they found the idea somewhere; if original I ask about using her idea before I leave.

  23. #23
    Super Member DonnaC's Avatar
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    moonrise, seriously, seven bucks?! Hopefully he spent a week trying to figure it out and failed miserably LOL.

    There's a woman in my area who makes beautiful purses out of hardcover books, but the prices are sooo high I could never afford one. Wish I could though!

  24. #24
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    I haven't been to any in a long time. Columbus is famous for having the biggest one on the hottest weekend of the year!
    I'm in a minimalist mindset these days anyway

  25. #25
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misspriss View Post
    Too much of what iI don't need!.........
    This says it for me, although I have found some really neat things. Probably 10 years ago I bought a handmade leather purse that I still have and sometimes use. They recycled a tooled part of a cowboy boot for the front pocket, and I couldn't resist. I don't know why, because I'm not really from Texas (though we've been here for decades and a couple of my kids are native Texans). I've never been to a rodeo, where that purse would be in its element. Anyway, it's not so much my style, but it is so nicely made, and it just spoke to me. Usually, I just buy a few little finds that will work as stocking stuffers. Craft fairs are a big draw for me because I, too, go around thinking, "Maybe I could make that." Then I don't, but I'm pleased to know someone does.
    “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ~Maya Angelou.
    One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

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